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.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

DOND wins top TV gongs

Noel Edmonds' Deal Or No Deal triumphed at the Rose d'Or festival in Switzerland at a star-studded ceremony on the shores of Lake Lucerne on Saturday, scooping Best Game Show and Best Game Show Format.

Monday's game report...

...will again be written by the lovely Sue. I will be back in the saddle on Tuesday.

Structural Change

From tomorrow, the amount won by a contestant will not be displayed in the report title. This change has been made in response to a large number of requests over the past two months. If you are in a hurry and just wish to know the amount won, please refer to a new summary line that will be placed at the bottom of each report.


I have now cleansed the data by going back through previous days and setting all multiple votes (i.e. where one person voted more than once for the same person on the same day) to one per day. That done, on top of the measure implemented on Thursday to stop people from voting more than once per day for the same person, means that we now have a true picture of who is popular.

Noel's fans need to get busy, he is now down to fourth place, with the Banker hard on his heals. But of course Pat is sailing ahead, becoming legendary - I can see her starting a show of her own, giving out hearty measures of common sense, with a slap round the ears if you're bad. Massimo is in second place following a large sympathy vote after last night's show, and Lucy is still going strong in third.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Massimo won £7400

Saturday, 5.45 pm and I am in front of the telly (for a change) to capture tonight’s contest of wits, or at least nerves. Yesterday Hilary showed ‘extraordinary courage’, Noel challenged today’s contestants, could any of them be that brave?

Today it was Massimo, at last. He stopped on the ‘walk of wealth’ to give a big kiss, and maybe a message, to Pat. He was ecstatic, photos of his Mum (deceased) and Dad were placed on the desk in front of him – he was adopted and regarded the fact that he was taken on by the two great people pictured in front of him as an indication of how lucky a person he was/is. Massimo was a big, bald man – a clear favouite amongst the contestants, and a voice of reason in previous games – in watching him arrive at the hot desk this baby-faced giant somehow reminded me of Moley from Wind in the Willows.

Round one: Gaz opened the game with box 17 - £250. Francesca, chatted with Massimo in Italian, a language they seem to share, she opened box 9 - £1. The crowd were cheering and whooping already. Pat was next, she prayed that it would be blue, but box 11 had £75,000. Terry followed with box 10 - £750. Dave W wanted to smile, he opened box 5 to reveal £50, and smiled. Massimo believed the Banker was fair, they were swapping compliments, mutual respect. The Banker described Massimo as the wise man of the west wing – the offer was £8800. Again we saw a very high first offer. Massimo did seem to consider the offer, and then turned to Noel – ‘No deal’.

Round two: Jason opened box 3 - £5. Serious Simon opened box 2 – 1p Massimo punched the air. He was standing now, and then he went for Emma D. Noel summarised the game following the break - a great game - and Emma opened box 7 to show 10p. Then something extraordinary happened, Tom’s box fell to the floor and opened, clearly showing a red, I think it was £100,000. Endemol decided to show what happened next. The game was halted, lots of production people appeared, one seemed to almost translate what Noel was saying for Massimo’s benefit, and then Noel took him off camera while the problem was sorted. Massimo was clearly shocked by the change to his game, Noel didn't look too happy either. The box that had fallen, and all the other boxes that were, as yet, unopened were taken away to have the amounts inside reshuffled, the game would then continue – this all seemed very fair, although I suspect some statisticians might suggest that Massimo’s chances of having £250,000 in his box had just been improved...slightly. Massimo was very red, the nerves had kicked in big time, a good chance that the interuption affected his flow. It was at this point Massimo revealed that he was aiming to win enough money to take his father to Las Vegas, so now the banker had a clear indication of Massimo’s threshold. The offer when it came was £16,000. Even though this was the end of round two Massimo was looking for advice, he asked for a sweep – they all said No Deal. ‘So what are they saying?’, he joked. Massimo took quite some time, and maybe it was peer pressure – ‘I am going to have to say - No Deal’. The point is he didn’t have to say that, and there were times in previous games were he had been ultra conservative. He was now taking risks and he didn’t look comfortable - if one or two of the power turned up in the next round then getting back to £16,000 would be an uphill struggle, and Massimo was not built for climbing uphill.

Round three: Noel declared that he felt this may be the pivotal round, Noel does this from time to time, and its remarkable how phrophetic he can be. Massimo, his face bright pink went for Lofty, box 20 - £250,000, the crowd gasped, I was thinking ‘how does Noel do this?’ Massimo was standing, his left hand stroking his chin, calm really, the big one had to come at some point and it wasn’t the end of the world. Susie, box 12 - £100,000 – the end of the world was getting much closer now, the big man was getting even pinker. Massimo thought long and hard then settled on Emma B, she opened box 19 - £10. The crowd cheered, Massimo went across to kiss her – lucky guy - and then returned to his seat, clearly contemplating the Banker’s call. The offer was now £4000, a drop of £12,000. Noel advised that he had pitched the offer to force Massimo to continue, Massimo agreed – ‘No deal’.

Round four: Massimo paced in front of the crowd, encouraging them to cheer. He went to Raj with box 14 - £20,000. Tom opened box 4 - £5000, the contestants holding hands already. After the break, Massimo decided on Tan’s box 13 because of his ‘beliefs in fate’ – Tan delivered £1000. The offer was now £7400, reflecting the improved round he just had and Massimo thought it was a fair offer. He talked about the joy and heartache he had witnessed through his time with the show. He was facing a board of five reds and three blues, the £50k and £35k were still in play. However Massimo nearly went at the end of round two, the boxes had been reshuffled changing his stars, and then he lost an enormous amount of money during round three, his nerves were shot – Noel was surprised, the audience were surprised, maybe some of the contestants were surprised, but watching from here his decision was a foregone conclusion – ‘Deal’. Noel looked into Massimo’s eyes and seemed momentarily sad, but then he got on with his job, ‘lets see if we can make that a good decision’. He turned to the wings and the audience clapped.

Round five: Massimo looked embarrassed as he got back into his chair, he went for the gorgeous Sarah (I am sorry Sarah, I don’t mean to lead you on, I am not available, but you are gorgeous ;-)). She opened box 22 – 50p. Next he went to Sandy, box 16. She wouldn’t have dealt, but she felt that for Massimo, it was the right time – and then she opened £50,000. Massimo seemed very close to tears, he went for Patrick in box 1 - £3000. People clapped quietly, the Banker’s next call was in everyone’s mind. The offer when it came was £6100, a confirmation of Massimo’s decision. The audience cheered more confidently now but it was still subdued.

Round six: Maxine, box 18 - £100 - Noel shouted out the amount like a prosecution lawyer delivering absolute proof of guilt – had Massimo made the wrong call? Gary, the new guy, opened box 8 - £35,000, and Massimo’s head fell to the desk, hit as if he had lost everything, but it was the relief of being proved right. Morris, box 15 – I am going to quote him to prove how bad the poetry can be – ‘Massimo, Massimo such a humble man, in box number 15, I hope its 15 grand’, I see no reason to suffer alone. Moreover it was only £10,000 in his box. The banker phoned, the offer now would have been £5000 - the board contained £500 and £15,000.

Noel opened Massimo’s box to reveal £15,000 - Patricia had the £500 in box 21. Massimo stood to thank Noel, and then he applauded the audience, but he still didn’t look happy, I think it will take a while. At one level this was a quiet game from a quiet man, but inside Massimo's head there was a gigantic battle to keep it together. Nor was it was boring for the viewer, there was an air of respect and sensitivity – some games can be Shakesperian, but this would have been written by Harold Pinter.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hilary - won £50,000

[Sue standing in for Iain who will be back tomorrow]

Frightening statistics to start – since James’ game on Saturday the banker has had the best run in the game’s history. Noel asks for a turnaround to alter the current negative atmosphere and a dynamic performance is requested of a very mumsy looking Hilary from Eastbourne carrying box no 18. She is a nightcare assistant and livery yard manager and has two daughters who will be busily writing out their shopping lists. She has an aim for Noel’s book and what looked like a wee cloth bag which would not be opened until the end of the game. She declared she had no system other than ‘Women’s intuition’.

Massimo is first with box 8, containing £15k. Nervous start but onto box 16. Terry reveals £500, followed by Patrick and box 10 coincidentally containing 10p. Patricia no 9 gets rid of the dreaded one penny. Noel comments the so far all male 1p club remains so. Raj opens box 14 and reveals £1 to complete the first round throwing the gauntlet to the banker.

The banker ‘lionlike and rampant’ suggests Hilary to be fair game. She shows suprising confidence and strength in her face whilst telling him ‘no chance’. Then optimistically turns down his opening offer of £10k to a respectable round of applause. I am ‘getting a feeling in my water’ that Mumsy might do very well here this afternoon.

Round 2:
Pam (or Pan) is a ‘he’, and he opens box 6 to reveal £75k, then Sarah no 19 opens the not so scary £250 to a huge smile from Hilary. Lastly before the break Jason is chosen and “we go to a word from our sponsors” whilst we wait for the outcome. Jason’s box no 7 contains an ‘OK’ £3k. Hilary sensibly says she expects to loose a few reds at this point and the lower the better, Noel agrees – so do I for what it’s worth. Noel answers the phone to an offer of £7,500k and advice to walk with that. No deal from an increasingly stronger Hilary.

Round 3:
Simon, no 1, opens round 3 with a crowd pleasing £1k. Lofty reaches down to open box 11 and wipes £35k off the board – muted applause. Finally in this round, Tom opens his box numbered 20 and the crowd emits a huge cheer seeing the 50 pence go.
The Banker wants to know what is in the bag which went in Noel’s book. – his offer of £17,500 must be tempting in the current atmosphere. She seems to genuinely give it great consideration before turning it down without referring to any of the studio crowd.

