True story. When I saw last week that ITV were screening a show called “Take On the Twisters” I thought it would be another cheap consumer affairs programme so I didn't watch, and it wasn’t until I saw today’s review in “Weaver’s Week” that I realized it was a quiz game at all. So I switched off the laptop, and switched on the On Demand to see what it was all about. I’ll be honest, I still half expected Dominic Littlewood to pop up at any minute, but no, that at least we were spared.
Right, this is how it works. It’s a 5pm show, so we’re very much in the realm of non-quizzers answering questions for relatively modest prizes. That’s alright too – both Pointless and The Chase fit in that category, and they’re popular with quizzers and non-quizzers alike. This show is presented by Julia Bradbury – and come to think of it, didn’t she used to present Watchdog? Sorry, the show honestly does not have anything to do with consumer affairs. 4 contestants take turns to answer questions. So our first contestant is asked a question. He or she can opt to stick, which means they have to answer the question, or twist, which means they pick someone else to answer it. So if they stick, and answer the question correctly, then they get to light a twister, and they get another question. If they twist, and the other contestant answers the question, then he or she gets to light a twister and takes the next question. If he or she gets it wrong, then the original contestant who twisted gets to light the twister and take the next question.
Right, the twisters. There are eight of these, all different colours. Each one is a sand timer, mounted in a circle so as to be easily turned automatically through 180 degrees. The person who lights the 6th twister then gets to play a cash builder game. The 6 lit up twisters are turned so that the sand starts to run. The contestant in play is asked a set of questions against the clock. If the contestant gets the answer right, then he or she can either stick, or twist one of the twisters, so as to keep the sand running. Once the sand runs to the bottom of the twister, the light goes out. Once the time has run out, then a sum of money is revealed between any of the twisters that are still lit. That amount of money goes into the contestant’s bank. In the show that I watched there were four of these cashbuilder rounds. One slight complication is that if any contestant does manage it so that all the twisters have had their money revealed during the show, then they do receive double cash. At the end of the last cashbuilder, the contestant with the most in the bank plays for the money. The others leave with nothing.
In the final the last contestant plays for however much he/she earned in the previous rounds. This time all 8 twisters are in play, otherwise its pretty much the same as the cashbuilder rounds. One of the twisters contains the money. So let’s say the contestant manages to keep 5 twisters lit by the end of the round. That gives him/her 5 out of 8 chances to win. Julia offers them a walk away option of £200 in the hand for each lit twister. If they accept, then the money is safe, and that’s what they go home with. if they don’t accept, then it is gradually revealed which of the twisters holds the cash. If it’s still lit, happy days. if not, then you leave with nothing.
Yeah, I know that you know that this sort of thing really isn’t my cup of tea. If I’m honest, I much preferred Shouty O'Facepull’s Channel 4 show“Five Minutes To A Fortune” from earlier this year, if we have to have a quiz game with egg timers. I mean, this wasn’t actually annoying, or irritating, but . . . well, I’m sorry, but it was just a little bit of a bore. I’ve been on a quiz show where contestants are asked to do their thinking out loud, but there’s just too much of it on this show – “err, Julia, err, I don’t really know what the capital of France is. . . Geography’s not me best subject . . . but I once went skiing to France and I broke me arm. . . and when they put it in a cast they used Plaster of Paris. So I’m going to guess Paris.” Alright, maybe the questions aren’t that easy, but they might just as well be.
Having said that, the problem with “Take On The Twisters” for me isn’t the level of the questions. It’s the lack of them, and the abundance of talk. It is a VERY chatty show. Now, Julia Bradbury is an intelligent person, and is not lacking in warmth or humour, but you desperately need a professional comedian if you’re going to have this much talk in the show. What’s the word – oh yes – banter. Julia really doesn’t do banter very well. Alexander Armstrong, Richard Osman, even Bradley Walsh she is not. It’s not fair to expect her to be, either.
As for the twisters, well, as a gimmick, well maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t say I really cared that much whether the sand ran down or not. For most of the show anyway they just sit there waiting to be lit up.
Well, there you go, then. You pays yer money and takes yer choc ice. It isn’t for me, and I shan’t be making an effort to watch in the future. Will it be a success? Why are you asking me? I tipped Tipping Point and Million Pound Drop for the drop, and I believe that they are still around, so I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about.