Category Archives: Game Shows

Beware The Love Trap

by Maggie Gordon-Walker

I promised my sons I wouldn’t watch Love Island again. I got embroiled in one season (the ‘Jack and Dani’ one, who acquired the moniker ‘Jani’, I believe). I was ‘addicted’, my offspring claimed derisively, even though I joined midway through. With nightly instalments, there were so many hours to fill you could barely tell what was recap and what new. Answer: Nothing new. Just sunkissed/burned flesh and a collection of unwelcome words to the lexicon.

Anyway, that was then, this is now. Bring on The Love Trap. Not as wholesome as the Von Trapps. But perhaps not ‘the most immoral show on TV’, which I heard it described as somewhere. Seriously…?! Have these people not trawled through the higher numbers of the telly options? They might get a surprise.

The Love Trap is only on once a week, which is a big bonus. Large house, a ‘mansion’ no less, filled with girls on the hunt to find love and one frightened looking chap. So, who are the traps in the love shack? Well, that’s what our handsome hunk has to determine. The traps are already in relationships and only there to get £20k, which is a tidy amount, but not enough to put your future marital harmony on the line for, surely. If he gets it right, presumably they waltz off into the sunset together at the end of the show. What happens if he’s wrong…? A girl might want to have and eat said cake, ditching old boyfriend in the blink of an eye and getting cash and marry, so to speak.

David is the muscled hunk in question. He’s a personal trainer, so does have a ‘lorra lorra’ muscles, as the late Cilla might have opined. He seems nice enough, if slightly befuddled by the attention. He was previously on ‘Too Hot to Handle’, but that liaison went wrong. Rather than sticking to Tinder like the rest of us, here he is again, suffering in a luxury mansion with damsels pouring themselves all over him, in and out of hot tubs, supping on bubbly. I’ve changed my mind. This is immoral. He’s had his turn, goddamit.

His boudoir, from whence he verily does his push-ups, has a four-poster bed. The women are all bundled together into one smallish room, sharing beds. You’re telling me the mansion doesn’t have more rooms? Of COURSE it does. We know the bed-sharing is meant to titillate.

The room none of them want to visit is the sinister lower chamber, with faux Grecian décor. Because what do love traps deserve? A trap door, of course. The ejected female exits foot-first into an unseen cellar, only to pop up on a video shortly after to declare if they’re a ‘match or a trap’ in tones as awkward as Kirstie Allsopp declaring ‘Love it or List it’. This is, in effect, what David has just done: Didn’t want this one, let’s pop it on Ebay.

We have no proof the women survive the drop; that video could have been filmed beforehand. After Squid Game, we all see death and destruction round every corner. It would be most excellent if their departure was accompanied by bloodcurdling screams and the sound of a thousand piranhas munching. Maybe if it was on Channel 5…

Poor David, with all this lusciousness to choose from, needed assistance from old chum Alessandra. She entered as mole, putting out feelers to elicit who had genuine feelings as the rivals trowelled on their warpaint in the dressing room. Some of those make-up kits are bigger than the ladies themselves.

Previously new arrival Suzel declared almost immediately that Alessandra was a plant, which seems a bit rich as she’d only been there a day herself and shortly after entering had eaten the chocolate-dipped strawberry David had offered as if it was the last food on Earth. She does bear a passing resemblance to a young Ivanka Trump though, which tells you all you need to know. The suspicion was mutual, as Suzel found herself once more in the trap door room.

Disappointingly, it was Saran who was surprisingly ejected. A great shame, as she had a nice throaty laugh and looked like you could go out for a quick pint together, without her needing to spend an hour putting on eyelashes that are longer than the average colon. Perhaps the power is in the lashes, like Samson…

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From Corrie and Family Guy to The Chase and Christopher Jefferies: What Our Man has been watching this week

soaps-eastenders-4973-06While I have been nursing my throbbing, swollen, pus filled tonsils back to health during my annual Winter blogging hiatus, I have characteristically managed to keep up with what I normally would have written about, had the lovely germs from Jack Frost allowed me to do so.

Rather than spam the site with a ridiculous amount of articles at once, therefore, I am taking the concise and genius steps of merging my thoughts together in one post so that it’s easier for those of you who tend to skip my articles (I know who you are!).

From glittery costumes  and a very pregnant and non drugged up Kylie on The Chase to Homer Simpson beating up Peter Griffin, my viewing pains and pleasures have been as varied as the voices Emmerdale’s Belle Dingle is currently hearing. So let’s press on folks…the quicker I start, the quicker this will be over for all of us.  Continue reading

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Filed under Comedy, Coronation Street, Documentaries, Drama, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Game Shows, The Chase

Keep It In The Family: Sunday silliness

embargoed_keep_it_in_the_family_tx01_02What do you get if you mix Paddy from Emmerdale, Colin Firth and spotted dick, throw in a bit of Miley Cyrus, combine a group of dirty minded pensioners and add a prize of a year’s supply of baked beans? No, this isn’t the start of one of my world renowned hilarious jokes but a fair enough summary of Bradley Walsh’s new Sunday night show, Keep It In The Family.

