What 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.
We love a quiz show here in Britain. Whether it’s through our unending thirst for knowledge, our competitive desperation to out-know everyone else or just to pass an hour at bedtime (my marriage has never been more on fire than when the Mrs and I are tackling a trivia challenge or an arrow-word under the duvet), the thrill of answering general knowledge questions correctly gives us a little bit of a buzz.
The best place to compete in quizzes for the vast majority of the UK’s population is from the non judgemental comfort of our own living room armchairs. We pour scorn on the contestants on the various quiz shows who don’t know that the chemical symbol for Potassium isn’t as easy as it seems, who can’t tell the Kardashian sisters apart or worse, go for a lower offer on The Chase. Of course, we could do better every single time; ‘where do they get these people?’ we ask ourselves incredulously as we sip on our Ovaltine and tut at John Smith missing out on a perfectly easy Pointless answer.
Of course, for the contestants themselves, as highlighted in our interview with The Chase contestant Charlie Gardner, it’s a lot more tricky than it looks. But for us viewers, quiz shows are a thrilling mix of education, entertainment and competition that are a staple of our television schedules. With so many popular formats on our screen, our friends at Quiz Britain, a popular site which draws together everything remotely quizzing related, are running a poll to find out what our favourite quiz show of all time is. I spoke to Ian Woolley, the ‘Mastermind’ (see what I did there?) behind Quiz Britain, to find out more… Continue reading
In 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
Saturday 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
Slid back into its slot for one last time after an absence of several weeks, the momentum had been somewhat lost since the dramatic events of the previous Law and Order episode, in which Wes was killed and DS Ronnie Brooks faced a struggle coming to terms with events.
In this episode (which has now been confirmed as the last, as Bradley Walsh is leaving the role), the force faced a particularly challenging case of a stabbing committed by a fifteen year old caught up in the dark world of street gangs.
Various mishaps, including insufficient forensic evidence and a particularly rottweiler duty solicitor, led to the prime suspect being released without charge twice, an injustice which began to affect Ronnie significantly given the lads’ constant taunts of him. As events came to a head and a gang of youths ended up being searched for knives, Ronnie claimed that the suspect made a gloating confession about the murder. We did not see this happen, but we did not have to as no viewer doubted Ronnie’s honesty. This is a character who has developed and led eight series of this drama and there was never any questions with the audience over who was telling the truth. Continue reading
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 at 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
Nestled inconspicuously in the midweek 9pm slot, Law and Order UK is one of TV’s constants. Already eight seasons in, it’s a subtle staple of the schedules that rarely fails to deliver on all fronts. The format is quick and snappy, derived from a USA counterpart and, at times, the fast paced stories can seem rushed and contrived. However, the knowledge that a resolution to the mystery will become clear within the hour timeslot and we will see the plot unfold from the crime to the verdict and often beyond, is comforting.
Law and Order UK does not pretend to be anything other than an hour of entertaining and easy to follow drama. There is no pretension here; a crime is committed, every character we meet will undoubtedly have played some vital part in the story (there is simply no time for many red herrings) and the police are a little bit too sharp in situations where the resolution can stretch the imagination. It doesn’t matter though; take Law and Order UK for what it is, and the hour flies by.
It is a little idealistic, usually painting the police and the prosecution team as heroic mavericks desperate only for the truth come out. Similarly, defence lawyers are painted as snarling and sneaky villains, searching for a loophole to get their crook off the hook. It’s a premise that works so long as you aren’t looking for a documentary. Continue reading