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24 Hour Quiz

It's a quiz! It's a reality show! It's a quiz AND a reality show! It's 24 Hour Quiz!

Now I'll be honest with you. When I first got wind of a format that was going to involve people being quizzed 24 hours a day I got quite excited. I think there's mileage in enduroquizzing, where winning would be as much to do with willpower and physical ability as it would with knowing things. Whatsmore, the idea was that whilst you were answering questions in a house you were always earning cash but there were people outside fighting to get in. The best get to come back the next day and do it all over again.Surely this was going to be the best format ever?

So if this is the best format ever, how come it's not actually a 24 hour quiz because they get to sleep for six hours every night? If this is the best format ever, how come 98% of the 75,000+ questions commissioned for the series were pitched at Millionaire's £300 level? If this is the best format ever, how come when a more difficult question comes up the "correct" answer isn't even the correct answer?[1] Oh hang on though, this clearly is the best format ever because the red and yellow colours of the title sequence reverse after 5PM and, you know, Matt Brown who hosts the live Happy Hour show is alright. So that's alright then.

This said however, if this is the best format ever, why have they given the hosting job of the main show (Eastenders' actor Shaun Williamson) to the most inept autocue reader known to man? He's an actor for goodness sake, make him learn some lines. If this is the best format ever, why does it insist on picking potential contestants that are either a) chavs or b) young beautiful media types, neither of which are likely to watch the show at any rate? If this is the best format ever, why is (or rather was) one of the elimination rounds "whoever makes the last mistake loses!" If this was the best format ever, why did you gradually drop the prizemoney as the series progressed? If this was the best format ever, why were your internet and text message games ridiculously expensive for the potential prize (of a tenner)?

Clearly then we're encountering some sort of paradox. It's then when something hit me. It's clearly not the best format ever. Or alternatively it's a good idea done very badly.

Basically, three people in a specially made "Quiz Pod" answer questions day in, day out at arate of about one every thirty seconds. During normal quizzing, each question is worth a whopping one pound. Occasionally (usually when someone's nipped off to the lav) a bonus question worth up to £100 would be thrown up. Each day, through a special quizzing session or a sudden death quiz contest on the 5:15 live show, the worst performing "Quizmate" (although it would have been much better if they were called "Pod Bods", obviously) would be wheedled out and they would have to face a challenger who wants their place in the pod (The place to be, let's not forget).

The challenger would be whittled down from 14 people who had already been whittled down during the morning's audition process (to get an audition you had to text "FAME" to a certain telephone number. Hmm.). They'd pair off and answer a question. If one got it right they'd be through to the afternoon final. If they both got it right or wrong, the Quizmates would have to decide which of the two went through. The seven "winners" came back in the afternoon show where they'd be whittled down to one. They'd get to play the weakest link in the exciting Pod Pass Finale. There are five cards. One will make the machine turn an exciting shade of green, the other four an embarassing shade of red. By answering some questions they could get rid of fake passes (tossed to the ground with the tremendous acting power that only Barry from Eastenders could do and us mere mortals could only dream of.) if the challenger loses than the weakest QM gets to go back for the day, if the Challenger wins then it's 'Thanks! Now bugger off" to the loser.

So as I've decided, it's a bit weak as a quiz. But let us not be fooled. It's a quiz. It's a reality show. It's a quiality show (but not, you understand, a quality show. Ha ha!). Does it stand up as a reality show?

Well no it doesn't. On the whole, if you put random people together or a few days at a time (and it tends to be only a few days at a time) they will usually attempt to get on with each other. After all, nobody is really against each other as usually they can all take questions at the same time. This hasn't stopped Endemol from attempting to create conflict by, for example, tempting people to take a prize (worth about £150!) in return for making someone else sit out of quizzing for five minutes. Or asking the best quizzer over a certain period to ask someone else to do the washing up.

The main "reality" bit, if you will, is the nightly Happy Hour where ex-Nickelodeon host Matt Brown asks the contestants how they are doing as well as making someone else sit out the big money to be earnt. Tellingly, as the ratings dwindled, this live bit got more and more salacious (helpfully the contestants were young, sexy and plied with cocktails which helped). So it was rubbish but quite endearingly so.

Still, you knew the show had made it when a) people refer to it as THE 24 Hour Quiz, b) a long running contestant gets kicked out for shocking behaviour (being a bit tired and kicking something in the middle of the night from what I gather) and c) there's an exciting celebrity week (featuring not only Jeremy Beadle but also Cheryl Baker and Jacki Degg!!!).

In summary then: urgh. I've a horrible feeling that depite nobody watching it and it being critically panned, it will come back for another series. For some reason.

[1] "Who was the first person to give away £1m on television?" "Correct" answer: Chris Tarrant. Correct answer: It was Chris Evans on TFI Friday ACTually. Who wasn't even an option.