Welcome to donduk. A refuge for those who enjoy Deal or No Deal, the hit Channel 4 gameshow hosted by Noel Edmonds. The award winning gameshow Deal or No Deal has become a big hit for Channel 4 and marks a sensational return to our screens of Noel Edmonds.

Deal or No Deal is enjoyed my millions of viewers daily, where the contestants battle with The Banker to try and win a jackpot of £250,000. Here at donduk you will find full daily reports of each show, as well Deal or No Deal news and specials. Deal or No Deal although initially appearing very simple in format of just opening a few boxes for the chance to win some big money prizes, actually has some potentially complex decisions to be made at points throughout the show, the contestants occasionally try complex or simple gameplay in an attempt to give them an edge in beating the Banker.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Janet won £1

Where does he get his shirts from? Noel summarised Lucy's game from yesterday as 10p for every show she had been on - £5. As opposed to Aaron, Lucy had not known when to deal - in spectacular fashion.

Today it was Janet. She wanted a Gin and Tonic, and her aim was to bankrupt the banker. A voluptous woman, she had 'the life and soul of any party' written across her forehead (metaphorically speaking). An amateur dramatist, she brought a picture of herself as a nun - I have no idea why. Giving the banker too much information she went on to explain she advertisd for a man in uniform, went on a blind date with a fireman and ended up marrying him two years later. Her advert had cost £1 - 'the best pound I ever spent'.

Round one: Fadil had box 13, Janet decided to get superstition out of the way early - it was £50. Cathy had box 15 and it had 1p. Referring to Sarah's pretzel, Janet selected Johnnie's box 8 - £15,000. 'The new guy', Richard, was next - he had £250. This was a good first round - finishing up with JT and £750. The banker offered £6100, reflecting the board's strength, the power five were still intact. Noel tried to keep Janet's feet on the ground 'it is £6000 more than Lucy left with yesterday'.

Round two: She went for her joker Steve, she had been playing with him since they first met - £75,000. Gabrielle and box 15 was next - £50,000, another large red, this was ominous. The break delayed John from opening box 5 - it evetually revealed £500. The bankers offer was £2300, a drop of £3800. Janet the actress was moving through her repertoire, Noel was in the supporting role as ever, between them morale was kept high - 'No Deal'.

Round three: Dave opened £20,000, 'oooo' from the crowd, just like the Zulus at Rourk's Ridge. Pete £35,000, another 'oooo', and, despite a panic'd Noel predicting another large red, Julia opened £3000. Noel imitated the banker - it sounded like Churchill - 'never had so many won so much...' - but surely this was Dunkerque, not the Battle of Britain. However the offer was £7000, this despite a pure red round. Janet was pleasantly surprsied (so was I). The contestants advised Janet to go on. In her head she could hear her mother shouting to take the money, and her husband saying do what you want - she was racked with indecision - she went to contestant Jim who said go on, so she did.

Round four: Gary opened 50p, the crowd cheered, then Pat drew £10,000, somebody in the audience started to clap but it tailed off quickly. Janet was struggling to find the next player, it was clear that nothing was coming to her mind. She eventually picked Linda, 'you don't want to change your mind?', asked Noel, 'No I have her lucky vest on'. Linda and Janet had swapped underwear before the show got underway proper, (that could boost ratings if it were ever needed). After the break Linda delivered £10. The offer was £14,000 - 'Wow' said Janet. She decided to ask the 'intelligent' side (the west side), it was roughly split 50/50. 'But some of them know me well, and some of them not so well', said Janet without further clarification. Noel offered to check the audience 'people who did not know her at all', she firmly said 'No thank you'. The question was asked, and she looked as if she was going to give in, but from somewhere she found 'No Deal'. The lure of the 250k and 100k were just too strong.

Round five: The gorgeous Helen opened £100. Janet shut her eyes and went for Massimo who explained that they were both wearing blue tops, indicating that this was a good sign - it turned out to be a meaningless sign - he opened £100,000. Panic now, she had to avoid the big one, scrambling she went for Kirsty, Noel's voice rising to a shrill as he commanded 'it musn't be the two fifty'. But it was. Janet's head was now in her hands - she was looking at a top prize of £5000. The banker offered £400 - and the true shock suddenly hit home. 'Are you sure?' she was incredulous. 'No Deal', cheeks reddenning, a mixture of anger and embarrassment.

Round six: Jim opened 10p, and the crowd clapped politely. Noel demanded that they become more positive so the noise level went up. James opened £1000. At this point we were left with two £1, £5 and the £5000. Again she was indecisive, it took an age and then she went for Sandra. 'Don't worry darling, whatever it is, it doesn't matter', but as she said this her voice tailed away to nothing because Sandra was opening her box and Janet had caught sight of the red - £5000. Silence echoed through the studio, then murmurs as the vacuum needed to be filled. Two shows in a row; it was like going for a cruise on Titanic's sister ship and hitting the same iceberg.

Was this the same audience as yesterday? How much pain can a studio audience take?

Janet opted to open her own box - and inevitably it contained £1. Unbelievably, Lucy had done 5 times better than Janet. An even sadder fact was that Lucy had been left with little option but to continue throughout her game because of the very low banker's offers - however Janet had £14,000 placed into her hand at the end of round four, if only she had made a fist then and held on to the money.

Was Fate talking to Janet? The advert for her husband had been the best £1 she had ever spent - today's £1 must surely be the worst she had ever earned. Maybe the message was that she had reached her quota of luck the first time. The program finished quietly, with Janet in shock - this game is not about life-changing amounts of money, but simply about life-changing moments. I wonder, are contestants offered counselling?

This blog and Lucy

Over the past four weeks the number of visitors to this blog has doubled roughly every three days, by Wednesday we were just over 14,000 per day. Yesterday we had 15,326 visitors in the hour immediately following publication of Lucy's game report.(How do I know this? Have a look at this tool.)

The TV ratings for that show must be through the roof = I wonder who the new Lucy is going to be?

Its how you play the game

I went to Las Vegas once, its something I think everybody should do ...once. I was working in LA, so for the weekend I put $1000 in my back pocket and took a cheap flight across to the gambling capital of the world. The flight was crowded with like minded people, an air of excitement, anticipation, energy; the stranger sitting beside me kept saying 'No guts, no glory'.

I arrived on the strip in late evening, and having got my bearings, I entered the Grand Met Hotel. The whole ground floor was a sea of roulette/blackjack/craps tables. I had not booked a room, my intention was to play with the money I had and then return win or lose, 24 hours later - I could sleep when I got back to LA.

This was my first time in a casino, everything was alien, and very crowded. I decided to watch from the corner at a blackjack table. The dealer slapped cards in front of a group of jaded, blood-shot-eyed players, and then waited impatiently for each to play or stand. It seemed clear to me that there must be a skill to this game as a number of the players tisked, tutted, groaned, shook their heads, and thumped the table when the player nearest me apparently chose the wrong move - which he seemed to do quite often. There seemed to be more skill involved with blackjack than roulette; afterall, who could predict where the ball was going to land?

So I stood and watched, and I began to learn. I discovered that the drinks and sandwiches were free, but the waitresses required to be tipped more than the cost of a three course meal. I learned about chips, and I learned enough about blackjack to feel that I could play. Approximately an hour after walking in the door, I sat down, gingerly placing a hundred dollar bill on the green, and then it was gone - replaced by ten bits of coloured plastic. I had heard about a strategy for blackjack which I was going to try - it seemed foolproof. I would bet a dollar, if I lost I would double my bet. I would keep doing this until I won, and when I did eventually win I would have gained one dollar. Of course I knew that the sums involved could get very high if I lost too many times in a row, but the dealer seemed to go bust at least once in every 5 plays which I felt was an acceptable risk.

Within 3 hours I had lost my last dollar. Early on I had become aware that my plan was failing, there was an inevitability to my situation which set in around the halfway stage, and when it came to my final bet, I had absolutely no expectation, or even hope, of winning. I spent the last of my money in the same way that I might finish writing a sentence before stopping for tea. The floor was clearing slightly by this point as it was at least 2.00 am, but the casino operated 24 hours of everyday, which was good as I needed somewhere warm to stay until the time came to WALK to the airport.

I had deliberatly ring-fenced my position - I had taken an amount of money which was not going to affect my life significantly, I had bought a return flight ticket and pre-paid the carpark charges at LAX. Now I was broke, but I felt like a journalist in a war-zone, watching death and misery all around me and knowing that in a few hours I would be getting back to normality - I was bullet-proof.

Through a smokey blanket that seemed to hover around throat level, I could just make out the stranger who sat beside me on the flight from LA - he was at the other end of the hall. This man was in his late fifties, he had been smoking too many cigarettes for too many years, his wrinkled face set in Wyoming, his voice a mixture of John Wayne and Jack Daniels. He was sitting alone with the dealer at a blackjack table, piles of chips stacked into columns in front of him. As I drew closer it became clear that the stranger was from a different league - a different world - each chip was $1000. He acknowledge my presence with a nod, the dealer scrutinised me for a second and then returned to his cards.

Over the next two hours I watched in stunned silence, and growing incredulity, as this man moved more and more of his chips across to the dealers side of the table. The dealers came and went, and the floor continued to empty, no-one else came to the table. Occasionally he won a game, but his reaction was the same win or lose. Finally it came down to his last $5000, he looked across at me, and for the only time, I saw him smile. He pushed across the final stack. He drew two cards and then a third to give him 20. He had won with 20 before, but the female dealer was sitting on a face card. She turned over her second card to reveal an ace and the stranger rose from his chair in the same moment. He let out a long slow sigh. As he moved away from the table he stopped at my shoulder, his voice creaking through the smoke, 'my wife died last month, its time to move on'. He nodded across to the table he'd just left - 'that was my house'. And then he left.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lucy won £5

Rumour control has suggested for a couple of weeks that today it would be Lucy – so now we would find out. It WAS Lucy – everyone loves Lucy. (Actually, a lot of women out there are not so keen, but don't worry Lucy, that's only 50% of the population, the other 50% want you to have their babies.)

