Avanti un Altro! (2012, Italy, Canale 5)

I enjoy watching shows from around the world. Most of the time I’m happy for foreign countries to keep them. Occasionally, VERY occasionally, something comes along which makes me believe a British adaptation needs to happen, not dissimilar to when a couple come across a really nice house on Location Location Location.

What I am basically saying is I think this is a show that could be Ab. So. Lute. Ly. MASSIVE on ITV1 if they handled it right. And it’s an Endemol show! Who could have predicted. It’s basically the world’s first modern music hall-em-up quiz. It’s a fun idea, packed with music and comedy, and features a big money end game which is hardly ever won. And remember, I am hardly ever wrong. This show is on seven nights a week in Italy, and a weekly primetime version happened over the Summer of 2012 in Spain.

The game is by its very nature ephmerial so I’ve combined several shows together in this feature to cover all the bases. This feature is based on the show’s second series. As of the time of writing you can watch the show ungeoblocked online.

Avanti il Primo? What’s that about then?

OK, this is to do with the odd way Italian television does business. Aware that shows tend to build an audience, Italian TV will call the first part of their shows something slightly different so it gets a seperate rating from the later part which can then claim to be highly rated. Machiavellian.

What does it mean? Roughly “first forward!”. Avanti un Altro! roughly translates to “Next one forward!”

Here is our host, the brilliant Paolo Bonolis who also co-devised the show. He’s been in Italian television for about twenty-five years, probably most famous for being the original host of the seminal Affari Tuoi, the Italian daily version of Deal or No Deal, which defined the format in most of Europe. In Italy, it sounds like the hosts get a much greater say in the direction of their shows.

The set and the audience. The audience will have their part to play. The background is quite sparse save for those moving arrows on translucent screens and a screen that splits into slats for the backdrop.

Three important people, the head question writers and judges Marco Salvati and Stefano Jurgens (both involved in Italian gameshows for a long time, and also both previous Bonolis collaborators) and “engineer Carla” although what she does is not specified. (Edit: She does a lot as it turns out! See comments)

The most important sidekick to introduce is “Maestro Laurenti!” on the electric piano. Luca Laurenti is Bonolis’ comedy partner of about twenty years standing. He opens most shows with a rendition of his song Ricordati Che Devi Morire – Remember You Must Die. On some episodes he’s not at his piano and instead comes on in a swimsuit to Chariots of Fire, much to Bonolis’ bemusement and upset, and then does a short sketch.

Finally we have the valet, a person plucked from the audience to chivvy the contestants around and get comically shouted at by Bonolis. The valet’s first job is to lift the lid on the carousel of scrolls, which is done with smoke blast accompaniment.

OK we’re all set. Avanti il Primo!

The first person in that queue gets to sit in the seat. Presumably everyone in the queue has drawn lots to determine their order – it is unlikely the people at the back will get to play.

This contestant faces a standard round. About 60% of the rounds are standard, but you won’t know what you are going to get until you sit in the seat. This is a quiz where anything could happen, and occasionally does.

In a standard round the contestant will face four questions on a category. The category could be anything at all and a few of them will come back regularly (such as “English Lesson” where the round is conducted entirely in English, and “Broccolini” where Bonolis will ask questions with cotton swabs in his mouth to imitate a Don Corleone style character – there are lots of ways to dress up a set of questions).

This round has been introduced with a burst of Somewhere Over the Rainbow so she is going to get four questions on rainbows.

Each question is fifty-fifty. In the first series the entire question was put up on screen, this year the category stays up but the multiple choices come up also.

The rules are very simple: three out of four or straight out the door. After the first wrong answer Bonolis will often remark “Non può più sbagliare!” – roughly ‘don’t get another wrong!’

In the early stages of the show Bonolis will often mess about – usually by shouting their wrong answer back at them in the affirmative, or by adding “perfecto!” then telling them they were wrong. This is quite amusing.

Unfortunately this contestant got two wrong, so she’s gone. Avanti un Altro! Next one forward!

This contestant fares rather better. Bonolis’ spins the carousel, the contestant uses their hand to slow it down and picks one of the scrolls (pidigozzo) in front of them. Each one contains either an amount of cash or something which may help or hinder them. The object is to accumulate as much cash as possible.

The initial make up of the carousel, from bad to good is this: 1x Avanti un Altro! (Immediate elimination. Bad.), 3x Le Iettatorre (The Jinx. Bad.) 5x La Pariglia (The Duel. This carries more weight the further into the show you are), 2x €1k, 5x each of €10k, 15k, 20k, 25k, 30k, 40k, 50k, 75k and 1x €150k.

