Watching Telly: Keep It In The Family

By | September 27, 2014

I’ve just got back from Elstree with ITV1’s big new hope Keep It In The Family.

  • The stage is set up as a open house backdrop, the background can change colours but for most of the time it’s purple. It’s on two floors, the bottom floor is dominated by a large screen which acts as the floor for the first floor (I’m not describing this very well). And on that first floor are two large square trapdoors.
  • Two families sit on curved settees stage left. They are formed of a kid and three family members.
  • Our host is the brilliant Bradley Walsh who really sells it.
  • Each episode also features six celebrities , todays were from Emmerdale. They’re in another room for most of the show.
  • The show begins with lots of entertaining Brad Chat with the families that will get cut to time.
  • The first round is “Family Business” for reasons I forget. Here the child picks one of the family members to take part in a game without any idea of what it might be, but it’s based on a variety act. This episode’s was an absolutely stunning pyrotechnics display involving fire batons and giant sparklers that I hope comes across as well on television as it did in the studio.
  • The contestants now having been scared out of their wits as to what might happen to them now go and prepare themselves for their version. In this case they were strapped to vertical spinning wheels and alternately asked questions about TV families. If they get one wrong their wheel starts spinning. A second wrong and their wheel starts spinning faster. A third wrong and huge sparklers start going off and they’ve lost the game. The other family now apparently get three points.
  • The winning family’s child is now give the choice of two prizes as revealed by two of the stars of Emmerdale who have come out and stood on the trapdoors. They will try and persuade the child that there’s is the one to take home, because the child has control of two levers and whichever one he pulls will send the star plummetting. This bit was actually quite good fun and the stars argued and played along nicely. The audience are encouraged to countdown and chant “DROP! DROP! DROP!” as the kid pulls the lever.
  • At this point this show feels like a winner, it ticks all the right boxes. It looks and feels like the sort of show everyone says they’ll watch but doesn’t, except this one might actually stand a chance.
  • Unfortunately it feels a little bit like it hits its peak a bit too soon. Round Two is Nanna Knows Best and involves six grandmothers. There’s some lengthy Brad Chat with them which will get cut to time, and then the game involves them giving clues to things and names that pop up on their screen. As soon as the families can work out what they’re on about they can buzz in and guess, although a wrong answer freezes them out for the rest of the question.
  • Initially this is a fun idea, the grannies hints vary between useful and not very (especially when they don’t know what the thing is – like Angry Birds for example) but by the end of the round I was quite glad it was over, judicious use of the editing suite needed here I think. There was a good old laugh at one clue that sounded a bit saucy (spotted dick). Bradley was quite good at summarising the good clues for the families. The better team gets to select another prize, but I can’t work out if the scores were carried forward from the first round or not, from my position I couldn’t see the scoreboards set at the beginning of the round.
  • The third and final round is Family Selection Box. The contestants are dressed up with a different theme each week – in this case pop stars, one on each team of Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Will I Am and Whitney Houston. These include giant heads and difficult footwear. Questions are asked on the buzzer, each one worth a point (total scores definitely used at this point), however in a fun twist, if the question involves one of the people they’re dressed up as, they must race to a third central buzzer at the front of set to give their answer. These first questions are prefixed by “get ready to run”, I ponder if it might have been more fun/interesting if they weren’t. The team with the highest score goes through to the final. The losing family keeps any prizes won and the kid gets some sort of experience prize.
  • The final round is “Swap or Drop to Keep It In The Family” – Walsh uses this phrase quite a lot during the show but it’s only really now it matters. All six Emmerdale cast come out holding a box. Inside each box is a card representing a prize. Also on each box is a rhyming clue as to what’s in the box – if you’re thinking “this is a bit 3-2-1” you’d be exactly right. There are a couple of differences – first of all all six prizes on offer are shown to the audience and contestants so everyone knows what they’re looking for. The kid picks a star who reads out their clue and stands on the “safe” trapdoor. He then picks another star who stands on the danger trapdoor and reads their clue out. The family must decide if they’re going to swap because one of them will drop. When they’ve decided who is going to drop the celeb opens the box to eliminate the prize and then the kid pulls the lever and they disappear. New celebs stand on the danger platform and the process continues until there are two prizes left, the eliminated prize is not revealed before dropping them out, the one prize left is what is taken home.
  • As such these clues are not as clever/difficult as they are on 3-2-1 but really it still feels like a game of luck – the clues are written in such a way that they could refer to several of the prizes, and after dropping off Bradley points out the bit in the clue that gave it away when really it feels completely arbitrary rather than puzzled out – I shan’t spoil as it sounds like the first ep going out will be the one recorded this afternoon. The audience are encouraged to shout out advice which is fun, and of course shout “DROP! DROP! DROP!” I do wonder if it might have been more fun if the prizes weren’t revealed beforehand, although I can’t imagine they didn’t try this in the year it took to get the show where it is now.
  • The result feels like the most self-assured light entertainment show ITV have done in years even if really the format and the games aren’t all that.

4 thoughts on “Watching Telly: Keep It In The Family

  1. Dave Scott

    Any idea when Keeping It In The Family will debut? Hoping to get to watch a few episodes here in the States. Unfortunately, the British TV networks tend to block video access on their websites.


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