Back to the Bar

March 2006


30th March 2006

TtMoDTtM reaches its exciting almost climax. Tomorrow's episode will be going up at the earlier time of 3:45.

The rise and rise of Tim Vincent

Here at Bother's Bar, we like nothing more than C-list celebrities who punch above their weight and do something that A-listers try to do and fail. We are, of course, talking about cracking the States.

The last person to do this is quite spectacular fashion was, of course, Ross King, who became a national hero when he won a local TV Weatherman Idol type competition back in the end of 2004. We have literaly no idea if he is still doing it. Actually yes we do, he is, and he's also doing the entertainment news now as well.

And now we have a new national hero: Tim Vincent. Children's Ward. Blue Peter. The Clothes Show. Short Change. Fully Booked. Emmerdale. I'm Famous and Frightened. There's Something About Miriam.

These shows are all irrelevant. Because as well as being an reporter for popular US showbiz show Access Hollywood with TV's Billy Bush, a few days ago he was hosting the pilot for a revival of a show called Chain Reaction on GSN. We know it better as Lucky Ladders with Lennie Bennett.

What did someone American who was at the pilot taping make of him? We've brazenly nicked these comments from a poster on the Invision Game Show Forums, I hope he doesn't mind:

"The host of the ‘Chain Reaction’ pilots was Tim Vincent from Access Hollywood. Imagine Distraction host Jimmy Carr a few inches taller, a few pounds lighter and with his naughty comments toned down to a minimum (but not completely absent). That’s Tim in a nutshell, and even though he lacks gameshow hosting experience these ‘Chain Reaction’ pilots showed the man has camera presence and potential when (or if?) he detaches himself from the teleprompter. There were lots of tape stoppages (normal for a gameshow pilot) but Tim got a couple of solid adlibs involving the new blindfold end game (‘Basic Instinct 2’) and consolation of the losing team (group hug!). After the tapings were over I asked Tim if he saw old 'Chain Reaction' shows for research and he said yes, he had seen a couple. He didn't know who the host was though, but a production assistant told me it was the Cullen version."

So there we are.


We've listened to all 37 songs featuring in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. We'd now appreciate it if you'd take twenty minutes to pick a winner from the six songs we've narrowed it down to. Be off with you, now.

29th March 2006

We're really tired today, so the news that TtMoDTtM has been updated in dramatic style is all the news you're getting.

Oh alright, someone posted a link to these shots of the new Bullseye studio, courtesy of Colin and Edith off of Radio 1. It looks very nice actually. Question answering players seem to be standing up this time round.

We're really looking forward to it. The main worry is that Challenge have said they're only showing 15 episodes now and are holding back another 15 for later in the year. That's three weeks before they start repeating again! Thank goodness I lose all my memory every fortnight.


28th March 2006

"Woah! There goes the five million Euros!"

I advise everyone to watch this Endemol Deal or No Deal promotional film, as it's absolutely hilarious. Also, it features Bother's Bar favourite Linda de Mol right at the end. Hurrah! "Can offer the biggest prize on telelvision... or-low-budget-fun-gifts-with-product-placement-opportunities!"

Meanwhile, the Swedish version of the format, the imaginatively titled Deal or no deal, began on TV4 on Sunday. It looks identical to the US version, but with a less exciting logo.

Thanks to Iain Weaver for pointing out this university discussion paper on risk assessment on the show, last updated last month. If you've not read it yet, it makes for quite interesting reading, most interesting is the formulae used to come up with the bank offers in the traditional big money 26 case version (although I must stress, we know full well that it's only used as a guide in the UK one), the idea that people do indeed seem to try and chase their losses even when it is imprudent to do so, and that the Dutch version did indeed predate the Aussie version (the original Miljoenenjacht began November 25th 2000 but was indeed without the Deal or No Deal element. The show as we know it first airded 22nd December 2002 in The Netherlands and 13th July 2003 in Australia). So that's THAT cleared up then. Iain says he will try and come up with an Excel sheet to work out provisional bank offers for the weekend.

Meanwhile, Take the Money or Don't Take the Money reaches it's most dramatic day yet.

Meanwhile, news is a bit slow.

