The Common Denominator (Channel 4, 2013)
This is a good example of a show that I’m fairly sure I remember watching recently, and then I realise it actually hasn’t been on TV for about five years now. The Common Denominator was a daytime game show that was hosted by Phil Spencer, who after hosting about 1,000 editions of Channel 4’s property show Location Location Location presumably wanted to try something a little different.
Three contestants take part and the idea is that they have to make the link between two seemingly unconnected clues. So for example if the clues were “playground” and “music”, the connecting word would be “swing”. In the first round the contestants are given four questions consisting of two word clues and they have ten seconds to give their answer, being able to make as many guesses as they like. The two highest scorers go into the next round.
In the second round this time the clues are two pictures and again there are ten seconds on the clock, but this time if the contestant doesn’t get it right in time, it is passed over to their opponent who then is given ten seconds themselves to find the connection. The contestant who has given the most correct answers after four questions progresses to the final where they can now play for some money.
In the final, the contestant has to get six questions right, this time the clues consist of one picture and one word. The clues get increasingly difficult as the money increases, going from £100 for getting the first one right, up to the star prize of £10,000 for getting all six. There are 45 seconds on the clock and after every correct answer that is given, the clock is stopped and they can then decide if they want to play on and look at the next clue.
They are helped out slightly by the fact that they are allowed to make one pass on a question, but if they decide to play the next question and run out of time before they can give a correct answer, they will lose all their money. I remember only a small number of contestants did manage to go all the way and win the top prize which was always rather enjoyable.
The Common Denominator ran for only one series and it didn’t make much of an impact with viewers, with one frequent criticism being that it came across as little more than a simplified version of BBC2’s Only Connect, but I definitely found it one of the more interesting non-Countdown/Fifteen-To-One/Deal Or No Deal daytime game shows that has been on Channel 4 in more recent years.