Lucy required Noel to walk her down the aisle to the hot seat. She had been waiting for fifty shows, and as she sat down she remarked about it being her last – ‘its a shame’. Endemol have now given up all pretence of the player selection being random, John G and Fin had been invited back to be with her as they had become mates, Fin had won £10,000, but John G had a nightmare, he only won £10. Lucy Harrington is a police support worker in Bristol, dressed in a romper suit, she looked like a grown up version of Annie, but with black hair. Throughout it all she had managed not to personalise the game, and as far as the banker was concerned she was still an enigma.

Round one: James first with 10p, followed by Gabriellle with £15,000, ‘thats alright’ said Lucy, but her cool was slipping. Pat made things worse with £75,000, you could see it coming and when it arrived it was Gary - £250,000. ‘Oh my God’, said Lucy. ‘lets start again, no-one at home need ever know, and we’ll know where they all are – we’ll have a wicked game’, but you can’t turn back time, and Lucy was where she was. £250 to finish the round. A terrible first round, and some of Lucy’s sparkle had gone, even the TV make-up could not hide reddening cheeks beneath. The banker phoned, he had left a token of his esteem for Lucy under the desk, a little red box with her name inside it, and a hand-written note. Lucy worried about the banker because there had been so much negative energy directed towards him – apparently he agreed; he was losing his hair, and then Lucy cut him off, ‘he got a bit dodgy’. The banker offered £50, clearly he was not worried by Lucy. Now Lucy had often couselled other players to concentrate, but was she concentrating? Fin advised her to shut her eyes, clear her mind and wait until a contestants name came to her – she decided this was the way forward.

Round two: Helen opened 1p, then Pete revealed £100. John would open his box after the break – it was £50. An all blue round to return the board to balance, the £100,000 was still in play. Lucy talked about how sad it would be for her to return to ‘the real world’, but I suspect Lucy’s version of reality is just that bit different. The banker offered £6050. Aaron’s calculation mechanism (from yesterday's game) would suggest the offer was a bit low - the mean at this point was just over £16000. Lucy said ‘No Deal’.

Round three: Lucy forgot Fin’s advice, she quickly went to Jim hoping for 50p, it was £100,000 – the face was falling quickly now, self doubt creeping in ‘I’m not very good at this, am I?’ Noel said, you will get 50p at one end, on your 50th show, you’ll get the £50,000 at the other end. Lucy laughed at his scenario, ‘Its all a set up’. The 50p was next, maybe it was a set-up? But then fate stepped in; JT confidently opened the last box of the round only to reveal the £50,000. Step by step Lucy was having to reduce her ambitions, she had gone through 50 shows, and now she had to be asking herself if it was really worth it? The offer was £1800, the background music was not helping, a funeral would have been happier. Lucy started to work on her morale, finding strength from somewhere, talking up the £35,000 and £20,000. She said ‘no deal’ and the audience cheered.

Round four: £1000 from Fadil, it was OK but Lucy, still in shock, talking robotically, asked Janet to open her box, it was £10. The mood finally lifting, she closed her eyes and then decided on Linda, but we would have to wait until after the break to find out if this was indeed a recovery. On the return it was £3000. The banker phoned immediately, ‘a horrible twisted mind’ according to Noel, the banker saying that he was trying to send negative energy to Lucy, offering £3000. ‘I work around negative energy all day, I’m pretty good at deflecting it’. John G said to ‘push on’ – Lucy turned to the audience, ‘It is the right decison isn’t it? No deal’ – big eyes, a picture of perfect innocence, hmmm.

Round five: Massimo showed £1, Pat had £750, and despite a build up from Noel, Steve opened £20,000. ‘It could have been worse’, but Lucy didn’t quite see it that way. Noel worked hard on raising her chin, he gave the receiver to Lucy so that she could speak to the banker. The offer was £7500. Fin and John G both advised her to take the money – ‘remember what happened to me’, said John G. Lucy looked at them, she looked around the studio ‘I can’t believe I am going to say this, I have had the best time ever – No Deal’. Good for you Lucy!

Round six: Julia has had high numbers most of the time, Lucy confirmed this with her and still decided to choose her, in complete silence the lid went up to reveal the £35,000. Nobody was saying a word, Lucy was now as white as a sheet, racing to find words, mumbling about the £5000 and £10,000 still being there – Sandra next, £500. She thought hard and went for Kirsty - £5000, ‘No’ said Noel quickly, he must have seen the red and thought it was the £10k. However the £10k was still in play, the problem was that it was up against £5. The offer was £2500. A look of mischief came across Lucy – she wanted a cut from each of the others if she lost now, again telegraphing what she was going to do – this was gutsy. ‘No deal’. She was now very excited, a lot of tension in the studio. The banker offered the swap and added that the show was going to be a lot poorer without her, them and her both. ‘I’m gonna stick with my box, and I want Fin to open it’. Fin came down, and without much ceremony he opened it – it was £5!!

Car crash TV! The most popular contestant in the series so far (vote for Lucy), and she ended up with peanuts. John G had been in the audience, maybe that was a sign? This has to be a tough experience for anyone, especially when they have invested so much time and energy into the game. Noel suggested that we may see more of Lucy, she had made a big impression during the show, and maybe her career was about to take a new direction – I hope so, Everybody Loves Lucy ...or rather Everybody Loved Lucy!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Aaron on the end of the party

Aaron responded to our request for contestant's reactions on leaving the show:

"Well, depending on when you play, you get to watch 0/1/2 more shows that day from a studio room - and then you go back to the hotel to celebrate / commiserate; all departing contestants give a brief speech as well.

I actually went back the next day to pick up my clothes (since I was driving this was much easier; those who came by public transport usually took their stuff back on the coach to the hotel) and the production crew generously let me (and tomorrow's contestant) watch Friday's show.

Then it was finally time to go; and yes, when I got home, it did feel a bit "empty" - it was difficult to talk to other people about the show on the same level that you had enjoyed with your fellow contestants.

To be honest though, it was the "dark week" off (between Nick & Bob's shows) that was hardest - the adrenaline was still pumping and I kept waking up early thinking about DoND!"

Many thanks Aaron.

Aaron won £25,000

The opening credits, Noel giving the standard phrase just like Captain Kirk annoucing his log, finally Edmonds look into the camera, pauses, raises an eyebrow,''...or no deal?'.

Noel asked why was DOND definitely not a game show?
There were no qustions or answers except one.
No points on a scoreboard
No long legged nubile hostes flirting outrageously with the host (at least not on the UK version Noel, have a chat with Howie Mandell - US Version - maybe he will lend you a couple?)

Finally Aaron got the call, he's been there almost as long as Lucy, but with a much lower profile. He is a bookmaker, an online poker player, he understands the odds. He was open to a deal, and he had just made the banker very clear on Aaron's ability to understand what was the right price. It is also clear from his entries on this blog that Aaron understands game playing.

Again a call for noise from the crowd, Aaron turned to the audience and asked for them to be as loud as possible. This was new territory for Aaron, he did not come across as one of life's extroverts, but he explained that during his time on DOND he had come to appreciate the power of positive thought...Jim came to mind, hopefully there would be no repetition of that maddness.

Round one: A different Jim to start, Aaron picked him to steady Jim's nerves, but Aaron seemed without nerves except when addressing the audience - £100. Julia was next on the basis that the top prize would not be in box 22 two days in a row, he was right - £750. To follow John opened box 17 to give £10. This was shaping up nicely. Noel then gave the kiss of death by pointing out how well it was going, but Pat opened box 20 to show the 1p - which just underlines Aaron's comment on Monday's blog (superstitious nonsense). Fadil was last in the round and a historic milestone was finally passed, the first all blue Round One - it was £50. The banker called this his 'unfolding nightmare', and asked to speak to the player. Aaron referred to the banker as 'Sir', always a good move that. The opening offer had to be the highest ever, it turned out to be £6000 higher than any previous opening offer - £15,000. Aaron pretended to think about it but he took milli-seconds to make the calculation - no deal.

Round two: box 3 by Massimo - £500, another blue. Lucy opened 10p, people were beginning to laugh hysterically, including Aaron - seven blues in a row. Aaron brought everyone back to reality 'the next box could be the £250,000 and undo all the good work'. Kirsty was going to be next, but not until after the break. The board now was a massive red column, with 4 blues on the other side. Kirsty on the return opened £10,000. Noel was at least as excited as Aaron should have been. The banker rang and rang before eventually being answered, Noel then taunting him as if there was nothing to fear. The second offer was £30,000, this was a brave new world - Aaron surely had to think. The average was £40,000, so - he asked the crowd 'would any of you deal?'. Noel tackled an impoverished student - 'would you really deal at this point'. Aaron tried to be rational, but the board was puling him, there was no way he was going to deal, even though his girlfriend pointed out that there were only 4 reds above the offer. From yesterday's game we know that Aaron would gamble when a lot of others might 'deal'

Round three. Pat opened box number 12 - £5000, Cathy looked glum, she opened £35,000 - was the game 'starting to slip away' wondered Noel. Gabrielle opened box 15 - it was the £250,000. A bullet between the eyes might have had less effect - Aaron sucked his cheeks - 'I am not going to be winning that then'. But Aaron's eyes hinted at the blow he had just received. The banker offered £12,000, Aaron reckoned that was around half of the average of the boxes left - 'No Deal'.

Round four: 'Lots of noise if its blue' said Aaron, his voice containing a new, nervous tone. Pete opened box 4, we were back to blue - £250 - the audience cheered. Aaron was stronger now, he pointed to Johnnie who opened £5, and Aaron, now acting as if the firing squad had been called off at the last moment, picked Sandra, his voice back to full strength. After the break, Sandra opened £1000 - the board now contained two blues and six reds including £50,000, £75,000 and £100,000 - Aaron showed just how in control he was, he had calculated in a moment that the average was £33,000. It was in fact £32,875.19. The banker stated that he was never going to offer the mean, but he did offer £25,000, the second highest offer of the game. Aaron was clearly thinking about this - he wrote down the next six numbers that he would have picked, stating that he didn't yet know what he was going to do, but this was shaping up to be a deal. He called down his girlfriend - she seemed keener to go on than him. The audience were asked if he should deal, less than ten said yes - 'its not your money' said Aaron. Noel asked the question - and Aaron said 'Deal'. People, including Noel were astonished, this was hardly an historic game?