B all you can B

B Magazine (you know, B Magazine) is in trouble. Where now for Britain's Next Top Model?


27th March 2006

It's Day Two of exciting and unique Bother's Bar competition Take the Money or Don't Take the Money! Two!

25th March 2006

What we reckon Ant and Dec's The Con Test is all about

We read the entry on the OTT Blog a few days ago and have been wracking our brains trying to work out how it might work from their description of the pilot episode.

And then it hit us: it's going to be the middle bit from Miljoenenjacht, isn't it?

We reckon everyone will get (say) ten questions. At the end of every round, they'll be allowed to grill each other for a bit over how well they think they've done. Ant and Dec will then offer a cash incentive for a player to "bail out" of the game. If they take it, they win the cash and leave, if not, the person who performed the worst gets the boot and wins no money. Repeat until only one person remains.

Go on, just you see how close I am. Not much like Shafted at all, really.

Take the Money or Don't Take the Money

It has begun.


24th March 2006

Clocks go forward this evening.

Don't lose sleep over it. Also we've updated the Eurovision guide. Only a few more songs left, and frankly picking a winner is much mroe difficult than I imagined.


Wow, what a boring selection of winners we have in The Games this year. Jade Jones and young Marcel Sommerville? Wow. Javine and Julia Goldsworthy MP are slightly more interesting, however.

We were pulling for Peter Duncan or JK to take the silver medal position, but you were never going to bet on the 51 year-old to win a 100m sprint, were you?

However, what has happened to Champion of Champions this evening? No-one from 2003 (when everyone knows that James Hewitt and Harvey: The Fastest Man In All Of Celebritydom are the main draws), granted we have champions in the form of Shane Lynch, Romeo and Kirsty Gallacher but... Chesney Hawks? Linda Lusardi? Wha?

We've got a ton of weekend feature material "being lined up" for putting up quite soon, you may be pleased to hear. The first one is going to be of an Italian show called Cresus with any luck, and yes this is only the case so I can use "Cresus Jeist!" as a headline.


23rd March 2006

Things we're planning on doing this weekend:

  • Watch Wie is... de Mol! You can too, click on Afleveringen and scroll down the bottom. We'll e-mail Robbie of Realitynet and see if the first episode is avaliable for streaming somewhere - back episodes were avaliable last year. Edit: Hey! Cloth eyes has spotted it - when you click on Afleveringen, you can click on Afl. 1 beneath it and watch it from the start. Aren't the Dutch great, everyone?
  • We're going to finish our Eurovision guide.
  • We might even go to a party! How exciting.
  • And on Sunday night, Ben Henley begins his quest for £200 of REAL MONEY as we play Take the Money or Don't Take the Money... Two!

Challenge Bullseye

It plays exactly the same as the later years of the original, we're told (think BFH), except that the Bullseye in round one is only worth £150 and not £200 as before. Good.


22nd March 2006

In lieu of something better to do, it's time to launch Bother's Bar's newest and most exciting project ever...

21st March 2006

We're gonna win the Eurovision!

Drawn in 15th! Best position to be with our song, late enough to be seen as different to everyone else, not so late that everyone has fallen asleep.

That running order for the First Round Proper in full:

  • Switzerland!
  • Moldova!
  • Israel!
  • Latvia!
  • Norway! (Good song)
  • Spain! (I said a hey! A ha! etc.)
  • Malta
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Semi-finalist
  • Semi-finalist
  • Romania
  • Semi-finalist
  • Semi-finalist
  • United Kingdom
  • Greece
  • Semi-finalist
  • Semi-finalist
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Semi-finalist
  • Semi-finalist
  • Semi-finalist
  • Semi-finalist

The real danger is the rather bottom-heavy positionings of the qualifying semi-finalists, the songs of whom many countries will have heard already from the Semi-final.

This year the scoring is going to be different - 1-7 points will come up automatically to save time with each country representative spending ten minutes congratulating ERT for putting on a great show and finally giving out the 8, 10 and 12 point placings. That is unless you're Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey, in which case you get to give out all your results on the night as the final three to make it that much more exciting.

