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Blog : Posts tagged with 'game show'

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The Knowledge

In which FP plots to go on the telly again


Regular readers of this site might be aware that, in the past year or so, I’ve appeared on telly a couple of times, showing off my inner geekiness. If you weren’t aware: specifically, I was a contestant on the 2009-10 series of Mastermind, parading my knowledge of French history (I won, hurrah!) and steam trains (lost, but not because of the trains).

It was all great fun and a grand couple of days out. Indeed, if you ever get the chance, I’d recommend going on either Mastermind, Countdown or Jeremy Kyle – they’re all filmed in studios alongside each other – because, if nothing else, the backstage food is very good* and it’s always nice to get pampered.**

Now, I’d never tried doing that sort of thing before, despite people saying “oh, you’re clever, you should enter [latest popular gameshow]”. And I don’t want to turn into one of those people who goes on every quiz show going, popping up every week somewhere across the TV schedules.*** But, even so, now the “you must not go on any other telly” bit of my Mastermind contract has (I think) expired, I’ve started casting an eye across the networks and thinking “maybe I could do that”.

I’m not sure that there’s much TV that I’m suited to, though. Definitely not that Channel 4 thing with Davina McCall, if it’s coming back, just because I don’t think I’m the sort of person who would get through their auditions. The more I look at the lists of game shows that are out there, the more I’m attracted to the ones where you don’t actually win anything material. Radio 4’s Brain Of Britain, for example – not TV but you get the point. I also quite fancy the thought of applying to Only Connect on BBC4, because I think I’m quite good at spotting links between things.**** The only problem is, that’s a team game; I don’t know anybody else who would want to do it (or even who watches it, apart from K), and I never know any of their music questions.

So – does anyone have any other cunning ideas? I will have to ponder it over, and see what I can enter. And, then, watch this space.

* Apart from their meringues, which were the worst meringues I’ve ever had – they had the texture of a stale bread roll.

** There were seeming armies of runners with nothing really to do other than be nice to nervous Mastermind contestants and their families. You couldn’t even try to get yourself a cup of water without a runner saying “oh, don’t get up, we’ll get that for you”.

*** Like the woman who beat me on Mastermind; at least, my mother said she’s spotted her on TV a few times before. I didn’t realise. Another of the contestants, too, was on A Question Of Genius not long ago.

**** If you don’t watch it: the aim is to spot connections between words or statements. A sample question: “12:00am, 1st January, 1970″ is one clue; “Newlyn” is another; the answer is “datum points”, because the former is the time datum for Unix-based operating systems, and the latter is the site of the altitude datum used by the Ordnance Survey. The full questions have 3 or 4 clues, but you get more points if you don’t use all of them.

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Asking for advice

In which we wonder what FP knows


Or, the perils of knowing a little on a lot of subjects.

Say, hypothetically, you were considering auditioning for a popular TV quiz show, confident in your general knowledge. However, the hypothetical quiz show in question requires you to also answer questions on a few specific topics – let’s call them, for the sake of argument, “Specialist Subjects”. What sort of things would you pick, and why would you pick them?

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Alien

In which we wonder if there are going to be UFOs on the telly


The cruel hoax TV series Space Cadets is due to finish tonight. The contestants have successfully been made to look like idiots; and sadly, no aliens have been caught on camera.

As nobody went into space, you might not expect aliens to be caught on camera. However, as it happens, a huge number of UFO enthusiasts do believe that aliens have visited the site of the Space Cadets set. Twenty-five years ago this month, in fact. The incident – which has become known as the Rendlesham Forest incident – is often described as a classic UFO sighting, by impeccable witnesses,* even though it’s more likely to have been a sighting of a lighthouse, rather than a UFO. I’m slightly disappointed that, as far as I noticed, a mention of it wasn’t slipped into the programme.** If nothing else, the Rendlesham Forest incident is a wonderful example of how eye-witness reports can change over time, and how rumours can be spread. And, of course, how some people will believe almost anything.

It’s a shame that no aliens – if there were aliens, which is rather unlikely – decided to come back for a 25th-anniversary visit just whilst a film crew was in the area. It’s also a shame that the Space Cadets contestants weren’t a bit more alert – and/or paranoid, of course. Personally, I’m hoping that at least one of them will go a bit mad when everything is revealed at the Live Finale. It really would be can’t-stop-watching TV.

Update: sadly, they didn’t. They all seemed, as you might expect, rather baffled and overcome.

* a group of USAF airmen on two successive nights.

** although, in last night’s show, I was quite pleased to notice a joke about Johnny Vaughan’s time in prison.

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Practically joking

In which the TV is cruel


Like, I imagine, many other people, I watched the first episode of the new Channel Four series Space Cadets with a slightly queasy feeling. If you’re foreign and haven’t heard about it – or if you’ve been in outer space, of course – it’s a show where former drug-dealer Johnny Vaughan* makes fun of the gullible and easily fooled, by persuading them they’re going to be Britain’s first reality-TV astronauts.

It’s a rather nasty hoax to pull on someone, even if they are a bit gullible. It’s only going to work – I mean, it’s only going to draw the audience in – if the contestants are so stupid that we all feel sorry for them; or are so nasty that we want them all to look like pillocks. At the moment that’s impossible to tell, because episode one – which was all about the audition and selection of the contestants – barely featured the actual contestants at all. Instead, most of the screen time was given over to the production stooges, and their efforts to look like genuine applicants.

I’m going to keep watching, even though I’m doubtful about the entire ethics of the thing. For one thing – like nearly all “reality tv” game shows – the first episode looked as if it will be completely unrepresentative of the series. For another, I’m going to be rooting for the contestants to see through the hoax – even if that does mean they won’t win any of the prize money.

* Referring to him as the former drug-dealer Johnny Vaughan is a rather mean and childish thing to do; but then, Space Cadets is a rather mean and childish show.

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