Round 4:
Morris, box 2 opens the big one (£250k) with a great rhyme, wish I could have recorded it. Gaz, box 22 produces £50 which brings a huge cheer from Hilary who seems to have decided she is going all the way to the end. Emma Box 4 looks very nervous And Noel calls a break.
Emma’s box contains £10k and Hilary and Emma get a bit exited cheering each other on to the finishing line amidst a flotsam-like silence from the rest of the studio. The banker suggests Noel throws Emma a fish and she takes it with a laugh which will do her ratings in our popularity poll no harm.

The offer is quite a generous one in my opinion and she finally relents and asks Dave for advice. Risk, reward, balance - she considers and a bit tearfully turns it down – I think she is one of the bravest I have seen recently.

Round 5:
Suzy wearing her ‘money spider’ top opens up £5k – (sorry no box number). Lovely Pat opens box 5 holding the ‘tenner’. The mood is lifting, I want to watch not type.
Francesca, of box no 17 nervously reveals a blue £100. Everyone is jumping up and down in support of this brave lady.

The board now displays - £5, £750, £20k, £50k and £100k what will she do? The phone rings and rings...... Hilary is welling up and the offer of £21k (real cash, money, in your purse, now!) seems too good to turn down in this current cimate. 'Cheese and trap' is mentioned. She plays with us, suggesting it is her lucky year – my heart sinks and I think she is bluffing – but no, it is No Deal! – I am gobsmacked. Is she very stupid or very clever???

Round 6:
Dave, box 13 gets rid of the £20k everyone is very tense, you can feel it emmanating from the screen. Sandy holding box 12 looks very worried – rightly so, £100k is gone. Hilary does not seem overly worried. Max No 15 and a vision in purple opens the £750 to a give away scream of relief from Hilary.

We now have £5 blue and £50k red on the board. She states £50k is exactly what is in that wee bag. Noel states the obvious, that the offer has to be good to sway her – mind games. The offer is £15k, he is calling her bluff, according to Noel. I think he wants her to go on. S### or bust as we would say in Yorkshire. (All or nothing in Noels language). He tentatively opens H’s box no 18, to reveal the fabulous red £50k Everyone is welling up now including Noel... and me. Very gutsy lady – well done.

Final domestic details the wee bag contains a key which represents the deposit on both her daughters’ houses.

Have a great day y'all
Sue (standing in for the usual author currently on the M25 car park)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Richard won £13,000

Welcome to the dream factory, announces Noel. DOND was about the ‘if only’, ‘if only Dot had stopped at £12,000’ he reflected. Today’s flashing lights stopped on Richard and box 2. I forgot he was a contestant, he seemed to be part of the furniture, he would leave a big hole in the contestant pool – he had been a major contributor with advice and support to the other players and he was clearly very popular with his peers. Richard had been waiting for 26 shows and I have no idea who he looked like but he somehow reminded me of Geordie, I hoped that he might fair better. Richard had brought photos of his little girl, and that was as much as this big man from Yorkshire was revealing about himself.

Round one: Terry the new girl, and just like a box of chocolates (how many times will she have heard that), opened box 20 - £50,000. Tom next with box 19 - £1000. Patricia opened box 13 – 50p – finally giving the audience a chance to cheer something. ‘My mate Lofty’ said Richard, box 17. ‘I hope you win as much as you can drink’, said Lofty - £500. Richard was considering each box very carefully, he went for Francesca, box 8. She didn’t hang around, flicking open the lid in the belief that it was trivial… but she was wrong - £100,000. The banker claimed to be beamed live by satellite from Mauritius, he was spending the money the contestants had failed to win – ‘they were cursed’. The offer was £1313 pounds – Richard just nodded his head , it was never going to happen in the first round. [The banker was actually just working from home.]

Round two: Richard wasn’t keen on hair – but the more skin he revealed the bigger the clue he gave the banker; his face, neck, ears and back of his head, were rapidly turning scarlet, the nerves were kicking in. Pat had box 12, she had stood beside Richard until today and she was missing him already, he was her dancing partner in these wild hotel parties - £750. [You know it might be an idea for hotels to offer DOND theme weekends, where everybody arrives as complete strangers and then they all get completely hammered together before leaving on the Monday with 1p. Send me money for the idea if you do it. ] Box 15 by serious Simon - £3000. Richard took his time, scanning the boxes, he picked out Morris. After the break Morris finally delivered an ode with style, ‘Yorkshire tea, box number three, boom’ - £1. The banker thought Richard was worthy of immense respect, he had certainly given a good account of himself during his games in the wings. The offer was £12,000, and I could see his mind ticking. The banker would have noted this too, already we were at Richard’s threshold but he couldn’t stop at the end of Round two. Noel asked the question and Richard was still thinking, some players roll this out to create their idea of dramatic tension, but not Richard, he was giving everything serious thought, eventually he said ‘No deal’, but I think it was a close run thing.

Round three: Hilary, box 1 - £250,000. Richard’s head stayed in his hands for the longest time, this was Dot’s game all over again; she rejected £12,000 yesterday, and then the very next box was the big one. If you have ever been close to someone when they get a kick in the nuts you will understand Noel’s reaction, he just stood there and waited for Richard to lift his head. Emma B shouted ‘come on Rich’, and the audience clapped a little, but he was hurt. He selected Susie’s box 11, she warned that her boxes had been getting progressively higher, but he still went for it - £10,000. Finally he went for Raj, box 9 - £15,000 – another red, an all-red round. ‘We’ve got another horrendous game’, said Noel, abandoning any attempt at encouragement. The offer was £3100, the amount Dot took home. ‘Trying to do joined up dots’ said Noel. ‘No deal’ said Richard, this was the first time he had made a decision quickly. Now the thing is Dot could have won a lot of money if she kept going, but she didn’t have the nerve and anyway we couldn’t have coped even if she had. But this was Richard, and if the game continued on the same path then he needed to keep going to the end.

Round four: Tan was next with box 21, he asked if 21 meant anything to Richard – No – well it was Tan’s lucky number, he opened the box - £10. Noel was wading through treacle trying to raise the atmosphere; following Tan’s box he hoped that this was the pivotal round. Gaz opened box 5 - £5, the crowd cheering and Richard yelling like a Viking, a bald Viking. Richard spent forever scanning the boxes, his eyes almost boring into them, so Noel called a break to give him more time. After the break Richard called for Massimo to open his box 18 - £100, and Richard cheered for Britain an all-blue round to restore the balance. The board had four reds against four blues, including the £75,000 and the £50,000. In the banter Richard said that before the game began, he felt that ‘today was the day to do well’, and he still felt that. He was talking up the game, trying to convince the banker that he was going to the end – the offer now moved away from Dot’s game - £13,000. Presumably 13 to reflect ‘the curse’, the banker’s theme for today. Richard thought long and hard, as usual, but the board contained three amounts higher than the offer. Suddenly I looked up from the keyboard and realised that he was about to mouth the word ‘Deal’, where did it come from? ‘Sorry Noel, its just what I needed’.

Round five: Max opened box 22 – 10p, this was not looking good. Next Sarah, lovely, gorgeous Sarah with box 16 - £20,000. Patrick opened box 7 – 1p – Dot’s game was still in the shadows. Richard smiled like Edward G Robinson after he had been shot.. The offer would now have been £21,500. At this point Richard explained that he had decided beforehand that £13,000 would have been one of his trigger levels.

Round six: Sandy, box 6 - £250. Emma D, box 10 - £5000. Somebody cheered but it was the lowest red. Box 4, Dave opened the lid on £75,000, today Smiler had got it right for the first time in ages. The banker would now have offered £9000 against a board of £35,000 and £50. So Richard had dealt one round too early (if we go with that logic).

Richard felt that given the board’s current scenario he would have gone on, with a 50-50 chance of winning £35,000 – Noel opened the box to reveal how bad that would have been, he only had £50 in his box. The £35,000 was in Emma B’s box 14. Richard was taking home £13,000, the highest amount of the week so far, but to do it he had been forced to deal early. Just like Dot he must be thinking - ‘if only’.

Hit Parade - Chart 7

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark; Geordie has come from relative obscurity to top spot in the charts. This has happened over the last three days and I am pretty sure he hasn't just got Israel and Palestine to agree on the Wailing Wall, discovered the cure for cancer, nor found life on Mars....hmmm? Anyway, I have now adjusted the software so that people can only vote once per day, and then we shall see if Geordie (and a couple of other suspicious entries) remain so close to the top.

1. Geordie
2. Noel
3. Pat M
4. Banker
5. Lucy
6. JT
7. Trevor
8. Helen
9. Simon
10. Gary

A bit of fun...

...in the platonic sense. I am indebted to Salu for passing on this link, its a little bit slow, but worth a go. UK DOND Simulator

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Inside the boxes

A young man called Stuart Storey has just got in touch, he is trying to develop a career in radio. Stuart's weapon of choice is DOND and he is trying to create a regular podcast covering games and related issues. I believe the music he plays is also very...hip...for his target audience, please give him your support at Inside the Boxes

Dot won £3100

Wednesday again, middle of the week already. Noel was wearing a shirt that defied description, needless to say he should never ever giving anyone a bad time about dress sense. He made an interesting observation - '4 members of the 1p club, all male, does that say something?'.

Today it was Dot's turn. Smartly dressed she walked elegantly to the front, a woman of quiet charm. Dorothy Hargreaves, a widow from Birmingham, with four children and nine grandchildren. She considered herself to be lucky as she had got to the point where she was sitting in the hot seat. She needed money,a 20 year old car had to be replaced. Noel tried to find out which model of car she wanted but Dot had no preference, 'as long as it goes, and doesn't need an MOT for three years'. She also wanted new flooring. The total cost of her ambitions gave us, and more importantly the banker, a clear idea of her 'walking money'. This was shaping up to be a deal-early game, would Dot surprise us?

