Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Guess List - or - Haven't I Seen You Somewhere Before?

I didn’t know about this one until I’d finished writing up Only Connect. The shows I review regularly – OC – Mastermind – UC – BoB I like to watch/listen to as a fan in the first place, and then use the iplayer to make my detailed write up. When the playback of OC had finished, the iplayer helpfully suggested that I might like this. There’s an obvious comment to make here, which I am too much of a gent to write.

This show debuted on Saturday evening at 9:30 pm.It’s presented by Rob Brydon. Now, way, way, way back in the late 80s, not long after I moved to Wales, a fresh faced young man called Rob Jones presented a quiz on BBC Wales called Invasion, which I used to watch. Twas none other than Uncle Bryn to be himself. So he certainly has form in this department. Right – let me spell out to you the basic mechanics of the show, and see if the same two words occur to you as occurred to me. There are two contestants made up of ordinary MOPs ( members of the public) Our host asks them a couple of questions. There is a two tiered bank of celebrities, and they are asked for their answers. The contestants can either go with the celebrities, or give their own answers. The emphasis is on Rob Brydon’s interaction with the celebrities, and their (hopefully) given funny/witty/daft answers. So what are the two words you’re thinking? All together now – Blankety Blank.

The slight – and I do mean slight – difference that I noticed was that in Blankety Blank the questions were more of the – fill in the missing word variety, while the first couple on this show were Family Fortunes-esque – In a recent survey – things. Then for the fourth question, Simon Callow asked the contestant to guess the one thing he never does. That’s a point while I’m at it. Remarkably for this kind of show, all five celebrities were actually genuine celebrities. After two questions each, the contestant with more points plays for the prize. In this case it meant answering the question – what percentage of men say that they prefer their partner to wear make up at all times. – Correct answer – who cares? Sorry – I’m getting scornful, and I really shouldn’t. After the slebs had their goes, our host revealed two options – so it was a 50/50. The prize – an all-expenses paid trip to Perth in Scotland. So even the prizes were aping Blankety Blank. I’ll be honest, I was most interested in the end credits, where I wanted to see whether any acknowledgement of the show’s massive debt to Blankety Blank was paid. In a word – No. All it said was ‘A 12-Yard format’. Now, the libel laws being what they are in this country I have no intention of accusing anyone of plagiarism.

I probably wouldn’t have written about this in the first place if it wasn’t for the very obvious similarities with Blankety Blank.Still , if you know that it is, to use the words of another reviewer, “Blankety Blank for the digital age”, then you know exactly what you’re going to get, and if that’s your cup of tea, good luck to you. Mine, it is not. So sorry, iplayer – but you thought I might like it – our survey said – Uh uh. Not for me.


George Millman said...

I love the loopholes in our legal system, and the way that you can effectively accuse someone of plagiarism without technically doing that at all. It's like saying to someone at your workplace, 'I have been asked to apologise, which is what I am doing now.' Personally I think freedom of speech is more important; if any claims about someone that have been written are untrue, the subject should be able to respond with proof that they are.

I don't think I will be watching this one. I usually give my time to the first episode of anything new just in case, but your comments certainly suggest that it isn't something that I could get into at all.

Londinius said...

Hi George

The irony is not lost on me here - now all I have to do is to think of a way of accusing you without technically accusing you of accusing me without technically accusing me of accusing Twelve Yard without technically accusing Twelve Yard of Plagiarism!

I think!

George Millman said...

Yes, exactly!