Whatsmore, only the top six and the Big Four will automatically qualify next year - instead up to 30 songs will feature in next year's semi-final. This is to try and curtail friendly bloc voting. So there we are.


20th March 2006

Everything is falling down around my ears

Argh, this won't be remembered as Black March for no reason. I think I'm going to have to pick a new contestant for TTMODTTM, keep checking back throughout the week for details for a Sunday start. And now my computer is playing up just when I don't want it to. And someone else thought Mark Speight hosted Incredible Games. I swear, the NEXT PERSON to cross me will find an axe embedded in their head.

But you didn't want to know all that did you?

Never mind, Javine was quite good on the floor wasn't she?


19th March 2006

Anything you kendo, I can do better

No one else do that joke. Our solicitors are watching.

Anyway - The Games (it's Superstars - but with people you may or may not have heard of!) is much more exciting this year because of two things:

  • Philip Olivier isn't dominating the mens competition.
  • Kirsty Gallacher isn't dominating the female competition. She's doing the trackside interviews, in fact.

We were watching the heats for the kendo this afternoon on E4. It's just slapsies with big rattly sticks isn't it?

Sadly the afternoon heats were being hosted by Justin Lee Collins and Caroline Flack ("in training were you ever tempted to pretend they were lightsabres? I should be taking this more seriously shouldn't I?").

Let's take a "detailed" "look" at the runners and riders, in the order that I think them up:

  • Amanda Lamb - ultra-competitive property show host and the one-time face of Scottish Widows Amanda Lamb managed to wipeout before the second gate during Friday night's white water rafting, but acheived a points placing in the 70m hurdles and managed to accidentally get Michelle Gayle to fall off her bike during the bike sprint this evening. Will probably finish in fourth overall.
  • Bernie Nolan - old, but frankly pleased to be there. Good old Bernie Nolan! It's the gym floor tomorrow, we'll soon see if she's in the mood for dancing. Do you see? Will finish last.
  • Michelle Gayle - Very promising, dominating the white water rafting but hasn't been consistant throughout her events - third in the hurdles, didn't finish the cycling after accidentally running into the back of Amanda Lamb which looked like a nasty fall. An easy third overall at the end I think.
  • Shadow Chancellor for the Liberal Democrats Julia Goldsworthy MP - Quiet but determined - she stacked the white water rafting, an event she was confident to do well in given her rowing background. However, a second place in the hurdles and a come-from-behind victory in the cycling puts her in very good stead going into the rest of the week. Scored a The Games record in the cycling, actually.
  • Poor Javine Hylton - The slower of the two people to successfully finish the white water rafting course, she dominated proceedings in the hurdles and lost a hard fought battle with Julia Goldsworthy MP in the cycling. It's Hylton vs Goldsworthy all the way this week, clearly.
  • Adam Rick(e/i)tt(s) - Adam Cannotbebotheredtolookuphissurname has a massive disadvantage in that he's a stand in for Goldie and has had only two weeks worth of training rather than the standard three months. Despite this, he landed his first waterski jump on the live show on Friday earning him some points. He's really not built for weightlifting, but earnt a bonus point for getting a personal best. He finished last in the kendo today and will probably finish towards the bottom end of the placings all week - but he's a tryer, and he's doing a damn good job given his obvious disadvantage.
  • Peter Duncan - Good old Head of Scouts Peter Duncan. He was in the first pantomime I ever saw, you know. Anyway, he's been consistantly finishing high up the rankings and seems to be rather surprising the young folk, a piece of tactical brilliance in the weightlifting stole him a second place finish over Jones, and craftily breaking his personal best twice in that event sees him joint top of the leaderboard going into the vault competition tomorrow. We may laugh but he might just stick to that top spot.
  • JK out of JK and Joel - The real surprise package! Was probably put in as this year's "joke" contestant. Despite being the only one to completely stack the waterski jump on Friday, he's showed tenaciousness and determination by scoring well in the weightlifting and reaching the final of the kendo competition which he almost managed to steal a win from. Currently in fourth place, but in a competition this close he might just improve on that yet.
  • Jade Jones - Very strong performance in the waterski jump followed by a very lacklustre performance in the weightlifting which saw Duncan nick his second position from right out under his nose. Dominated the kendo, we reckon he'll probably do well in the valuting tomorrow also. The favourite to win, I'd have thought.
  • Marcel aka MC Plat'num - Ha ha, Marcel. Anyway, Mr Inconsistant has put in two middle-of-the-road performances whilst simultaneously dominating the weightlifting. Looking at the future events, we think he'll be battling for third place with JK at the end of the week.

