27 July 2009

Quiz night

Monday night is quiz night for the BBC, radio and television. After Eggheads at 6, there was the first programme of a new quiz, Knowitalls. A weird format, which I don't think I like. Two teams have to parade their knowledge of specialist subjects in front of a third panel of experts, who give them points, on what seems to be a largely subjective basis. So, someone had to talk about the Battle of Hastings. They got points for mentioning the Bayeux tapestry, because it was on the secret list, but also got points for other facts that their expert found interesting. Also got points in the last second for saying 'the Conqueror' but had not got them when simply saying William I. Apart from the subjectivity of the scoring, the big problem with the concept seems to be the limited opportunities for joining in at home. In one round, contestants have to produce a 'killer fact' about a given subject. This about electricity was quite rightly given nothing: electricity can be produced by magnetism, just as magnetism can produce electricity. The panel members are given hilarious things to say, seemingly written by the people who write the gags for the Strictly Come Dancing panel. Eg, after a round on Darwin, someone (I'll name names, it was Gyles Brandreth) quipped "Were those answers fit for purpose?" There also seems to be a studio audience. Poor sods.

Then on Radio 7, a repeat of Who Goes There? an understandably forgotten offering from Radio 4's 6:30 slot. Hosted by Martin Young - who I've a feeling I was at school with - it makes Quote Unquote look effortlessly witty and humble. And it features Fred Housego. I used to sympathise with him: the patronising he had to endure when he dared to win Mastermind would have unhinged anyone - but he soon became a caricature of the can't-shut-him-up cabbie.

Now University Challenge, with Clare Cambridge v Jesus Oxford. Clare's a lovely college, so I'm supporting them (and they're losing, because they are hopeless but quite sweet). Which will be followed by the best quiz on TV, Only Connect. Have I mentioned I was on it once? We were that close to getting through to the second round (where we'd have been hammered, but still).

1 comment :

Brian said...

Actually, it probably isn't a studio audience on Knowitalls - just a tape of people applauding between sections of the show. I thought the BBC didn't do that kind of thing these days. Anyway, you can tell it's not a live audience because no-one laughs at the jokes. Oh, hang on ...