Round five: James opened £1, Janet's box had £15,000 and Linda revealed £100,000. Aaron was happy, convinced the offer would have gone down, prepared to ignore a higher offer on the grounds that it would have been to rile Aaron. The offer was indeed less - £18,000.

Round six: JT opened £3,000, Gary showed £50,000 and Steve £75,000. He had done it! Aaron was leaping for joy. Two numbers left on the board - £20,000 and 50p. The offer was £6000, he said he would have gone on, but he didn't need to make that decision.

Aaron had dealt at exactly the right time (ignoring the offer at the end of round two), and he had shown that there really is a skill to this game, almost no-one else in the studio felt he should have dealt when he did - but he was absolutely right. And Noel was right afterall, in its own way it had been historic, Aaron had played brilliantly. I suspect that, even though other people have won more, this was the best game we have seen yet.

Now the party is over...

I wonder what its like to leave DOND? There you are show after show, riding the rollercoaster, getting to know each of your fellow contestants, saying goodbye to a different one at the end of each show, and then meeting a new one, until finally its your turn to play. Suddenly its all over, you have to leave. The cameras have gone, Noel is just an image on your TV screen, there are no more trips to hotels and restaurants; the storm has passed and normality has been restored.

I know Aaron reads this blog from time to time, so does Geordie, and I am pretty sure a few of the other contestants do too - why don't you write in and tell us what thats like?


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bob won £27,000

Tuesday's DOND, subtitled 'Bob Battles Banker'. An ex-military man, he looked like Wallace and talked like a civilised Bernard Manning, he had been in hospital some weeks earlier though we were not going to find out why. Bob explained that as his wife couldn't he there, he had a lock of the horse's tail, 'because it was a lucky horse'. Bob had an easy nature which the audience warmed to immediately - there were a lot of people wanting him to do well - hospital always gets the sympathy vote.

Round one: His hospital bed was number 21 so he started with that, James opened £100. Staying with Plan A Sandra opened £100,000, not good, so Bob opted for Plan B, he looked across to Lucy. Lucy's 48th show, 'its all I have left in my life now', there are a lot of people who would like to change that Lucy! Everyone loves Lucy. She opened £1000, closely followed by £3000, and the final box of the round from JT contained £100. The banker offered £900, a very low offer considering the board, 'derisory' said Noel, 'No Deal' said Bob.

Round two: £50,000 from Cathy, Bob was completely unflustered by this despite Noel's concerns, he simply moved across to the other wing. Johnnie looked very smart, an ex-military speculated Bob, 'straight from the charity shops of Bristol' said Johnnie as heo opened £15,000, another red. After the break Steve opened £35,000 - three reds, a disastrous round.'Its a good job the £250,000 is sat right there' said Bob in best accent pointing at the box in front of him. 'This offer is to silence all you fools' said Noel quoting an unusually offensive banker - £350. The banker was playing Bob the way he played Geordie, who had also come to the show from a hospital bed. 'No Deal', said Bob.

Round three: Bob called for a quick round; Pete opened £10, Gabrielle 10p, Janet £10,000 - no 10 anythings left. The banker was fighting the whole room now, Noel threw down the receiver in mock-contempt, but related a £7000 offer. The board contained 7 blues, against 4 reds. Lucy advised that it was 'crunch time in a way... it was a good offer..and if turned down, then the banker might return to mind games...'. There was a growing momentum from contestants and audience alike, Bob should deal - this offer was 20 times higher than the last one. Bob was ready for the question, he'd been in tougher scrapes - 'No Deal'. He had just turned up the heat, the audience applauded their support, and Noel took control to get on with business, next round.

Round four: New girl Pat was next. In her excitement (everyone was excited now) she went to open before getting the go ahead from Noel - he roared across the floor to stop her - the audience laughed at her startled reaction, and probably in response to the break in tension. She had £750. Aaron wished Bob luck and opened £250. Find the blue Bob. He chose Jim, but we would have to wait until after the break to see the result. Returning, Noel built up the moment, was this the pivotal round? Yes it was, Jim had 1p. The board was now balanced, 4 reds against 4 blues. The banker offered £18,500, he was now playing ball, but Bob was playing for higer stakes - 'No Deal'. Could this be pivotal for the wrong reasons?

Round five: £50, the audience shouting his name as if he was drinking a yard of beer. £20,000 - the crowd groaned but Noel was positive, and so was Bob, he went to the beautiful Helen - £5. Cheers echoed around the studio, Bob waving his lucky horse hair. Noel spent a while chatting to the banker, but Bob was chewing his lip, looking to the lights; the barrage had ended, would this be the time to negotiate an honourable truce. The offer when it came was £27,000, a gorgeous blonde shouted 'No Deal'. The audience were polled, asked to stand if they felt he should deal - around half of them did. Noel went to suggest that rewards were for the brave, a strong push on Bob to keep going - what was Bob going to do? But Bob's eyes had no fight left, he said 'I think I have made my decision', the first time he had faltered during the game. Tears in his eyes, biting his lip, trying to control his voice - 'Deal'. The banker had finally found Bob's price.

Round six: £75,000, £5000, and Pat opened £1. Had Bob got the £250,000 in his box? The banker would have offered £85,000. Noel opened Bob's box to reveal ... £250,000. A lot of players don't really care what is in their box after calling 'Deal', but this was different. Bob had the opportunity to win the war, but had settled for a lesser victory.

Rule 1 - always go with the gorgeous blonde.

Separated by a common language - Part 2

Hey there - I'm planning on being a regular contributor analysing game statistics on a week-by-week basis. My starting position is that (like Poker for instance) the numbers in the boxes (or the cards in your hand) aren't that important, it's the contestants' response to them that counts...

However, more of that as the weeks go on. Having just come back from a very pleasant week in the US with Mrs. Adie, and to start contributing sooner rather than later, I thought the UK readers of this blog would like a first hand review of the US version, which believe me is very different...

[Check out randomthought's post for video clips of the US show]

1) THE SHOW - has been showing regularly since the beginning of the year, twice a week only (Mondays & Friday nights in primetime), though they had a "Special" show midweek while we were there. The show lasts an hour, but almost 20 minutes of this is ads of course...

2) THE HOST - stand-up comedian Howie Mandel. He also acts (some might remember him from "St. Elsewhere") and was the "voice" of Gizmo in the "Gremlins" movies. He's a hipper presence than our Noel, very overtly on the player's side, but tends to have far shorter conversations with The Banker, just long enough to get the offer and little more.

2) THE BANKER - he's actually visible, albeit as a silhouette in a booth way above the playing area. In a nice touch he's surrounded by big plasma screens full of ever-changing graphs and numbers, as if to indicate the whole of NASA is helping him calculate his offers, which are actually more generous than the UK Banker's offers, at least in the early stages of the game (but that's possibly a function of having a higher top prize.)

3) THE PRIZES - $1,000,000 top prize (about £570,000 in "real" money at time of writing)

4) THE BOXES - actually steel briefcases, 26 of them, opened 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 at a time with an offer after each

5) THE CONTESTANTS - we only meet them one at a time each show. In what I think is a fatal error, we don't get to know the contestants over a period of weeks (or months in Lucy's case!) so there's no emotional buy-in to seeing a favourite player beating (or taking a beating from) The Banker... instead we have a host of glamour models holding & opening the cases (what is the collective noun for glamour models by the way? A Whoop? A Phlange? A Moss?)

6) THE AUDIENCE - a huge audience (compared to the UK) endlesly screaming for a "no deal", plus 3 selected friends/family members in a special enclosure the contestant can call on for advice.

7) THE DEAL - you push a big glowing red button to take the deal - to turn it down you cover the button with a handy little glass covering.

Otherwise, the same as the UK, but that's a lot of big differences for what is essentially a very simple game... braver souls than myself might wish to posit that these differences sum up the gap between the US and the UK (big, brash, loud & impersonal vs. small, modest & intimate) but hey, it's only a game folks (and for the avoidance of doubt, our version's better!)

See more and play a fine online version of the game here http://www.nbc.com/Deal_or_No_Deal/

Looking forward to sharing my thoughts with all you fellow DOND fanatics... in the meantime, NO DEAL!

Noel is 'astonished' at nomination for Bafta

Todays Independant Newspaper reports:

Edmonds 'astonished' at nomination for Bafta

Seven years after his career hit rock bottom, the return of Noel Edmonds has been confirmed with the announcement that he has been nominated for a Bafta for the first time.

The 57-year-old said he was "astonished and excited" by the nomination for the Channel 4 quiz show Deal Or No Deal, a surprise hit of the season.

Edmonds has been shortlisted for Best Entertainment Performance, his first British Academy Television Awards (Bafta) nomination. Deal Or No Deal has become one of Channel 4's biggest success stories, with an audience of five million.

The presenter is said to be about to sign a new £3m deal.

First He Shocked Us...Now He Has Made Us Splutter

This is how Sky News covers Noel's nomination:

Noel's Bafta Surprise

First he shocked us with his return to telly in the ratings-smashing quiz show, Deal And No Deal.
Now Noel Edmonds has made us splutter into our tea once again.

He's only gone and landed a Bafta nomination... something he never did in his House Party heyday.

Noel will go up against Jeremy Clarkson, Jonathan Ross and Jack Dee for the best entertainment performance Bafta.

"I am astonished and excited in equal measure," said the presenter. "This Bafta nomination, regardless of the outcome in May, is the highlight of my broadcasting career."