With the terminally declining and infuriating mammoth-turned-baby-elephant contest that is The X Factor and the thoroughly enjoyable but sleepy Downton Abbey, ITV’s schedule needed something lively and exciting to chase off the impending Monday blues and Keep It In The Family does a good job of fitting the bill. Admittedly, I spent the first ten minutes of the show sitting with my mouth agape in horror and my brain plaguing me with the question: ‘What the hell are you feeding me with?’ There is simply no getting away from the undeniable fact that Keep it In The Family is a hamfest of epic proportions; but once you get your head around it and realise that it is supposed to be that way, you can go on to embrace the cheesiness of the show and really enjoy it.

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The Chase: Interview with contestant Charlie Gardner

Charlie and BradleyIn my long running quest to expose every intimate avenue of ITV’s quizzing daytime hit The Chase, I’ve heard from two of its titans: the fearsome ‘Governess’ Anne Hegerty (see HERE) and the monstrous ‘Beast’ aka Mark Labbett (see HERE)

But what is it like to come up against a quizzing genius on a show watched by millions? I was lucky enough to spend some time chatting to one of the contestants from the most recently televised episode of the show in which comedian Paul Sinha, affectionately known as ‘The Sinnerman’ took down a team vying for £8000 with only five seconds remaining.

It was a close call, and Charlie Gardner, who had the unenviable ‘Seat 4’ position, has endured hell since her crushing defeat. “It’s been bleak. I’ve hardly eaten anything but spaghetti since,” she told me through hysterical sobs. “And it’s all down to Paul Sinha!”   Continue reading


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Celebrity Squares: Fair and square

Celebrity_SquaresITV debuted a reboot of classic gameshow Celebrity Squares last night, in which two contestants squared up (let’s see how many of these puns I can get in) to each other to win cash, by deciding whether a selection of celebrities (admittedly in some cases this term is used loosely) were answering questions correctly.

The show is lively, jazzy, bright and doesn’t take itself too seriously at all, but managed to achieve the difficult feat of falling into that hard to reach category between hammy family show and a genuinely witty comedy effort. The token gameshow aspects are there, with a lot of lighting, some strained scripted gags and a few catchphrases thrown in, and it is this side of the show which would make it a better addition to a weekend evening lineup than a Wednesday night.

That said, the show contained some genuinely funny material that allowed it to exceed the format of a generic (and cringeworthy) gameshow. The presenter , Warwick Davis, carries the show like a pro, with an endearing energy that is not too much, and some decent banter with his guests. Having to control  nine celebrities fighting for airtime, whilst looking after two contestants and an audience can be no easy feat but the show is smooth and entertaining in the lightest possible way.   Continue reading

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Only Connect: Exclusive interview with question setter Jack Waley-Cohen

Many of my extensive, shuddering fanbase will have an inkling or two that I have a mild fascination with trivia and, therefore, quiz shows. This evening sees the welcome return of BBC4 hit Only Connect, in its snug new home on BBC2.

With 9 series under its belt already, the show is moving to a new home where it can be discovered by a whole host of new Victoriaviewers, eager to be bamboozled by its notorious difficulty. For those of you who have yet to come across it, Only Connect is a show in which teams participate in a trivia contest and work together to combine a set of seemingly unrelated clues together to come up with what is often an obscure, but always intelligent, link.

As series ten gets underway under the expert eye of presenter of Victoria Coren (incidentally one of my favourite guest panellists from Have I Got News For You) on BBC 2 at 8:30pm, I got the chance to chat to one of the senior question setters of the show, Jack Waley-Cohen. Jack, who takes quizzing all over the country with the successful QuizQuizQuiz company, has penned many of the brain-taxing conundrums on Only Connect since Series 9, and tells me how a fiendishly difficult and/or intriguing set of clues are developed from the birth of simple ideas.    Continue reading

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The Chase Celebrity Special: Cock shots, beavers and Beasts

305980-the-chase-3008Saturday nights have felt bare without it. A nation has waited with bated breath. Star studded, tense and with so much at stake, an ITV titan roared back onto our screens this weekend. No, not The X Factor (is that some kind of algebra contest?) but a brand new spanking series of The Celebrity Chase.

As PauseLiveAction interviewee Mark Labbett swaggered across the stage, complete with a brand new dickie bow tie to make him look even more the part of a hammy Bond villain, four personalities from the world of celebrity were on hand in an attempt to dethrone him – which is, physically and mentally, no easy feat.

