Poll of the Year 2010

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Well, 2010 is done and dusted, and now all there is to do is boil it down into its constituent parts and then using SCIENCE separate out the good bits from the bad ones using centrifugal force and write it up stating the hypothesis, method and conclusion.

Sadly we couldn't afford a centrifuge but what we could afford is a) the free input of you: the readers that matter and b) in a UKGameshows.com first actual real trophies to send out to this year’s big winners, apparently. So now your vote was, as Peter Dickson would probably suggest in a booming voice, MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.

We've refreshed the presentation a little this year, but a quick reminder of the voting methodology - each voter has five votes in each category, and if they feel particularly strongly about something they can use up to three votes on one show.


Hall of FAME 2010

Or not as the case may be. Whilst we've always had complaints that the year gone by was a bit rubbish for game shows (with the exception of 2009 where most took a minute to point out that actually it had been quite good), this year if you took the protest votes and the blank votes (indicating that they couldn't be bothered to nominate a show out of the about one hundred on offer) "2010 was a bit crap" would have finished in fourth place in 2010's Hall of Fame. Clearly producers need to up their game in 2011.

This time round we're going to list a top ten, although positions 6-10 don't get big writing. Oh, and obviously we've removed the "no shows" from the list. 36 different shows got votes.

10= Mission 2110, Must Be the Music, Odd One In, The King is Dead

8= A League of Their Own, Push the Button

7 - Popstar to Operastar (bonus points or indeed not for the voters who put [sic] after this one).

6 - 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow (bonus points or indeed not for the voters who put [sic] after this one).

4= Drop Zone, Take Me Out

Two cult-y hits but couldn't be further apart if you tried. Drop Zone was famously sitting on a shelf for ages before the BBC decided to fling it out on Sunday afternoons with no fanfare. Take Me Out is the modern answer to Blind Date features men picking women who may have been sitting on the shelf for ages before deciding to fling themselves at the latest male from the Love Lift. Hmm, perhaps they could be further apart after all.

On Drop Zone you said:

  • "Drop Zone is a step towards a British Amazing Race, but was very samey week-to-week."
  • "Despite it being tucked away, I really enjoyed it. It had the problem of the first 30 minutes being redundant (in that there was no jeopardy), but the last 30 mins I find genuinely enthralling, and got better as the series went on when you got to know the contestants. I was delighted with the winners, and it was lovely to see a few new locations on a British game show. A shortened down version would fit lovely at 7pm during the One Show off-season."
  • "It's a condensed Amazing Race which makes it easy to digest, an also vast improvement to Steve hosting 101 Ways..."
  • "The best new show in a lacklustre year. A few tweaks and it would be truly excellent. Reminds me of late 80s programme Go Getters or the one off Scavenger Hunt."

And on Take Me Out you said:

  • "Hasn't got quite enough meat on it to be a classic, but this is the best dating show for donkey's years. Since Blind Date, I'm saying."
  • "Ingenious new take on the dating format, and Paddy McGuinness - what a great host."
  • "It's so bad it's good."
  • "OK, so everybody else will be putting this in the Hall of Shame (and presumably with a "no likey, no lighty" comment, you predictable fools!) but I am going to push back. Yes, the mechanics of the show are very shallow, but what makes this show entertaining is Paddy McGuinness taking people to task for their silly decisions ("So, Crystal, I noticed that you turned your light off when Charliejim said that he did volunteer work at an orphanage..."). I salute the writers for being being able to come up with so many jokes about Fernando's."
  • "It's a guilty pleasure, surely. And it does bring out the worst in me (like the horrible feeling I get when the guy only has one girl left, and it's the one that looks like she hasn't cleaned herself in weeks) But it's a good updating of the Blind Date concept, and Paddy McGuinness doesn't take it seriously, which is always a good thing. I can't forgive him for the clunkiest catchphrase this side of The Colour of Money (no likey, no light-y)."

3 The Bubble

There's a significant jump in the votes between this and the previous shows. David Mitchell and a team of writers attempt to fool celebrities who have been staying in a nice house without any access to the outside world in a game where the celebrities must guess which news stories from the week are real and which are made up. You said:

  • "The Bubble (which I fear won't be back) was really very creative and a great vehicle for David Mitchell. Well written, well pitched and with the right celebrity guests, a real treat."
  • "David Mitchell is reaching the level of overexposure that has killed many a good career in the past, but this vehicle for him is well suited to him, he knows when to speak and when to let his guests do the talking. However, I'd love to see a civilian version of this."
  • "While the opening episode wasn't anything to write home about, as it progressed this show evolved into a fun and hilarious quiz with the ability to take you by surprise. Favourite bit - the true or false question "David Mitchell is to drop his comedy partner Robert Webb and go solo" in the show with Robert Webb as a contestant."
  • "An interesting idea, asking just how unbelievable the real world is, made better by having enough budget to make credible spoof reports."
  • "I think the phrase is 'slow burner'. The idea at the centre of the show is quite intelligent ... Why the BBC version sank, then, is unclear. Was it the choice of host? David Mitchell's a fine man for something like The Unbelievable Truth, but maybe the Bubble needed to be burst by someone with more punch in their presentation; maybe a jobbing newsreader for extra gravitas, or hey, it could even have given Angus Deayton a route back into lightly topical humour on the Beeb. Also, the fact that there were only a few questions spread over the course of the show meant the programme lacked real pace - only to suddenly flip the script in the final round with a quickfire segment which made no room for humour or further explanation of the stories featured. Also, just to top it off, the Bubble was hobbled by BBC rules preventing fake reports resembling real ones (meaning the BBC itself contributed little to the show, and segments which they did were deliberately and noticeably fake - witness the Newsround logo debacle. On the whole then, not a bad show but a good idea, poorly executed. It'd be nice to see it back, as it was a fun concept, but it needs to be done better."

2 The Whole 19 Yards

It's a quiz it's a race, a real wacky place. But it's not Fun House with Pat Sharp, it's The Whole 19 Yards with Vernon, Caroline and Glenn. Nicely done and mildly popular as lead in to Britain's Got Talent, sadly it didn't do well enough and won't be coming back in 2011. It was much more fun than the original Spanish version though, Los Utlimos 20 Metros, which isn't even a play on words! You said:

  • "I liked it. It looked solid. Just a shame that the games didn't have more surprises and twists to them, and that the budget ran out after show 2."
  • "The combination of a quiz and an obstacle course made for great watching. Vernon Kay was great as host, as he usually is."
  • "I must be the only person in the country who thought this to be an alright show."
  • "Yes, it got a bit samey but I thought it was a good concept and the end game, clever."

And that means there's only your favourite new show of 2010 left. Let's see what's last to drop...

1 The Million Pound Drop Live

In a poor year, MPD is certainly the show that shouted the loudest and shone the brightest (those will be Davina McCall), and in the poll picked up half as many votes again as The Whole 19 Yards. It's an Endemol 1-2, let's see what you had to say about The Million Pound Drop Live:

  • "It was exciting, edgy and new. Davina was great and it is going to be big."
  • "A genuine big money late night show with a nice online version. Started very slow but responded well to criticism."
  • "Brilliant presentation of an OK idea with slightly disappointing game content."
  • "It has it's faults, but by far the most interesting and dramatic new programme of 2010. I like the way the production team took on the criticisms and sped up the programme after the first episode, and it is genuinely enjoyable to play along at home. Davina is a natural on live TV. It needs changing to keep it exciting I think, and the fact it is live means that there should be a wide variety of ways to do it. (Did I mention it's live?). Really needs to sharpen up some production values though. Quickly."
  • "A very watchable show with some good, tense moments and some interesting questions - although some of the questions were interesting for the wrong reasons. The format evolved well throughout its first series (increasing the pace by allowing multiple zones to drop was a very welcome change), now if only they can fix the question writers then they'll be sorted!"
  • "In a staggeringly bad year - this shines out. Slick production, good multi-level set, and nice twist of doing it live. Pity I watched the Dutch show Success Verzekerd on-line first, and The Million Pound Drop Live owes a heck of a lot to that show, but hey, the shovelling of bundles of notes makes it just about different to keep the lawyers from Amsterdam away.
  • "The Million Pound Drop Live is an exceptional television programme".

Hall of SHAME 2010

This is probably the most controversial category every year because the shows listed possibly aren't the worst put out but they certainly are high profile enough to get noticed. Whilst there are avenues to alert people to hidden gems, people don't tend to bother with poor ones.

This being said, it's fun to bitch and 41 different shows attracted your ire. And they were:

10 The King is Dead

8= Michael Winner's Dining Stars, The Million Pound Drop Live

7 The Whole 19 Yards

6 The Door

4= Iron Chef UK, Take Me Out

One is a popular Japanese cookery show reimagined for US audiences then re-reimagined for UK daytime with hilarious and poorly rating consequences. The other is also the joint fourth best new show of 2010. But can you tell which is which?

