Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A Brand New Quiz Show

The Quiz Show To Beat All Quiz Shows

In a lesser known Two Ronnies sketch, Ronnie Corbett, playing a diminutive cockney gangster asked Ronnie Barker
"You know what walls have got, don't you, John ? " to which Ronnie Barker replied
"Sausages. "
Of course, the real answer was 'ears', and indeed, events this week seem to bear out the truth of the old saying. My spies are everywhere, and so word has reached me that the BBC are highly excited about a new 'quiz show to beat all quiz shows' that is already in a highly advanced stage of development, with the aim of using it in the National Lottery slot currently being used with "1 v. 100" and "In It To Win It".

The show has been developed under the working title, "Count your Beans", the English translation of the phrase "Comptez Vos Haricots !", this being the title of the popular Belgian show presented by Plastique Bertrand, upon which it is based. Of course the Belgian show itself was based on a Japanese original, entitled, in romaji - "Kazoeageru - ingen " which I am unreliably informed means something like " It is time to audit the baked vegetable products ", but you catch the drift.

As I understand it, the contracts have not been signed with the prospective hosts yet, but the source of my information suggests that the BBC are definitely going to follow their preferred format of using broadcast journalists and news presenters to front their quizzes. The smart money fancies a David and Jonathan Dimbleby tag team for the elimination rounds of each show, then, through the wonders of technology, a hologram of the late Robin Day will ask the questions in the final round - or - Asobigoto-fainaru - to use the original terminology.

Each programme will begin with 57 contestants, in honour of the Heinz Corporation's most excellent baked bean products - Heinz being the sponsors of the original show on Japanese television. Each contestant ( or 'kyo-gisha' ) will face 57 questions, based on their 57 specialist subjects chosen before the show. ( Each contestant has to submit a 2 page essay on each of 57 different subjects before they are even auditioned ) Of these, only eight contestants go through to the next round. Contestants are selected according to the famous "Countdown - Vorderman" selection criteria - that is, the contestants are listed in order of their scores, highest first, lowest last, and the computer randomly selects one from the top, three from the middle, two from the bottom, and another two from anywhere you like. As it stands, the selection round of 57 takes a week or so to complete, so is not included in the broadcast show - although selections of the funniest and silliest answers will be included on the bonus disk of the "Count Your Beans" DVD ( available in all good retailers - the perfect Christmas / Valentines/ Easter / gift - delete where applicable )

The first televised round of the show, the round of eight ( hachi - asobigoto ) will see the first host - hopefully this will be jolly funster Dave Dimbleby - asking the eight contestants a set of questions in turn. For each correct answer the contestants will earn a can of beans. ( Heinz in the original version, but I believe that the BBC will go for unbranded generics ) . The object is to build a pyramid of cans with 4 cans on the bottom row, 3 on the next, and so on. Bottom row questions are proportionately easier than second row, and so on. When a contestant gives a wrong answer to the final question which would have allowed them to place the top can on the pyramid, and thus guarantee safe passage through to the round of four ( shi - asobigoto ) , then Sir Trevor Macdonald ( subject to contract negotiations ) will run onto the set , dressed as a can of beans, and shout
" What has he/she done ? " to which the audience will respond by shouting the show's catchphrase,
" He/she's spilled the beans !" , and the pyramid so carefully constructed by the contestant will topple over, and the contestant will have to start constructing their pyramid all over again. The first four contestants to complete their pyramids without spilling the beans will go through to the next round.

The shi - asobigoto ( round of four ) sees contestants face a different general knowledge challenge. Jonathan Dimbleby ( the man of a thousand quips ! ) takes over the question master's reins, as the contestants undergo a round of akanasu-kawasu (Avoid the Tomato) A starter question is asked, and the first to shout the correct answer is given the opportunity to nominate one of the opponents. They are then given a question, and if they get it wrong, then they are eliminated. Sir Trevor Macdonald (subject to contract negotiations ) , this time in full tomato costume comes out, and shouts to the crowd -
"His/her race is done !" which will be the cue for the crowd to shout the show's second catchphrase
"He/she won't ketchup now ! "
My informant did say that in the original japanese version the contestants were sitting on tilting chairs above a vat of tomato ketchup, which would deposit them into the ketchup for a wrong answer - but the BBC decided against the ketchup on the grounds of expense, and also that their version is supposed to be a serious quiz show.

Excitement builds as two contestants go through to the fainaru asobigoto, where the two Dimblebys will join forces to ask a variety of questions, at speed. The aim of the game is complete the ingurisshuburekkufa (Full English ) , where simpler questions will earn each contender a dollop of scrambled egg, more difficult questions will earn a rasher of bacon and a slice of fried bread, and the most difficult question will earn the beans. When one contender has answered enough questions correctly Sir Trevor Macdonald ( subject to contract negotiations ), this time in the guise of a giant pot of mustard, will run back on and shout,
"That's the Full English !" which will be the cue for the crowd to shout the show's third catchphrase
" Yum yum !"

The losing finalist will be fobbed off with a small consolation prize - the nature of this has yet to be decided, but its a fair bet that it will be a piece of perspex in the shape of a baked bean . Then the kachiuma (winner) will be invited to enter the mikusuto - guriru (mixed grill ) for the geru asobigoto - the cash round. By the magic of modern technology a hologram of the late Robin Day will ask questions of rising difficulty. Each correct answer will add a bean to the giant tin which is the centrepiece of the mixed grill area of the set. Once the tin is full, then the contestant has won, and will receive £1000 pounds for each bean within the can, and the much prised goruden- ingen ( golden bean ) However , a wrong answer will make the lever on the koresutero-meta ( cholesterol-o-meter ) rise higher, and once it reaches the level of kyo-shinsho ( heart attack ) then the buzzer will sound, and the game is over. The amount won is added up, and the Dimblebys present the kachiuma with the goruden-ingen , then Sir Trevor Macdonald ( subject to contract negotiations ) wearing a big smile, will lead the cast of Newsnight, and the studio audience in a rousing chorus of "Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit !" to end the show.

When I asked my source when the first show is likely to be broadcast, he replied that what with contract negotiations still pending, sets to be built, and contestants to be auditioned, its unlikely to be broadcast before next spring - in all likelihood on the First of April.

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