First things first - here's my recap of the ISIHAC episode broadcast July 5:
Opening: “We present I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, the antidote to panel games. At the piano is Colin Sell and your chairman is Jack Dee.”
Recorded at: Sands Center, Carlisle
Panelists: On Jack’s left, Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden. On Jack’s right, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Sandi Toksvig.
Scorer: “And please welcome the lovely lady who will be sitting on my left hand for the evening, the delightful Samantha.”
Game One: A repeat of the Movie Prequels game from episode one. “Hello Mr. Chips,” “Schindler’s Search For Pen And Paper,” “I Wish Those Lambs Would Shut Up”… you get it. I’m assuming the giant kitten joke in Jack’s introduction to the game is a reference to something...anybody know what?
Game Two: One Song To The Tune Of Another
No, still no lengthy explanation. Tim sings the words of the theme to Bob The Builder to the tune of the Habanera from Carmen…and yes, that’s the bit of the opera you’re thinking of.
Game Three: One pair of panelists tells a well-known story while the other pair plays random sound effects (at equally random intervals) that the first pair must incorporate.
Game Four: A game that seems to be played nearly every show – the panelists must play continuity announcers introducing TV and radio shows picked solely on the basis of a catchy title.
Game Five: One pair of panelists has an unusual medical condition (shown to the audience via the laser display board) that they must convey to the other pair (who are playing doctors) by asking questions about it.
Game Six: Hardware And DIY Songbook
Closing: “Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Sandi Toksvig were being given silly things to do by Jack Dee, with Colin Sell setting some of them to music. The program consultant was Iain Pattinson, and the producer was Jon Naismith.”
OK, now for the big news. After weeks of fruitless searching, I finally found the answer by tracking down the show's Facebook page. The Australian version of Countdown, titled Letters And Numbers, will premiere on August 2. The host will be Australian newscaster Richard Morecroft, the Numbers judge will be Lily Serna and the Letters judge will be David Astle.
Countdown, as I've said, is a format that originated in France. The French title is Des Chiffres Et Des Lettres, which translates to Letters And Numbers...I'm going to stick with calling it Countdown. It's a word game, a lot like Scrabble...but unlike Scrabble, it's never going to be known in America. It really pains me to say that, but I know it's true. It would never work in America...unless you put the Scrabble name on it.
It is now that I start begging: come on, The Hub! I hate to say this to you, but Pictureka just sounds like a revival of Finders Keepers and Family Game Night...can you honestly think of a lamer idea for a game show than "Families play mini-games based on various Hasbro games"? Just do Scrabble. I don't care how you do it. It can be like Countdown, it can be like the board game Scrabble, it can be like the game show Scrabble (which was an excellent game show despite having little to do with the board game)...heck, you can make up a messy kids game show and call it Scrabble for all I care. I really, really want some sort of recognition of this sort of word game on American television. You're a new, unknown cable channel. You can't afford big prizes. Why not make a virtue of that? Countdown never has prizes!
OK, no more begging...no more to say either, really. I'll try to track down an episode of Letters And Numbers so I can give my review. Next week: more ISIHAC and a review of World's Wackiest Game Shows.
Like I said, the former should be part of the latter.