Sunday, 27 October 2013

Dropping the Pilot

It seems to be my day for responding to interesting things on other sites. If you’re not already a reader of Weaver’s Week on the UK Gameshows site, then why not? It’s essential reading. I was getting my weekly fix a short while ago, and I was surpised, if not amazed to read that the BBC have commissioned their lottery show “Break the Safe” for another series.

You might not remember it, since it didn’t make that much of a splash back in August when it aired. The most noteworthy thing about it was probably the negative publicity it garnered in the national press. If you want to read the whole post I wrote at the time it’s here -
Mail On Sunday Article – Break the Safe
Basically the series was recorded and, horror!, nobody won. The endgame was too hard. So the producers decided to change the rules and make it easier, and they invited the winners back to film their end games again under new rules. Now, one couple , who would have won had their original endgame been played under new rules, didn’t win when they filmed it again. They went to the papers, resulting in a lot of negative publicity.

As I say, I’m surprised it is being recommissioned. Even for the National Lottery Quiz genre it’s not a great show, and I thought that the negative publicity would guarantee that it would be allowed to die the death, and maybe even see it being put out of its misery before the end of its run. Just goes to show how much I know. The most remarkable thing is the fact that nobody seemed to have sussed out at the pilot stage that the game was just too difficult to win. It does make one wonder just why they went through a pilot stage if not to identify and iron out potential problems with the format.

I’ve never played on a pilot show, although I came fairly close a couple of weeks ago. A friend recommended me to a production company who were making a pilot for a new show in Cardiff a couple of weeks ago. We talked on the phone and exchanged emails, and the Mastermind thing notwithstanding I thought I might have a chance of getting involved, living fairly locally and all that. Sad to say it wasn’t to be, and I didn’t get on, which is a shame, because I’d have loved to be a part of a show in that stage of development. Still, I shall be keeping an eagle eye open to see whether anything like it eventually makes it onto our screens, and if it does, then I’ll maybe return to this theme then.


bj said...

Dave, Before a producer reaches the pilot stage, they will have gone through hundreds of hours of development work and many, many hours of full and partial run-throughs, with all sorts of little tweaks along the way in response to things that crop up in development. A record will, or should, have been kept of trial contestants' success or lack of success at every juncture, not just to make sure that the game is winnable, but to track the actual pace and rhythm of the game.

George Millman said...

Regardless of the negative publicity around the pilot, I just think it was a really bad game show. I don't like quiz shows where format plays more of a part than questions, so a quiz show where the final essentially involved two people pressing a button at the same moment was doomed in my mind.

Not all Lottery quizzes are bad (though I concede that a lot of them are). Who Dares Wins is all right... I'm thinking of applying for the new series, in fact.

Londinius said...

Hi Brian

I take your point, but then surely it should have been sorted out before the pilot!

Hi George

I tend to agree about WDW - that show at least rewards knowledge rather than blind luck, or skills unrelated to quizzing. Good luck with the application