Round one: Patricia, box 18 - £750. Francesca box 5 - 10p. Dot was clapping. Noel said she didn't have to, it was her game, but Dot wanted to clap, and so that was decided. Lofty was next with box 7 - £1000. Tan to follow, he opened box 14 - £50,000. Noel noted 'our first set back'. Emma B, very fetching in bright yellow, opened box 11 - £10,000. Dot was very cool - 'well, the box decides, I don't'. The banker delivered a series of compliments, but Dot was not fooled, she was staying firmly on the ground. He offered £6700, enough to buy a car. Dot said 'I am not a gambler', but then she said 'I have to play a bit, I have to take some chances'. It was like watching the Superman film where Christopher Reeves became evil.

Round two: Max started this round with box 1 - £250. Tom, the new guy, competing with Lofty for height, opened box 12 - £15,000. Dot chose Sandy in box 3 to follow the break - £500. The casting of Dot was inspired, the dialogue between her and Noel revealed a very stylish and lovely woman and a royalist too. 'What would you say to the Queen?' asked Noel. 'You don't speak to the Queen unless she speaks to you', replied Dot. The offer was £12,000. What would she do now, this was easily enough money to cover all of her aims. 'But then I wouldn't have played the game...it would be nice to get some new dresses', said Dot, clearly swayed by the numbers still out there. The board and the game were sucking her in, the contestants were split, some such as Tan thought she could deal at this point, and still enjoy the game.

Round three: Sarah, gorgeous Sarah, worried about Dot, opened box 15 - £250,000. The tension was already there, people felt like they were steeling candy from a baby, that they were witnessing the mugging of a very dear old lady. Hilary, box 13 - 50p. A careful cheer from the audience but one more box to go. Dot looked around the wings and picked out Susie, box 21 - £100,000. This all felt very uncomfortable now, Noel biting his nails as he returned to Dot. The offer was £3800. 'Oh my God', exclaimed Dot, suddenly realising that she had given away over £8000. 'Why didn't I take the money?', she rued, referring to the earlier offer. Dot was down, Noel was quiet trying to find the words to explain what the show was doing to this woman. 'Do it for the Queen', shouted out one of the contestants, and she laughed, sparking out of the shock momentarily. 'No deal', she said chasing the £12,000. The audience were encouraged to cheer, but people didn't want to see Dot hurt.

Round four: Raj, box 16 - £5. A genuine cheer, the first since the £250,000 appeared, the audience were beginning to relax. Dot went to Gaz who was sure she was 'on a role', he opened box 17 - £75,000 - more silence. This was hard to watch, only the £35,000 of the power five was still in the game. After the break Pat M opened box 2 to reveal £5000. 'You are not a gambler, and unfortunately the board now requires a gambler's nerve', said Noel capturing the dilema beautifully. The offer was £2500, Dot's face indicating that she expected such an amount, but that it was a terrible loss. Patrick shouted out to fill the void, he suggested that she could do it, referring to Gary's game where they went through six blues in a row. Others joined in to give advice but Dot quietly cut through - 'ask me the question' - 'No Deal'.

Round five: Dot's voice was flat, she went for box 6 and Emma D - £20,000. Richard opened box 22 praying for a blue, and he got one - £10. Contestants were all holding hands by this point, the audience were silent. Dot chose Simon's box 19 - £3000 - the £35,000 was the only red left in play. Just like yesterday, the player was facing four blues against a single red, but this was a lovely old lady, not Dave's seasoned gambler. Dot was quiet, like a mouse in shock. Noel was applying first aid, 'at the end of every sentence there is a dot, and we haven't got to the end of the sentence yet'. The offer was now £3100. Noel immediately pushed for Dot to deal, no-one wanted her to walk home with 1p. Simon thought it was a good offer considering the board. She asked for the question, and managed to say 'Deal'. I got the feeling that if she said 'No Deal', Endemol would simply re-record until she changed her mind. What a relief.

Round six: But Dot was still quiet, cold, shut down - presumably running through, not what might have been, but what she had given away. Noel pulled her back to the now, she selected poet Morris with box 9 - £100. Then Massimo. It needed to be the red, but in box 4 he only had £50. The crowd went quiet again, a dawning realisation that they could be complicit in stopping Dot from winning a lot more money. Finally box 10 from smiler - 1p - when he needed blues he had the big reds, and now that he had to deliver the big red, he gave the worst possible result. Dot, if she had been allowed to go on, would now have been offered £14,100. This was just appalling; like accidentally stabbing to death your favourite pet, realising that the poor thing is not dead afterall, ressucitating it, and then crushing it under a steam rolller.

Noel opened her box - it was £1, Patrick had £35,000 in box 8. At the end of the game, the realisation that she had actually won over £3000 was finally beginning to sink in - Dot was warming up again, and returning to her happy old self - thank God. I didn't see the audience leave the studio, but I bet they felt guilty. What a rollercoaster of a game this is, I didn't realise that throwing Christians to the lions could be so entertaining...anyone got a fiddle?

The Student Speaks II:- The Wrong Stuff

What a disappointing week it has been so far in the world of DOND!!

Promising games, both ended with the sudden destruction of the power five.

I still think that my theory about the braver players winning more extreme amounts of money, high or (more often) low, still holds true. Claire was brave enough to win the big money, Dave E was definately daring enough, but so far, whenever people try to push their luck, it turns round and bites them.

It is interesting that all four of the 1p winners we have had so far (Nick, Trevor, Fadil and now Dave E) all had similar games, where they just pushed their luck a little too far. Dave E's game, in particular, with his no deal at a 4:1 split, was always going to end in tears. Of course it will only take one person to take on the banker with 1p, 10p, £5, £50 and £250,000 left and win the big one to shut up all of us theorists.

Claire and James's games were both extremely unlucky, and both deserved far more than what they got, but at least they both kept us entertained! A couple of weeks ago, there was a run of about 10 shows, where people kept dealing far too early. That phase seems to have passed with J.T's game, and more recently Gary's game. It seems to me that what i would call the 'big games' (i.e. Sam, Saj, Lucy, Kirsty, J.T., Gary etc) seem to define how the next few games will go. So I just wonder now, if Dave Es collapse to 1p yesterday will now cause another run of over-caution. I hope not....

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dave E won 1p

Outside its a grey Tuesday in April, but in front of the telly right now its another world, full of hopefuls, one of whom is about to take a journey to the exit door - the only real question is how much will he or she take home. Noel explains that this is the 150th episode in the UK, and there have been 6 times when the £250,000 could have been won i.e. the big one was in the player's box. (What about when it was in the last contestant;s box, across from the player, such as in Kirsty's game?)

Today it was Dave E's turn to attempt the North face of the Eiger. Dave Ellis, a self-confessed gambler from Luton, a man of few words, who sat with box 20, He was keen to go, his only photo was of his 18 month old grand-daughter, and his brother Jez was in the audience. Apparently he had already discussed which boxes would be opened at the later stages of the game, telegraphing his intention to go all the way. He looked like a forty-something version of Eli Wallach - you know, the bad guy from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Round one: Simon was going to be first, he said 'I have a lot of faith in Dave', (what's faith got to do with it?) He opened box 8 - £1000. Susie next with box 2 - £750. Then he went for Sandy's box 9, no warning it just came up - £250,000 - the audience groaned, sounding like the bull from Jim Bowen's Bullseye. Pat, box 3 - £35,000, she was worried about her neighbour Raj, who wasn't well. Raj in a pink jersey claimed to have 'man flu' - hmm, 'girly flu' possibly. Finally for the round, Patrick opened the lid on £50. Noel remarked that the banker had given away £2.5 million over the past 149 shows. The offer was £2150, which Dave thought, for want of a better word, was reasonable - 'No deal'.

Round two: Patricia, the new girl, even smaller than Noel, opened box 1 - 50p. Dot, also claiming to have Raj's flu, opened box 10 - £100. Dave decided to go for 'smiler' on the basis that he had more than his fair share of the big ones, but we would have to wait until after the break for the result of his logic. [A shortened version of the Honda advert was shown during the break - whoever is responsible for that should get an award, its quite brilliant.] Dave W opened his box - £20,000. Noel tried for the umteenth time to engage in conversation with Dave E, but it was difficult - his words were clipped, there were no grand gestures, no gestures at all in fact. The offer was £5150, and while Dave played at asking contestants questions, his mind was clearly made up - 'No deal'. Actually if you read through this blog, particularly DOND and the Art of War, then you will know that I recommend this approach - give nothing away.

Round three: Raj, box 19 - £250, Noel commenting on how pink suits him, but Raj brushed him away. Tan next with box 7 - £10. The audience finally beginning to warm up. Dave asked Gaz and Francesca aboout their previous games, and then he settled on Francesca, she opened box 15 - £15,000. Simon and Sarah both felt the board was strong - but in any case Dave E did not look worried (or happy, or mildly amused...). The offer from the banker was £10,150. Now that seemed to make a difference, something in Dave's well-worn face changed - he asked Sarah, Dave W and Massimo, all of whom said go on. - Dave's lips were getting tighter, the veins in his neck were being stretched, Noel asked the question. Maybe there was a glimmer that Dave might have dealt if he had found enough backing from his peers, but in the end he said 'No deal'. Noel gave up trying to create banter with Dave, it was falling on barren ground, so he turned to brother Jez. Unfortunately the problem ran in the family, Jez seemed to have fewer words than Dave.

Round four: Gaz, box 11 - £3000. What do you think of that Jez?' asked Noel, scrambling for someone to say something tangible. 'That was OK', said Jez, the audience laughed. Dave selected Lofty, box 12 - £100,000. 'Thats OK', said Jez, Noel did a double take, but Jez was insistent, the £50,000 and £75,000 were still in play. Morris without any poetry (I could just imagine a conversation between Morris and Dave in the bar along the lines of 'you say one peotic word in my game and I'll....'), opened box 17 - £75,000. 'That's not OK', said Jez. We were now down to a single box game. Noel called for a break. On the return, Noel commented on how cold the game was, Dave was playing it very coldly, very dry. Richard suggested that we were not seeing the real Dave, Francesca thought he might be able to turn it around. Noel asked the contestants what they thought the offer might be - smiler thought it might be £1150 if the banker was being really mean - and that was what it was. 'No deal', said Dave.

