Very Hard Questions (More4, 2020)
This is a rather rare example of a game show that was shown on the More4 channel (and I’m fairly sure that this was never repeated on the main Channel 4). Very Hard Questions was an attempt to make an Only Connect-style game using more traditional general knowledge questions, and there had to be enough variations in the rounds to fill the hour-long slot, as game shows in more recent years seem to be getting longer.
The host was Jon Snow, who was taking a break from Channel 4 News, and his piles must be better by now (oh no, that was the impression by Harry Hill). Two teams of three took part, and we were promised that they would have to face the hardest questions ever asked on a game show in this country, in what aimed to be the ultimate “so you think you’re clever, you do?” challenge.
It meant that even these knowledgeable people would need a little help along the way. They are asked a question, with four points for a correct answer. But there are some clues on offer. They can pick three, and for every one that they need, a point is deducted. These include offering things like the first letter of the answer, some multiple-choice options, adding more words to the question, a picture, and so on, and they can only be used once. They must choose wisely, or they will literally end up not having a clue.
This can lead to the awkward situation of a team dithering on their answer for about three minutes, and still being wrong. And it is also a surprise to realise how many prepared clues end up going to waste. It has never really occurred to me how many questions or clues on an average edition of a game show might end up not being used, but this seemed to be much more prominent here.
The next round is about the same really, with more clues on offer. Then, the questions are against the clock, and the clues on offer are predetermined. If they think they know, they have to buzz in. The final round is The Very Hardest Question, which is the only time that the two teams are in direct competition, again having to buzz in. Get this one right for a big bonus. There were nine heats, and the highest-scoring teams went on to leaderboard, with the top two meeting in the final to play for the star prize of the trophy.
However, the champions had already won a series of Only Connect, making the hope to find some new talent in this area of tough quizzing rather redundant. There was also some criticism that because of the difficultly of the questions, most of them had the “so what?” factor, and Snow was rather flat at reading them and commenting on the game. It’s probably no surprise that there was only one series of Very Hard Questions, but it was an attempt at something different.