I’m indebted to my friend and LAM regular Brian Pendreigh. Brian recently appeared on STV’s Postcode Challenge. When he wrote to me about it, and I said that this was not a show I was at all familiar with he emailed me the URL to find it on STV’s netplayer. You can check it out yourselves by following this link : -
Postcode Challenge apparently goes out on STV on Friday evenings at 8pm, and offers the prospect of a not-to-be-sniffed-at top prize of £25,000.The idea behind the show is that it’s a team quiz contested between 2 teams, made up from people all from the same postcode area – geddit ?! I didn’t see Brian’s show, so the one I watched had teams from Paisley and Ayr. This is certainly one way of getting around the problem of a team of ordinary MOPs ( members of the public ) getting trounced by a serious quiz team, although you can’t help wondering how closely the production team check that each team really does come from the same postcode. However I digress.
Once you take the adverts out of it the show isn’t much more than 20 minutes long, but I have to say that I rather enjoyed it. This is something of a throwback to a bygone era of TV team quizzes, and I mean that as a compliment rather than an insult. Introductions were thankfully as short as possible, and then it was on with the game. All the questions in the show were multiple choice, with three possible answers. In the first round a question would be asked of both teams, based on a survey of people in a particular postcode area. Granted that these questions had a little of the whiff of Family Fortunes about them. All players answer the question individually, selecting the correct answer. Whichever team has the greatest number of players selecting the correct answer then gets three straight bonus questions for points. The bonus questions are general knowledge. In the event of a tie, the one who pressed most quickly gets the bonuses. It doesn’t sound complicated when I write it down. Its even simpler when you watch it. Again , its not a criticism.
In round two each individual is asked a question in turn. They keep answering until they get one right, when the next person takes their turn. The round lasts 2 minutes, and each correct answer brings a point. In essence, it seems that you can do terribly in round 1, but as long as each member of your team is halfway decent you can actually overhaul quite a big lead during this round. It certainly happened on the show that I watched. The team with the least points was eliminated at the end of this round.
In the last round, then, the remaining team got to play for the money. Once again, multiple choice questions were asked, and each member had to answer individually. For the first question, only one team member needed to answer correctly. For the second, for a greater amount of money, two did. You get my drift. Teams could bail out at any stage, but a failure to complete a round meant ‘you leave with nothing’. On the show that I watched the team answered the first two correctly, but got greedy, and lost the lot on the third.
Well, maybe I’m going a little soft in my old age, but I have to say that I actually liked the show. Smarter people than me have observed that some times doing the right thing is simply a matter of avoiding doing the wrong thing, and I think that the show avoids some of the things I dislike about some other quiz shows. It doesn’t waste time droning on about the contestants. The show is obviously not meant to be a showcase for presenter Angus Purden’s personality – in fact going by the show I watched he doesn’t seem to have one, and again, that is not a criticsm. Well, not much of one. I wasn’t over-enamoured of the postcode questions, but there were very few of them. The other questions, well over the whole show there were probably about 40 give or take a couple, which isn’t a massive number, but its certainly respectable for a 25 minute show. Granted that they were pretty easy for the most part, but then this is a show for MOPs – it isn’t 15 to 1.Also nobody was expected to be nasty to anyone else - it really was just about answering questions correctly - and at the end of the day that's what a quiz show should be about. So thanks, Brian, I enjoyed the show, and will watch others while they are still on the STV player.