And it’s a good pick! €40,000. The contestant now faces a choice: close their account and go and sit in the Champion’s Chair or play on and try and accumulate more money. This is important because only the person who is sitting in the champion’s chair having accumulated the most money will get the chance to win it at the end of the show. Until the end of the show, you are the target.

If you play on and lose the next round, you’re out losing everything.

Of course if someone goes and sits in the chair early with a relatively small amount, there is a chance another contestant will beat the amount, decide to play on to solidify their position and then lose it all keeping you there. It’s all part of the fun.

This woman has decided €50,000 is enough and she’s going to sit in the champion’s seat. The valet accompanies her there.

And that’s the score to beat.

Of course, that accounts for about 60% of the show. A fun little quiz. But it’s what happens in the other 40% of the rounds that keeps everyone on their toes…

If the background slats are flat before a question, that usually means a Thing is about to Occur. This contestant faces a visit from the sexy substitute teacher who comes on to seventies-esque wakka-wakka guitar, and he will be asked a question on the sort of thing you learn at school – grammar in this instance. This question carries no multiple choice and you must get it right or you’re out on your ear.

There is good news. If you get a question right from a guest, such as the substitute teacher, you have the option to swap your choice of scroll on the carousel for another one (unless your first pick is the Avanti! or the jinx).

This is the mime artist, accompanied by accordion. He will mime something Bonolis will give a hint at. You have to work out what it is.

This graphic suggests this gentleman is doing OK but he’s still got a little way to go. But he’s about to get help!

It’s flirty Ms Bonus and her high pitched laugh!

She will try and relax the contestant by massaging them as they set about the next set of questions. But of longer term gain, if they complete the round, whatever money (provided you pick money) is contained in the pidigozzo is doubled.

The bonus will normally come on about a third of the way itno the show and a few questions before the end.

And ladies! There’s a Mr Bonus too! His name is Daniel and he is Swedish American. He doesn’t speak much Italian so Bonolis will usually address him in English which can lead to some comedy conversations. He’s painted as a bit of a predator!

A regular gag is set up where the category is announced and Maestro Laurenti starts breaking out into song.

Bonolis will act very annoyed and will start appealing to the judges to shut him up.

The judges will act like they don’t understand it either but there’s nothing they can do.

The audience, obviously, love it. The song will end. Bonolis will get annoyed with the audience, the quiz will continue.

It’s Sing and Song! Two Chinese men who will perform a famous song or a scene from a film in Chinese. The contestant must identify what it would be if it was in Italian.

This contestant has been very unlucky, they’ve found Lo Iettatore. Not only is their money wiped out, but they must answer a question to stay in the game.

But it’s not just a question from anybody, it’s a question from… The Jinx, who walks on stage accomanpanied by a sort of funeral march. Booo! He carries a stick with what seems to be a golden owl on top of it and wears a coffin around his neck. A bad man to know. Bonolis asks him what the category of question is going to be. “Ah, music! That’s not so bad. What specifically?” “DEATH.” (Thunderclap)

Unfortunately the contestant gets it wrong, so must accompany The Jinx off. He wishes the audience bad fortune on his way out.

Basically, Lo Iettatore is an amazing gameshow character creation.

The dance remix of Ricordante Che Devi Morire can only mean it’s time for Luca Laurenti’s question! He puts on his white gloves, slides down a fireman’s pole and goes front of stage to dance with whoever Bonolis has bought up from the audience. Laurenti hopes for good looking women. He does not always get what he wants. But he does today!

His question will be about an odd story found in a newspaper. It will be a fifty-fifty guess provided he can stop laughing about it enough to get the question out!

The sexy nurse and her patient (who walks on carrying a drip, and is miced up but never really says anything). Here the nurse will list the symptoms of what the patient is suffering from and offer four options as to what it wrong with him. You must correctly identify what’s wrong with him.

The Mad German Scientist with his “is it buoyant?” game. Normally he gives the contestant an object and asks if they think it will float or not. This contestant is a bit unlucky as she has two objects to guess, and she must pick the correct combination out of the four possible to succeed.

And it turns out that as it happens, diet coke floats and full fat coke doesn’t. Who knew?

It’s Adam Grapes, the shareholder from Southampton! Unlike Daniel (Mr Bonus), Mr Grapes speaks Italian very well. However they play up his Englishness to the hilt, so you get a lot of intriguing English/Italian conversation.

Anyway he’s a statistician by trade and so he’ll ask a question relating to national statistics.

The final person you need to meet is The Alien who will come on shouting whatever.