This week saw former This Morning host and novelist Fern Britton, cricket champ Matthew Hoggard, lingerie entrepreneur Michelle Mone OBE and Bob The Builder himself (although we preferred him in Waterloo Road), Neil Morrissey team up.

The biggest challenge of the evening came for the ever-entertaining presenter, Bradley Walsh, renowned as he is for corpsing at questions. The Chase question setters have a whale of a time trying to catch him out and made a brazen attempt to knock him off guard by asking which game involved a cock shot and a beaver. Now, had there not been options, I would have been shouting all sorts at my television which would have given a dark insight into my private life, but thankfully it became obvious that the answer was backgammon. (One of the options was Twister… although what a game of Twister that would be). Bradley held on so well. That is until The Beast opted for the answer, ‘Ker-Plunk.’   Continue reading


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The Chase: An exciting day at the office

We review a lot of thrilling television at PauseLiveAction. Game Of Thrones cannot end an episode these days without killing off a main character as brutally as possible and  Waterloo Road has been held atshaun gunpoint, burnt down and bulldosed in as many years. Casualty remains the most eventful hospital in the world whereas Coronation Street recently was not content with having Tina McIntyre fall off of a balcony; they had to show her getting her head caved in with an iron pole for good measure.

And yet all of these exciting television moments may well have been trumped tonight by a humble teatime quiz show. The reason it’s foolish to miss an episode of The Chase isn’t necessarily because every episode promises a rollercoaster ride or a Fanny Chmelar moment but that you run the risk of missing the episode where the contestants win big.   Continue reading


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Revenge Of The Egghead: A poor platform of pretension

cj de mooiIf ever there was an egghead I’d like to crack with a teaspoon, then it would be that of the insufferably pompous C J de Mooi. Famed for his place on the BBC 2 Egghead panel and his subsequent failure to ‘crack’ the acting world, his apparent love to hate persona has won him his own spin off which began this week.

Simply returning CJ to our screens should be considered revenge enough, but the setup of the show goes a little further. In a brand new premise to television, a selection of everyday folk come up against a quizzing expert in order to win a sum of money. Hand picked from the gutters of obscure idiocy by producers eager to show what CJ is made of, the five hopeless contestants were merely pawns in a platform to elevate CJ to panto villain status, a role he plays a little too convincingly to be entertaining.

The contestants answer general knowledge questions and, when they give a wrong answer (believe me, so far this is far, far more common than when they get a correct one) they are forced to do the walk of shame to a podium where CJ fires one his own (or his PA’s anyway) crafted questions. Get this wrong, and they lose a life.   Continue reading


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The Chase: A winning formula

The ChaseThose who follow my various musings on different platforms will no doubt have picked up on the subtle hints that I leave expressing my enjoyment of ITV’s hit quiz show ‘The Chase’

Whilst I am a self confessed trivia and quizzing nut, I rarely invest any time in television shows based around general knowledge as a successful formula is very difficult to hit and, more often than not, represents the hobby of quizzing as boring and tedious. For a quizzing show to work, it has to attract the casual viewer; those with a non specific interest in the idea of quizzing as there are simply insufficient quiz fanatics in the world to generate ratings which a mainstream television show requires in order to be fruitful. Finally, The Chase came along and delivered the ideal teatime quiz experience.

The premise of the show is refreshingly simple. A mix of four people from varying backgrounds and levels of quirkiness team up to attempt to overthrow a ruthless quiz and trivia expert. They answer questions on topics varying from the height of film stars, to the musings of philosophers and from little known facts about the greatest works of fiction to the achievements of skiers with unfortunate names.

Building up a cash prize based on the contestant’s levels of bravery and notions of good teamplay, those who survive the original battle with The Chaser, then combine their knowledge (or lack of) to try and outrun them once more and take the money home.

I have often heard a casual viewer who has seen the odd episode here and there bemoan the imbalance of knowledge when comparing the Chaser and the contestant, complaining that ‘nobody ever wins’

Those who invest the time in the show, however, will know that the beauty of the Chase is that absolutely anything can happen. With a contestant victory at least once in a week, some of the best teams are conquered by the Chaser whereas some of the underdogs you’d never imagine could beat the knowledge of a trivia genius leave the show a few thousand pounds richer.

What makes the show so unpredictable is that the contestants are not up against a formulaic system or a computer but their victory depends largely on the performance of a human being who, whilst having an impressive bank of knowledge, is as fallible as the rest of us and just as prone to slip ups, bad days and sheer bloopers. (Who can forget Paul Sinha, the registered GP, getting his bones mixed up resulting in a tidy tune of £100,000 being won on a celebrity edition of the show?)   Continue reading


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