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In It To Win It

When this show first made it to air a few years ago it annoyed us intensely. It's still on, it hasn't really changed very much, but we've found we've warmed to it a bit more. In fact we don't really have much of a problem with the game itself, it's more the presentation side that annoyed us from the beginning I think.

The game is very simple. Five people sit on Contestant's Row. Each contestant is assigned a colour, and a bingo machine filled with coloured balls stands next to the contestants. A colour is picked, and that contestant gets to sit on Winner's Row, and if they're still there at the end of the game they could win a lot of cash. Hurrah!

In Winner's Row, the contestant has to answer multiple choice questions (three options). If they get the question correct then £5,000 is added to the prize fund.

However, if they get the question wrong they must leave Winner's Row and go and sit in the Red Area, a kind of bar set up in the middle of the studio. This is bad news for them but good news for the other contestants as one of them will be picked to replace our loser. At the end of each "round" (when everyone in Winner's Row has been asked a question), the people in the Red Area are given the chance to go back to Winners Row. They're given a question without multiple choices, and if they're more than one person in the Red Area then they can confer to come up with a team answer. If it's correct then everyone in the Red Area goes back to Winner's Row. If it's wrong then they have to go back to Contestant's Row and hope they get selected again.

As you can see, every time someone on Winner's Row gets a question wrong and the people in the red area get the question right, more people are added to Winner's Row. When there are two or more people in Winners Row, questions are asked individually down the line in turn. If more than one person gets a question wrong in any particular "round", they all go to the Red Area but only one person can cross from Contestant's Row to Winner's Row at the end of that "round".

After twenty questions a klaxon goes to mark the end of the game. Anybody on Contestant's Row or the Red Area has to leave for they are losers. Everyone on Winners Row ("in the right place at the right time") has to face one more question. If it's correct, they win an equal share of the prize fund with everybody else on Winners Row who gets their question correct. If they get it wrong then it's sorry and goodbye.

With Dale Winton.

We have to get this out of our system now - there is no way that that theme tune, a dark, brooding electrogoth thing is correct for the show. I'm not expecting light and bouncy, but this is too far the other way for what is a fairly entertaining and fairly lighthearted (big money) quiz hosted by Dale Winton.

Actually let's talk about Dale. He's a good host but it does apear he's trying to be just a little bit harder and edgier for this which would be fine except that it's Dale Winton. Shades of Millionaire at the end of each question as well when he asks the contestant whether he should "take that as your answer?".

Obviously just over twenty questions in a 45 minute show (let's call it 35 minutes actually, discounting the lottery draws) means it's hardly going to be a quickfire quiz. That's because it seems the producers have asked the contestants to work through their answers out loud for one minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Whilst I could possibly respect this if they were tough questions (in truth they're of fairly moderate difficulty with the occasional stinker thrown in for good measure), to watch a contestant work their way through (exaggerated example here) "What is the capital of France: a) Paris, b) London, c) Germany" with "well, I've been to London and it's very nice but that's the capital of England so I don't think it's that. Germany isn't actually a capital city as it's a country. So even though I've only been there twice, I think the correct answer is Paris." "You seem quite confident. Am I to take that as your answer?" "Yes Dale." "OK, I really hope you are right. Is she? YES!" just seems so incredibly exaggerated and false that it puts us off ever so slightly.

The contestant background chats are integrated into the show more pleasingly these days. When the show first began as a contestant was walking across the studio to Winners Row, a clip would play of them sitting in the dressing room talking about themselves and what they'd do with the money. Dale now does a quick chat when they're over there, bringing the player's friends and family who are neatly positioned in a gallery overlooking the studio towards the audience into play.

In It To Win It. It's OK.

Interesting fact: The show is recorded with inserts for the lottery draws added live. For the first series, much of their audience were recruited from people who had turned up to see the second series of I'm Alan Partridge being filmed but had to be turned away because the seats were full.