He looks a little bit like Bobby Ball.

His stock in trade is not being able to read the answers in Italian very well, so Bonolis has to guide him. Somewhat grumpily.

Answer rightly or wrongly, the Alien will probably end up cuddling the contestant, crying, running round the studio, shouting a lot, getting manhandled off set by Bonolis or all of the above.

At the end of the show an alarm will go off telling the world that this is the last set of questions. The person in the chair MUST beat the champion’s score after this pick or they’re eliminated anyway. This is a great time to pick up La Pariglia. If you pick the duel your score rockets up to match the champion’s score and then there will be a battle for the chair. If you pick the duel you are obliged to take it (unless you picked it as the first pick from a special guest) which early in the show might not be the strategy you’d go for but late in the show very definitely is. If nobody is in the chair, it’s effectively a €0 scroll.

A (convoluted, by the sounds of it) question is read out. It’s first on the buzzer. However the champion has an advantage – the challenger MUST get it right or they automatically lose the duel and go out the door. There is a ten second time limit to buzz in. So if nobody buzzes in, the champion is safe. The challenger has buzzed in here, unfortunately she gets the question wrong.

So Fabio is the evening’s champion! He will now play for a base €100,000 plus the €150,000 he won in the quiz in what must be the world’s most intense endgame.

It’s also brilliant. Here are the rules: Bonolis has a list of twenty-one 50/50 questions each one of the sort ‘A or B, which [has a property relating to A or B]?’ for (an easy) example: “Dog or cat, which one barks?”

Easy. Except you must fight your instincts and give the WRONG answer every time. You must also answer in a timely fashion, if you do not answer very promptly you have made a time error and you will be buzzed by the judge. Fabio is up to question six here. What happens if you make an an answer error or a time error?

You must start the entire list all over again. Sisyphian indeed.

That sounds like an awful thing to happen, and it is an awful thing to happen. However Bonolis also holds the Guinness World Record for most words spoken in a minute and you’re not obligated to wait for him to finish a question before blurting out an answer. To win all the money you have to get to the end of the entire list within 150 seconds. This is a very big ask, but it has been done several times. You CAN afford to be wrong, but what you can’t afford is to have to iterate through a group of five or six questions, especially at the end of the run. Also timing out on a question seems to be the biggest killer. It’s better to blurt something out and gain information than have to start the list again with no response prepared when you get back up there. But in the heat of the moment that’s very easy to say!

Bonolis can start and stop the clock by hitting a big red button to his right. Frequently he’ll stop the game if he feels the contestant needs a pep talk. This will often happen if they stuff up around the 40-50 seconds to go mark where he can point out that it’s still possible to do.

This game has a brilliant musical bed by the way, etherial but subtley building. Combined with the speed it’s a little bit mesmerizing.

If time runs out then all is not yet lost. The money they won in the main game earlier is wiped away, but they can still save the base €100,000. It will tick down at €1k a second (so effectively they have 100 seconds left to finish). If they run out of money they lose the game and leave with nothing.

The “from the top” list quiz has been an Italian gameshow staple for about twenty years. However this is the first one that’s seemed to realise that if you stuff up late in the game then you may as well not bother as you’ve got no chance.

This series, when the money reaches €50k (so you have 50 seconds left) the freeze ray activates, and a big laser beam shoots into the sky.

You place your hand over the beam and the clock stops and the money freezes (sometimes people are so into the game Bonolis has to pick up their hand and put it over the beam for them). You get one final attempt to run the full list from the top. Win and the money is yours.

This guy didn’t win. Most don’t win. It’s beaten about 10% of the time. Only a handful of people win the jackpot. But gosh, it’s exciting when they do!

And the show ends on a dance move, which may be an attempt to trick the sound guy, I’m not sure.

2015 Edit: I do think it’s worth adding the new rules that have been added since we wrote this:

  • Il Fato Benevello – The Good Fairy. If they pick this they face a question which will take their score immediately to €300,000. If they answer incorrectly they carry on with the next round without adding anything to the total.
  • Cambio – Trade/swap. If this is selected the contestant must pick someone from the audience to answer the next set of questions for them. They can’t help.
  • Endgame changes – in the 2015/16 season the contestant no longer has to respond within a judged time limit, but the freeze light comes on at €30k instead of €50k. During the final run there is a ten second limit to answer each question.