Round five: Dave was staring at a board containing £50,000, £10,000, £5000 and oblivion. He went for the gorgeous Sarah and box 14 - £500. Emma D, also gorgeous, was next with box 15 - £50,000. It was really all over now, but still no emotion. Massimo, not at all gorgeous, opened box 21 - £5000. The board had four blues and the £10k, what was he going to do. Apart from chewing his lip, Dave was giving nothing away. The banker's offer was £1000 - contestants seemed to think it was generous. Dave was calm, steely calm - 'I'm ready for the question', he could have been asking the time, he said - 'No deal'.

Round six: Max, with box 5 was next - £1. A good start but a cliff face to climb. Emma B had box 18. She was sure she had the penny, but it sounded desperate, and it was. She lifted the lid on £10,000. Dave's voice finally quivered, there was nothing left to play for. He went for Richard, box 16 - 10p. All that was left was to choose between 1p and £5. The offer was £1.50. 'No deal'.

Dave was smiling nervously - any ambitions had evaporated, his memories of the show were all he was left with. He declined the swap. Was he going to join the 1p club? The answer was yes. Noel opened the box and the blue 1p was laid out in front of Dave like a corpse in the morgue.

Dave acted the part during the game, he held a poker face throughout and this was why the offer of £10,150 at the end of round three was as high as it was - he had the banker guessing. But as Kenny Rodgers says/sings, 'You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em....'. I think Dave nearly walked at the end of round three, that was why he asked so many of his peers, but he just couldn't do it. So now the 1p club has a membership of four, and the £250,000 is still waiting for its first member. As for Morris' poetry, how about: 'Dave E won 1p'

Monday, April 24, 2006

Clare won £1500

Noel welcomes us into another week - he reminded the audience of James' disastrous game, well the result anyway. Today's player was Clare, the 'wee Brookside lassie'. She danced up to the front, a cheeky grin, the energy of Lulu, the style of Susie Quatro, and the voice of Paul O'Grady on speed. 'I'm gonna have it', Noel with eyes like saucers completely agreed, 'but first we'll play the game'. Mr Edmonds had the hots for Clare, he clearly felt restrained by having Clare's mum and aunty in the audience, but as his Mum thought he was 'a good prospect' he felt his path was clear. Clare was a former hotel receptionist - she lost her job for being nice on duty, and according to Noel she was formerly in a relationship too (I hope her boyfriend is Noel-sized). Clare described herself as very decisive, and very lucky. She had lost all control, desperate to get started even before the housekeeping had been done. Eventually we got under way.

Round one: Gaz, box 8 - £750. Clare shouted louder than any of the audience. Box 21 was next opened by Emma B - £50,000. Clare very excited by this point. She wanted a Range Rover Vogue and that was just enough money. Noel challenged her choice, she shot across his bows, 'better than your hairdresser car'. Clare was picking names as if she was firing from the hip. Emma D was next with box 5 - £10, Clare's grin was right across her face. Morris with some poetry had box 15 - 50p, and finally Pat, very quiet of late, box 22 - £500. The phone rang and Clare picked it up. Most obviously she stated 'I'm from Liverpool'. She had a really dirty laugh, giggling with the banker. The best joke of the show came next, the banker suggested this was Noel's Scouse Party. He also added that Clare was a force of nature - that she was. He doesn't like natural forces, said Noel, putting her off the scent, but the offer was - £9000. Clare didn't give the offer a moment's thought. 'No Deal'.

Round two: Simon was told to smile by Clare, he had box 6. But he had reason not to smile - £75,000. Raj next with box 12 - £15,000. Massimo with box 14 followed the break - £100. Noel hoped she had calmed down - 'In game play terms think of this as marathon, not a sprint', and indeed she was slightly calmer than during the first round. Noel discussed the offer with the banker, and then asked Clare what she thought it might be - she thought £4000, but her mum was right, it was £12,000. Now she was taking things seriously - she still rejected the offer, but fluttered her hands over her heart, the pressure was building.

Round three: Clare went to Dave W, on the basis that he couldn't have the big one five times in nine games could he? Smiler opened box 13, and smiled - 10p. Noel referred to Veronica (Clare's mum), 'find the 1p'. Veronica said box 20, so Clare went with that. Lofty the new guy had to open the box and unbelieveably he had it - 1p. Even more remarkably this was hardly commented on by Noel and Clare, as if it was expected. Box 7 to end the round, Sandy lifted the lid on £5. This was a fabulous round but Clare had gone past excitement, this was big now, the previous offer was more money than she had ever seen before, and then she had an all blue round. The offer was now £17,000. Noel went up and sat between mum and aunty - they both recommended that she play, that was what she was here to do. Clare turned back to the board. 'Ask me the question Noel', said Clare. She said it three times, before Noel deemed it was right - No Deal.

Round four: Box 16, Patrick - £5000. Box 3, Susie - £35,000. The board still had the top two in play. Clare was now cold, shivering, the smile had gone, the shine had gone, her eyes showed real fear. 'I'm nearvis', she said to Noel. She went for box 17 and the gorgeous Sarah - £50. The audience were cheering loudly, an all blue round followed by one almost as good. The banker stated that he was supremely confident she would deal at £20,000. Dave E advised go on, Richard thought it was her day, Mum said its a lot of money, but she also thought she should play. Noel hadn't even finished asking the question when Clare said - 'no deal'.

Round five: Dot, box 18 - £1000, Clare's mascara was going, but she cheered and threw her arms in the air. She had to find the low numbers, her eyes scanning the boxes, eventually she settled on Tan and then turned her back, unable to look. Tan opened box 9, Clare's fingers crossed - £20,000 and it got a big 'yes' across the studio - the £100,000 and £250,000 were still in play. Her bottom lip was quivering, finally she went for box 4 - Francesca, how could she keep avoiding the big numbers? Francesca opened the lid and the audience groaned - £250,000 - bang, right between the eyes. She giggled, relief perhaps that the worst had finally happened and she was still standing. The board now contained £100,000,£10,000, £3,000, £1, £250. The offer was £8000, a long fall from the heady heights of £20,000 bringing Clare back to earth. This was a one box game - the contestants advised her to take the money, but Clare wanted to go home with more than that - 'no deal'. Tragedy was taking on shakesperian proportions - you could feel what was about to happen.

Round six: Hilary box 1 - £100,000, and that was it really - today's plane had come out of the cloud straight into a cliff face. Clare was standing up, arms over her head, maybe she would wake up and it was all a dream. Noel was doing the thinking for her now, aiming at the £10,000. She looked round, scrambling for solid ground, wanting to be anywhere but there, she went for Max and box 11 - £1. Maybe she could take £10,000, afterall that's a lot of money too, but Clare couldn't find it, she was shaking her heading as she called out Dave E. He opened the £10,000 in box 19, it was just inevitable. The phone rang and she picked it up, 'I thought you said you liked me', she said, in the same tone as my eight-year faces the playground bullies and yells 'you don't scare me'. She burst into tears, real tears, the power of this game was immense, the banker had been nice to her, complementing her bravery and spirit - and not for the first time in the game she was wrong footed. The contestants were crying too - it could have been any one of them going through this unique form of torture. The offer was £1500 and she said 'deal', she wasn't going home with £250. 'I'm devastated' she said, wiping her tears with the back of her wrist. Her mum and aunt came down to cuddle her, and she said 'why did you let me go on at £20,000?'.

As it turned out she had £250 in her box (2), and Richard had £3000 in box 10. Noel tried to convince Clare that she would soon feel much better about beating the banker, but Clare had gambled £20,000 of what was effectively her own money by the mid point of the game, and ended up with £1500 - 'I'm gutted' was all she could say.

What tremendous entertainment; exciting, riveting, funny, unpredictable and at the end heart-wrenching . We watched as the layers of a hard, sharp-edged Liverpool lass, were peeled away to reveal a vunerable little girl underneath - I wanted to give her a cuddle myself. But Clare was living on the thrill, she should have dealt at £20,000, and definitely dealt after she lost the £250,000, but the pull of the crowd was just too strong. The tears reminded me of Gazza in 1996, it made his career, maybe it will make hers too?

Making an offer you can't refuse...

[I am posting this excellent article by Adie as he is having technical problems with blogger]

So, we're 148 shows down, almost 6 months into the UK life of DOND, and already it seems certain that, like "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and "The Weakest Link", it's going to be a TV staple for years to come, and patterns are already emerging...

For instance, however good or bad a week the contestants have, the average win steadfastly refuses to budge from its level of just above £17,000 across the entire series. In fact, despite sterling performances this week from Linda (£24,000) and Gary (£29,999), this week's average win is just £16,250. This consistency definitely suggests that there is something in the way that the game is structured that steers wins towards this level.

A big part of this structure of course are the offers that The Banker makes, but how are those offers calculated? A huge part of the game's appeal is that the offers (at times) seem almost random - or at least to be emotionally driven - which is why despite never seeing or hearing him, that The Banker genuinely seems to have a tangible personality. But surely there must be certain given methodologies which contribute to each offer? Not being one to resist a challenge, I present my own list as follows:

1) THE MEAN VALUE: Aaron the bookie (29th March) made a lot of the mean value of the remaining boxes on the board as his principal way of determining how good or bad any offer was. There's much to commend this, but as a theory it is let down by the fact that the monetary values in the boxes are so disparate, with relatively enormous gaps between the top few boxes. At the start of any game, the average value of the boxes is £25,712, which immediately plummets to £15,032 without the £250,000 box, and to £10,783 without the £100,000 too. At the risk of stating the obvious, in many ways, DOND is always a "one box game", as the revelation of the £250,000 inevitably changes the whole outlook...