Deal Or No Deal has become one of Channel 4's biggest success stories, with an audience of five million.

Noel, who was sent into telly limbo in 1999 when Noel's House Party was axed, has just signed a £3m deal to keep presenting the show.

And to cap it off, Channel 4 is extending the show's late afternoon Monday to Friday run to Saturdays, putting Noel back in the prime time evening slot he once ruled with Mr Blobby.
Deal done, as far as Noel's comeback is concerned.

Davina McCall will host the ceremony from London's Grosvenor House Hotel on May 7.

Google and the art of confusion

If you put 'deal or no deal howie mandell' into google you will find our blog in second place - great? Not really, those people are looking for the US show. If you put in 'deal or no deal uk' we are nowhere, even if you put in 'donduk', you get a couple of pages about a place in Turkey before you find us.

Of course we are very happy about the level of traffic created by all the American interest, many having arrived here return day after day (and if that is you then welcome and thank you).

If you are after the UK version, then you are one of around 6000 who find us each day, most of you are regular visitors - you are adventurers, pioneers, explorers, a happy band of fearless warriors prepared to go into the darkness that is beyond the edge of the google universe.

But there must be many lost souls out there in the UK, who need us and simply don't know where to look (we are close to top in MSN Search - but most people use Google). And we feel that the UK version is better; it is simple, clean and sincere.

So if you know of a poor addict, in desperate need of help, then please send them here - don't let them suffer any longer - send your friends this email.

Remember, wherever you shall find two or more DOND fans gathered together, there in their midst shall be the banker, Noel and Endemol - spread the word.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Nick won £6000

Countdown just finishing, Des asking Paul Burrel what was the worst job he ever had, any Derek and Clive fan would have come up with a better answer.

Anyway, here we go, Monday's DOND finally gets under way. Nick was today's player, probably older than his looks, a gentle giant towering over Noel (but then who doesn't). He had faith in his God, and was known to frequent casino's. He felt his life had been lucky so far. Nick worked as a 'low cost draughtsman', a legal assistant whose purpose is to maximise expenses or lower fees depending on his client's position. As the game got under way Nick turned to the audience, he wanted people to be loud.

Round one: He started with his mother's birthday - 9th of March - box 9 gave £1, while box 3 opened to reveal £500. Then on to his Dad's birthday, the 19th November, £100,000 and 10p. Then his girlfriend's birthday to finish the round, number 7 - £3000. The banker made notice of Nicks behaviour over previous games and suggested that he was worthy of respect (while calling him a 'young scamp'). The offer was £6700, high for this point in the game. Nick commented that in his job he had to evaluate offers, useful experience for this game - Nick decided not to deal.

Round two: £1000, Aaron said 'he's going well isn't he', surely a kiss of death - the box contained £15,000. [Why did Aaron say that? Hopefully he will tell us, he comments in here from time to time.] Steve opened box 5 after the break to reveal 50p, Nick conducting the audience to cheer loudly. The board was evenly split between reds and blues, eight of each with only the 100k missing from the power five. The banker's offer was £11,700. Lucy advised Nick to go on, JT started a chorus of 'more money'. There was a momentum to continue that Nick could not ignore - 'No Deal'.

Round three: Janet opened £75,000, Noel stroking his chin. £75,000 next, the audience groaned, Noel looked across to Nick - 'this has suddenly become a one box game'. Nick's last box was £10. The banker phoned Noel to laugh, 'he had been singing less money' all the way through. The offer was £3600. This was a young man, a self prefessed gambler, he was never going to accept a loss of £8100 at this stage in the game. He said 'No Deal', he was going to chase the 250k.

Round four: £10,000 was opened to silence, Noel said 'yep, we're ok', he then had to repeat himself before the audience broke into applause. Birthdays over, he was now running on instinct, box 13 revealed £250, so now both the 1p and the £250,000 were still out there. Nick's face was turning red but his manner was still relaxed, able to smile and joke with his fellow contestants - this was a strong performance from this mature young man. After the break Noel predicted that Nick was going to go to the end with £250,000 in his box, 'that was the script', we would soon see. James opened his box to reveal 1p, so we were on script. Again the board was evenly split, smallest red was £5000, the banker offered £7000. Nick's response:'it would just be spending money for me'. An indication that the banker was nowhere near a life changing amount for Nick (unless he was bluffing?). 'No Deal'.

Round five: Jim opened his box, and we suddenly went right off script - it was the £250,000. Nick was philosophical, but his ambitions were now severly curtailed. The next box was £100, the crowd cheered, the final box of the round was number 22 - another blue, £750. The board had two blues, £5000, £20,000 and £35,000. The offer was £4700. Aaron's advice was that they he, Nick and Matt were all young, no real responsibilites, he should say 'No Deal', and Nick agreed.

Round six: Nick could lose everything in this round, the first box was £5000. Nick rationalised that as he had to pick three boxes one of them had to be red, and it was good that he had picked the lowest red. The next box he picked had £5, he'd found a blue box. Nick called down his girlfriend Kelly - this was building to a very exciting finish. He selected Cathy's box, and then the bubble burst, it was the £35,000. The banker curtly offered £6000. The amounts left were £50 and £20,000. What would he do? He dealt!

Surely this was the wrong decision? Kelly opened Nick's box to reveal £50, but if had said 'no deal' would he have then swapped? We'll never know. The man who evaluates offers for a living played it safe at the end, an anti-climax but I suppose it was predictable - a good lawyer never asks a question without being certain of the answer.

Don't deal too early

'No Deal' - on the face of it means: 'I am going on, I have looked at what's being offered and its not enough'. But of course there is more, there is acceptance of the risk, a decision that what was offered can be sacrificed (at least where a player fully considers the decision).

Often players break down at the point where they 'Deal', sometimes it is probably with joy, but for others, such as Sam, I think it is the violent recognition that they have a limit, that they are not free afterall. On Saturday Nancy dealt at the end of round four - 'I am an OAP...I couldn't take the risk'. Nancy was not upset but then she had attained a certain age, accepting limitations was nothing new to her - I think this is a threshold we see some of the younger players actually reach for the first time while sitting in the hot seat of DOND.

More generally its been my experience that many people have reached that limit in their lives far too early, they want to do something such as travel, change jobs, explore or even get divorced, but they have children, or a mortgage, a career, a significant other, or even a pet, that stops them from changing course. They can laugh all they like at DOND players who miss out on an extra £70,000 by calling time, but would they still be laughing if they looked at themselves the same way?

When I was 24 (22 years ago) I hiked across the Sahara Desert from Algiers to Tammanrasset and back again. It took 96 days. I was alone much of the time, and nearly died at one point on the return journey - I will write a book some day. In travelling through Europe and Africa at that time, I met many people who said 'I'd love to do what you are doing'. On asking why they didn't there was always a reason; job, family, lack of money. These reasons were given as if I was different from them, but I had no money, I had a family but they weren't rich, they couldn't bale me out if things went wrong. Before travelling I had a career, I even had a girlfriend - I just decided that it wasn't enough.

I spent two years travelling through 15 different countries, working along the way to pay my keep. I met some incredible people who forced me to look at life from different angles, I had some great adventures, and I made a pact with myself - 'life is too short for me to do things I don't enjoy'.

In life I think people tend to say 'Deal' too quickly, the world (the universe for real explorers) is an amazing place and we are capable of fantastic things if we keep pushing the barriers, we just need to keep saying 'No Deal'.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

TV Hunt For A Big Deal Like Noel's

Todays People newspaper reports:


BOSSES at BBC and ITV are frantically searching for a game show to take on Channel 4's runaway hit Deal or No Deal.

They have watched astonished as host Noel Edmonds racked up viewing figures of five million - a huge number for an afternoon show.

An insider said: "The bigwigs are going crazy. They haven't got anything to challenge it.
"ITV are furious because Channel 4 has poached Paul O'Grady.

"But at least they have Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The BBC are desperate to find something. The race is on."

Edmonds, 57, made his comeback after six years with Deal or No Deal.

He won a £3million deal for a further 18 month contract, making him one of the country's highest paid presenters.

26th March 2006

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Nancy won £18,500

Saturday, 26 hours, 25 minutes since the last game ended, its a long wait! As the show started it became clear that something was different, the boxes were bright pink.

Tonight is a mother's day special, hence the boxes, should we have expected a mother to be selected, or would the producers double-bluff? Nope, Nancy was chosen. Nancy was a retired school-teacher, and not only was Nancy a mother of 3 children, but a grandmother too, of six grandchildren and 3 step-grandchildren (in Turkey). Nancy was a lovely grey-haired woman with a hint of Irene Handel. Noel informed Nancy that as it was the Mother's Day special (even though it was recorded in January) at the end of the game Nancy would have to select someone to present with a luxury spa weekend for two.

Round one: Bob opened the first box - £100, James opened box number 13 - Nancy was following a system - to reveal £3000. Nancy smiling, happily in control of her class. However Gary then open the £100,000, Helen followed with 1p, and finally Aaron with £35,000. A round of mixed fortunes. The banker was reminded by the pink boxes of the romper suits of his childhood - Noel suggested this was an indication of the origins of this strange, complex character. The banker also said that he always gave his mother a single white rose for Mother's day - how very Norman Bates. The offer was £2000, which both Nancy and Noel considered was 'good', of course it wasn't, and she said 'No Deal'.

Round two: Steve opened £50,000, 'OK' said Nancy very quickly, a hint of stress finally entering her voice, Jim opened 50p to balance the round and then she chose Nick, but we would have to wait until after the break to find out what was in it. On the return she explained that she had lapsed from her system and to get back on it, she was moving from Nick to Johnnie and box number 12 - it was £15,000. Nancy decided that people were not concentrating hard enough, she asked everyone to look at, and absorb, the blue lights around the edge of the studio. But Nancy herself was bathed in a red light. The banker offered £700, on the basis that it was "mummy's day" as in 'The curse of the mummy' and she was having a nightmare. Nancy rejected the offer.