79 thoughts on “Avanti un Altro! (2012, Italy, Canale 5)

  1. David Howell

    And the last time you and Travis got this excited about an international format before its UK airing, it turned out to be the biggest international hit since Weakest Link…

    It does feel… well I’m not sure how it’d go over in the UK, it does have a sense of being a “very European” format, but if you give each country the opportunity to make the format their own (which Endemol historically does), it could potentially work anywhere. The basic principle of an unpredictable quiz with a vaguely Deal-esque stick-or-twist money element and a tense and unusual endgame is a winner with viewers. The fact that this endgame can tout a massive prize that’s almost never going to be won is a winner with broadcasters (see also: Money Drop, Money Pump). I can only assume Endemol don’t think this format transfers well to other countries, because they didn’t even take it to Mipcom did they? Maybe next year…

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think Brits would really go for it provided they kept its comedy low-to-middlebrow approach to proceedings – and also if you don’t like something then that’s alright because something else will come along in a minute. It’s the Noel’s House Party of quizzes. Or even better, it’s Remote Control for a more mainstream audience.

      I like the fact that questions could be asked on literally anything, and even so little as a musical clip or a comedy hat can be introduced to enliven up relatively dry categories. The variety and imagination is part of the show’s strength.

      It utterly needs a people person to front it. Michael Barrymore would have been brilliant but it’s unlikely that would be allowed to happen these days.

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          I love Tim Vine but I think it requires someone who can get a bit shirtier with the contestants. I don’t think he’d quite fit.

          1. Gizensha

            He had the Presenter As Circus Master thing that A Quiz Where Anything Can Happen would require down pat in Fluke, though I take your point on the shirtier thing.

          2. David Howell

            We also know now that he’s not amazing at rapid-fire quiz endgames. He definitely stumbled at least once in the taping of DBTI that me, Brig, and Lewis all independently attended.

  2. Chris

    What sort of prizing could work? Avanti according to wikipedia has a theoretical top prize of just under 1.5m euro (Though highest ever win is about 300k)

    Perhaps a £1m top prize would work for ITV1 budget?

    1. Next!
    3 – Jinx
    5 – Duel
    10 – £5k
    10 – 10k
    5 – 15k
    5 – 25k
    5 – 35k
    3 – 50k
    3 – 75k
    1 – 100k

    1. Chris

      If your going for the 52 cards in a deck motif then maybe add 1 more Next!?

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’d ignore top prizes, each episode in Italy will have 10-14 rounds depending on how much mucking about there is.

      2. Brig Bother Post author

        Also, I’m a bit wary of Nexts in the deck, they’re a bit joyless. I think that’s why they removed some and put the Jinx in this time.

        1. David B

          I’d only have one Next! but if it gets picked then it gets shuffled back into the deck. They should be in there to add a frisson of danger to stop a clever contestant pushing their luck too far but if there’s too many of them they interrupt the game just as it’s getting interesting.

    2. Barry

      The top prize is impossible to win. The contestant would have to get extremely lucky with their pidigozzo picks (avoiding all the non cash tubes) and continue instead of quitting with several game winning scores. Plus they have the wacky characters to contend with. (For £250,000 does this float?)

      They then have to avoid being defeated in La Pariglia.

      Even if they reach the final then that money will be dropped to €100,000 because the final is brutally hard.

  3. Chris M. Dickson

    Thanks very much for putting this together! I haven’t watched any episodes yet but it does sound tempting to try.

    If you, Brig, were playing this and were the first contestant at the start of the queue in an Italian show, what sort of sum would make you stick with it and take the champion’s chair rather than trying for the next round of questions? What’s a typical winning score?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think I want 100k, at the very least 75k. You have to beat someone’s score to be able to take the seat, and people who make it past three rounds are pretty rare. You can never really be too safe with the bonuses and the duels, but you can at least be fairly comfortable. The longer the game goes on the lower you can set your sights.

      75k to 150k tends to be the winning score.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        I get the impression that the show benefits greatly from the fact that it’s daily, so that the characters and running jokes can gain familiarity quickly. (Are there other characters apart from these? Alternatively, is this, in fact, a composite of several episodes so that you can demonstrate all the characters, not all of whom appear in each show?) Do you think it would work as well on a weekly basis?

        Alternatively, do you think it could work as an alternative to The Chase, another “build up a pot and usually win nothing in the endgame” show? It might be necessarily a bit too big-budget for that slot, even if the prize money were scaled down to fit.

        If not Barrymore, then who? Edmonds? Evans? Wogan?

        How do the Italian and Spanish versions of the show compare?

        Lots of questions, I know, but I am enjoying learning about this from you!