On Iron Chef UK you said:

  • "I will admit to watching only one episode of this, but what I saw was absolute rubbish. If they'd have stuck to the format of letting the contender pick which Iron Chef they wanted to face, it might have saved it. It just seemed so dull compared to the American version on Food Network, and Olly Smith was a poor choice of host."
  • "Awful. No worse than awful. No hint of the irony of the US version, and at times was like someone was rubbing your eyes with a cheesegrater. Ollie Smith shouting and Nick Nairn attempting to take it seriously, did not make a tasty combination."
  • "Murdered the classic show. With a flambee and a paring knife."
  • "Iron Chef as a format is a fine programme, but this version was poorly produced and looked cheap and rushed compared to the far classier US version of the same show, which UK viewers had been able to access through the Food Network for several months prior to C4 getting their version out. Whereas in the US, the fast pace of the camerawork and graphics represents the sportscasting-style presentation, in the UK format the whooshy camerawork just got in the way and looked cheap and rushed. Also, whereas the US show works perfectly well as self-contained episodes, C4's desire to drag the show out through the week led to an overcomplicated reformatting which spent most of its time pitting the visiting cooks against each other and reducing the actual Iron Chef to a supporting role. It's annoying because done right, ICUK could have run and run, but C4 over-egged the batter and wound up with a pretty stodgy cake."

Meanwhile you had this to say about Take Me Out:

  • "Makes Blind Date seem like Only Connect."
  • "The whole show makes my skin crawl!"
  • "Light entertainment? I reckon this could be one of the signs of the Apocalypse."
  • "No-Likey, Switch Offy! Two words...Paddy McGuiness!"
  • "Despite me placing it in here, I still find it compulsive viewing."

3 Magic Numbers

Only just getting more votes than the previous entries, it's the live Saturday night show that's nothing like Talking Telephone Numbers except for basically being Talking Telephone Numbers but with very similar games each week. Promised big cash end game, embarrassingly failed to give any money away for the first fortnight. Probably raked in the cash from the premium rate calls though.

  • "Terribly lame, and not cast correctly at all. C'mon, the audience would never give Des O'Connor a standing ovation on entry, never mind Stephen Mulhern."
  • "Nahh - Talking Telephone Numbers for the mobile generation - and just as irriating as a load of the things going off in a packed train."
  • "Entirely dull, and had a dreadful and flawed endgame. If you want to do the whole phone number thing for the umpteenth time, then bring back Winning Lines, for goodness' sake."
  • "It's just Talking Telephone Numbers with the rules simplified so more people can phone in and lose."
  • "Remember when Saturday night telly used to be huge? When broadcasters would pump out massive shows with vibrant colours, huge sets, loud music, loud audiences, and a huge roster of star guests? Magic Numbers had none of these."

2 Push the Button

Apparently the second worst new show of last year which we feel is a bit harsh, but then it's not our choice. It's coming back in February for a second go. But what did you have to say? Not many of you left comments, but it picked up votes in a lot of ballots.

  • "This was a big mess. Ant and Dec's golden touch escaping them? Bring back Poker Face!!!!"
  • "It wasn't that bad, but people were expecting more."
  • "When Antan Dec can't make a format work, the format's wrong, it's as simple as that."

And that leaves just the one show left. What is the worst new show of 2010 as voted by you? We'll reveal the answer in five... four... three-and-a-half... three-and-a-quar screw this.

1 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow

Yes, this year's biggest loser is 101 Ways to Leave a Game Slow (our title) and it looks like Endemol's big Argentinian tower looks like more and more of a white elephant with each passing day. But what were you shouting after it as it bungees into the water?

  • "Poor man's Total Wipeout"
  • "Had one idea, and stretched out their five minutes into a whole series."
  • "I'll reveal my reason why in 5...(30 minutes later)...4. If they'd have scrapped the tediousness of it with just having the contestants ready to drop and just dropping the one who was wrong, it would have made the show better."
  • "My New Year's Joke: Steve Jones gives the best New Year's Eve parties. By the time he's finished counting in the New Year, it's March 4th."
  • "No. It was only 30 odd - and each one of those was repeated to us in 101 angles in time-padding slow motion."
  • "I tried watching a couple of episodes of this (purely for the purposes of this vote, you understand). Each time, I fell asleep waiting for something to happen, and I wasn't even tired when I started. This show is about as boring as a nighttime transatlantic flight. It's about as tedious as Radio 2 on a Sunday morning. It's about as insipid as clear soup. It's about as accurately named as mincemeat. It is, in short, one of the most spectacularly, unutterably, moronically, stupendously stupid, dull and wretched bits of television it has ever been my misfortune to encounter, and it's my firm view that everyone associated with the programme should be forced to watch every episode 100 times in slow motion in the company of Michael Winner while being repeatedly zapped with a cattle prod, and thereafter banned from having any role in any form of media ever again."

There were plenty of other comments, but they basically all did the counting down slowly thing.