2) THE MID-POINT BOX: devastating in its simplicity! Just take the total number of boxes remaining, and pick the one halfway through by value as a starting point. Theoretically the player has a 50/50 chance of having more/less than that amount in their box, making this as good a method as any... in fact, a good rule of thumb in trying to guess any offer is to take the box one up from the halfway point, and pitch it slightly above or below that amount depending on the strength of the gameboard. I get to within a few hundred pounds about 75% of the time with this technique...

3) DIMINISHING RETURNS: It never feels like it, but "box-for-box," in general the offers tend to get less generous as the game progresses. Again very obviously, with each box the player opens, it's more information that The Banker has at his disposal, and unless The Player is doing well, then they're doing badly. The Banker also has the comfort of knowing that (to date) no-one ever deals in the first 3 rounds, so he can afford to be generous. I've pointed out in previous posts that almost 60% of players take home less money than the highest offer they received, ably demonstrating that the majority of players go "too far," with round 3 or 4 statistically being the best time to "Deal." Any player going beyond round 4 has effectively taken the decision that they're ready to go right to the endgame, with all the risks that implies... and finally,

4) WHO BLINKS FIRST: This is really where The Banker earns his money, in judging just how far a player is prepared to go to try and beat the odds. When he gets it right (and I'd put Micheal's £10,000 deal on Friday in this category), The Banker gets players to walk with far less money than they should according to the boxes left (notwithstanding the fact that Michael's decision turned out to be the right one!) That said, this can be turned to The Player's benefit... on Thursday, Gary was (arguably) the first player to really take advantage of The Banker's "emotional" component in getting his £29,999 win - I'm personally convinced that he would not have gotten that offer unless he had stated his (fake) target of £30,000 at the beginning of the show.

Without getting into the complexities of Game Theory [link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory], that's my quick 'n' dirty analysis of what goes into The Banker's offer-making process... we'll propbably never know for sure of course, but isn't that why we tune in day after day, because we really don't know what's going to happen next? And after all that, in case you're thinking that the average prize of £17,000 doesn't sound like all that much money, bear in mind that "The Weakest Link"'s biggest ever prize to date has been just £12,000*

Have a good week all you Fanatics out there, and 'til next time, "NO DEAL!"

* or so I'm informed - any corrections gladly received!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Gary "... it was worth leaving a job for.”

The Norwich Evening News has got a great article about Gary and his DOND win last Thursday of £29,999.

To read the full article simply click on this link.

In it he says:

“It's all been a massive whirlwind.

“I saw an advert last June for the show and decided to apply. I had almost forgotten about it when I got a call to audition in October but there were so many people I didn't dream I would get through.

“Then in January I was stuck in a traffic jam and got a call saying I had got through - I went absolutely ballistic.

“I only needed to win £15,000 but being a sales rep I thought I would double my chances and it worked.

“I have bought a Subaru Impreza and have paid off my mum's debts as well as my own. I have also been able to send my girlfriend to New York with her sister.

“It has all been brilliant and it was worth leaving a job for.”

The show was recorded on March 17th.

James won £500

Its Sunday night, I am having to watch DOND's repeat on More4 as I missed the original screening yesterday - Channel 4 please stop mucking around with Saturday's slot for DOND!

Anyway, here we are, Noel is wearing a Bordeaux red velvet evening jacket, or maybe its from Butlins? Tonight it was James taking the 'walk of wealth'. Another very popular contestant amongst his peers, he reminded me of the gangly kid from Eastenders who couldn't dance and yet got to the finals because all the ladies wanted to mother him. James Thirkettle, a training consultant, aged 25 but he looked 13. He had been in banking for five years before taking up his current role. His wife of six months - Claire - was in the audience. I often wonder if the contestants go through make-up before the show, however it was clear from James' complexion that he was wearing very little; his face was already flushed - reddened checks and neck as he endured the opening banter with Noel.

Round one: Claire, box 4 - £50,000, Noel decided she had become the new 'black widow', but Claire replied, rather selfishly I thought, 'If I am still the black widow when I am sitting up there then I'm not bothered'. Noel also noted that the left side of the West wing seemed to be where most of the reds are stored. Pat opened box 22, and everyone had a chance to cheer - 1p. Tan, the new guy, was seriously living up to his name, he opened box 7 - £3000. Dot had box 16 - £10. James adams-apple was prominent and jumping, only one more to go for the round. He settled on Dave W (formerly known as smiler) with box 21 - £250,000 - the audience groaned, James' wife bit her nails. Dave W had drawn the big one four times in the last 8 games, maybe he should be renamed 'grim reeper'. James had selected Dave W precisely because the odds of him having another £250,000 were so low. A brief pause in James progress, but he was soon focused on the £100,000 and prepared himself for the banker's first call. The banker's offer was £1,100, James thought this was 'alright', but who would accept that at the end of round one, even if he had selected the entire power five? 'No deal', a formality.

Round two: Massimo started the round, box 5 - 50p. Next box 14 from Dave E. 'Why?' said Noel asking about James' choice of box. 'Why not!' replied James. But there was a reason why not, it was £20,000. James then went for Richard. Noel doubled checked the choice after the break. 'Always positive' said James, and then the lid was lifted on box 11 to reveal £100. James had a photo of himself with his sister when they were very young, 'a time when decisions didn't matter', said the old head on young shoulders. The banker suggested this player could be a 'baby-faced assasin', so his offer was interesting - £8000. Contestants were asked for a single word to describe the offer: Richard - 'good', Raj - 'average', Pat - 'minging'. James' eyes widened - 'Minging?', he repeated in disbelief, and Pat looked horrified. She didn't know what the word meant and so she corrected herself and replaced the word with 'generous' - you've got to love Pat. James was not really thinking about the offer, no-one left at the end of round two - No deal'

Round three: Hilary box 19 - £100,000. I can imagine that when it becomes Hilary's turn, the banker will use the term 'minx' again. Hilary was another woman with a bright glint in her eye. Noel seemed to know something, he went to her. 'You don't smile much do you?' She looked at him nonchalantly, 'I smile when I have good reason'. Noel was digging, 'When was the last time you smiled? Hilary laughed at his question (or perhaps a memory) - 'I am not telling you on national TV', she was laughing. James selected Gaz, box 12 - £750. Sarah was next. An 'ooo' was heard from one member of the audience, it was Sarah's mum - 'awwww'. Eventually she opened box 1 - £1. The banker gave James a message 'take this offer', he then offered £5000. Noel asked wife Claire what he should do, 'its up to him', was the reply - good for her. James was then asked and immediately said 'No deal'. The banker phoned back, he was not happy that James did not give his offer more thought - in puerile tone he wished James would leave with 10p.

Round four: Simon (still not smiling), box 17 - £250 , Raj (competing with Tan for tan) box 10 - 10p, this was looking much better. James went for 'poet' Morris with box 6 '...dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb, lets have another blue in box number 6', but it was £75,000 - almost a reflection on how bad the poetry was, I mean we are getting close to Vogon here. The offer was £3000. 'That was a fair offer', said James, he asked Simon for his view. Now this was the first time I could recollect hearing from Simon, he spoke with an air of authority, like a banker or management consultant (my advice is always to do the opposite of whatever they say). Simon felt that it was 'a very tricky board', but advised him to continue. James was serious now, his face scarlet, the advice from an older, authorative figure perhaps pushing him on - 'No deal.

Round five: James went for a quickie. Emma B (now that is a thought), box 15 - £50. Francesca box 20 - £10,000. Patrick, box 2 - £1000. The banker then asked to speak to the player. James held the receiver and listened for a couple of seconds before bursting into laughter - 'sounds like a dirty phone call'. This was probably a mistake; James was in no position to upset the banker. The offer was £6000 which was almost half of the average left on the board. Emma B advised to 'Deal again' - she meant go on, but it could have been interpreted the other way, ah the newbies. And why was James taking advice exclusively from one of the newest members of the contestants pool at such an important stage of the game? Maybe he felt that he should not have allowed himself to be swayed by Simon at the end of the last round. He was thinking this time, but he couldn't take his eyes of the £35,000 - 'No Deal'.

Round six: Susie opened box 13 - £15,000 - this was now a one box game. Emma D next with box 18 - £5, the fifth time she had done that. Fingers crossed through the studio, lots of hope, expectation even, James needed to find a blue, he needed to avoid the £35,000. He scanned the wings, veins pulsing, his face a glowing, smiling, beckon of red. Standing up in his chair he went for Max and box 8. The lid opened and the luck, what there was of it, seemed to ebb away - £35,000. James slumped back. An air of resignation filled the space, Noel's face expressing a pain which one might expect to be painted on after 100 shows, but it seemed real enough to me. The offer was £2000. James seemed to have made his mind up before knowing the offer - 'No Deal'. The smile had been swallowed. The phone rang again - 'I don't want it', James repeated. The banker perseveered, offering the swap, and James stated that he had long since decided he would never do that - Noel wasted no more time, opening the box as James looked on in shock - it was £500. Sandy had £5000 in box 3.

Finally James reflected on his time as a contestant, and described meeting so many people from so many backgrounds as the big win. Poor James, he played bravely, but the numbers were not going with him and the banker's offers kept driving him on. Perhaps he should have dealt at the end of round five, but the average at that point was over £11,000, so the offer was low. In the same circumstances I would have reacted in the same way...I hope.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Michael won £10,000

Friday - and Noel finds yet another way to say those immortal opening words. As predicted today's chosen one was Michael. Was Michael's mother back stage at a Barry Manilow concert 9 months before he was born? You get the idea. A lot of Michael's friends were in the audience and he very sensibly showed a photograph of his flower shop; he got free advertising to 5 million people and the chance to win £250,000 - he had already won.

Round one: box two by Sarah - £50,000. Raj next with box 17 - £3000. Dave E opened box 20 - £20,000. ('welcome to the game', said Noel, surely by mistake, Dave has been there for ages). Gaz box 13 - £35,000. Max, box 12 - £5000. This was historic, an all red first round. The offer was £950. 'No deal' shouted Michael.

