Game Show Memories – Pointless Celebrities Christmas Special.

Pointless Celebrities Christmas Special (BBC1, 2018)

Now I know that this is from only last month so it’s not very nostalgic, and another Christmas has now come and gone, but it was such a terrific TV moment that I just had to do a piece on it. It’s yet another celebrity edition of game show Pointless, hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, where you are rewarded for your knowledge that would be useless to you in just about any other situation, and they’ve put up the tree specially. vlcsnap-00962

The four celebrity teams taking part are Dave Hill and Rob Davis, Roger McGough and Sally Lindsay, Jamelia and Sonia, and the reason that I am doing this piece, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward of Bananarama fame, making their first appearance on the show since November 2013 when they made the final but missed out on the jackpot by just one point, something that clearly still haunts them all these years later. Can they go one better this time? vlcsnap-00964

I should also point out that Brix Smith who featured in a piece that I did a while back when I found a picture of her in a pub very close to where I live in Bethnal Green alongside none other than Miss Siobhan Fahey that got me very excited appeared on Pointless Celebrities in April 2016 as part of a fashion-themed edition, but she got knocked out in the second round and didn’t win, oh dear. Today’s jackpot is £2,500. vlcsnap-00963

The first round is about cities in the show, can you identify these places at wintertime. Sara and Keren go through with a score of 88, the lowest in the round, and Dave and Rob are knocked out. Next is festive music, synonyms of Christmas carols to be precise. After a couple of good answers Sara and Keren progress with a score of 40 (again the lowest score in the round), and Roger and Sally are knocked out. vlcsnap-00965

The next round is Sara and Keren v Jamelia and Sonia (something of a surprise considering how useless Jamelia was on ITV’s Tipping Point: Lucky Stars recently). First up, pictures of famous people with Father Christmas. Sara and Keren win this 41-65. Second is members of Monty Python, and as Sara and Keren win this 22-96, they don’t even need to go to the third question and they are into the final again and maintain their unbeaten record! vlcsnap-00966

For making the final, they win a Pointless trophy! I presume they would already have one from last time, maybe they could give this one to a friend or just throw it in the bin. They choose the category Things Inbetween. They make their choices on countries alphabetically between the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands, and go for Rwanda, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. They could be in with a chance here! vlcsnap-00968

Rwanda scores four points, and Papua New Guinea scores one. This is their last chance with Samoa. And this time, well look at that, they go all the way and get their Pointless answer and they have won £2,500 for charity, congratulations! That really is terrific. And just when you thought that it couldn’t get any more exciting, the show closes with a song from Alexander. vlcsnap-00967

It seems that Sara and Keren really do know their stuff, and just when I thought that they couldn’t be any more terrific they start winning game shows. And they must enjoy it as they have appeared on another one since in January 2019, this time on BBC2’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip where again they were very entertaining. Maybe it could be a new career for them if their next album flops.

Game Show Memories – Pointless Celebrities.

Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 2011-present)

One of my favourite game shows from the past decade has been Pointless, and it eventually became popular enough with viewers for there to be an inevitable spin-off celebrity series hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman. There have now been so many editions of this series it seems that just about everyone from every field of fame has had a go at facing the questions, but I wanted to focus on one particular edition.

If you are a regular visitor to this blog you might remember my story about when I went mildly giddy about the reformation of Bananarama. And having enjoyed a lot of 80s pop music and game shows, I wondered if the two things could be combined. I don’t mean Never Mind The Buzzcocks because that’s more of a comedy panel game, I mean a show where they were being asked proper quiz questions and playing for prizes. vlcsnap-00001

So I was very pleased when I remembered that Sara and Keren from Bananarama appeared as a team on a music-themed edition of Pointless Celebrities in November 2013 (which is before the reunion was announced). Their opponents were Ali Campbell and Mike Rutherford, Sandie Shaw and Sheila Ferguson, and Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson from Five. How would they get on? vlcsnap-00002

