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
When I was a wee tyke of a lad, and gangs of miscreants yelled ‘egghead’ at me on the playground, the connotations of their cries were largely negative. If only, as I sat mopping up my tears with the sleeve of my second-hand, fraying jumper, I knew that by 2014, it would have become cool to be known as an Egghead.
Nowadays, it’s a hard earned title, held by only the creme de la creme of the quizzing world. Those unfamiliar with the show Eggheads should know that it’s a quiz show airing on BBC2 which sees a team of amateur quizzing wannabes trying to outsmart an expert panel in all things general knowledge for a cash prize. And, in coming episodes, following a very public but successful audition on spin off show, Revenge Of The Egghead which saw her pit her wits against the frustratingly endearing CJ de Mooi, Lisa Thiel makes her debut as the newest Egghead. She was gracious (and blackmailed) enough to give PauseliveAction an exclusive interview about her debut on the hit show. So without further ado, let’s crack ‘er open and see what’s beneath the shell of the latest Egghead… Continue reading
ITV 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
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 viewers, 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