It was during the quiz at the rugby club last night that George of my team asked me whether I have been watching the new quiz show. When I asked him which one, he replied that there was a new one on Channel 4, called Bank Job. I asked him for more information and he told me that it had been on a couple of evenings this week already at 9pm.
“It’s not presented by Davina McCall is it ? “ I asked . He replied in the negative, and so reassured of the absence of Shouty McGurney I decided to check it out some time today, and give it a fair trial.
You probably know what I’m going to say.
OK – let’s be fair. This is not aimed at people like me, so it doesn’t really matter whether I like it or not. This is aimed squarely at that 18 – 30something audience that Channel 4 love so much and go out of their way to woo. So bear in mind that I’m a good quarter of a century older than the target audience, and view all of my comments in this light.
The show is presented by George Lamb, and he didn’t get too much in the way, and didn’t irritate, which as I’ve said before is pretty much all I’m looking for from a presenter. As for the game, it’s a variation on the answer questions to look in the box game. Each box sits in a massive wall – in the high security vault of the ‘bank’ . It contains either an amount of cash , or nothing, or in the final, a chance to steal. This particular variation on the theme is an elimination game. Four players are whittled down to three, who are whittled down to two, who contest the final. There are slight differences in the game play of each of the rounds, but basically it works like this. The first two rounds are buzzer rounds. Contestants try to be the first to answer a question. Questions entitle you to try to find some money. When you answer the question, you can choose to bail out of the round at that point, and take the money. If all the other players find more cash than you do and get out of the vault themselves – you’re out. If time runs out and you’re still in the vault, then it’s a head to head, sudden death question to decide who goes through. Get it right and you’re through. Buzz in and get it wrong, you’re automatically out.
In the second round you get two cases, and can put one amount of money in each. If you think the amount of money you’ve won is too small, then you can throw it away, and keep playing. Same as before, you leave the game when you’ve filled your cases, and if the other two leave with more money than you do, that’s it, you’re out. In the final round, the last two get the same amount of time, and dispense with the buzzers. In turns they have to provide correct answers to get a choice. Incorrect answers mean that the clock keeps going, and they have to answer another question, and so on. This round, there are a number of ‘steals’ in boxes, which mean that you get to steal the largest amount your opponent has won. Same as before, after a correct answer you can leave the vault. If you’re still in there at the end, then you’re out. If you both get out, the one with most money wins, and goes on to the weekly final.
I’m not entirely clear on the whole money thing. I didn’t get whether the losing players leave with any money they’ve won or not – I think probably not, but I don’t know.
OK – initial impressions , then. Please remember that I’ve only watched the one show. All the contestants were in their twenties, and judging by the photos of the other two winners from earlier in the week, so were they. One of the criticisms many people had about Million Pound Drop was that when it started ( and ever since for all I know– I can’t stand Davina so I won’t watch it ) all the contestants came from this age group. I shouldn’t wonder whether this is going to be the case with this show. Not only that, but the vast majority of questions were entertainment from the last few years. It’s a perfectly valid category, but not to the detriment of all others. Alright – there were some other categories asked, but the ratio was vastly in favour of this one. But then, if you limit yourself to this cross section of contestants, to build the excitement you have to give them questions that they have at least a halfway decent chance of answering.
The contestants in the show I watched said that they had managed to get themselves on the show by playing along online. So I’ve been along to the channel 4 website. There are no more tournaments planned now, but you can still play against other people online, and I have to say – and I hate myself for saying this – it is rather addictive. I wanted to just play one to get the feel of it, but 5 games later I just managed to drag myself away from it. Still, when you register not only does it give you a box to tick, it also asks you to specify your age. Twice ! So I’m guessing that even if you did brilliantly in the online tournament, if you didn’t fit within the age profile, then tough. Alright, it’s their show so it’s their choice, but I can’t help wishing they’d come clean, and announce that this is a game for that age group only.
I didn’t mind the show that much actually. Alright, I like more questions in a show, but taking it as a game show, and not as a quiz I thought that it was actually quite enjoyable on that level. To be fair, I watched it with Jen, the older of my 17 year old twins, and she loved it. Which is just what Channel 4 were aiming for in the first place, I’m sure.