Round two: Massimo had box 11 and felt positive, 'I sincerely hope this stems your tide', making a pun on the flower shop theme (there were a lot of these). But the tide was not stemmed, Michaels sixth red in a row was £100,000. 'Are you the kamikaze king of DOND?' asked Noel. Could Dave W bring a smile back to people's faces, he hadn't for quite a while. He opened box 3 - 1p. Michael cheered for Britain, and when he settled down he went for Francesca with box 4. 'Daffodeal or No Deal', said Noel after the break, he was getting worse. Francesca opened her box - 10p. After a series of botanical puns that seemed to go on and on, Noel finally returned to Michael and offered him EVEN LESS than the previous offer - £600. Michael didn't even consider it for a moment.

Round three: Morris box 8, of course he couldn't resist a... poem (for want of a better word) - £500. Sandy opened 19 - £15,000, a sole clapper in the audience. Dot's box was calling at Michael, she opened box 16 - 50p. This was better…finally. Richard advised 'be positive, you have survived 3 rounds with the £75,000 and £250,000 still in play'. Michael then went on to talk complete nonsense about boxes talking to him, as in talking to plants (well on this royal day, I suppose Prince Charles needed a mention). Michael was offered £5000 - surely this was not worth consideration - Michael agreed, forcefully telling Noel to ask him the question - 'No Deal'.

Round four: the board now showed seven blues against four reds. James next with box 10, £10,000. Simon, slightly less serious than yesterday, box 9 - £5. Emma B, box 15. after kissing the box she opened it to reveal £750. An all blue round, the board now evenly split four blues against four reds. The bankers ofer was £10,000, Noel suggested he should wrinkle his nose at this amount, but the board only had two numbers higher than the offer. The contestants were asked, all but three said 'No deal', one of them said 'can of peas'. Michael seemed shaky, the banker was reaching through to Michael's threshold. 'No deal'.

Round five: Susie was next, box 6 - £100. Finally the tension was building. Patrick, box 18. Patrick had earlier predicted that he had £1 in his box, and when he opened it, he did indeed have £1. As Noel said 'that was spooky'. Michael rocking now, he went for Hilary and box 7 - £75,000. Noel announced that this had become a one box game. But the banker had a good inkling now about the amounts of money Michael could fold at, he stuck, the offer was £10,000. Michael was shocked, the audience gasped, but it was Michael's reaction to the previous offer that did it. Massimo and Clare clearly felt that he should continue, I suspect that they knew enough personal information about Michael to make that call, yesterday Massimo's advice was the complete opposite. Michael was forced to think, he was wrestling with the possibility of winning £250,000 against a drop to £10. His mind went round in circles and even as he said 'Deal', it was clear that he wasn't sure.

I didn't see who opened Box 14 - £50. Clare, box 20 - £250,000 - Michael lept of his seat, the audience cheered, but Noel remained strangely quiet, perhaps he felt Michael should have continued. Pat M finished the round with box 22 - £10. The offer would have been £400. Michael only had £1000 in his box, and Richard opened box 1 to show the £250.

It was pretty clear from discussions during round five that £10,000 was not going to be a life changing amount for Michael, and yet he dealt. Of course he did pull up the £250,000 during the following round but there is no guarantee that he would have chosen that box if he had not dealt when he did. I think Noel was disappointed, the audience certainly were, and the tension that was building nicely evaporated at the moment he took the money. So not really a frustrating game, just not satisfying.

Questions for DOND players

Adie has come up with a brilliant idea: as we get more and more players commenting on their game reports, it would be good to have a set of questions for them to answer set by our readers.

Currently players tend to comment on their respective game reports between 12 and 24 hours after their game is first broadcast.

I want to develop a list of standard questions (not too many) from those sent in by you good people, and then supplement these with other questions that you have asked having watched the specific player perform.

So please send in some ideas for questions e.g. how much sleep do you get, who pays for the drinks, was there anything going on between Linda and John?

Click here to send in your questions - thanks.

Risk behaviour a la DOND

Here is an American article on risk behaviours; some social scientists are using DOND (specifically the US version) to help determine how people shop, or even make managerial decisions. Being American it is short, not too deep and has some catchy tunes.

[Sorry this is completely unconnected with the above: as I write this I am watching a bizarre report on BBC's Breakfast about the new song for the England football team. The mighty resources of the BBC have set up an outside broadcast unit and a reporter in a bar somewhere, with a portable radio in the center of a high table. The first broadcast of the song is on BBC Radio 1, and yet BBC TV are apparently forced to play the tinny, piggy-backed version picked up by a microphone placed close to the radio! I thought surely at some point they are going to fade across to their own recording of the song, but NO!

Now I am Scottish, and a rugby fan to boot, so the song is neither here nor there for me, but I am struggling to get over the amateurish manner of this report - what is our TV licence money being spent on?]

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Morning America

Just getting ready to write up today's game, and I notice that traffic from the US over the past three hours has gone through the roof. We are now 4th in ranking on MSN's search engine for 'Deal or no deal', and this explains the jump. Moreover, many of our American friends are staying to read the blog which is great, you are very welcome, and if you have suggestions about how we could make it more pertinent for your side of the pond then please do not hesitate to shout. Perhaps one of you would like to submit posts on the US game show in the same way as we do for the UK? there would be lots of us here who would love to read it!


Gary won £29,999

Its me, I'm back feeling very insecure after Sue did such a great job yesterday. Anyway, its Noel and he's in a jacket, maybe he is expecting royalty, afterall it is the Queen's birthday tomorrow (knighthood is next year Noel, order it up now). Noel referred to Fadil's game, pointing out that since then people have been wary; if John, Julia or Linda had gone on they would have won life-changing sums of money - our players needed courage.

Finally its Gary's turn. I thought this could be the case as a lot of people have arrived at the site today using the search words 'DOND - Gary'. Gary Owen has been waiting a long time - 33 shows. A big mummy's boy, no disgrace in that, his photo was of him and his mum, and he kept one of two lucky pennies, his mother kept the other one. Gary had been sales manager of a courier company, but he had given up his job to be on the show. If this goes badly he should get in touch with John. He hadn't told people that he had quit his job, his mother was going to find out when the show was broadcast. Gary was personalising the game, he had taken a massive risk to be there, and he was looking for an enormous reward - £30,000. Having written down his reason for needing the money he decided to stand throughout the game. Surely Fadil was in the shadows?

Round one: Susie opened box 3 for £5. Francesca opened box 1 to reveal another blue - £50. Box 19 was next, opened by Michael - £35,000 - 'I could have done without that' said Gary. Max had box 10 - £3000. Finally Dave W (nobody calls him smiler anymore) with box 16 - £75,000 . Two of the power five had gone. The banker claimed that Gary was trying to play mind games by putting the stakes so high - he offered £7000. 'No Deal' said Gary, impatient for the question, impatient to move on. The chair was free, so Noel took it, allowing Gary to govern the floor.

Round two: Massimo opened box 17 with a look of surprise, maybe he thought he would he much later - £15,000 - maybe he should have been. Nothing for the audience to cheer, so Gary went straight for the next box - Richard. Again the camera was no sooner on Richard than the lid opened on box 22 - £100,000. 'Oh man, I may need that chair back Noel', said Gary in the silence. There was tension in his half-hearted laugh, this felt like a rout. After the break Gary's 'very good friend' Raj opened box 13 - Noel stated that he was uncomfortable about the game because Gary had laid out his stall at the beginning - 'this was much more than a frivolous appearance on television'. Raj opened 10p and finally the audience could cheer again. Gary was looking at six reds against eight blues - the offer was now down to £3000. Gary talked about his respect for the banker, but his body-language revealed that he just wanted to get on withthe game. Eventually Noel asked the question - No Deal'.

Round three: James, (Gary has gone long live James) with box 20 - £250. Dot was next with box 21 - £100. The audience becoming much louder now. Hilary with box 6 - £10. Suddenly the complexion of the game had changed completely. Noel talked to the banker while Gary paced the floor, contemplating his position - the offer was £10,000. Again Gary looked as if he had no intention of accepting the offer, and Noel tried to get him to think about it - he was persuaded to ask the contestants, Dave W and Morris were both adamant that he should continue. Noel asked the question, repeating £10,000 three times, he was worried that after the 250k there was very little - but Gary wasn't listening - 'No Deal'.

Round four. Dave E opened box 4 - £500. Simon next, looking very serious he opened box 14 - £50. Gary couldn't get the smile of his face, he was nervous, excited, puffing, his arms flaying as he tried to keep a handle on what was happening. He went for the gorgeous Emma, but then Noel called a break. How many times have we seen the £250,000 opened immediately after a break - if it happened now Gary would have little leverage, the only way he would make £30,000 or more would be to go to the end with £50,000 in his box. Noel summarised the game and then Emma opened her box - £1. Noel took his jacket off while at the same time reflecting on how Gary had transformed the board. The offer now was £15,000 - a board containing six reds and three blues - Massimo's words of wisdom were 'deal, the banker has met you half-way, you make the rest yourself'. Noel, the audience (and me) were not in the same club. Gary heard the audience, he asked for advice from somone he trusted and then he went with 300 people he didn't know - 'No deal'.

Round five: Gaz opened box 9 - £20,000, not a real problem at this stage, but we were down to £50k and £250k as the only real amounts left in the game. Claire opened box 12 - £750. The board showed only one blue left, the 1p, watching Gary pacing the floor I kept being reminded of Fadil. Gary went for Patrick box 11 - 'shall I get rid of that 1p, for you?' asked Patrick. And then he did - just great!! Gary hugged Noel, the lowest amount now was £1000 and the £250,000 was still in play. What would the banker do now? Noel spent some time talking to the banker and then slammed the phone down 'Oh no, inevitable'. Gary had laid out his table at the beginning, allowing the banker to keep him dangling, but if the banker wasn't going to offer £30,000 with the current board then he was taking a big risk. Noel turned to Gary from the other end of the studio, 'Sorry you are not getting your wish at this point - £29,999'. Richard offered the £1, telling Gary through his actions he should deal. But Gary was not giving deal signs - 'I'm feeling lucky'. The audience almost unanimously thought he should deal. Noel went nose to nose with Gary (was Noel on a box?) and asked the question . Gary thought long and hard, the music built up the tension - 'Deal'. How could he turn down the amount he said he wanted, especially since he removed all other safety nets (and I am not talking about the game).