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          These are all the characters, yes this article is basically a composite to explore everything. From what I have gathered, they added lots of new characters (by the sounds of it, series one featured the mime and the bonuses only, although I’m sure someone will be able to come along and correct me). A typical episode will have two bonuses, Luca Laurenti’s question, then perm three of the other characters. The Jinx is always on standby (incidentally something I forgot to mention, if you get the Jinx’s question correct you also get to pick a scroll to make up for the money you lost).

          Would it work as well on a weekly basis? No reason to believe it wouldn’t. The Spanish primetime show was on weekly, in a two hour 15 minute slot in fact (and as such people would tend to aim for higher scores, although the pacing of the show was slower). The Spanish show differed a fair amount in terms of its tone – it didn’t have the characters (although celebrity guests would turn up), contestants got a choice of two categories, and occasionally they’d be offered some sort of timed challenge (for example, here are eight people, pair them off into four sets of siblings) where the prize was the ability to swap the scroll that you picked. The Final Five Minutes is played as a speed round. I think the Spanish end game was a little easier or at least it had more winners (Don’t know why this might be the case, it’s less speedy. Perhaps they allowed more time to respond after each question, or perhaps the longer runtime meant it’s less likely the champion is someone who just got one set right and got lucky and therefore more likely to be quite good at it).

          I think it’d work really well in the The Chase slot if they kept it light. Really, you could *probably* play for points and just have a flat £100,000 prize for the end game with 2:30 grace before it starts ticking away if you wanted to keep the prize budget reasonable. The Italian show is a 75 minute slot, but it’s only 48 minutes of show.

          If not Barrymore then who? Never considered Chris Evans but that’s actually not the worst idea I’ve heard. Would love to see what Brian Conley would make of it. As I’ve said, needs a people person.

          1. David Howell

            I do like that idea of playing for points and having a flat £100k jackpot that ticks away after 2:30.

            That’ll probably produce a quite Chase-esque pattern of wins even.

      2. salvina

        I was a contestant last year and got the first pidigozzo at €40,000. I decided it was too little and won another round, this time €50,000.
        That felt safe enough for me to sit on the “champion’s chair”, alas the guy after me picked €50,000 and doubled the amount thanks to the Miss Bonus. But the lady after him clawed her way up to €100,000 (with 4 rounds of questions) and she eventually won €49,000
        In conclusion, no amount is ever safe enough. It has a lot to do with luck!

  4. Travis P

    Tonight’s show is one to see on catch-up. English Lesson No 4 is back with some hilarity. Watch out for The Jinx actually dancing to the show’s theme tune at the start of the show. Also the valet is an 80 year old woman who has got some moves.

  5. Brekkie

    I think it’s one you probably have to see in action to completely get it, but I can’t help but feel that it’s the sort of show both the BBC and ITV would manage to screw up.

  6. CeleTheRef

    excellent review! well done 🙂

    in season 1 there were three characters that were retired before season 2:

    the “card shark”, who challenged the contestant to three-card monte

    the “look-maker”, a gayish man who made questions about fashion, make-up or gossip

    and the “foreign”, a Filipino man reading a question in a very broken Italian, while Bonolis provided the answering options (in some way it was the opposite of the Alien)

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Thanks! I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything out. I hope I haven’t got anything wrong.

      Adam Grapes linked to it on Twitter this morning, so that was exciting.

  7. SamPesce

    Good Review, this game show is Amazing, probably the best since Who Wants to be a Millionaire (in Italy since 1999-2000).

    P.S.The Host is Paolo Baonolis, not Paulo Bonolis 😛

  8. Weaver

    Wow! Fabulous write-up, sir. The show looks entirely bonkers, and (as Mr. Bother and Mr. Penery of this parish have demonstrated) very moreish.

    For a British version, I can see that someone who can get a bit shouty at the contenders is necessary. The main thing our host would need is complete innocence, being able to continue with the game whatever was being thrown at them, not getting riled by the returning characters. A combination of Harry Hill’s comedy motifs, Fred Dinenage getting everyone to settle down, and the way Bob Holness could be interrupted by a nuclear bomb in the next studio without it putting him off his job.

    I have absolutely no idea which existing star combines these qualities, or whether it would be a job for a relative newcomer. Countdown’s Jeff Stelling could work. If a channel wants to make a good go of this, and schedule it carefully (Take Me Out / Sunday X-Fac lead in?), it could be huge.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Actually someone more straight laced is an intriguing idea. The Italian and Spanish shows are very much in the light entertainment mould.

