The new National Lottery quiz, Break The Safe with the ever present host Nick Knowles (who I get confused with Willy Fogg these days) began earlier tonight.
With part of The Bank Job set (thankfully no George Lamb!!)and smoke effects akin to The Crystal Maze and contestants seem to have espressos available via drip feeds on the introductions, it was good to see old school Strike It Lucky openings with the contestants. Based on this things weren't looking good to start with.
The safe locks and the countdown begins with a 24-esque noise. I like the opening rounds with both players having to give a correct answer. Guessable interruptible questions is what gives quizzes a good flow and I like the two wrong answers and the question is discarded rather than giving the third team a go. I like it. Especially as the middle name for JFK could have been Frank (one to add to contestants stupid answers list)
If the quiz was on ITV then I am sure a Stannah sponsorship would have been in order but sadly in a Davros (that's Doctor Who Davros, not something belonging to Bobby Davro) type way, the contestants seem to move back and forward so much they may get motion sickness.
There were some weird answers (sperm for one) but that is down to the quality of the contestants rather than the questions. One of those common themes with game shows in recent years.
After two rounds, one of the three pairs go home and the remaining two pairs fight it out in the semi-finals. Why the clock still count downs to zero when Nick talks to everyone seems like time wasting tactics similar to a test cricket team trying to scrape a draw on day five with the last wicket pair in an attempt to keep the prize money down to a minimum.
The semi-final switches to an interesting individual round where each team answers a question on their own without any intervention from the other team. You can pass answers to your partner who gets the double money if you get the right answer but you get to choose this beforehand after seeing the question so if your partner is a super strong quizzer then why not pass every time? You get the option on the third question to switch/swap places with your partner to decide who decides who answers the question but again I would leave the stronger player behind in an attempt to get more money to progress.
At least there is tension with the prize money increasing after each question so it shouldn't be a runaway round with one team winning after two questions. Although tonight's episode did have one dead question at the end so surprised this was chosen to open the series and hope there will be closer games in later episodes.
Again more talking to wind the clock down (in football Knowles would have been shown a yellow card for delaying the restart of the game), the penultimate round begins. Categories are given before the question to enable which player answers but both players need to answer two questions each (from the four questions in total given in this round) When a question is answered correctly, the team get the option to have an additional second or take more money. Again more talking to lessen the amount of questions, frustrating gameplay to say the least. I am sure Basil has been on other shows before, he looks familiar and comfortable answering questions but his standards dropped in this round and as such only one question was answered correctly.
The final round - Break The Safe. All about pressing the button within two seconds of each other when counting down to zero. This is made harder as you can't see each other as there is a dividing wall between the players (hope the format isn't sold to German TV although I remember a Schlag Den Raab game with someone bursting through a polystrene wall) and the clock from thirty seconds down is switched off so you can't tell when it reaches zero.
After the break for the Lotto draw, I was starting to lose track of what was going on so rather than explain it here, I will leave it to you to watch the ending. Suffice to say if they both miss pressing the button within one second of the zero then they might win just half the money.
Either way the ending compared to the rest of the quiz is pretty poor and there isn't anything which grabs me as a viewer to relate to the game. I could count the 30 seconds but doesn't tell me when the team have pressed the button.
It just beats Take On The Twister purely for the first couple of rounds and that the questions are slightly trickier so I do actually have to think about the answers.
The show replaces Secret Fortune which I thought was a great show so to replace it with this is quite disappointing.
Show Rating - 7/10
Watched the opening show of TOTT - I think KFC missed an opportunity to sponsor the programme. Not sure if they'd be allowed to anyway.
What struck me first and foremost was the quality of contestants and level of questions. If you wanted to compare it to The Chase then it certainly doesn't reach anywhere near the difficulty level of The Chase. One of the year options on a David Beckham question was 1988 which I think would mean that he would have had to have played for England at the age of 14.
As for the gameplay, it is not too bad. You could certainly ramp up the difficulty if there are higher quality players on the show and I think the 60 second quiz element to keep the twisters alive could benefit from having harder questions. Would people watch if they are able to keep all the twisters going or is the catch element of the show losing them. Or should they triple the twisters as if someone has won the race to six twisters twice then the people who have nothing seem to be at a large disadvantage in attempts to catch up. Indeed the last race to six seemed to be a complete non event as only one other contestant could catch Kate up. The player leading could deliberately select the lowest amounts to ensure that other players can't reach them so therefore makes that part of the show meaningless.
As for the host, Julia Bradbury - the verdict is undecided, can't really judge based on one show. Will have to watch a few more episodes to really give an opinion on it.
Will it be given another series? Could do if the format was tweaked a little bit to give everyone an opportunity to win or you could eliminate a player after each round using a general knowledge tiebreaker so in the last round you only have the players who have won money the opportunity to get more into their bank and leaves more chance of another player winning. If I can get over the question difficulty and contestant knowledge level, I could watch it regularly.
Show rating - 6/10
I thought I would start writing a quiz blog - I always have opinions on shows and thought why not share them with the world and what better platform then to use my new website - www.mrquizworthing.co.uk which will co-exist with the new blog.
Hopefully I will find the time to write some interesting articles in here but more than likely add links to articles written by others who are far better than me in doing this kind of thing.
Speak to you later
Mr Quiz Worthing