Round three: Paddy (apparently not Paddy, see comments - does anyone know who it was?) opened £1000, 'You still have a huge number of blues to hit' said Noel, she returned to Nick who opened £10,000, 'You are terribly unbalanced' said Noel, 'Its not me, its the board' said the school teacher correcting his grammar/semmantics. Finally JT opened £250. She was using the 'PRS' system, we would find out later what it stood for, but I think the banker was close with 'Pretty Rubbish System'. The offer was £4700 plus a white rose - surely Nancy was not the banker's mother? She declined the offer.

Round four: Noel's assessment was 'it was rapidly becoming a one box game'. Gabrielle opened box 14 to reveal £750, the audience were beginning to get excited now, Nancy decided to speed things up announcing that she wanted to quickly go for boxes 22 and 15. The first turned out to be 10p, but then Noel called a break before Janet could open the second. This time Nancy stayed with her first decision and it turned out to be £5 - her first all-blue round. Things were now getting interesting - the offer was £18,500. Nancy seemed to have made up her mind, but asked the audience - surprisingly 50% of them said deal. The contestants gave a similar response. Greg a member of the production crew was called up, and then Michelle, another crew member - they joined her either side, but not to give an opinion just to hold her hand. Noel asked the question, and to great applause she said 'Deal'. Nancy said 'I am an OAP, the money means too much, I couldn't risk it'. Time would soon tell if this was the right move, but it felt right. PRS - stood for Pre-Random System, Nancy explained that she had pulled out all the numbers from a box before the show started, and then memorised the sequence - that in itself was a remarkable thing to do, people don't do memory much these days.

Round five: £5000 in box one, Steve opened £1, and finally Cathy opened £50. So Nancy was at least one deal too early, but she was not bothered. The banker would now have offered £55,000 - irrelevant.

Round six: £500, £75,000 and £20,000 from Lucy, leaving £1 and £250,000. The banker would now have offered £91,000. Nancy was simply 'thrilled to bits' to be leaving with £18,500, it didn't matter what the banker was now offering. But then the final box was opened, she only ever had £1 in her box.

A lovely old lady, and she played well, she was in complete control throughout. Her last decision of the show was to present the prize of a holiday spa to Lucy, as I say at least once in every report, EVERYBODY LOVES LUCY!!.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Noel Says ...

This is what Noel has to say on his website about DOND.

"Deal or No Deal

The phenomenal success story continues!

With Saturday's show now broadcasting at peak time, Deal Or No Deal is drawing in over 5 million viewers, well ahead of ITV and BBC.

Deal Or No Deal won the title of "Best Daytime Programme" at the 2005 Royal Television Society Awards held this week. Quite an achievement when it was only on air for 2 months of 2005!

P.S. Yes, there is somebody on the phone ! He is an extraordinarily unpleasant but a very intelligent character who is indeed a Banker. "

Alison won £5100

Tea at hand, comfy chair, remote safely tucked away to make sure no-one accidentally switches channels, a clear runway between me and the TV...and so it begins. Charitably Noel began today's show by explaining how Dave 'changed' from being a serious gambler as he came down to the chair.

Alison took not only her box, but also David's coal - from the get-go Alison was making this a very personal challenge. She explained that the coal, given to her by David after his game, reminded Alison of her late father who she discovered, after receiving David's coal, had been a miner. She also positioned a photo of her three children - throughout the game their fresh, smiling faces would be looking up to her.

Round one: Alison was going to call off the meals from her chinese restaurant, starting with options from the starters menu. Noel siad that he wished someone would order salmon, presumeably during one of the meals they must go out for together between shows, because then he could say 'Dill or no dill?'. First item from the menu was 13 - £500, but number 9 was an expensive £75,000, closely followed by the indigestible £250,000. Even though her method was failing miserably she was going to stay with it, a bit like Haig in WWI. However it turned out to be a good tactic, the next two boxes were £5 and 10p. The banker offered £1200 plus a joke worse than Noel's opener. Having suitably patronised the banker, Alison rejected the offer.

Round two: 'please don't do anything to upset the equilibrium' said Noel to James. WHAT EQUILIBRIUM? James opened £1. Alison buoyed up asked for crispy duck, which turned out to be £20,000. Was there anyone left who felt that the chinese menu was still a good idea? After the break the final box of the round was opened to reveal 50p. Alison recognised that the banker did not know what a life changing amount of money would be for her; she was going to keep things close to her chest (now there was a thought). Noel talked up the banker's offer - $4300 - but really it was not a very interesting offer and she finally rejected it.

Round three: £10,000 in the first box of the round, chinese menu was now a thing of the past, Alsion decided to close her eyes, adopting a technique employed by Candice among others. £250 in the next box gave hope, but £35,000 to finish. 'Oh dear' said the banker mockingly, the offer was £3800. Now Alsion was trying to hear voices in her head...hmmmm. She was trying to imagine what her children would be saying to her - a good mother but a lousy gambler. Aaron gave her some contradictory advice; 'you will have reds to the end if it keeps going like this, but they'll be the wrong reds'. Thanks Aaron. Alison said 'No Deal'.

Round four: £1000, £3000, the 'wrong reds' were disappearing fast. Lucy often gets picked around this point, but we would have to wait until after the break to see what she had today. [Recently a number of first time visitors to this site have used search words along the lines of 'Deal or No Deal Lucy, plant'.] On the return Lucy opened the £100,000, so now Alison was left with 5 blues and three reds, this was not going to be a high money game. The largest amount she could win now was £50,000, and the banker offered £2500, which Alison suggested was a fair offer. Noel did a sweep, the contestants advised 'No deal' - Alsion quoted her children 'mum is nothing if not determined'. She declined the offer.

Round five: Aaron opened £5000, which was the best of the worst, and then JT opened 1p, so she was not going to be a member of the 1p club. Julia opened £100 while the others held hands. The board was down to 3 blues against £15,000 and £50,000. The offer was £5100, 'We just can't get you to the big money', sighed Noel, but was he saying more than that. She looked to the photos of her children. Aaron said 'I would say no deal, but for you, in your position, I think you should deal'. Suddenly it became apparent that this amount of money was very important to her. She looked to Noel - 'Deal!'

Round six: £15,000 from Helen, £50,000 from Bob, and the relief around the studio was clear, she had dealt at exactly the right time. The last box of the round of course was a blue, there only blues left. Alison actually had £10 in her box. earlier she had written in the book that she would have been 'very happy with £2000 or more', so she was very, very happy.

Not a great scoring game, not a particularly memorable game, but it had a nice, warm feeling about it....motherly, one might say taking Sunday into account.

Steven's DOND appearance will be on April 1

Here's an interesting snippet from today's Warwick Courier. Steven Brown will be the contestant chosen for 1st April.

Game boy

Kenilworth FC player Steven Brown has an interesting hobby.

When he is not performing midfield duties at Gypsy Lane or doing his day job as a youth worker in Birmingham, the 26-year-old likes to appear on game shows.Steven has appeared on In It To Win and Cash Cab, and on April 1 he will be appearing in Deal Or No Deal, the Channel 4 afternoon show presented by Noel Edmonds.

He decided to write off to his first gameshow after his sister appeared on Countdown.He said: "At first I thought it would be nice if I could win some money but after I went on a couple of shows I realised it was good fun."Some people do bungee jumping or whatever; this is what I like to do."

In contrast to the single appearances in earlier shows, filming for Deal Or No Deal meant "living in the pockets" of the other contestants for around a month, eating meals together.Fans of the show will know contestants have a box containing an unknown amount of money in front of them. They must either keep an offer from the show's banker or gamble and accept the amount in the box.Opening duties are always undertaken by another contestant, so they are needed for the whole series, but Steven's own big day will be screened on April 1.

He is not allowed to say how much he won, but the prize money is up to £250,000, and Steven said the show is the most exciting he has appeared in so far.His ambition is to be on Big Brother, but he says he is less concerned with prize money than the people he meets. Steven said: "The fun is the main thing, the money is an extra. The organisers look after you - they treat you like a little celebrity. You meet people from all over the country and everyone is very positive and happy." 24 March 2006

DOND should now be a live show

Currently DOND shows are recorded at the rate of three a day, two days per week, some two months before transmission. The contestants are carefully vetted before being selected and then the player chosen for a particular game seems to be fore-warned.

All of the above is effectively denied through the show's presentation - Noel talks about '...on this Friday we have...', '...as today is Valentine's Day..' etc - and the format suggests random selection of a player by flashing many names on to the screen before selecting one.

This obfuscation detracts from the show's ...honesty.

A significant reason for being so fanatical about DOND is the reality that the contestants bring to their play as they journey from box 1 to 22. Knowing that some of the contestants are game show veterans strikes at the very heart of this, a nagging question at the back of my mind when a large amount has been won is 'could this be staged, is this an actor?' Usually the performance of the player is such that I am persuaded in his/her validity but there would be no such doubt if the show was live.

Of course there is greater cost in broadcasting this show live, not least the fact that they could only produce one show per day instead of three, but DOND has become one of the highest rated shows on television - I am pretty sure the profit would still be there - and it would help to ensure continued following from people who simply want to watch people take REAL risks.

In fact it would be even more compelling (if that were possible) knowing that Endemol were taking risks too.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dave won £20,000

Here we are again. Part of the allure of DOND is getting an answer to the question 'How is Noel going to tackle today's show?'. Its always different and that really is largely down to Noel, he quickly identifies the drivers for the selected player, and then develops a recipe based on those ingredients - a master chef! How does he do it three times a day?

Dave (Cheeseman) the cheeky chappie, who keeps getting tongue-tied. He walked up to the front, he seemed genuinely sorry to have been picked, clearly he enjoyed the camaraderie of the group. Dave admitted to being a serious gambler with 30 years training - this is not a show for gamblers anonymous! Noel reckoned that Dave would cause the banker a problem because he didn't like people he couldn't read - but Dave could be read couldn't he?