  9. Engineer Carla

    Hi there, i’m the “engineer Carla” although what she does is not specified.” 🙂

    I’m here to explain you this arcane, but let me integrate, first, your fabulous article: there is in fact a special kind of episode that is broadcasted every Sunday, called “Avanti un altro pure di Domenica!”, (Next, Also on Sunday!”) with a slight difference, that is the fact that personalities from italian television, music and fashion take part to the show in the role of Contestants. But if they win, the sum goes to some charity organization they have chosen before: obviously this is a way to publicize this kind of initiatives, since even if the personality doesn’t win, an audience of 5 millions has learnt his charity project exist and can help or take part to it.

    Coming to my “unspecified” work: my first task is the final verification of every question you see on air, both in the body of the program, and in the final game. Judge Salvati does the same (and lot of other thing) in different moment, in order to have a higher security coefficient. Obviously this is a task i carry out offline, and is the first reason for which i’m next to him during the show: if it’s necessary to clarify something that has to do with the questions, we’re there to do it.
    The second reason is to check if the rules (lot of rules 🙂 ) are respected by everyone: others play, we judge must check that they play right.
    The third reason is technical: i constantly am in contact with graphic department and direction too, and i am the one who put them in communication (through private headset and microphone) whit the judge Salvati.
    The fourth is technical too: someone has to take note of the sum of money won or lost by the contestants and of the right and wrong answers:)
    The fifth is academic: since i really am en engineer with degree and master from university of Rome (my other life:) ) if there is some mathematical explanation to give, often it’s me that they prefer to be in charge of it. Last year two or three of this explanation were not so bad 🙂
    This year my competence has been used when two main actor from a main italian tv series were our guest and we had to tell something about their characters and their story. You’ll see that special episode on air the 4th of November.

    I still must thank you for the careful and exhaustive work you did to review our work, and i do hope your expectation for our program journey “abroad” are fulfilled 🙂

    Bye from Italy,

    Ingegner Carla (Engineer Carla)

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING, Thank you Ingegner Carla! We knew you were important, we weren’t sure what role you had!

  10. CeleTheRef

    yesterday the Canale5 newscast had a feature on the AUA! characters.
    the Jinx was asked “what made they choose you for the role?”

    and he replied, in-character: “my kindness”

  11. NJ

    OK I have a question now, is there ever any explanation given for the seeming obsession with Paolo’s butt? Seems like every episode I see it in camera close ups and I think there are contestants who touch it for luck. Not complaining, but would like a bit of context if there is any.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Basically – avere culo and that. This is usually followed by him grandstanding to the audience with the big top music playing, then him revealing Lo Iettatore.

  12. Brig Bother Post author

    This has been a very entertaining week.

    Is the entire queue celebrities for the Sunday shows, or are there civilians mixed in? Presumably if it’s a mix then the celebrities are loaded at the front.

    1. CeleTheRef

      the Sunday specials are themed, and only a specific category of people can apply. a few celebrities are also added into the queue but I don’t know if their position is predetermined in some way. celebrities usually have their full name in the name tag and are introduced by some music.

      the October 21st episode theme was “tall and short” the celebrities were the singer Wilma De Angelis and the former volleyball star Andrea Lucchetta

  13. Poochy.EXE

    I just realized there’s a potentially very useful alternative strategy to the endgame: Whenever you hear a new question, immediately guess the first choice. If you’re unsuccessful, remember what it was and the next time you come to it, you know you should guess the second choice.

    Instinctively, this saves time listening to the question, and saves you the potential trouble of missing a question multiple times from listening to your instincts telling you to do the wrong thing, at the cost of missing questions you otherwise might be able to get consistently.

    But instinct-based reasoning isn’t good enough for me, so I did some calculations under the following assumptions:
    – It takes on average 2 seconds to hear the two choices, pick one, and continue to the next (or first) question. (Based on the 22 October episode, this is probably a little less than that. But let’s round up to give my theory the lowest chance of success.)
    – You can perfectly memorize the list of first choices you shouldn’t pick. (Admittedly, this one’s a stretch – on average you’ll need to remember 11.5 items, when the average human’s short-term memory can only hold 7 items. But then again, you’ll hear the first couple so many times that you’ll hopefully be able to remember them with much less effort.)
    – If you make a mistake after the option to freeze the clock becomes available at 50 seconds left, you immediately freeze it. (I did the calculations for a couple different strategies here, this is the optimal strategy as far as I can tell.)
    Under those assumptions, this strategy would lead to a win approximately 55.8% of the time. More specifically, you’d win the bonus 1.6% of the time and win a non-bonus 54.2% of the time, with the average non-bonus win being a little over €43500.

