Yes, or should I say, where have all the new quiz shows disappeared to ? Here we are, only just a few weeks away from the end of the year, and in all honesty there has been only one new TV quiz show this year which I can think of. More about that one later .
Take last year for instance. Nominees for the best new quiz show of the year 2009 were, if I recall correctly, “A Question of Genius “ , “Divided”, “The Chase”, “The Fuse”, “Guesstimation”, “Knowitalls” and “Pointless”. Not nominated, yet still flaring briefly into life on Sky was “Sell Me The Answer”. Even if we say that 2009 was perhaps an exceptional year for the quantity of new quiz shows, if we look back to 2008 we can see that “Perfect Recall” , “Battle of the Brains”, “Sports Mastermind”, “Are You An Egghead” and, yes, “Only Connect” all began that year.
So, what on Earth has gone wrong ? I’m not sure. Partly I’d guess its because some of those that have come along in the past couple of years have been successful. “Pointless” has certainly cemented its place in the hearts of its audience, and there’s no reason why it might not in time become a perennial BBC favourite like “The Weakest Link “ and “Eggheads”. It may well be that the BBC feel the same about “A Question of Genius”. As regards “Only Connect”, BBC4 have got the best team quiz on television which is open to any members of the public. In 2 years and 4 series it has established itself as one of the big 4 most prestigious quizzes there is, right up there with “Mastermind”, “Brain of Britain”, and “University Challenge”. As for ITV, they have persisted with “Divided”, and “The Chase” is, I believe, currently auditioning contestants for a third series, so they seem pretty well on their way to being established in the ITV teatime slot.
I only mentioned all this in the first place since last night was the first time that I caught a part of the new quiz I mentioned earlier. Namely, Channel 4’s Million Pound Drop live. I watched a couple of these when the first series went out earlier last year. Which explains why I haven’t watched any of this series yet. I’m really sorry if you’re a fan of the show, and by all means feel free to disagree with me, but I really dislike this show. If you want me to go into detail : -I don’t like the presenter , Davina McCall- or Shouty McGurney as she is far-from-affectionately called in my house. I think the pace is positively funereal. I watched the show for about 20 minute last night, and in that time I think three questions were asked. Unless it is a quiz- such as University Challenge – which is meant for a particular group of people, then I don’t think that its right to limit the contestants to a very limited age range. OK, I haven’t watched the show much, but I’m not the first to point out that it seems like the contestants are all drawn from the 18 – 30 demographic. From what I’ve seen, as well, it would be nice to see fewer ‘pure guessing ‘ questions too.
Not that I think for one minute that this show has been designed to appeal to people like me anyway. But it is a shame that this seems to be pretty much all that we can manage for the genre this year. Dare I say it, this raises the spectre of the LAMMY Award for the Best New Quiz Show not being awarded this year . Oh, the shame of it.