Round one: £35,000, straight away from Steve - 'I still luv ya mate'. £10, £1, £250, despite the first box this was going well, and with £5000 to complete the round Dave was happy. For some reason Dave had a photo of himself trapped in stocks on a film set in Spain - 'a strange little noisy person', according to the banker,who offered him £3800. He asked his wife, he played with the amount, he pretended to think about it and then he confirmed 'No Deal'.

Round two: 'I'm just going to open the box' said JT giggling uncontrollably: £1000, 'the sooner we get this game over with the better' - said Noel, £750, and then the break. On the return there is always the possibility that the next box could be the quarter of a millon, and in this case Alison revealed exactly that amount. Dave recovered quickly.The banker offered £1000, which was more of a shock to Dave than losing the £250,000. 'He doesn't realise I have a serious side', said Dave, and I don't think he was joking, but no-one took him seriously. As contestants opened boxes for Dave there seemed to be the same look of benign tolerance on their faces, this middle-aged man was being treated like a naughty but 'luvable' schoolboy.

Round three: £15,000, £3000, 1p. Noel talked to the banker, his hand clearly visible as held the receiver. [Why did Noel have a heart drawn on his hand with a capital L in the middle of it?] The banker offered £8400, Dave acknowledged that this was £6000 more than he had seen in his bank account in the previous 35 years. He turned to his wife, who did not want to give advice, it seemed that everyone else did, the advice was 'No Deal', and so he went with that. Is this really the thinking of a serious gambler?

Round four: 50p, 'serious game now', said Dave, and then he started clowning again, jigging beside his chair while saying to the audience 'I am not the clown you think I am' . Its difficult to criticise from the sidelines, these people are under incredible stress, especially when they turn down 4 times more money than has ever been in their bank accounts. £50 in the next box. Lucy advised that he needed to take it seriously,'stop the joking about - the banker will not give you serious money if you keep mucking about'. Everyone loves Lucy! This was good advice from the woman who continues to be the most popular contestant according to the DONDUK Hit Parade. We had to wait until after the break to see if her words had sunk in, and apparently during the break his wife echoed Lucy's words.

At the beginning of the show Noel had turned the key and then stood back to watch as Dave played to the gallery - but Dave needed to be protected...from himself. Now he ressembled a rabbit caught in the headlights, pale, the grin missing, polite clapping echo-ing round the studio.

The final box of the round contained £500. The phone rany immediatey, a back-handed compliment from the banker - he reckoned he was the only man there who respected Dave - but maybe Dave was being patronised. The offer would tell us which way this was going. Surprisingly the banker was serious, the offer was £20,000.

Dave had tears in his eyes, his voice only just under control - he didn't need advice, this was too much money for Dave to turn down, he said 'Deal'. Was this really down to the amount, or because Dave felt brow-beaten into being 'sensible'?

Round five, 10p, £10,000, £500 - the offer would have been £41,000. Double infinity is still infinity - this was having no affect on Dave. I think he just wanted to be out of there, he had got his long-suffering wife some money, and if she put that in their bank account he could relax.

Round six: £5, £100, this left the board in virgin territory but then the last box of the round removed the £100k. The offer would have been £60,000 - again it didn't really matter.

Noel said 'Lets see how big an error of judgement it was?' as he opened Dave's box to reveal the £50,000 amount. However the reality is that Dave had NO judgement, he was like the ball-bearing in a pin machine. So it was fine that he was persuaded to accept £20,000, in fact it was a relief!

I am happy for Dave that he and his wife won, what was for them, a life-changing amount of money, but the banker gave Dave too much credibiity, there was no skill to this particular game - and so we wait until tomorrow in the hope of a more satisfying competition.

Contestant Hit Parade - Chart 2

After last week's post on the most popular contestants in terms of searches to this site, we received hundreds of requests to make it a regular feature. I have placed the current top ten results below:

Lucy 9523
Germaine 5320
Saj 4623
Candice 3782
Marcus 2426
Aaron 1036
James 1012
David 621
Trevor 127
Sarah 98

In the future, because many people who come to the site no longer need to go through a search engine, we are providing a voting mechanism. Enter the name of your favourite contestant in the vote box (top right) and click the vote button. Results will be published each Thursday.

To past contestants and those with a really good memory

If you were a UK DOND player and your show aired before 4th March, would you please write in a report on what happened - it can be as long or short as you like, if you are not keen to write then 'X won Y on dd/mm/yy, would be fine.

If you happen to remember or have kept a list then please let us know.

Many thanks

(Just click on my name to send an email)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Marilyn won £5500

Highest paid game show host in the country quickly pointed out that this is not a game show but a televisual entertainment drama. I thought he was about to break into song '...its not how you play, its how you ...feel', Jimmy Durante eat your heart out.

Today's player was Marilyn, she seemed dressed for the occasion wearing a very fetching evening dress with beads reminiscent of a 1920's flapper, and she cleverly side-stepped the direct question - 'did she have prior knowledge that she would be selected?'

Noel asked the perfunctory questions and then we had an interesting insight from Marilyn; the contestants are vetted, she had to do an audition and actually turned down the first opportunity as her son (now in the audience) was very ill, but the researchers were persistent, and so she eventually agreed to go on the show.

Round one: Janet opened with £75,000, a gasp round the audience, a very quiet audience, £1 was next and you could feel the relief, 1p followed and we were settling in now, £100, and then £100,000 - two of the power five had gone. Marilyn was philisophical, 'you get up and downs in life', and she seriously did seem to be completely unaffected. The banker, clearly taken with Marilyn, talking about Marilyn Munroe, but not overly gushing , offered £1400 - which she promptly rejected.

Round two: £750, £15,000 - 'thats ok, its not their fault, I'm picking them', all said by a hushed version of Joyce Grenfall. After the break Nick opened 50p, not a bad round considering her attack on the power five earlier. The banker phoned and she started chatting him up, saying he had an 'Oxbridge' voice, he seemed up for it too, but then tantalisingly she said '...no, but I wouldn't mind being related in some way'. The offer was £6500 and she rejected it immediately.

Round three: Lucy opened £50,000, (everyone still loves lucy), £500 and £250, a pattern of one red against two blues was emerging. Marilyn had mentioned Sarah earlier to the banker, and now Noel observed that 'Marilyn was also mad enough to go tot the end'. Apparently there is a dance that the contestants do before recording to get them in the mood. The banker offered to raise the offer if she now performed the dnce with JT, she duly agreeed. The 'dance' consisted of Marilyn standing immediately behind JT, as he wriggled she moved her hands up and down the front of his body - all good fun (but terribly embarrassing for her son, I'll bet). The offer was £8100, and a now breathless Marilyn said 'No Deal'.

Round four: £35,000, would the next two be blue? There were only four blues left, JT gave her 10p, and then a truely terrible joke from Noel as he announced the break. If, like me, you have grown up with Noel on Radio One's breafast show, then you will be well used to his sense of humour - we know his jokes are at least 30 years old. After the break Pete opened £50, again the pattern. The audience clapped loudly and the banker's call broke through it, no time for discussion - the offer was £9500. Aaron advised that there was a lot of risk in the board, 3 blues against 5 reds, yes including teh £250,00, but then a long way to fall to the next amount - £20,000.She looked back to her son, 'perhaps she should take her own advice' she said - and then with steely eyes she said 'No Deal'.

Round five: Dave wished her well and then opened the £250,000, the dream had gone, she now had to readjust her sights to the £20,000. The next box was £3000, and the final box of the round was £1000, all red, a bad round, but she could still walk away with a reasonable amount. The banker provided a 'respectful offer' - £4000. She asked her son, who in essence said that she should take the money, while two contestants said that if it was them they would go on - who would she side with. 'No Deal' a lot of risks being taken in this game, including some with her relationships?

Round six: £5000, another red gone, she needed to find a blue. The next box opened to reveal £10, one more to go, and it was the middle amount - £10,000. Marilyn wa going to be left a choice between the banker's offer and a box which could contain £5 or £20,000. The offer was £5500, and her son immediately cut in - 'Don't risk it'. Marilyn heard it and then asked for a sweep of the contestants, the answer was split 50/50. She took the question, thought for a long time and said 'Deal'.

Her son came down to be with her. Noel opened the box to reveal £20,000 - Marilyn seemed flattened, following her son's advice had cost her £14,500 but going against him could have cost her much more back home. Again DOND offers up more combinations than anyone might have expected: win-win, lose-lose, win-lose...and today perhaps lose-win?

£3m TV deal for Noel

Today's Daily Mail reports:
£3m TV deal for Noel the comeback king

It is less than six months since Noel Edmonds made his television comeback after five years in the broadcasting wilderness.

But the transformation from TV pariah to born-again star is complete after he signed a deal that will make him the highest paid presenter on British television.

Channel 4 has agreed to pay Edmonds £3million to continue presenting his hit gameshow Deal or No Deal for the next 18 months.

The contract, which catapults him alongside Paul O'Grady as television's top-earning presenter, comes after ITV tried to poach him to head up its daytime schedule.

But the success of Deal or No Deal has marked a transformation in his fortunes.
The show has been a runaway hit for Channel 4 since it began last November.

It is now attracting up to 5million viewers in its afternoon slot, making it one of Channel 4' s highest rating shows, alongside Big Brother and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

"Noel has proved a revelation since the show started," a source said.
"Yes, he is now being paid a lot of money but you only have to look at the ratings to see why."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Matt won £35,000

A 1/4 of a million pounds, 22 sealed, identical boxes and no questions except one 'Deal or No Deal'.

Its just like CrackerJack, millions of people around the country sitting with a hot cup of tea ready for today's drama. Noel reminded everyone of what happened yesterday, and that this game was about getting HUGE money. Today it was Matt's turn to enter the lion's den. Matt had been waiting a long time (but not as long as Lucy - everyone loves Lucy).

Matt, a 25 year old fire fighter was talking business, he was 'here for a purpose', and he was just going to get on with it. Straight away he led from the front, trying to put his fellow contestants at ease 'no pressure', they were there to enjoy themselves, they were not to think about 'blue' or 'red'. As a fireman he would see people in real tragedy, nothing that was going to happen today would upset him.