So what's left?

For the girls, tomorrow is the gym floor (Gym Day is always one of the most entertaining), 50m swim on Tuesday, Curling on Wednesday (another always entertaining event), new evernt Archery on Thursday and finally the Hammer and 100m sprint final on Friday.

For the boys, tomorrow is the vault, Tuesday is diving (never less than entertaining those two) followed by speed skating then cycling and finally Javelin and 100m Sprint on final day Friday.

And then Saturday is Champion of Champions! Brilliant. Have we mentioned how much we really like The Games yet?

Take the Money etc.

Is meant to start tomorrow. I say meant, because my contestant is being rather slow. Do you ever feel like bashing your head against something sometimes? Still uit makes it more ANARCHIC and EXCITING for all involved, I imagine.

Buzz off!

Right, is anyone else having problems with their saved stuff in the Buzz Big Quiz? For some reason it's overwriting names with single letters and doesn't seem to be recording which questions we've seen very well. In fact (correct me if I'm wrong) it doens't list how many questions there are total. I hope seeing repeats so soon is to do with the save file being screwy and not because you can only play three or four games before you start seeing repeats - which isn't something we've experienced playing The Music Quiz.

However, we must confess to loving the all new cheapo Bontempi keyboard song renditions for the first round.


18th March 2006

The Games!

Look, sorry, we were forced into watching Tremors 4 this evening (better than you'd expect) and so have missed the first two days. But never fear! We're illegally downloading them and so tomorrow I'll give my "observations" for you.

Happy Hour update: Right, all the envelope openers for Take the Money or Don't Take the Money 2! have been contacted. The game has been pushed back to Monday to allow everyone to have a chance to get their predictions in. Good luck!

In the meantime, after looking forward to watching The Games, we, er missed it. Still, though.

In other news, this looks like it could be quite good fun.

17th March 2006

Mini Buzz! Big Quiz review

  • Jason Donovan is allowed to be a lot funnier. Which he is.
  • I don't think it actually "hangs together" quite as well as The Music Quiz does.
  • Personally speaking, I'm frankly useless with picture questions and the majority of the game involves... picture questions. Whatsmore, we're playing it on a massive telly and I'm straining to make out the pictures during the Pass the Bomb round. It'd have been nice if there was a bit more variety inherent in the question styles.
  • But you know, it's OK and you're likely to have fun with it. But personally speaking I think the Music one is slightly better.
  • We've yet to play a 5-8 player game, but when we do we'll let you know if it's significantly better.


16th March 2006

Are you a winner?

Well you are if you're Lindsey Tennant from Paisley in Scotland. You will be playing Take the Money or Don't Take the Money...2! next week.

Twenty-five others of you will be contacted about envelope holding duties. Don't feel bad if you're one of the unlucky ones who doesn't get a message - We had twice as many people as necessary. People who failed to get in include several Deal or No Deal players who have gone away with thousands of pounds between them - and yet one of our contestants who HAS made the cut has won a million dollars on US Millionaire. It's an interesting bunch to be sure - join us Sunday for the opening salvo!


15th March 2006

The podcast: we've bottled it

Sorry, it was never going to reach the high expectations you've come to expect from Bother's Bar over the last three years. Is it three years? (Goes and checks) no, it's only two years. Two years of rubbishness.

So I'm afraid there are just certain things you're just never going to get to hear.

