In 2006 a new quiz launched on France 2 to take on TF1’s reigning champion Attention Á La Marche! (Watch Your Step!). Years later, it’s seen off the competition, there’s a new lunchtime king. …sa Place is one of France’s most popular quiz programmes and is trying to be launched around the world as Hold On To Your Seat, but what exactly is it?
The titles, the theme tune is quite upbeat an espionage-y, the title is written in a very sixties font. Each show is 45 minutes.
Our host Nagui Fam (referred to only as Nagui), otherwise known as the host of the popular Que le Meilleur Gagne which he fronted for many years. I am reliably informed that Egyptian Nagui was the first African to find mainstream success on French television.
The title translates to “Everybody Wants To Take The Place” – and that place is the champion’s seat on the main stage there. The audience are encouraged to join in with the “…sa Place!” bit of the “Welcome to Tout le Monde Veut Prendre sa Place,” and also point to the seat in question.
And here is Dai, the current champion in the lounge. He’s won five times and racked up €10,400 in prizemoney. The pictures behind him are a hall of fame of the top champions past. Once you are a champion, you are difficult to dislodge because you have all the advantages.
But these six people are going to have a go at becoming the new champion. But first they must battle each other to earn the right to do so.
A prize is shown before each round, presumably you earn it for making it that far. Here it’s some chocolate, in round two it’s a digital photo frame, the last person standing seems to win a 19″ LCD TV.
Round one is the qualification round. Our six contestants will become four.
Each contestant gets to have a chat with the host, then they are asked two general knowledge questions. After hearing the question, they can choose how many points they want to play for – the fewer options, the fewer points.
The three choices are duo – a straight fifty-fifty shot, worth one point…
… carre (square), a choice from four possible options for three points…
… or cash, to answer without any options, worth a whopping five points.
The top four scores will go through to the next round, and there’s an obvious advantage to playing further down the line in that you know the scores to beat.
Any opportunity to take a musical interlude is taken, Nagui usually does some sort of hand gesture with an accompanying sound effect (cutting his throat, pulling a chain) in order to stop it!
Our contestants having had all their questions, it’s time for the Champion to make his entrance.
Looking at the scores, Jennifer and Eric have scored the lowest, so it’s goodbye to them. If people were tieing for qualification places, the Champion decides who goes through and who goes home.
The remaining four go on to The Competition. The winner of this will face off against the Champion for the seat.
All the contestants were furnished with the category for the questions for the competition today in the days leading up to the recording. Today, the questions are all based on the category “at the hairdressers”. Categories tend to be quite broad.
Contestants face nine questions. The first three are duo questions worth one point, the second three are carre questions for three points…
…questions seven and eight are cash questions for five points and the contestants have to type their answers in. Judges are pretty lenient with regards to spelling and names (‘Aniston’ is accepted as correct here, but ‘Rachel’ is not because the question asks for the name of the actress). The keyboards don’t seem to have a shift key.
Question nine is another cash question, but it’s a little different. The Champion has been watching the game, and has been given four questions of varying difficulty. He will choose who gets which question. Contestants score five points for a correct answer, but they will lose five points if they give the wrong one – thusly, the champion has some influence on the outcome of the game. But as you will see, it is not necessarily in the Champion’s best interest to destroy all the competition.
And with 23 points, Jean-Claude is the winner!
It is time to choose the categories for the final round… or rather it’s the Champion’s time to choose the categories for the final round. There are four to choose from, and for the viewers at home the category the challenger is most confident in is highlighted. The Champion chooses his opponent’s category first, then chooses his own. However, the money the Champion wins is dependent on how many points the Challenger gets, so again it’s not necessarily in the Champion’s best interests to make things overly difficult.
The Challenge gets all his six questions first. For each one, he has the same duo, carre or cash choices as previous. However, he won’t know how he has scored until after the Champion has had his go.
The Champion is asked before his six questions are asked how many points he thought the Challenger has got. That gives him something to aim for. The Champion’s questions are marked immediately, so he knows how many points he has got.
Finally it’s time to go through the Challenger’s questions. He’s got a very impressive 28 points to beat.
But he only scores fifteen. That means Dai retains the seat!
And his prize? €100 for each point the Challenger scored. Also he wins a holiday for the tenth victory and a better trip for victory 30 and 50, and if someone makes it to 100 victories, they also win a car.
But what if the Champion didn’t win? Well the Champion can play his ultimate privelige – he can make an offer to the winning challenger to keep the seat in exchange for a share of his total winnings plus the money earned today. If the winning challenger accepts, then he leaves with potentially a nice cash sum. If he declines, he takes the seat and wins the €100 per point he has earned, and the ex-Champion leaves the show.