Round six: Sandy box 5 was going to be next, but he changed his mind, he really felt that Sandy had the money, he had been avoiding her throughout the game, and now he wanted to finsih as he would have done had he continued to play. Instead he went for Pat, too late in the game for any of the usual banter with Noel. She opened box 18 - £50,000. Morris lifted £1000 from box 15, and finally Sarah opened box 2 - £10,000. The board show £500 and the £250,000. The bankers offer would have been £90,000, Gary put his head in his hands - 'that would have been wicked'. Gary couldn't look as Noel opened his box - but it was only £5000.

As it turned out Gary had written in the book that he only needed £15,000, but he wanted to be the first player to beat the banker twice. Gary had certainly achieved his goal...but Sandy did have the £250,000. If Gary had the steel to keep going he would have won the big one (assuming the swap). An entertaining game, but after a short spell around Kirsty's game, we now seem as far away from the £250,000 win as ever.

Hit Parade - Chart 6

As the hit parade is only updated once a week, an amazing event happened on Monday which you would have missed unless you voted - Saj knocked Noel off the top spot. Unfortunately Saj then became the victim of old votes being removed from the database; on 31st March nearly 1000 people voted for her, but late on the 17th April, votes for anyone before the 1st April were removed, and now Saj has plummeted to 9th - I still remember you Saj. As you may have expected Pat M is rapidly gaining ground, only Noel denying her, and remarkably the banker is in third place. Its been over two weeks since Lucy's show and yet she is still pulling in the votes, everyone STILL loves Lucy. Also of note is Simon who seems to be a big hit with the ladies picking up a lot of votes in a short period.

1. Noel
2. Pat M
3. Banker
4. Lucy
5. JT
6. Trevor
7. Simon
8. Gary
9. Saj
10. Kirsty

There is no middle ground

The question is deal or no deal - you can't say, I'll think about it while the other boxes are opened. People's responses to the program are very similar, most people here love it, but others hate it - I haven't meet or read from anyone who has no opinion on this show. The anonymous comment on Linda's game report is fairly typical of the 'others' viewpoint.

BTW, as long as you don't swear, promote strange sexual practices, or relish eating andoulette (nothing against the French, but that has got to be the worst food in the universe) then I am usually happy to publish your comment.

My favourite film of all time is Joe Versus the Volcano, another subject on which people just can't sit on the fence. You either get it or you don't. In the film one of Meg Ryan's characters says to Joe:

"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement"

I think this sums it up. The decisions taken, the highs and lows, the players, contestants, banker and Noel, all meld together to produce something that I think is amazing. We are watching people taking risks with more money than they have ever seen before, and sometimes extraordinary things happen. Yesterday Linda suddenly decided not to go with Morris at a critical stage in the game. She had selected him, and then something in her head said to change the choice - she finally walked with £24,000, but if she had stayed with Morris we would have seen the £250,000 and Linda would have come away with peanuts.

Ignore that the program is recorded and that some of the banter is set-up; DOND is of the few programs on telly where the outcome is always in doubt. And yet sometimes you can just sense an aura of positivity around a player, you know they will do well - don't you think that is amazing?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Linda won £24,000

So I seem to have won the privilege of being today's game recorder. I would like to say this is based on my substantial literary talent, but sadly I must start by introducing myself as a complete novice who was persuaded to do this by a DOND freak.

I should start by registering my discontent with Carol Vordeman's dresser - does anyone out there agree with me that the woman is deranged for allowing herself to be dressed straight out of a charity shop?

Once again the question from the announcer Is the Banker gonna be beat? starts the show. Noel welcomes us to the dream factory and 'wonders' who will be on the dream shift today. Sleepy hollow here we come - Linda.

Tottering on heels and seating herself 'gingerly' she immediately telegraphs her need for a new kitchen. The Earwash??? community volunteer worker, straight away puts in a request for more workers for free. The family snaps are brought out for Noel and the viewers' delight and they are off. Her system has been binned due to her support network having left the show already.

Round One
James, No 1 opens up his box and the show with the £75K, a big "woops!" and a groan from the audience. Gary's box follows with £35K and despite 20 shows Linda has learned nothing according to Noel. Next is Sarah opening box 14 to reveal a cool £100k. Bad bad start says Noel who voices the chance that she might open another two biggies in this round. This is straight away discounted by David with a tenner in his box. Box 18 Sandy and £3k finishes off her first round, although Noel has to stop her from appearing 'dim' by choosing her 6th box before the phone rings.

Banker dribbles to 'yummy Mummy' of the group leaving everyone thinking 'dominatrix'?
But he forgot to dribble the offer which turned out to be £321 Mummy dominatrix was a bit gobsmacked and not tempted at all. No deal got a smattering of applause.

Round two
Onward to box no 10, Hilary and a fabulous 50 pence. Pat's turn and she whipped open the £5k before Noel could go to break. She had a bit of a telling off from him and gave as good as she got as I imagine she always does. Reminds me of my old French teacher a bit, I can't wait to see her show. After the break brings on Simon box 5 and a fiver in it. Cheers the mood a little. Linda and Noel have some discussion over mysteriousnes and kitchens - wasting time. The offer from the Banker this round is for 3 men and a lady in a phone box £6,700. Un-enthusiastic applause from the studio, no-one is convinced because the £250 is still available to win. Buoyed up by the applause Linda goes with a no deal.

Round Three
Linda's daughter met Emma on Saturday and she confirmed their friendship with £50 in box 15. Linda was tempted by Morris but went for Max no 7 and got another blue - £500. Gaz, box 2 then opened up £15k which generated a quiet a groan for his trouble. Time for the Banker to sway Linda a little perhaps? Offer is £9k She goes through the motions of considering but when Noel suggests she might be had cheap she makes up her mind - no deal to cheers from the croud.

Round Four
Richard, box 17 expresses his belief that he doesn't believe in positive thinking and gets rid of the £1k. All happy so far. Patrick, box 12 is confident, and proved justifiably so, with 750 quid. Linda is choosing randomly now and keeps asking the other contestants how they feel? before selecting them. Raj is next with box 3, he's not as quick as Pat as Noel goes to break.
Onto the timing element of the show - Linda sticks with her decision and Raj opens 250 notes. (is that a pony?). The banker responds to this board with an offer of enough money for her kitchen - guaranteed. Needless to say a jump of £900 over the last offer was not enough. No Deal - from a 'getting slightly nervous' Linda and I think the audience too.

Round Five
Linda asks Clare how she feels and she appears cool with her soft scouse accent she opens box 4 which contains the 1p! - huge cheers and relief all round to avoid the exclusive club. Suzy, box 19 welcome to her first show - no pressure....... £100. Another loud response from the studio - poor Linda is now under pressure. Dot is asked how she feels but will not commit, however her box 21 contains a beautiful blue tenpence!
Brilliant board now, one single blue quid and four big reds £10k, £20k, £50k and of course the £250,000. Lots of grovelling from the banker, brings out an apology and an offer of £24k for a good kitchen. A sweep of the audience and contestants reveals the vast majority advising no deal. One of the female contestants pointed out that Linda's own advice in this situation would be to deal. I can't understand it she has 3 figures higher than the offer on the board - no brainer. Confirmed no brainer - she dealt.

Round Six
Massismo opens box 9 and reveals £20k, followed swiftly by Morris opening the £250k which distracted me for a second and I got caught out by the £10k box holder and his box number watching the reaction to this, sorry folks [Dave W].
The final offer would have been £15k. No swap was suggested and Noel opens Linda's box 20 and reveals the £50k. Audience groans. Michael confirmed his box numbered 11 had the one remaining blue pound.

Linda was gracious at the end if a little dull, I would have expected a little more zizz regarding the new kitchen, maybe she would have preferred a dungeon??

So that's my duty done - I know it's not perfect and I did miss a couple of names and box numbers here and there. I was very tempted to remove the no-brainer accusation after the resulting round but actually I still think she could have been a bit braver. Easy from the armchair I know. But there is always the danger of being too good in situations like this and I think Iain should regain control just as soon as possible - tomorrow's show.

So it's goodnight from me.

Feeling listless banker?

Interesting link on Stu's FeelingListless blog - the US banker has his own blog, I wonder if we can persude our man to do the same?

Many thanks to Stu for pointing this out.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Game report for Wednesday 19th April...

...will be by Sue. Please be gentle with her.


John won £18,000

The C4 annoucer declared rather ominously that it was 'the return of the banker', as he introduced Tuesday's edition of DOND. Today John (he of the DOND FM internet radio station), was the chosen one, clutching box 19 as he made his way to the desk. He had a great face for radio - Yoda's larger cousin - but a very popular contestant who from the start seemed very comfortable handling the crowd. John needed the money, he had a same day courier business, but his van 'blew up' so he needed a new one. Noel handed over the reins and John turned to address the audience, he announced that he was going to 'play the game', so every 'no deal' had to be accompanied by a Mexican wave. He made them practice, and the contestants took up the tail end. John hoped The Terminator was back, i.e. he had the big one in his box.

Round one: Dot box 1 - £1.The crowd, having just been warmed up, roared - Noel suggested they pace themselves. Irish Pat looked a little worse for wear, hard party animals the Irish - 'i'm very fragile, leave me alone', she said to Noel. She opened box 2 - £100,000 - John was stung. Dave W next with box 3 - £5000. Gary followed with box 4 - £3000. Simon, the new guy, opened box 5 to complete the round - £250. John was disappointed by losing the £100,000, but felt that otherwise it was strong. He was being ballsy, telegraphing his choice of boxes he stated that he was going all the way. The offer was £2800, and the Mexican wave followed immediately, albeit not very well executed. The force was with Joda.

