Room 101 / The Exit List / Gadget Geeks
By Chuck Thomas
Published: January 19, 2012
It’s great to see Room 101 back on BBC1 with Frank Skinner in the hot seat. This time around, they’ve dropped the one-on-one interviews for a panel show feel that works really well, with guests Danny Baker, Robert Webb and Fern Britton competing to banish their worst nightmares. I bet Britton wishes she could put that gastric band in there.
Webb chose to banish chat show legend Jeremy Kyle. I have to disagree. Where would daytime TV be without the doyen of DNA results and his instructions for people with bad teeth to “get off ” his stage?
Apparently, George Orwell named Room 101 after a conference room at the BBC where he used to sit through tedious meetings. We’ve all been there.
As somebody who works in the world of gameshows, I must say I enjoyed The Exit List on ITV1. It was nice to see Matt Allwright in a role that wasn’t championing consumer rights, and refreshing to see a gameshow that doesn’t revolve around luck and chance.
Instead, it was a big-money memory game and I thought the format was compelling, with an evil dilemma at the end (a pre-requisite in any gameshow development meeting today).
There was also good playalong for us viewers at home. I like multiple-choice questions – they always make me think I know the answers when I’m clearly just guessing. My only negative would be leaving all the jeopardy until the very end. That’s a long time to wait between ads for cheap car insurance.
Also, as much as I enjoy these intense-style gameshows, I do miss the occasional old-fashioned ones with laughter, speedboats and upbeat theme tunes.
Finally, we have Gadget Geeks on Sky 1, a show that does exactly what it says on the tin. Sky has found an accessible way to bring a new tech show to a mainstream audience. And, as we all depend on a gaggle of gadgets to control every waking moment of our lives, this show should find a fan base.
It’s gimmicky in places, but that hasn’t done Top Gear any harm, has it? Plus it’s doubtful the presenters will upset as many people as Jeremy Clarkson.
© Broadcast Magazine 2012