You might well ask – why would someone who doesn’t have a lot of time for big game shows bother to watch and review something which is honest enough to call itself “101 Ways To Leave A Game Show “ ? You have a point. The fact is that watch it I did, and so I kind of feel that I ought to make some kind of comment. Now, I’ve already admitted that this is not really my kind of show, so by all means dismiss my comments as being biased. As always, feel free to disagree with anything I say.
101 Ways to Leave A Game Show does pretty much what it says on the tin. Round by round 8 contestants are whittled down to three, who contest the final round. Each round seems to consist of a single question. Only one person can be wrong each round right up until the final.
I’ll say a little more about the quiz element of the show a little later on. However it seems to me that the quiz element is very much the sideshow, considering the amount of time the show devotes to KICKING OFF THE LOSERS. Yes, you see the show takes place on a huge tower, and if you get a question wrong, then you are kicked off the tower in one of 101 different and allegedly entertaining ways. And by crikey, they don’t half linger over these. I’ll be honest, maybe I’m getting old. Actually, there’s no maybe about it, but I couldn’t help wondering about just how Health and Safety allows the show to do things like dropping a contestant on a 50 foot bungee into a pool, having another cycle off a huge drop into the same pool, knocking another off the tower with a gigantic padded hammer, and rolling another off in what looked suspiciously like a recycled atlas sphere from Gladiators . Amazingly, Mrs. Londinius put my thoughts into words after the bungee drop, saying that this made her distinctly uncomfortable since it made her think of The Late Late Breakfast Show, and the tragic death of Michael Lush. I know that the whole thing has been recorded, and so every one of the contestants is presumably perfectly alright, but even so it made me feel quite uncomfortable too.
Host Steve Jones didn’t seem the least bit uncomfortable, though. I like to see a welsh boy getting on, and although he didn’t quite give us the full Huw Edwards I don’t think there’s any doubt who he’ll be supporting in the next 6 Nations. I must admit though , I didn’t particularly think that his full on belly laughs after contestant Vanda had to cycle off into the swimming pool was either use or ornament to the show. She had been actually shaking with fear before it happened. She was genuinely petrified.
Alright, let me be fair. The kicking off contestants, which is really the point of the show, is a big old, silly old game show, and as such my comments are probably irrelevant since its not aimed at me anyway. However, and I’m sorry if this shocks you, there is just the germ of a decent quiz idea in the question rounds of the show. Granted, it’s a very , very small germ, but its there. Each of the question rounds asked one list question. So for example, in the round of 8, a list of 8 names were given , 7 of which were real names of Blue Peter pets, and one of which wasn’t. Leila, obviously taken from Leila Williams, one of the original presenters of the show, was the odd one out. If two people pick the same answer, then they answer a buzzer question for the right to have it, and otherwise have to pick again, until all the answers are gone. As Alexander Orlov once said – simple.
Each of the questions asked was actually quite interesting. The second one gave a list of magazines, one of which does not exist. My Kent Wedding screamed ringer, but apparently it’s a magazine, unlike What Patio. I nipped out for a moment to answer the phone, and when I came back another contestant was disappearing down a big hole, and I don’t know what the question was. Still, the round of five asked this one – four of these won Wimbledon – one didn’t – Monica Seles – Martina Hingis – Lleyton Hewitt – Conchita Martinez – and another one I can’t remember but it doesn’t matter since you’ll have already worked out the ringer was Monica Seles. Someone with a bit of nous put these lists together. If you don’t know, you’re going to avoid Conchita Martinez, who rose without trace after her win. How about the next one ? Three countries of these four are on the equator, one isn’t – Indonesia – Colombia – Papua New Guinea – Uganda. 3 out of 4 went for Papua New Guinea – which of course is the only wrong answer, and the poor devil who won the buzzer question was out.
So to the final. The question in this case offered two wrong’uns, and only one right one. Only one of these singles went to number 1 – Wham ! with Last Christmas – Shakin’ Stevens with Merry Christmas Everyone – Wizzard with I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. Like I said, the list compiler is a smart cookie, since Last Christmas is renowned for being the biggest selling Christmas single never to get to number 1. In fact I have an inkling that it’s the biggest selling single at any time of year never to get to number 1. You see it had to contend with a little number composed by a Mr. Ure and a Mr. Geldof, whose title escapes me for the moment. However that did leave two singles you would have thought that both reached number 1. Forced to choose I guessed that Wizzard’s festive crowd pleaser was too obvious, and plumped correctly for Shaky’s . Googling later confirmed that Wizzard's song only ever reached number 4.
So lets sum up. There weren’t many questions in the show at all, but as I said there is just the germ of something just thought provoking enough to make a decent straight quiz show in there. Its interesting how the Beeb have shoehorned this show into the schedules. It comes after Total Wipeout, where contestants are given nicknames like Above Average Joe and James Who Amanda Fancies, showered in muck, and whacked about by lots of padded things, and just before In It To Win It, with dear old Dale, which has some more than half decent questions on, and wouldn’t give offence to your old spinster Aunt Margery. This probably explains the slightly schizophrenic feel of the show. Of course you know that I’m going to say that as a whole entity, its really not for me. But what do I know ? Maybe it will be a big hit. However I can’t help thinking that shows which try to fall between two stools, often just end up falling.