Round one: £5, £100, £20,000, £1000, Matt was happy, £3000 to end the round and a cheeky smile across Matt's face. The banker phoned to address the 'bold and selfless' Matt and offered him £8500. I think the irony of that offer was lost on Matt but almost certainly the banker knew what he was doing, £8500 was the highest Barbara was offered yesterday, then Matt opened two boxes (because Alan was absent) that took all her dreams away . He said 'No Deal', smiling broadly.

Round two: 10p, £10,000 and then the break. Steve opened 1p on the return to loud applause, Matt's smile getting even bigger if that was possible. At this point 7 blues and 7 reds, the banker joked that he could smell burning and every should leave. The offer was massive £16,000 - presumably because the power 5 were still in place, and Matt telegraphed that he was not going to accept by telling the crowd (in a relaxed manner - a la Saj) to raise the noise level.

Round three: 10p, this was becoming a very interesting board, Matt beginning to show signs of pressure, the smile slipping. Noel warned that a big number was inevitable, but the next box was £10. Matt pierced the room with his blue eyes, nodded across to Kirstie who obliged with £750, a perfect round - and the relaxed smiling persona had been replaced with a tense, very serious, considered fireman. The banker phoned to be greeted by a very excited Noel, who screamed 'what’s the offer' - the banker hung up. This broke the ice and everyone laughed. The banker phoned again to offer £22,500, this was a good offer considering the past few days, and he was clearly having to think very hard, Helen advised to keep going, but Matt was struggling, he took a deep breath, the risk was very clear to him, he said 'no Deal'.

Round four: he went to Helen £50,000, it had to happen but Matt's protestations of 'being ok' were falling on deaf ears, this was the make or break round. £50 took off some of the pressure, but then he selected Dave, who said 'no problems I feel good about this box' - this was probably the kiss of death, but we had to wait until after the break to find out. Dave was right!! £500 not sure we've been here before?
Matt had moved from happy to serious and now he was in a state of shock, what would the banker say? Noel was shocked, the offer was £20,000, the banker was playing politics, he wanted Matt to go on - and Matt was on a roll - 'No Deal'.

Round five: £5000 a great start, Noel pointed out he now could not have 'a round from hell', but the next box was £100,000, the contestants held hands hoping for the best but they got the worst - £250,000 from Jim. The banker jumped in £10,000 less than half, £75,000 the highest prize still left on the board - no guts no glory: 'No Deal'.

Round six: Lucy opened £75,000 - Matt's head went down, Jim and Barbara must have gone through his mind, they certainly went through mine, but then he pulled £1 and the studio rang with cheers. Could he find £250? A number came to him, he picked the box and there it was - £250. The crowd went wild the pressure was off, Matt was going home with at least £15,000. The banker offered £22,450 he was looking for the moral victory, it was less than his highest offer during the game. But any of the amounts available to Matt were going to make him very happy, so it was an easy decision - 'No deal'.

Then he said something extraordinary – before coming to DOND the linking of hands was something he was never going to do because his mates would rib him stupid, but within 5 minutes of his first game he understood the reasoning and the emotion. He asked to go back to his friends, his fellow contestants, and stand with his back to the board, holding hands one last time as Noel opened the box.

Noel opened the box and it was there - £35,000!! As Noel said, a truly great moment in the 'home of dreams', and Matt deserved it!

Rumour Has It

Rumour has it, on some forums and bulletin boards, that tonight Matt will be chosen and Lucy will have to wait 'till the end of the month possibly the 30th of March to be picked. Time will tell.

Well In Advance

To give you an idea of how far in advance DOND is recorded I came across an email written by Glen Hugill the shows producer on 4th March in it he says:

"... we recorded shows for the 22, 23, & 24th April yesterday (March 3rd) to give you an idea of our schedule ..."

Fiona Is Addicted!

Fiona Phillips the GMTV presenter is addicted to DOND. Here's what she said in The Daily Mirror:

"IF Pete Doherty thinks he's got problems, he might like to spare thought for me - I'm addicted to Edmond's afternoon TV quiz Deal Or No Deal. Don't tell anyone though - I might end up doing community service. "

Numbers Blunder?

On March 4th The Mirror Newspaper reported that a technical hitch with DOND's computer could have cost it millions.

Numbers blunder nearly cost Noel hit show millions

Here is the link to the article if you wish to read it in full.

"The popular Channel 4 show is supposed to be a game of chance with players picking random numbers to open a series of boxes to win cash prizes.

But a technical glitch meant just five sequences kept cropping up and eagle-eyed fans could have spotted the pattern and made up to £250,000 each. One has cropped up 10 times since January 23 and another nine times. "

"Producer Glenn Hugill said: "This could have cost us millions in prize money if it had continued undetected because we don't analyse the distribution of numbers and the contestants often do. This is incredibly embarrassing." "

"There are 51,090,942,171,709,440,000 possible sequences in which they could be opened. But the computer repeated patterns for weeks before it was spotted.
For example, in one sequence already repeated several times, prizes appear in ascending boxes in this order: £50k, £10, £3k, £100k... "

What I don't quite follow is how you & I could have profited. I guess they mean that the contestants taking part at the time could have realised what amounts were in which boxes and deliberately chosen the box with £250,000 in it. But even then they would have had to be picked for the "hot seat" for that show.

Do you feel lucky?

Douglas Adams, in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, described a man who felt that it always seemed to be raining. A lot of people feel this, but in his case it was in fact true; unbeknown to him the man was a rain-god, and the clouds followed wherever he went to praise him.

Sometimes when I watch DOND I get an early feeling that we are watching impending doom - Geordie, Jim, Barbara; equally there are times when you just know that its going to be good - Marcus, Germaine, Saj. How can this be? All of these people had to go through the same process, and yet I would have put money on Saj doing well, and even more money on Jim doing badly.

There is something about the eyes I think, a positivity that can't be faked, a sincere self-belief that cannot be switched on and off.

My work involves rescuing failing projects (usually IT related), and usually there is a strong hint of failure in the eyes of those I first come across. The first few days of any rescue are spent changing people's attitudes, accentuating positive events, bringing negative aspects back into perspective. I actively seek out the Saj, Marcus and Germaine from any team: they've usually experienced tremendous stress by the time I am called in - identifying and listening to such people is like giving them air to breathe. Bringing positive people together is the start of hope, and makes eventual success possible.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Barbara won £1

Settled in, large mug of tea, waded through the end of Countdown (Des hates Carol), and up came Noel right on cue, back in the 4.15pm slot.

The spotlight fell on Barbara today - a hint of Michelle Pfeiffer - if you are reading this Barbara keep smiling, she has a great smile, it makes her look so much younger. Barbara took her box up to the front, and got through Noel's questions without giving too much away, including where she lives in case she got any 'begging letters'. Tempting fate maybe?.

We know from Aaron that this is actually the same audience that shouted and cheered for Jim, how would they be now?

Round one: £500, £100, 10p, all going well, Noel speculating that maybe this would be their first all-blue opening round, it was of course the kiss of death, Janet opened the £250,000. Barbara brushed it off, seriously undamaged and pulled up £1000 for the last box of the round. Banker's offer £4500. I can't believe there will ever be anyone who deals at this stage, and Barbara was no exception. The audience clapped politely, Barbara sat tightly formed on her bar stool

Round two: £5000, £250 and £50 on the return from the break. This left a strong board 6 blues and 8 reds, except the £250,000 was missing. Noel went to Barbara's husband for more information on her, but she loudly told him to be careful, keeping it tight, clever girl. The banker now offered £9000, but Barbara didn't think twice before dismissing it.

Round three: £5, Matt opened £100,000 for the absent Alan, again Barbara seemed completely unphased, and in fact went to Matt again - he couldn't do red twice could he? Yes he could, he opened £50,000. This time Barbara's mask was slipping, biting her lip, and looking even more pale than usual. The banker offered £2000, and Barbara's colour redened sharply. Strangely Barbara asked the audience if she should deal, everyone thought she should go on, and so she did, maybe the question was buying her time to recover from her loses up to that point.

Round four: 1p, Lucy was next (everyone loves Lucy) and although Lucy clearly looked worried it was without cause, she was holding the 50p box. The board was getting stronger again. After the break the £3000 box was opened, which was welcomed as being fairly safe. Three blues against five reds, including the £75,000. The banker's offer was £11,500, there were 4 reds above the offer. Her husband, Richard, joined her and felt the board was strong - his words were 'you always see the glass as half empty..and yet you are lucky'. Barbara seemed more inclined to deal, however on the question, with Richard's words still ringing in her ears, she nodded to her husband and said 'No Deal'.

Round five: £15,000 in the first box, 'thats alright' said Noel, but did Barbara think so? Next box was £10,000 - again Noel seemed happier than Barbara. Final box of the round was £20,000, leaving three blues, the £35,000 and the £75,000. But Barbara was giving the impression that she was going to take the money now, no matter what, and perhaps that was why the banker offered £8500. She asked the contestants, apart from two no comments they said she should 'deal'. The audience were evenly split. Her husband who had basically led her astray earlier was now saying that he didn't know - fat lot of good he was. Despite everyone she knew saying deal, she looked with steel eyes straight at Noel and said 'No Deal'. I would love to know why she did that, maybe she didn't know either, but it was brave.

Round six: £75,000, Barbara's head fell into her hands, impending disaster loomed, she then selected Nick who opened the £35,000, and finally, almost predictably she opened the £750. The three biggest that were left at the start of the round had gone.

This was not standing at the cliff edge, this was not even free-fall, this was a nightmare, she had sunk through the floor into Dante's inferno - 9th level! The banker's offer was £3 which she rejected in shock and she had £1 in her box.

Barbara's colour was seriously pale once again, she was now joined by her husband and could hardly speak as she said goodbye to Noel. Considering that this all happened on the same night, and to the same audience, as Jim, the body count in Bristol probably went quite high that night.

