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In terms of people talking about it "The Weakest Link" is right up there with "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire", and considering the difference in possible prize money (£1M against £20,000) that says a lot for the quality of the show hosted by Anne Robinson.
Having heard all the hype I have tuned into the Champions League series running during weekday evenings on BBC1, and I have to admit to being hooked. The main talking point of the show is Robinson's catchphrase, "You are the weakest link, goodbye!", which either infuriates or amuses viewers. I have to admit to being amused by it, and by now the contestants should be expecting it. The saying has now become a popular insult, and was even used by Tony Blair in the House of Commons towards the end of last year.
The basic premise of the show is that you start with eight contestants who build up prize money depending upon the number of questions they get right in a row. They can bank that total whenever they choose to, but should they get an answer wrong the money which they have reached to that point will be lost. At the end of each round the team votes off who they believe to be the poorest player (or weakest link) and this goes on until there are only two players left. They have a round to themselves just to accumulate more money and then each answer five questions, with the overall winner being the one who answers more of their five questions correctly. The winner gets all the money the team collected, everyone else walks away empty handed!
It makes for pretty nasty play at times. While Anne Robinson can be fairly curt the arrogance of some of the contestants is amazing (Robinson has been quoted as saying that is why she is so rude to them), and the number of times the really annoying contestants win is amazing (yes Steve the bailiff, that includes you!). After a player is voted off as the weakest link they are interviewed, and while some players are gracious upon departure some people are more vocal in displaying their bitter feelings!
Anne Robinson really does make the show work, although she annoys a lot of people by being as rude as she appears to be. However I think that it is all for show, as on occasions you do see her display slight sympathy for wrongly nominated weakest links. And don't think we miss that wink at the end of the show either, because we've all seen it!
The BBC was almost forced into putting the show on at prime time because it was so successful in a daytime slot (when the potential prize money is smaller). It seems like the prime-time slot also includes a few extra perks, as on the one occasion that I saw the daytime version the contestants had grotty dry-wipe boards instead of electronic screens to use to nominate their choice as the weakest link!
The show is highly enjoyable, slyly addictive and very successful. From what I have seen on Ceefax it appears at the moment that the BBC are looking to sell the show's format to American television companies, so it appears that we have another in-demand product on our screens (and to think America gave us "Wheel of Fortune" - that is not really a fair swap, is it?). Hopefully with the revenue that the BBC brings in from the show they will be able to afford the electronic screens for the daytime shows as well!
I saw a great celebrity weakest link on BBC2 tonight!
Sid76 09.03.2001 22:16
I feel i should point out that the review is suppose to be on the smaller version as you called it, but there basically the same anyway so never mind. I am also quite suprised you found it dramatic, i think that's one of the things it lacks. Good opinion though.
starry 20.01.2001 18:23
I find it all quite amusing especially the way that everyone takes it all so seriously. They should know what kind of treatment to expect from Anne Robinson by now.