So, here are two things I have learnt over the last week.
First, TV presenter Richard Madeley does not like it when people start sentences with the word “So”. It was a featured item on Jeremy Vine’s show on BBC Radio 2 last week. As you may know, the show runs from 12 noon until 2pm Monday to Friday and generally covers four items each day. The main focus is news and current affairs, and listeners are encouraged to contact the show to give their opinions. Unfortunately, many of them do. So, when a scientist who has dedicated her life to studying climate change presents her findings, there will be no shortage of non-scientists who have not studied climate change ready to offer their opinions.
The episode in which Richard Madeley expresses his opinion about the word “So” can be found here for the next 23 days (it expires on 10 September 2021). I couldn’t bring myself to listen to it, but don’t let that stop you. I have noticed for many years that contestants on quiz shows often introduce themselves with the word “So”. It happens most noticeably on BBC1’s tea-time offering “Pointless”. A typical example would be: “So, Alexander, my name’s Will, and I’m currently a first-year student at …”
Speaking of quiz shows, the second thing I learnt this week is that the current host of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”, Jeremy Clarkson, claims never to have heard of “Tenable”, Anne Hegerty or Adil Ray. Here, word for word, is a £4,000 question from the show broadcast last Saturday (14 August 2021):
“Since 2016, who has hosted the TV game show that requires teams of five to name items in top 10 lists?”
A Warwick Davis / B Phillip Schofield / C Adil Ray / D Anne Hegerty
“Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” is broadcast on ITV, as it has been since it first appeared in 1998. The four names offered as answers have all presented other shows on ITV. The contestant worked his way through all four of his lifelines to get to the correct answer. He said that he thought the show was “Family Fortunes” but he wasn’t sure. He used his “Ask the Host” lifeline and Clarkson agreed it probably was “Family Fortunes”, but said that he didn’t have a clue, and that he’d never heard of Adil Ray or Anne Hegerty. The current series of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” was filmed without a live audience, so the “Ask the Audience” option is no longer available. Contestants get two “Phone-a-Friend” lifelines instead.
After asking Clarkson, this contestant, stumped on his £4,000 question, used his first “Phone-a-Friend”. He thought that the correct answer was probably Phillip Schofield, but he wasn’t sure. The contestant then used 50/50 and was left with Warwick Davis and Anne Hegerty. His second “Phone-a-Friend” guessed that it was Warwick. And so it was, and all four lifelines were used up.
“Ask the Audience”, if it had been available, would undoubtedly have offered the right answer, and wouldn’t have been in any way dismissive of the presenters and their shows. Clarkson, unsurprisingly, was dismissive of all of them. When the correct answer was revealed, the contestant asked, “What is that show?” Clarkson read from his screen, and said something along the lines of, “It’s called Tenable, apparently, and it’s hosted by Warwick Davis”. He then read that “Five Gold Rings” and “The Cube” are both presented by Phillip Schofield and “Lingo” is hosted by Adil Ray. And his gestures and facial expressions suggested that he couldn’t be expected to know, or care, about these things. Anne Hegerty presents “Britain’s Brightest Family”, although she is best known to most of us for appearing on “The Chase”, as The Governess.
You might think that the presenter of a quiz show on ITV would have a passing knowledge of or interest in other ITV game shows and quiz shows. Apparently not, not even for a show that has been broadcast most weekdays at 3pm for nearly five years. Perhaps “Tenable” could conduct a survey to find a Top 10 list of people better suited to hosting “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” The list might include Warwick Davis, Adil Ray and Anne Hegerty. If someone else were given the job, my mate Mike could start watching it again. He refuses to watch the show while Jeremy Clarkson is hosting it.