Hard luck Barbara, your husband is a nice chap, but you have the balls in that relationship.

Richard Young's first post

Only found the blog today, but couldn't resist joining in. Why? Well, like many people who watch the show, I'm still not sure why I do. And that alone makes it something worth discussing.

For my opening post? I little discussion of viewing methodology.

If, like me, you're not home at 4.15pm, you might try our method for watching the show. We have a Freeview PVR. It's like SkyPlus: programmes are recorded onto a hard-drive which allows you to flick between shows you've recorded and (this is the useful bit) fast-forward recordings at different rates. You can blitz though the ads in a quite controlled way in about four seconds - and, on DOND, skip quickly through the worst of Noel's cheesiness [steady now, we like Noel on this blog - ICIFM]; the introduction to the player's various lucky charms and family snaps; and perhaps the first two rounds. We reckon on getting a DOND done in about 15 or 20 mins, sacrificing very little of the late-game tension.

The one thing you do lose is learning the personalities of the box-openers. Some, like Lucy, stick around long enough and have enough late-round openings (so to speak) to create a "brand" even with the truncated viewing approach. But we've had a couple of shows where we've wondered who the hell was playing.

Oh, one other point - a question. Is it just me, or do the most vocal box-openers seem to do that much worse than the slightly anonymous players when they get to the hot-seat? Geordie springs to mind, obviously, but we've noticed other players who often offer seemingly intelligent advice ("seemingly" because usually they betray a very shaky grasp of probability and risk) get to the stage and blow it... Comments?

Kinda' Spooky Don't You Think?

The first seven letters of "Noel Edmonds" anagram into "Endemol", the production company's name.

The first six letters anagram to "NO DEEL".

Noel's surname, "Edmonds" contains the letters DOND (Deal Or No Deal) in order.

DOND Wins An Award !

A surprise came when Deal or No Deal, the Channel 4 gameshow which represents a comeback for Noel Edmonds, took the award for best daytime programme at the Royal Television Society awards in London on Tuesday night (14thMarch) .

Ratings War ?

ITV1 is reportedly lining up its half-hour Joe Pasquale-hosted The Price is Right to go head-to-head with Channel 4's Deal or No Deal over 30 weeks at 16.30 weekdays this spring. Deal or No Deal airs from 16.15 on C4.

Nearly No Deal ?

When Channel 4 initially approached Noel about fronting the UK version of DOND he at first declined. It was only when he tried it with matchboxes that he changed his mind.

He wasn't the only one to doubt it at the start. Both BBC and ITV lost out on an opportunity that has shaken up the afternoon TV schedules and rattled more than a few of those executives. DOND attracts up to four and a half million viewers, which is more than all the other terrestrial TV channels combined for that afternoon slot. So impressed were Channel 4 that they have given it a trial prime time Saturday evening slot.

When asked to sum it up Noel said, " ... it’s not a game show at all but an addictive entertainment drama about wish-fulfilment. It seems to mirror so many of the challenges we face in life – knowing when to the make the right decisions at the right time, knowing when to be ambitious, when to be cautious, when to be courageous.”

Aarons responds - the mystery continues

Aaron has commented on the post about Jim's performance .

Jim's show was in the middle of three recorded that day, Saj's was recorded on the previous day, so perhaps Saj was not the reason for Jim playing like a ham to the crowd.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

What happened to Jim?

Jim had a nightmare show yesterday, it was not pretty to watch, compelling but ugly.

There is an element to DOND that is not obvious to the normal viewer; each week 6 shows are recorded over two days. So on the day that Saj won £50,000, Jim followed a few hours later [this is nearly correct - see comment from Aaron]. Could it be that when Saj asked the audience for a lot of noise because this was how she operated normally, Jim thought this must be the way to go?

It was clear from his eyes that he was tired, he is no spring chicken, and by that point he had already done two shows that day. Also we see everyone drinking tea, but maybe they are offered something a bit stronger between shows to settle the nerves?

Geordie has already stated on here that by the time he was selected he had not slept for 32 hours, which goes along way to explaining his approach to the game that day, maybe Jim will come on here and tell us what happened to him?

Please Jim, look on it as reconstructive therapy.

An Ode To Deal Or No Deal

What is the appeal
Of Deal Or No Deal?
Is it the money at stake?
Or is it the tension
And due apprehension,
Of when is the right time to take?

The mysterious banker
Will try to outflank yer,
By offering enticing amounts.
Who he outfoxes
With those sealed boxes,
Are what in the end really counts.

I'm not being funny,
It's not just the money.
It's the dreams we hold in our heart.
Will it be riches,
Without any hitches?
Or will it be pennies to part?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Jim won £500


Jim (Robertson) was picked, and personalised the game straight away, he was doing it for his grandchildren, and he had a motto - 'Glory is the reward of valour'.

Round one: 10p, he leapt of his chair and yelled for joy, £50,000, he admonished Dave and said he was angry, 1p, he leapt of his chair again, £75,000, his face melted into his right hand, and finally £5. This was clearly going to be a real rollercoaster - at least for Jim - the antithesis of a dour scot, he was one of the most animated players we have seen. The banker was perplexed by Jim's behaviour, but clearly considered him to be little threat, he offered Jim £1900. Now coming from the same area of the world as Jim (he is a bit south of me), I am pretty certain that Jim was putting on a fantastic act, this was not the real Jim.

Round two: £15,000, ('do you understand the rules of the game' said Noel in jest) £750, and on returning from the break he pulled up 50p. The board showed 6 blues against 8 reds including £250k and £100k. Never mind the banker, Noel seemed unable to cope with Jim, he seemed to struggle to join in the act. The banker offered £6000, and it was really down to Jim to get the crowd going again, 'No deal' shouted out from the contestants and the audience, and Jim agreed. Jim was milking the crowd, and they were responding by shouting 'Jim, Jim, Jim'.

Round three: £5000, (I am sure Jim just said 'Oh for F*** sake', surely not), £100 came up and Jim leapt of the chair, conducted the crowd, and they cheered for him, Noel standing back stroking his chin. £10 was the final box and the audience went wild again. The banker phoned immediately, Jim acting up like the 'daft laddie' pretending to be frightened - this was a pantomime and even the banker played along. The offer was £18,000, and the crowd were pushing for him to keep going although his close friend Dave said he should take the money. Jim had created a wave of support, and now he was surfing on it - he said 'No Deal', or rather he shouted it from the rooftops. He had moulded the audience until they had become the crowd from 'Rollerball'.

Round four: £100,000, the bubble burst, the crowd went quiet and Jim was sitting, alone behind the desk. The next box was worse - £250,000. Jim joked that it was the crowd's fault but there was little laughter, this was a defence mechanism, he was hurt, he was damaged, could he recover? He looked for his next box, he was going for our Lucy, everybody loves Lucy, but we would have to wait until after the break to find out what she held in store. 'Brave face, rather than brave heart - 'nil desperandum' - a heap of meaningless platitudes. Lucy lift the lid on £1000. The banker offered £2800 - 'thats not fair is it boys?', Jim continued with this strange personality that he had adopted for the show, but it was waning - Aaron rekoned there was £8000 per box so the deal was low - Jim said 'No Deal'

Round five: Barbara opened £20,000, 'Barbara, Barbara, Barbara' murmured Jim, rueing his luck, then £250 and he cheered again but his energy was low, and finally £10,000, Jim was beginning to sound like Fraser from Dad's army, and he looked like him too. The banker offered him £1700, this was becoming a nightmare for Jim, he had lost £16,300 against his best offer, there was only one way to go - and the banker knew it, this had trap written all over it. Jim rejected the offer, he was now facing a board of 3 blues and 2 reds, lowest £1, highest £35,000.

Round six: £35,000 the first box, this was quickly becoming a disaster, it was like watching Muhammed Ali's last fight, knowing that he just shouldn't be there. The next box opened showed £1, but there was still one box to go, the bar had fallen to £3000, and when the box was opened to show £50, Jim acted as if it was the top prize, a smell of desperation was in the air. The banker offered £1100, again Jim had no option, he was still chasing a now impossible amount of money - he said 'No deal'. I could hear someone shouting 'bloody nutter', not from the audience but from the house nextdoor to mine!

Jim now faced a choice between £500 and £3000, the banker offered him a swap and he took it. The audience seemed to think that was a mistake, but what did they know, they had been pushing him along. Noel saw this, he got a member of the audience to do the swap for him, but that didn't help - it was of course the £500. Jim returned to the safety of the crowd, trying to jeer them back up, but this had been a horrible experience...for all of us. Noel looked a little sick.

Where was the glory Jim?

UK or US ?

Hi Robert here.

Thanks to Iain for posting on my behalf.

I'm new to this lark hence my hesitantcy. I prefer our UK version of DOND with cuddly Noel, to the more brash, flash the cash version in the USA. I also think it's more intimate to have the other contestants opening their boxes than those super models on the steps.

There's a fun online version of the USA DOND at this link. I won $100,000 pretend dollars. See how you do.

Separated by a common language

The following has been sent through from Robert - RandomThoughts - and I paste it below with thanks to him.

Been doing a bit of searching on the net and found this
interesting link. It takes a few seconds or minutes to load depending on your connection. It's a promo trailer for the USA version of DOND with Howie Mandel. It's very interesting to see the differences. One is that the boxes are suitcases. There are 26 suitcases instead of 22 boxes. The suitcases are held by buxom wenches all dressed the same. And of course the amounts are different.

Boy hasn't Howie Mandell changed? I remember him as a tousel haired young actor in various B movie comedies. Now he's doing a Yul Brenner or Kojak look.

Here are a couple more trailers you will enjoy:

This first one is an associated press news report. In the next Howie Mandel shows off the set and there is an interview with the Dutch inventor of the show called Dick. It's quite fascinating :)

Here's a great trailer will get you yelling at your tv ;)

Finally here Howie teaches us how to play the USA version of DOND.