Things like these:

  • The sound of some paper ripping, and that representing the fact that literally anything could happen in my show of indeterminable length, just as long as it was written down on the whiteboard in front of me.
  • Clips of the excellent Norwegian Eurovision song, and the hilarious Polish one. And comments passed on many of the other songs we had researched in twenty minutes.
  • You will never get to hear the hilarious sketch involving a friend of the Bar shouting this down the telephone. Golden banana indeed. It shall remain a mystery forever.
  • You won't get to hear the hilarious non-gameshow related joke with this punchline.
  • We were going to do a DVD style commentary on my appearance on The Weakest Link, (you know, from back in early 2001 when it was still new and exciting) which neccesitated the use of a four letter word which went against the Bother's Bar ethos for a frankly brilliant if Jimmy Carr-esque joke. Not anymore. It just isn't happening at all.
  • We had something really excellent planned. So excellent we commissioned Young Musician of the Year 2001 Timmy Halbert to compose two brilliant pieces of music for it. What were they for? You won't know. It's going. GOING. Going. Going. Going. Gon...
  • An euology as to why we've actually been rather unfair to Challenge of late, and that actually their Cilla Saturdays work very well because Blind Date was actually much better than I always thought it was when I was growing up, and that they're currently showing easily the best series of The Moment of Truth at the moment which was a really truly ace show apart from series three.
  • They should bring it back, really. But not with celebrities, thereby destroying the whole empathy thing you have with the families trying to provide for their own which is basically what made the show in the first place. Did you ever get a rush of blood to the head through excitement when they won or a deep sense of upsetting shock when they lost on Celebrities Under Pressure? I'd like to think not.
  • [Checks whiteboard] And loads of other stuff. Like the funny recurring joke of my phone going off, but never being able to take a call without dramatic music appearing in the background to make it more tension filled. It's better than it sounds, you probably have to "be there".
  • And you'll never get to hear the pilot episode of Bother's Bar: Over the Limit, an antidote to the lack of hard quizzes in the broadcast media, whereby people select from the optics (categories) and "drink shots" (answer questions) in an attempt to score enough "units" (points) to push them... Over The Limit! (21 for men, 14 for women).
  • And obviously it was going to finish in the cheesiest way possible i.e. me calling "time at the bar!"

I'm sorry punters. I've failed you. I've failed myself. Still, you were never actually that interested were you? You're just here because I throw around some cash occasionally for a bit of excitement, like on Sunday. That's what you're here for, isn't it?

Royal Television Society Daytime Programme of the Year Deal or No Deal

Deal or No Deal won the Royal Television Society's Daytime Programme of the Year award.

It is customary for shows that win this award to advertise this fact during all their break bumpers throughout the year. Therefore, Bother's Bar will now insist on referring to the show as Deal or No Deal: Royal Television Society Daytime Programme of the Year 2006. Until about a week's time, when it will seem like too much hassle.


One of the close associates of The Bar was in Cambridge town yesterday (where The Bar is situated. No we're not affiliated with the university) and could have sworn he saw top geek from Beauty and the Geek Ed out with a girl, possibly a girlfriend. How exciting! Should we do a Geekwatch feature? No I don't think I can be bothered. Although it might have made a good item for the podca... no.

Tell me why I don't like Mondays

Des Lynam doesn't like doing Saturday Countdown so Channel 4 are considering dropping it. So there we are.


14th March 2006

Beauty and the Geek

How are we meant to write about this knowing full well that the majority of the people likely to watch it on Channel 4 won't have watched it yet? Oh, well, highlight if you want a basic description.

Oh no! The wrong team won! No offense to the winners, of course.


13th March 2006

And the new host of Bullseye IS...

Dave Spikey off of Chain Letters.

Good call.

Do you want a shot at £200?

Get your skates on, the entry form for Take the Money or Don't Take the Money 2! will be going down on Thursday night, with a view to starting on Sunday night. You've got to be in in it to win it! Or something.

12th March 2006

Hey Americans!

What's going on that's so exciting Survivor is having a three week break?

And in other news: can anyone remember what the values were for Take the Money or Don't Take the Money 2? were? Because I've spent £2 on the envelopes and I'll be damned if I'm letting them go to waste, and I don't want to open them to get the bits of paper out. See? I genuinely don't know what's inside each one.


11th March 2006

This is still a really bad idea.

This afternoon, we're testing our microphones with a view to recording the exciting Bother's Bar Podcast next weekend, which if you're really lucky, will go out on Sunday.

