The Weakest Link (Seven, 2001-2002, Nine, 2021-2022)
Were the creators of The Weakest Link surprised at just how quickly the format became a success? They must’ve been confident that they had a good idea of course, but this seemed to become a cultural phenomenon with viewers after barely weeks on air. And this was all at the point when this had still only been shown in a daytime slot on BBC2.
This was mostly because of the hosting style of Anne Robinson, who really did give a rather honest assessment of the performances of the contestants. You have to remember that there was a time when most viewers really wouldn’t have seen anything like this on TV before. The creators must’ve realised that this format now had the potential to be sold around the world.
Soon, Robinson-bots (or indeed, yes, “Anne-Droids”) were being assembled in various countries in preparation, and Australia would be one of them (remember that the American version got the actual Robinson, much to their horror). The host for this version was Cornelia Frances, who was English-born, and already known for playing no-nonsense characters in various soaps including The Young Doctors and Home And Away.
She also resembled Robinson in looks and personality to the point that it was rather uncanny. Nine contestants took part, but as this version was shown in a primetime slot, there was rather a lot of money on offer. The format is the same really, who will survive to the end, who will bank the most money, who will be voted off, who will get a rather easy question wrong.
There is $10,000 on offer in every round, and in the final round, what they bank is trebled, so a rather nice $100,000 could be won, that’s more than they ever could’ve won in the UK. There was also a chance to see how the Aussies play the game. They might come across as a little more forthright than the Brits, but they were still nothing compared to the hot-tempered Americans.
And there were the inevitable celebrity specials too. One edition featured cast members from soap Blue Heelers (which was shown in this country in a daytime slot for a while). Can you believe that there was a round where they banked nothing, how embarrassing. This version of The Weakest Link wasn’t a huge success, and ran for about a year. And recently, just like in the UK, there was a revival, which picked up where they left off.
One thought on “The YouTube Files – The Weakest Link Australia.”
Not only did Cornelia greatly resemble Robbo in looks and personality – but she too hailed from Liverpool. *shock*
I would have loved to have seen an edition of the (British) Weakest Link with hosts of other versions from around the world as the contestants. Just what would Robbo and Cornelia have made of each other – and just how much flak would Robbo have given Eamon Dunphy, host of the Irish version, given that this was even less successful than the Aussie one? Obviously, we’ll never know for sure – but it’s good to fantasise nonetheless. 😉