Wednesday, 27 August 2008

TV Quiz Watch - Total Recall - University Challenge

Total Recall Wednesday 27th August - Channel 4 5pm

This newcomer is Channel 4's new vehicle for Terry Wogan. Its billed as a quiz with a difference. Well, aren't they all, nowadays ? This is the gimmick. 4 individual contestants compete against each other in the first round. Terry asks 20 general knowledge questions. First one to buzz in gets to answer. Correct answer gets a point, incorrect loses a point. If the wrong answer is given then its thrown open once more, then that's it. The one with the lowest score at the end of round one is out.

The twist comes in round two. All the one answers to round one are on a board behind the contestants. They can't see them, but the audience can. In round two another 20 questions are asked. The answer are the same as round one, although the questions are different. Terry tells us that they are harder, but I don't think so. The main thing is that it does give the contestants a chance to buzz in and guess, and some of them do buzz in incredibly quickly and guess very well too. And some of them don't. At the end of this round the lowest scorer is ejected, and we are down to the last two.

Round three is much the same as round two , same answers, but different questions. Lower scorer is ejected. Then the last player gets a chance to play for the money. They will be given a series of clues to the twenty words on the board. They can elect to answer as many or as few as they like, but unless they go for most of them the money isn't that huge. If, for example, they try 13, the maximum they can win is £5000. If they answer 19 they get £50,000, and if they answer all 20 , they get £100,000. The clever thing is that they have been playing with these 20 words all game, so that should make the final a bit easier , shouldn't it ? You'd think so, but actually playing along at home I found it to be much harder than you'd think.

Could it catch on and be a success ? Who knows ? All I can say is that I enjoyed it. Terry Wogan is a very good and safe pair of hands. You know exactly what you're going to get with him. This is a quick moving, and quite exciting show. Keep it up !

I am delighted to say that the format produces a lot of guesses, one of which provides us with the Daftest answer of the week.

Daftest Answer of the week

Question : What was the nickname of PG Wodehouse ?

Answer : - Ginger ?

University Challenge Monday 25th August - London School of Economics v. University of Bath 8pm

I must come clean. I am an alumnus of Goldsmith's College, which the initiated will recognise as one of the colleges of the University of London, as indeed is the LSE, so I was a little biased for this show. As it was LSE won comfortably, and the best that Paxman could manage in his closing remarks to the University of Bath was "I'm sorry , but that's not a very good score !" Wonderful ! Where else would you get such honesty from a question master ?

On the Grapevine Word on the streets is that the next series of "Mastermind" begins on Friday 5th September. If its true I'm delighted. There's no quiz I play in on a Friday.

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