The first round was about films that have a colon in their title. Sara and Keren both give correct answers that score 27 points and they progress through to the next round. Alexander did acknowledge that they had known one another since they were four years old and indeed they seem to be so close that they even gave answers that scored the same amount of points. Ali and Mike were eliminated. vlcsnap-00003

The second round was about female athletes who won a medal for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. Again Sara and Keren both give correct answers to progress to the next round with a score of 55, but then there’s an odd moment which I think has only happened about three or four times in the entire run of Pointless. The opposing teams give so many incorrect answers that they actually have to abandon the question and they are asked about something different for the tiebreaker. Well Richard didn’t know where to look! Sandie and Sheila are eventually eliminated. vlcsnap-00004

We are now into the third round where it’s Sara and Keren against Ritchie and Scott in the best-of-three. The first question is about David Bowie singles and the ladies win this one by a comfortable margin of 4-70. Question two is about Dr Suess books, but they give a wrong answer here so it’s now one each. The third and deciding question is on Strictly Come Dancing which they win 3-73 so they are into the final! vlcsnap-00005

And of course as Sara and Keren have made the final they win the almost coveted Pointless trophy! Who needs a Brit Award when you’ve got this! Now they have won something for themselves, they’ll be playing for the star prize of £2,500 for charity. There are a choice of four categories and they choose France. Can they get the pointless answer at the crucial time? They decide to choose some African countries that have French as an official language. Will it go all the way? Their best-performing answer scores only one point, oh they were so close! Despite this disappointment it was still great seeing them take part. vlcsnap-00006

Game Show Memories – Pointless.

Pointless (BBC2, 2009-2011, BBC1, 2011-present)

The daytime weekday general knowledge game show where the more you know, the lower it will go. Pointless is hosted by Alexander Armstrong, who when the show launched was better known for being in a comedy double-act alongside Ben Miller. He is assisted in the statistics area by Richard Osman, who had worked in TV behind the scenes for many years including writing and producing some comedy shows before being thrust into the limelight here and they work very well together. vlcsnap-00988

Pointless is notable for constantly adjusting its rounds to keep the show fresh, but the basic idea has remained the same since the show began. In the first series, five teams of two took part, later reduced to four. A question would be shown on which 100 people had been surveyed and had to give as many correct answers as they could such as “European Capitals” or “Madonna UK Top Ten Singles” and then the teams would take it in turns to answer. There have also been various other rounds including question clues and picture clues. vlcsnap-00987

The idea was that the answer that the contestants gave would score one point for everyone in the survey who said it. How low will it go? So if they pick an answer that is correct that nobody thought of it is a “pointless” answer and a bonus £250 is added to the jackpot. However, if they give a wrong answer they score 100 points, and you don’t want to do that, but it does happen when the occasional absurd answer is given. When the show started the selling point was that the team with the highest score gets knocked out at the end of the round, although they can came back on the next show for another go. vlcsnap-00990

This carries on until there is one team remaining, who both win an almost coveted Pointless trophy whatever happens, but to win the jackpot they now need to find a pointless answer. They pick from a choice of categories and then the question is revealed. They have one minute to confer because they need to provide three answers. If just one of them is pointless they win, and a few teams have won a lot of money. If they lose though, the money rolls over to the next show with an extra £1,000 added.vlcsnap-00992

Pointless is definitely one of my favourite game shows in more recent years. It is a good idea that it is well done and there’s always a chance that some really obscure trivia and interesting facts will be discussed between the hosts, such as what exactly a country is, and Armstrong and Osman have become something of a double-act themselves. vlcsnap-00991

When I reviewed similar show Topranko! yesterday, I still have a article from the time that said if it was given a chance it could become popular with viewers in a teatime slot similar to Blockbusters. It didn’t happen though, but it definitely has for Pointless, which has settled into the 5:15 slot very successfully, and the ratings are still on the up six years after the show began. vlcsnap-00989

There has been some merchandise released including a board game and some very entertaining books, there have also been endless celebrity specials because so many people want to appear on the show. The format of Pointless has also been sold abroad so the show is beginning to become a success around the world too. If they don’t run out of questions I imagine that it could still do very well for another year or two.