Will these three new quizzes win over the viewers?
Unbeatable (BBC1) is a misnomer despite the best efforts of Jason Manford to breathe life into a very dull format. The show suffers from ‘have technology, will use it’ syndrome. The idea is, in itself, simple enough: four contestants play individually and against each other to choose the ‘unbeatable’ answer from a choice of six e.g. list of six rivers including the Thames: question which is the longest in the UK.
Having chosen (guessed, in most cases) their answer, the computer graphics, aided and abetted by Manford, kick in. The viewer is then required to sit and watch while, in Robot Wars style, a visual representation of the alternative answers smash into each other until the last man’s standing or not.
The problem is that if the viewer knows the answer they still have to sit through the graphics sequences until the answer is revealed on air, which can be somewhat tedious. Jason Manford holds the show together, which in less (not fewer, Twitter joke) capable hands would make the 45 minutes pass even more slowly.
Giving contestants the answer to the questions has proven popular in the second stages of such shows as Tipping Point and The Chase where a choice of three suffices. So we come to C4’s The Answer Trap, a quiz enthusiastically hosted by Anita Rani. This hour long show, up against ITV’s established but dwindling, Tenable, requires contestants to select and place correct answers into two categories. Some of the answers are incorrect and designed to entice the contestant to place them incorrectly into one of the categories thus falling into the Answer Trap. Gedit?
All would be well except that if the answer the contestant chooses falls into a trap, we have either mathematician and author, Bobby Seagull or talented artist Frank Paul, both expert quizzers who bait the snares, explaining, in too much detail, why it was a trap. Totally unnecessary when the host could have given a short rationale. Answer Trap would be every bit as watchable, if not more so, without the disruptive intervention of the two ‘brainiacs’ but then it all helps to fill an hour of what could, and should, be a faster paced 30 minute show.
Another show that would be better at 30 minutes duration is Tom Allen’s new Quizness. In the first episode our affable host spent 7 minutes on the introduction to the show and the contestants before getting into a series of very silly question rounds.
Tom Allen is a superb stand-up comedian and raconteur whose full personality shines in this infantile quiz show. Of course many viewers will love the childish nature of the rounds, more suitable to Crackerjack than an adult peak-time quiz show. But then this really isn’t a quiz show. It’s an entertainment format masquerading as a quiz show.
The first round entitled ‘Subbly Jubbly’ sets the tone. Contestants are required to answer questions but substitute any words in the answer beginning with D, M or W with the words Dibble, Mibble and Wibble. Thus A Midsummer Night’s Dream becomes A Mibble Night’s Dibble. Hilarious? I think not.
The second round takes the contestants back to play school where they answer questions with one or two word answers but have to string the answers together to form a sentence. Last night the answers when strung together formed “I need a poo oh too late” Really? Adult entertainment?
Whilst not going as far as ridiculing the contestants the format does rather make them the butt of the humour however one contestant had the last laugh walking away with the £25,000 top prize. With 5 more episodes to come, that probably won’t happen again.
All in all, it is unlikely that any of the three will have the longevity of daytime quizzes Tipping Point and The Chase . However with Adil Ray set to return with Lingo along with, hopefully, Omid Djalili’s Winning Combination, afternoon viewers should be well satisfied.