Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Bank Job Final

Well, I know that a number of us have been keeping an eye on this big budget Channel 4 quiz game. Last night the final was played out live. No, I didn’t watch it at the time, but the younger of my twins, Jess, who’s been turned on to this by her sister informed me this morning that I HAD to watch the final on On Demand. I know when to do as I’m told.

Basically the first three rounds of the final were played out according to the same rules as on the previous five shows – answer a question, pick a box, see how much money you’ve got, if you think you’ve got enough then leave the vault, if not then stay, but make sure that you leave the vault before the end of the round. If you’re the only one left in the vault at the end, then you’re out of the game. If there’s more than one of you in there, then it’s sudden death, and if all of you are out of the vault, then the one with the smallest amount of cash is out.

The difference came when we got down to the last two contestants. There were not more quiz questions, for this endgame was a slight variation on the Share or Shaft/Steal game – pioneered by Robert Kilroy Silk’s ill fated “Shafted” and exhumed to good effect in Jasper Carrott’s “Golden Balls”. The total of money won during the series was announced – something like half a million pounds in this case. Then the two contestants faced a choice. They both had two suitcases. One with cash, the other with trash. The choice was simple – they had to give one suitcase to the other player. If both gave cash, then the prize money was split in half, and both players would get one of these halves. If one of them gave trash, and the other cash, then the one giving away trash would take all of the money. If they both gave trash, then neither would get the money. As I said, the share or steal game. And here’s the variation on the theme – if they both gave trash, then the money would be automatically split three ways between the contestants who’d been knocked out in the earlier rounds of the show.

If you haven’t seen the show yet, and you don’t want to know what happened, then look away now. Of course, you can figure it out for yourself. It’s been known for a long time that the only tactic to use in such a situation is to steal. Basically you cannot be worse off by choosing to steal. If your opponent shares, then you get all of the money, and if your opponent decides to steal, then you were never going to get any money whatever you did, so it makes no difference. I tried to explain this to Jess, who bought into the whole morality tale aspect of it. She was delighted that they both got nothing because they were so greedy. Basically, I told her, the decisions really didn’t necessarily come down to greed at all. In reality each of the two men in the final were given a choice – and it had nothing to do with whether they wanted to get half of the money, or all of the money. Basically, both of the guys in the final were given the choice – do I want the other guy to get it all, or would I be more comfortable with it being shared between the other three people? You have to reckon that your opponent is going to steal. If he doesn’t – happy days, but you have to expect that he will. Mind you both of them looked a bit shocked at the end, but I’d like to think that they had worked out the odds, and decided to steal for the reasons I’ve outlined above, rather than any deluded idea that their opponent would probably share.

Well, as I say, my 17 year old twins loved it. I didn’t mind it either. I do think each show could easily have 15 minutes lopped off it without losing any of the game play – but that’s not going to happen though, is it. If it comes back again I won’t go out of my way to avoid it, but I certainly won’t be making any appointments to watch it either.


DanielFullard said...

I enjoyed it, first episode I had seen of this and it was ok. All very OTT and dramatic, although there was a £467,000 at stake so can be forgiven.....but the end was fun, both guys just didnt want to be have the other steal the money and paid for it.

tabstop said...

I wonder (and I don't know if we'll ever find out) how much the contestants were prepped on what the rules are -- they sure didn't say anything to us about Prisoner's Dilemma until the Friday night show. And you have to figure, if you know that's what's coming, you want to be one of the three losers rather than one of the two winners -- much better chance of a payday I would imagine. And it's definitely a shame when a show makes it more worthwhile to do poorer rather than better.

Gruff said...

It's also a shame that a show which had up to that point rewarded good knowledge (as well as luck and shrewd game play) decided to throw the format out of the window for some cheap drama.

That's Endemol for you.