    Conclusion: If the win rate is truly around 1 in 10, then I think the best strategy in the endgame is to ignore the questions completely and leave it up to luck and your memory.

    1. David B

      Interesting. As a very basic thought experiment, let’s say you get questions 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 wrong. That would take 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40 seconds then 42 seconds to get them right at the end. That takes 262 seconds. So if you get 150+100 seconds in the TV show then your result sounds like it’s in the right ballpark although I’d wager that 40-50% is more likely.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        There is of course the unspoken element of the game which is “the host is trying to work with you”. The thing is, if I thought someone was trying to game the game and make lousy TV, I’d totally start acting like a jerk – switching up the answer order given on the fly, deliberately stopping the clock more often to break short-term concentration, that sort of thing, until they fell into line. And I would largely suspect the viewers would take the host’s side.

        There might actually be a clause in the rules suggesting the first time the question is asked you have to listen to it. I don’t know.

        Actually, winning the jackpot 1.6% of the time would be about half as often as back-of-a-fag packet statistics suggest has happened, about 6 times in about 200 shows.

        1. Luke the lurker

          I’ve long thought it would be fun to have a quiz show where the host is (within certain bounds) trying to get you to lose. Suspect it could make a good Chase spinoff.

          None of that Paul Ross “No Win No Fee” rubbish though…

          1. Gizensha

            …So… Schlag den Raab, then? (And arguably Win Beadle’s Money, though Jeremy wasn’t really ‘hosting’ that)

            The closest I can think of aside Schlag den Raab are the antagonist/protagonist formats, with a host on the side of the players and a host (or a prominant recurring character, at least) opposing them – Knightmare post Lord Fear, the British version of Fort Boyard, Interceptor, and the like.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            There was something like that going round a little while ago at the BBC, in fact. Don’t know what became of it.

          3. CeleTheRef

            another Italian example of “enemy host” would be Pino Insegno on Mercante In Fiera.

            sometimes he even put on an “evil villain cape” before the final round. he was good at sweet talking contestants into giving him the money cards in excange of the worthless ones.

      2. Poochy.EXE

        @David B: Note that if you get every second question wrong, then you’d get question 20 wrong after 220 seconds, leaving 30 seconds left on the clock. Under the strategy I outlined above, you’d immediately freeze the clock, then sweeping all 21 questions would win you 30K. So even though you’d take 262 seconds, you’d still win. I believe that’s why the win rate would be over 50%.

        Just for fun, I also did the calculations for not freezing the clock at all, which leads to a non-jackpot win rate of 33.8% and an overall win rate of 35.4%.

        Incidentally, I also found a minor error in my previous post: The average non-jackpot win with said strategy is actually just over €36620.

        @Brig: You’ve got a good point there. To account for that, I just did another round of calculations assuming you take 4 seconds instead of 2 to hear the full question the first time. That results in a jackpot win rate of 0.14% and a non-jackpot win rate of 31.7% – still significantly better than the 10% win rate, but the jackpot win rate is significantly worse than on the actual show.

        Additionally, it turns out if you can get at least 13 out of 21 (on average) questions wrong on the first try and still remember all the answers you’ve given, you’re better off taking the 2 extra seconds per question.

        On the other hand, even if you can get new questions 70% of the time but have a 10% error rate on repeat questions, you’re still significantly worse off than with random guessing and no errors on repeats.

        So that makes things rather inconclusive – it appears remembering previous answers is still more important than being accurate on new questions, but if you can multitask to some degree, there’s probably an optimal balance that doesn’t require guessing completely blindly to save time. Of course, the problem I see most contestants having on the show is that they try to do both at the same time and end up doing neither correctly.

        1. Gizensha

          Judging by Brig’s go at an english approximation, the ‘no errors on repeats’ bit is an extremely generous gimme for anything like this, whether or not you’re going for the first option and then remembering or answering and remembering.

    2. Chris M. Dickson

      I sometimes wondered why people didn’t do a similar tactic on Fluke, other than being told it’s explicitly against the rules and, presumably, a potential cause for disqualification.

      Does anyone remember So You Want To Be Top? I have a suspicion that, at some points, they may have featured a “deliberately get the questions wrong” round, but would appreciate confirmation or denial. And there’s Lose A Million, of course, though neither of them had the “21 in a row” feature to it.

  14. Brig Bother Post author

    I think what we need is… A rough English translation of a set of questions from an endgame, mainly so we can judge difficulty and ‘type’ for when we emulate it. Would you or anybody be able to do that for us please, Cele? Is the challenge in the difficulty of the questions or is the challenge in not breaking your concentration on easy questions by giving the legitimate correct answers?