I've currently got a big whiteboard with ideas and jokes written on it. But it's not too late to make your mark! If you have any ideas for items or questions for a Q and A type session sometime during the show (if they're about gameshows we'll probably be able to answer them. If not, who knows what hilarious comedy might happen?) then leave them in the comments or mail them to the usual address.


9th March 2006

Fear the Bard

No, not Shakespeare but rather moustached idiot Alexander Bard, Swedish pop God, who has entered a song for Europe with his band BWO.

You can watch their winning Melodifestivalen performance from their from their heat on the brilliant brilliant Popjustice site (you'll need to scroll down a bit).

It's not Sweden's song yet, there's another heat to come and then the grand final, but if you don't understand the danger this is going to cause Daz Sampson if it wins then you probably don't deserve Eurovision, in honesty.

In the meantime, why not buy some of his band's stuff and listen for yourselves? We recommend the Bodies Without Organs album Prototype unquestionably, and if you're anything like me, you'll never listen to the album all the way through because you'll have Sixteen Tons of Hardware and Son of a Gun on repeat play, amongst others. You'll want to look that up on your download service of choice.

You may remember Alcazar. If you only buy one Alcazar album, we reckon the second one is better and has funnier lyrics, but don't dismiss the original with the legendary Crying At The Discotheque, and a hilarious cover of The Human League's Don't You Want Me?

The band he's probably most famous for is Army of Lovers. But a cursory listen to some of the tracks from the best of suggests they were a bit too much like Boney M-with-synths for our liking. Perhaps it will be a grower.

Also: are you in telly? Get Tim Halbert to do your music for you because he's really talented.


7th March 2006

Bother's Bar's Balderdash and Piffle

Right, Wikipedia reckons Deal or No Deal was first shown in Australia in 2003. Now technically this is right - 2003 was when it was first shown in Australia. But seeing as it's a Dutch format, we want to know how far Miljoenenjacht predated it. As common sense dictates it should.

BUT! The waters are muddied somewhat. In doing some research into dates we came across this write up for a show called Miljoenenjacht from 2001, where 1000 contestants battle it out in a quiz until one person gets a crack at 10 million Guilders. Clearly, elements of this have been carried through to the show we know and love today where 500 people are whittled to one through a quiz hosted by Linda de Mol and sponsored by the National Postcode Lottery. What there isn't any mention of is any opening of cases, which suggests this was added to the format afterwards - the press release certainly makes it sound like a one-off. We'd link to it, but for some reason my connection is playing up this evening making searching and translating rather difficult. We'll try and bring it to you tomorrow.

What isn't difficult however is that this show seemed to begat a German version, Die Chances Deines Lebens, with a 10million DM top prize. Same sort of thing - 500 people whittled to one who plays a quiz to win lots of money.

So what we want to know is.. when did Deal or No Deal become Deal or No Deal?

He's out of breath? Don't worry, just hold him and look, he's fine!

Goldie has pulled out of The Games to be replaced by... Adam Ricketts!


5th March 2006

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

Do you read GSNN's We Love To Interrupt on a regular basis? We do, and we think it is a great idea.

But as ever, Bother's Bar strives to do something a bit different and so we're thinking of doing... a podcast! Or downloadable .mp3 at any rate. Nearer the time, we'll be asking for submissions like ideas for items, questions, that sort of thing and we'll see what we can "throw together".

Oh God, this is such a bad idea.


4th March 2006

Well done The Public!

Daz Sampson will represent the UK in the Eurovision in May! Brilliant. And if everyone else is going to field generic dance, something that stands out a bit more is actually quite canny.

The City Chix's song was probably the most-Eurovisiony, and we've a soft spot for Antony Costa as the song writing genius behind "Bubblin'" but no, correct decision on the night.

Nice to beat you, to beat you...

Where have we seen contestant Barry from The Amazing Race 9 before?

Oh come on, he does a bit.

In other news, what a decision you have tonight! Will it be Deal or No Deal's first foray into Primetimeville (we're expecting this many changes: some more chat) at 7:10, or will you be Making Your Mind Up and picking the UK's song for Europe? Actually you could probably do both provided you don't mind missing the first and last ten minutes of Deal. And don't forget to vote for Daz "Get Real With The Fever On The Dancefloor" Sampson!

