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You are the Weakest Link.......you know the rest!
The Weakest Link
Member Name: lynton1983
The Weakest Link
Advantages: Light hearted.
Disadvantages: Sometimes harsh!
Whilst wondering what to write my next review on to take me nearer to my second Amazon voucher I sat down to watch The Weakest Link, the first of two daily BBC weekday quiz shows that I like watch if I'm back from work early enough (the second is Eggheads for those wondering).
This show was first broadcast on BBC2 on 14th August 2000 and has been running ever since. It now airs every weekday on BBC1 usually at 5:15PM and the programme usually lasts for 45 minutes. Since its creation it has been hosted by the "Queen of Mean" Anne Robinson and she is a massive contributory factor to the success the show has had resulting in it still running strong.
In each episode there are nine contestants playing against each other with the aim of not being voted off after each round as the weakest link. In each round the contestants take it in turn to answer questions with the aim of trying to get as much money banked as possible before the time runs out. When it is a person's turn to field a question, they can either bank what has been accumulated by the players immediately before them having answered their questions correctly or they can risk losing the lot by taking their question - if they get it right the chain continues, if they get it wrong the money accumulated is lost. To explain, the money chain goes in the order £20, £50, £100, £200, £300, £450, £600, £800, £1000. If the round has just begun and you are the fourth person to answer a question and the proceeding players have all answered correctly, with nobody having banked, you would have the option to either a) bank, with £100 being added to the rounds pot and the chain then beginning over with the next person answering a question for £20 or b) answer your question without banking with a correct answer being worth £200 and an incorrect answer seeing the chain be reset with no money banked.
The maximum that can be won in the first seven rounds is £1000, most simply achieved my a chain of nine correct answers. The first round is three minutes long with each subsequent round having ten seconds taken off the clock. At the end of each round the players, independently and without consulting, write down who they want to vote off and then reveal their choice one by one. Whoever gets the most votes will have the immortal words "You are the weakest link, goodbye!" barked at them before they have to take "the walk of shame" before giving a quick twenty second interview about their experience. Should there be a tie in the votes, the person deemed to be the strongest link, based on the most correct answers and money banked, is able to make the final decision on who leaves.
The questions will get progressively harder as the rounds progress. In my opinion the first round is particularly easy and I think the aim is to possibly to settle the contestants into the game and allow them to build up some prize money. A good proportion of the time the contestants will manage to accrue the £1000 maximum in the first round.
The contestants themselves are usually a good variety of characters from various walks of life. They are not all quiz geniuses and it is clear many of them are chosen to appear on the show based on their personalities. Whilst this programme is a quiz show it is also as much about Anne Robinson and her interaction with the contestants. At the start of the programme the contestants give a brief introduction of themselves but we usually learn a lot more about them once Anne gets going! After each round has finished and the players have revealed their votes Anne will usually talk to a few of them about their vote but then about themselves personally. This aspect of the show is usually as long if not longer than the actual question rounds themselves and shows the show is as much about Anne and the contestants as it is about the quiz itself.
These parts of the show I often find either quite funny or quite cringe worthy depending on whether what Anne says manages to stay the right side of banter or whether it crosses into the realms of a personal attack! Sometimes I think Anne does clearly cross the line in attempting to be funny. In the episode I watched today she delivered such put downs as describing a female prison officer contestant as being "big and beefy" and she also asked if you had to be gay to be a female prison officer. Anne also referred to one contestant as "fat Andy" and then hit the nail on the head when she told one contestant that it was her job to make the players feel as bad as possible! Harsh!
I think as the programme has gone on over the years Anne has started to struggle for banter that is actually funny so just resorts to the rude and potentially hurtful as though she is seeking to do nothing more than embarrass them.
Another aspect of the presenting that has got weaker over the years are Anne's quips at the end of each round before the players vote. Today we were treated to such genius as, "Who thinks a cross dresser is someone who can't find their socks?" and "Who is thicker than a deep fried Mars bar?" and my favourite, "Who thinks chicken kiev is a place in Russia?" (I think Ukraine would have worked slightly better here!). However, whilst I find these putdowns and quips sometimes poor and in bad taste, I know this is very popular with many viewers and is the reason many people tune in to watch. It's also clear it doesn't put me off!
One part of the show that always makes me chuckle is when there is clearly tactical voting taking place. Every now and then , when you are down to the last three of four contestants, you will see someone voted off who usually doesn't deserve it and who has usually been a strong player throughout the game. What is usually funny here is the way the contestants try to justify their decision with claims they genuinely thought the person they've voted for was the weakest link when really you can't help but think they just didn't fancy playing that person in the head to head final.
After the first seven rounds, round eight sees the last two contestants play in the same format with the exception that whatever amount of money they manage to bank being trebled before being added to the final prize pot. These two contestants will then go head to head answering five questions each with the person answering the most correctly winning. If it's a tie the game moves into "sudden death" with them each continuing to answer a question until one of them answers incorrectly with their opponent getting theirs right. The winner then takes the total amount of money banked. I think, on average, this amount is usually between £1500 and £2500. In the show today the victor took slightly more with £2710.
As a result of the popularity of the show, there have been numerous celebrity specials over the years which usually get an airing during evening prime time hours.
I do like The Weakest Link and watch it as regularly as possible. Unlike many quiz shows, the programme spends a lot of time interacting with the contestants and this gives a different entertaining dimension. As already stated, I do find Anne's behaviour to be a little harsh at times but she definitely adds to the appeal of the programme.
Summary: Still going strong.