    1. emanuele

      This is the set of question of this video: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xuhosw_avanti-un-altro-11-10-12_shortfilms?search_algo=2#.UQMgrbQf4Yo

      1) Yellow or Red, the kremlin is near the square..?
      2) Mars or Saturn, which platet has the rings?
      3) Wine or cheese, the Vermentino is?
      4) Carlo or Camillo, which is the name of Cavour?
      5) Synonym or antonym, what are Never and always?
      6) Brake or speed up, what does something do at the stop signal?
      7) A or B, Napoli football club plays in “serie?”
      8) Elisa or Giorgia, Who sing “Come saprei?”
      9) Yes or no, Could you skii on sea?
      10) Ischia or Capri, what is the sothest island?
      11) Francesi or napoletane, which deck has more cards?
      12) Italy or Brasil, Who has won the most World Cup?
      13) Increasing or decreasing, after the full moon is the moon?
      14) liver or kidney, which is the largest organ?
      15) Tyrannosaurus rex or brontosaurus, who is vegetario?
      16) Savona or Brindisi, where does the Via Appia?
      17) 10 or 100, how many ounces make a pound?
      18) Fat or thin, the Pink Panther is?
      19) March or September, when spring begins in Australia?

      The difficulty of the game is the time between a response and close the other and the fact that Bonolis is too quick to ask questions and wreaks havoc with competitors.
      Good night from Italy! AVANTI UN ALTRO! 😀

        1. emanuele

          In any case Bonolis has a fluent english because his ex wife is american. He should record a zero-day episode for ITV or BBC. The format of the game is amazing!
          The topic of each match and the guest host from the “mini-world” are versatile for an english version 🙂

          1. Brig Bother Post author

            I think the characters would translate directly pretty well!

            Bonolis on UK TV would be hilarious, but I doubt it’ll happen unfortunately.

      1. Alex

        “17) 10 or 100, how many ounces make a pound?”

        Shouldn’t one of the answers be 16?

  15. Barry

    The problem for us foreigners is we find this one tricky…

    Appeal* or Cassation? What is Italy’s highest court?

    but not this one:

    North or South*? In respect to England, where is Scotland?

    (The wrong answers are asterisked)

    1. David B

      I’m sure there are similar questions we could use: e.g. Which parliamentary house is more senior, Lords or Commons?

      1. Gizensha

        The geography one is more tricky to localise, I feel – To Italians is the location of Scotland in respect to England a similar difficulty to Canada in respect to the main bit of the United States (Although at two options Alaska can probably safely be ignored due to neither being north nor south of Canada), Normandy in relation to Picardy, Texas in relation to Oklahoma or Ecuador in relation to Columbia is to Brit’s?

  16. Tom B.

    I’ve noticed a new bit watching episodes of the show – two old ladies come out to a bit of music and ask a question with 3 choices. Not understanding Italian, I haven’t quite gotten the idea of that round. Anyone want to explain ’em to me? 🙂

      1. Tom B.

        That’s what it had seemed like to me, which I thought would be nicely ironic. But I thought I’d check 🙂

  17. John

    My girlfriend is Sardinian and we live in the south of UK…we watch this show every day on her Italian satellite set up. Its unmissable , even if I can only understand a little Italian and I rely on her translation. Please Paolo come over to UK and do one series. By the way who is the substitute teacher?…My second favourite Italian woman…Bellisima

  18. Max

    Does anybody know any places or any sites that does translated videos of this? I have seen a few episodes and I am in love with the show but I want to understand what they say!

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      No, although I wish I did! It manages to get across so much with its visual direction, sound effects and Bonolis’ tone of voice and looks.

  19. WOOGIE

    I recently started watching the show in Canada on satellite, but the episodes I see have a different host. Are they newer or older?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Newer, Gerry Scotti replaced Bonolis a few weeks ago, although I think I may have read Bonolis may be back after the Summer.

  20. John F

    Bring back Bonolis….used to watch it every night until Bonolis left…its just not the same show without him.

      1. Tom B.

        I know, when I found it, first thing I thought was that you’d want me to post a link here 😀

  21. Alex

    Here in Chile, the show was adapted as “Avanti ¡que pase el siguiente” (Avanti next forward!). The first season started on September 2014 & will end on March.
    The show’s different; the studio’s smaller, and these are the current characters:
    Female bonus
    Ennio Camote (parody of chef Ennio Camote)
    Pablo Estomar (parody of drugdealer Pablo Escobar).
    Los Charros (Estomar, Camote and Jinx dress as Mexican people).


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