Or perhaps you have another plan like going out or something. It's not up to me to tell you how to run your life.

Apparently Sequencegate has made The Daily Mirror this morning. If it definitely is, please say something so I can go out and buy a copy. Ta.


2nd March 2006

Glenn Hugill writes...

Thank you very much for saying out of respect for the crew you would allow a right of reply. I hope am not embarrassing myself that by that you meant, or at least included, me.

I would be very happy to tell you all I know about the shows affected by the patterns at the start of series two. In fact, I have been doing just that, pretty much daily, on the telephone with concerned viewers since the beginning of last month. It's the very least that I can do after the incredible support you have given to the show.

The problem affects the beginning of series two only and was spotted after three weeks of recording. It ends on screen next Wednesday - we recorded shows for the 22, 23, & 24th April yesterday to give you an idea of our schedule - so even though the pattern problem was solved weeks ago, it lives on in TV terms for six more agonising days. The adjudicators began using a new random number generator for series two ( based on Excel I believe). Of course, it wasn't apparent at the time but we can all see now that this software was flawed. The fifth and eighth show of series two ( Tx5 and Tx8 Ann and Andrew respectively) were completely identical. Same amounts in the same boxes. I very sorry to say that we didn't spot it when the show was recorded but it was spotted by viewers when when the show went out on air. By then we had recorded another fourty shows. We analysed these shows and discovered that there was another pair -Tx 15 and Tx27 (Jim and Paula) - and a triple - Tx 18, Tx 22 and Tx 40 (John, Daz and a show yet to air). Further analysis then proved that all shows were affected by as many as twelve different shifting predictable patterns. However, the games themselves played out completely normally as the problem was not in any way apparent to anyone until well after these game had been played and the software had been abandonded. The payout to contestants was very slightly higher than usual across the affected period but not by any significant amount. The adjudicators have used a manual drawing lots system to load the boxes since the beginning of February.

This was a genuine error over which the production had no control because it really was absolutely independent of us. Yes, it took some weeks before the problem was spotted but we just weren't expecting any important data to come out of the number/value correlation. Unfortunately we simply weren't running detailed checks on the position of the numbers as we expected any data produced to be irrelevant. All our data was about which person had the big or small numbers so there's fun stuff for Noel to play with - Black Widow etc- which numbers had the high or low values was expected to be meaningless.

I can't tell you guys what to think. But I hope you will see that no-one in their right mind would allow an obvious, detectable pattern to happen purposefully - especially in a game where we know contestants and fans alike quantify every single tiny detail. In some countries where Deal or No Deal is broadcast they openly tell the banker what’s in the boxes. If we wanted our banker was to know the values that is what we would have done. But we decided not to for the UK version. Either way works equally well for the format but we play the game with the banker in the dark.

The fact is this could have cost us millions in prize money if it had continued undetected because the simple fact is that we don't analyze the distribution of numbers and the contestants often do. This is incredibly embarrassing for us to admit but I hope at least you can see how clearly honest it is.

If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to send them to me.

Best wishes

Glenn Hugill

Thanks Glenn. In other news: The Amazing Race is on. Hurrah!

Edit: Glenn adds: "If there are any questions just direct them over to me and I'll be happy to handle them. I'm equally happy for people to call me on 0870 240 9012.

Only slightly less embarrassing than nearly breaking the banker is I just noticed that I misspelled forty in my email. Classic."

With six million customers a day coming to Bother's Bar, that's a very brave or foolhardy move to give a telephone number. Or perhaps both, I don't know. Still, more respect to you for it. If anyone has any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll pass them on.


1st March 2006

Come on Endemol, we know you're reading!

My iron exploded this morning, was that you too? Out of respect of some of the people on the production team, I'm offering you the right to reply and we'll print it up here. You do seem to have let down rather a lot of people after all. My e-mail is on the left.

In other news: Take the Money or Don't Take the Money 2! is "on hold" under the circumstances. Everyone who has entered thus far will be automatically entered into the next competition which will happen when I've thought of something amusing and interesting.