The UKGameshows.com Golden Five of 2010

This is the big award as it's open to any game show that had at least one new episode broadcast in the UK during 2010. What has made the Golden Five this time round? 45 shows received nominations.

5 Pointless

Well up on last year's 9th position, Pointless has seen its audience growing this past year, and now attracts a very significant following of almost three million people in the afternoons.

  • "My choice of show of the year in this category. Format changes refreshed the show, and brought in questions that would not have been suitable in earlier iterations. A good series all around."
  • "Pointless has developed really well in the last year - Richard Osman really makes the show for me. His banter with Armstrong, who is a great host, works so well."
  • "This will never be a classic show, but it's fun and really interesting to watch, like a non-patronising QI. The format changes are unfortunate though."
  • "Even after format changes, this show is still brilliant, easy to play along and the choice of host in Alexander is spot on...Endemol strike again!"
  • "Doing better than it has any right to, mainly thanks to the hosting and a good idea at its heart. They do need to stop fiddling around with it, though, or they'll break it."

3= The Million Pound Drop Live, Deal or No Deal

We've already covered The Million Pound Drop Live, only to say that this year's top new format is this year's highest new entry in the Golden Five, possibly more interesting is that Deal or No Deal is actually up a place on last year. It's just had new titles and an expanded timeslot (which everyone suggests will be the make-or-break reason behind the show's success this year).

  • "The juggernaut rolls on after 5 years! And now the show has a sleek new opening sequence and board graphics, it'll most likely go on for at least a couple more years yet."
  • "Over 1,500 episodes and still watchable (although the stretch to 1 hour may hurt it more than keep the old gal alive)".
  • "With its inherent highs and lows, regular minor rule changes, even more regular personnel changes, and constant ethical question marks, all within the context of a headily addictive game, this show is just like following a football team."

2 The Cube

Mmm, it's dropped a spot on last year, but it's still resoundingly popular with the voters, and also the viewers (helped no doubt by being the lead-in to the ever popular The X Factor results show).

  • "Still sets the template for a high-stakes risk-reward game-show in many respects, but not quite the enduring classic I hoped it would be."
  • "Proper Sunday night viewing."
  • "The Sidetrack elimination was my favourite moment of 2010. God, I'm so macabre."
  • "Another great series, and by far the most interesting gameshow on British TV at the moment"
  • "OK, so nobody had to take their jeans off this year, but I still take my hat off. Schofield, the Voice, the Body and that imposing clear-walled cuboid itself have played an absolute blinder these last couple months... The Cube is an example of a TV show pretty much "getting it right". A good mix of games, just the right amount of emotional peril to keep the show engaging whilst also remaining light, and a genuinely fair mechanic - if you can do the challenge, you get the money, if you can't you don't."

And that just leave's 2010's UKGameshows.com's Golden Show which is with boring predictability...

1 Only Connect

...with the added hilarity of several people expecting it to win in a resigned fashion and then voting for it several times anyway. No longer having to share the top spot, the OC got over one-and-a-half times the vote of The Cube despite having about ten percent of its audience. But it is quality not quantity that counts (except in a poll where quantity tends to matter), and four series on it still has it by the bucketful:

  • "Becoming a bit of sacred cow amongst quizzers but only team quiz open to anyone. An object lesson for other broadcasters to embrace niche areas?"
  • "Yup, a double vote, mainly because it's the only eligible show I'll make sure never to miss (and not even tired old University Challenge now gets that honour). The questions are starting to get just a mite too obscure at times, and a bit too variable in difficulty terms too (the most recent final was a particular horror for this) but still: how many other shows on fairly obscure digital channels manage to pull down audiences of this level, get this many media references, and all that by asking very good contestants very hard questions? There's one reason for its success that mustn't be forgotten, though: Ms Coren, whom I think can now lay claim to succeeding Joan Bakewell as "the thinking man's crumpet"."
  • "Must-see tv at its most challenging. Fantastic."
  • "Two words...Victoria Coren!"
  • "Thirty-two new episodes this year, plus welcome repeats of the first two series meant that Victoria and the Greek letters were a staple of the channel's diet. BBC4's biggest hit series ever, if I'm not very much mistaken."

Bubbling Under: 6 The Chase, 7 University Challenge, 8 QI, 9 Big Brother (includes votes for Ultimate Big Brother), 10 Countdown.

And if we go down one other place we'll find last year's number three Accumulate, and one place further still for The Apprentice (we lumped votes in for Junior Apprentice in with that as well). Of last year's Bubbling Unders, Total Wipeout and The X Factor are joint 20th and The Krypton Factor joint 34th.

If you would like to see the percentages or have a chat about the results, Bother's Bar has all the statistics right here.

It leaves us to thank everyone very much for voting, and to hope for a much more interesting 2011!


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