This filmed on Wednesday night at ITV Towers on the South Bank. It was a very hot studio on a hot day so I should point out that I where I sound grouchy it might work out alright in the edit.
- Set featured a set of stairs on the left (bannister had cello motif), house band on the right, middle dominated by large circular screen top of set, host’s keyboard and podium underneath, two team podiums either side. Where there is a one on one face off round, Bill’s podium is moved back a bit and two large buzzer stands looking like LPs are placed in front.
- And our host for the evening is Bill Bailey. As we’ve said before, not an especially ITV choice but we can at least see what he brings to the role – good comedy improvisor and of course he can play instruments (there’s an electric guitar to hand and a keyboard in his podium). We note that Mark Lamarr was behind the scenes, I don’t know if he’s a writer for the show. Edit: Just hanging around, not involved.
- Off camera is someone doing a David Bowie impersonation, he’s in charge of the scorekeeping and does some banter with Bill. It sounds like a different person out of the rock ether would take this role each week. I couldn’t work out who this was, sorry. Phil Cornwell would be my best guess. I’m afraid I thought the banter was a bit flat and became frequently irritating.
- The house band is The Mike Dixon Sextet. They are very good and there are six of them.
- Two teams of three will compete, in the pilot a team from Dundee (Team Dundee) vs a team from Mansfield (Team Mansfield).
- A few things to note quickly, we’re not privy to the show’s title sequence but a song randomly played in the run up to recording (which went something like “We know you like music/we know you like games/it’s time to win money/for knowing their names/so name that tune“) that sounded a little bit like McFly. Edit: It’s USA Band The Tearaways, and you can buy it on iTunes, so whether this is the theme or not I don’t know.
- The intro felt interminable. Bailey comes down the stairs, he noodles on the keyboards, he has a chat and a couple of tunes with Mike Dixon, he has a lengthy chat with David Bowie, then he has a chat with the teams, and that’s all we’ve got time for this week.
- The first round is the Wheels of Steel, which used to be called Melody Roulette back in the day. A members of each team will face off and do two songs each, the value of the song is determined by what comes up on the Wheels of Steel, two circular wheels (really nicely rendered actually) on the big circular screen. The inner wheel has values ranging from £50 to £500, the outer wheel has eight segments – four blank, one that says TRIPLE, two DOUBLES and a HALF. The contestant whose go it is presses their buzzer to slow down the wheels, wherever it stops is the value of the tune. All team members get a go. We’re not encouraged to go oooooOOOOH DOUBLE, but general oohs and aahs when things go badly or well.
- Round two is Bill’s Screen Classics – Bill plays a theme from a film on his keyboard, teams can confer and buzz in when they know the film. Bill throws in some good take home facts (the theme from Born Free is Star Wars in reverse – didn’t know that). £100 for each one, played six times.
- Bill throws to the break with a “musical challenge for you at home” – he plays one note from a song (which could come from anywhere in the song) and you have to guess what it is. Reasonable enough gag.
- Round three is Re-tuned. The London Vegetable Orchestra (they’re an orchestra who have made instruments out of vegetables – clever actually) play five tunes and the teams write down what they think they are whilst Bailey messes about with a vegetable cart in the middle. £200 for each correct guess. I expect the idea is different spins on homemade instruments will feature each week.
- Round four is Bill’s Bonus Round – the suggestion here is that it will different each week, this week called Riffs and Hooks. Bill will play a famous hook or riff from a track (the band will also join in) and the first team to buzz and name the song it comes from wins £300, and the team that gets the most right in the round (five songs IIRC) wins something from Bill’s home studio, in this case a massive six-armed guitar.
- Round five is Bid-A-Note and winning it wins a game winning £2,000 (this is of course a bit cheap and golden snitchy, but then the Golden Medley was the only round that determined who went for the big prize in the ITV original so…). Team members take it in turns to go up to the podium and play and the first team to three points wins. This works exactly the same as it used to, a cryptic clue is given and then they start bidding down from seven. Unfortunately like the original some of the clues are far too easy (“This song from a German sounding band will leave you breathless” – I mean come on, why not just say “It’s Take My Breath Away by Berlin”).
- I believe the losing team still get to take their winnings away with them.
- The finalists go forward to the Prize Tune Round, which is basically the Golden Medley – they must nominate one person. They have 60 seconds to correctly identify seven songs played by the band, after about 8 seconds the song is thrown out if it’s not been buzzed for. Incorrect buzzes are not penalized, but you only get one chance at each song so you will have wasted time. Every correct answer earns £500, but if they get seven then the seventh one is worth some One Direction bobblehead dolls. And a new car.
- Few of the songs played were very modern – Wrecking Ball felt like a stand out in a sea of 60s-90s and show and classical tunes.
- Like I say in the hot studio it felt like a long three hours but reading the format back it’s actually really quite similar to the original albeit stretched to an hour. The padding was getting on my nerves, but I did feel the show flowed better towards the end. Like I say, the edit will kill or cure this one I think.
I’ll probably remember some more stuff overnight, but in the meantime if you have questions I will endeavour to answer them.