Round two: Hilary, box 6 - £100 and John pushed the crowd to even greater heights (in crowd control a master he is). Michael opened box 7, and the crowd groaned - £250,000. Then John avoided box 8, so had he moved away from his system? No, he was determined that this was part of the plan. He went to Richard with box 9. After the break Noel summed the game, John had lost influence with the banker by hitting the big numbers. Richard finished the round by revealing 10p. The board had seven blues against seven reds, and John did not expect a useful offer from the banker. As a result John was pleasantly surprised- the offer was £6790 - but he was clearly going for 'no deal', and Mexican wave number three cruised through the studio.

Round three: Gaz opened box 10 - £35,000.Only two of the power five left. John sighed, Claire, box 13, £1000. Linda next, 'he calls me mother' she said with a hint oif disbelief - she opened 1p and the audience cheered. The offer was £4900, the banker had gone low claiming that John had not given the previous offer proper thought - a fair comment. Another Mexican Wave, the audience concentrating so hard on getting the movement that they found it hard to cheer.

Round four: Sarah, box 15 - £750.The audience not cheering enough for John, he turned to them and raised his arms - the roof nearly came off. Patrick box 16 - £50, and the noise was getting louder. He nearly went for Dave E, but then realised that Emma had box 17. Now its not really that difficult to decide on box 17 after 16, but something is clearly wrong when you go for Dave over Emma - she's gorgeous. Anyway, he got there eventually. After the break she opened £20,000. Strangely Noel ate a banana while John summed up the game, no explanation, he just ate a banana, maybe it was for a bet. John was happy enough, two of the power five were stil in play. The banker offered £11,500 with the statement 'if you take it I'lll have won'. John did seem to think about the offer, but the Mexican wave beckoned.

Round five: Dave 18 - £15,000, 'its ok, at this point', said Noel. Sandy box 20 - 50p, and the audience cheered, James opened box 21 - £5, and the crowd roared again. The board showed two blues against three reds, as Noel said 'I don't know how we've got to this, but the board is strong'. John had his best poker face, was he serious about going all the way, or was he bluffing? The banker needed to know. The offer was £18,000. John asked for a sweep, eight 'no deals', John said 'I am tempted'. Surely these were not the words of someone who was going all the way? Noel asked the question and John said 'Deal'. John's cheeks were flushed, I think he may have felt embarrassed having made the u-turn, but the offer only had two amounts higher, and would you really bet £18,000 on the chance of getting £75,000?

John's strategy was now explained - he had removed all the boxes except his five lucky numbers: 8, 11, 12, 19 and 22.

Round six: Raj, box 8 - £10. Morris opened box 11 - £250. Massimo box 12 - £50,000. The offer was £40,000.'Never go to the poker table if you are out of your depth', the banker angrily advised. Worse was to come. Noel opened his box and the £75,000 was in it. John had won £18,000, and he was seriously gutted, he should have listened to the force.

John shouldn't be too unhappy, in my opinion he played a good game: it was entertaining and he had a strategy which he maintained. He had bluffed the banker, let him think that nothing would stop him, and then kept himself in check enough to 'deal' at what was his optimum point. Of course opinions are divided on this point, my daughter Olivia didn't like it at all - she felt that having declared he was going to the end, thats what he should have done - ah the young. Well done John.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Recognition at last

I am very pleased to report that this blog has been listed as one of the Best New Websites in the current edition of WebUser Magazine (page 18). A big thank you to whoever is responsible for that listing, we are very chuffed.

Julia won £15,000

Ah its Monday...finally.Noel walks up the aisle as opposed to standing behind the desk. The telphone game was worth up to £20,000 today, I even thought about it.

'The secret of the game is not to find the big money until the last possible moment', said Noel massively over-simplfying what was on the face of it a very simple game. The Easter bunnie was Miss Basildon from Essex - Julia Morris - a photographer from Basildon. Julia was a twenty/thirty-something girl with a glint in her eye, Denise van Outen meets Lisa Tarbuck, but quieter. She took PR photos for her local newspaper, and was audibly a confirmed Essex girl. Gary her boyfriend was in the audience. Julia revealed that a tarrot card reader years previously had told her that 10 was her lucky number - Michael's box. Her motto was - 'who dares wins' - she found this particularly useful when driving. She loved playing poker, loved out-witting the opposition, had a great poker face. The boxes were yellow - something to do with Easter Monday. At the end of the game she would have to decide who was going to receive an easter hamper - I am not sure why they do this.

Round one: John, box 2, the Terminator title was buried - £10. Dave W 'smiler', Julia may have thought she was safe, afterall he had the big one on Saturday. But guess what? He had it again in box 19 - £250,000. 'Oh no I can't believe vat'. Julia laughing weakly, as if she had just spilt tea on the Queen's dress. Max, new girl, box 8 - £250. Gary, box 5, (trying to feel vibes) - £5. Julia closed her eyes, thinking hard. Massimo, box 3 - £750. The banker phoned, he found Julia to be a 'little Minx, in need of a good spanking'. Julia feigned shock, 'Oooo Gary?', looking round at her boyfriend, maybe for permission. The opening offer was £6000, very strong considering the £250k had gone. Julia asked James - 'Good offer but obviously loads of potential in the board'. That was enough for her - 'No Deal'.

Round two: Raj, box 22 - £35,000. 'Oweee', said Julia, Frankie Howard would have felt right at home. Claire opened box 16 - £5000. Pat M, box 12 was going to be next, after the break, but Julia changed her mind. Noel ordered the big three for the end of the game, he wrote it down, more cosmic ordering? Julia went for James, box 6 - £500.The audience were very quiet, 'subdued' said Noel - surprising considering that the board had six blues, against eight reds. The banker suggested that Julia was more of a bluffer than a great poker player, Julia contented that there was no difference. I was in the banker's corner on this. The offer was £7800. 'No deal'.

Round three: Julia was rocking in her chair, eyes almost shut as she considered the board, her face showing no signs of stress and neither did her voice - she was comfortable. 'Emma what have you been having in your box recently?' Everyone picked up on the double entendre - stop no, oooo, here, missus. I am sure I could hear Sid James chuckling. 'Lots of small ones', Emma enhancing and destroying her reputation in one move. Julia moved away from Emma, she was just 'aving a laurf'. She settled on Sarah with box 4 - £75,000. Noel ripped up his order apologising to Julia, the studio groaned. Patrick next, box 13 - 'I am hoping that this is the 1p box'. So much for Patrick, it was £100,000, only the £50,000 of the power five was still in play. 'The round from hell', said, Noel the audience still groaning, and Julia's head now tilted on to her right shoulder. 'Don't say vat' said Julia. Linda, box 18 - £1. Julia was smiling but her eyes were now glistening, begging the banker 'to be nice', poker face a distant memory. Noel replaced the phone receiver, Julia looked to him like a rabbit in the headlights, 'he's been orrible ain't he?' The offer was £2000, Noel hadn't finished asking the question before she said ' No deal', a slight air of desperation creeping in.

Round four: Emma, box 9 - 50p, a proper smile coming back, head back on shoulders. Richard next with box 1 - £100. A long think followed and then she went for Dave E with box 7. After the break he opened £1000. The banker referred to Fadil, suggesting that she was having a similar order of numbers - he offered £5800, strongly advising her to take it - well he would say that wouldn't he?. Julia wasn't happy about the offer - Gary her boyfriend said 'you're here to play the game, 's what you gotta do'. Julia was suitably bolstered - 'No Deal'.

Round five: Sandy opened box 14 -1p, Julia squealed. 'The 1p club are still denied female company' said Noel - personally I think that's a bit harsh. Dot box 17 - 10p, thingis were improving dramtically, Julia was facing five reds against one blue. She didn't spend any time, she just went for Hilary, box 21. The lid opened and there it was, the last blue -£50 - the studio erupted. Now Julia had a choice of five boxes, from £3000 to £50,000. 'You have to change your tack', said Noel on the offensive. The banker offered the middle value, £15,000. Julia made her mind up very quickly, Noel offered the sweep, which Julia accepted, and then he took it away again saying 'what's the point if you've made your mind up?' Julia agreed, apologising to the contestants - No Deal'. 'Brave girl' said Pat, with a hint that one might replace 'brave' with foolish, and girl with something more....Essex.

Round six: Gaz, box 11- £10,000, 'fine', said Noel. Julia couldn't look. gain she went for Pat her back turned against the board, and agin she changed her mind. She settled on Morris, box 15 - the rest of the contestants holding hands. "Lets beat the banker Julie Julie, Have three grand in me box, truly, truly", I could the Eurovison Song Contest beckoning. However the pain was worth it, Morris delivered the lowest amount left on the board - £3000. Julia for the third time went for Pat with box 12 - this time she did not change her mind. Of course it was always going to be £50,000. Why did she decided on Pat at that point? The banker suggested Julia outplayed him? I think that was a bit strong although she was going to take home more than any previous offer. Clearly he was after something, he offered £17500. 'At the flip of a coin you could win £2500 or lose £2500' said Noel summarising the offer against the board. Julia asked for Gary to join her - 'you gotta go for it dalin'. Julia said 'No Deal'.

The banker talked to Julia. What ever he said her reply was 'That was a bit saucy'. 'This is like an episode from Carry on dealing' said Noel. The banker also offered the swap. Remembering her tarrot card reader she decided to swap boxes, and she acually did the walk - lovely wiggle. Returning to her seat Julia said 'Got to be the 20 large init', but it wasn't - she had won £15,000. 'I am not going back to that tarrot card gezzer again, I want me money back'. James was given the Easter hamper, he had kept her laughing and drunk.

This was all good fun - but the £250,000 went with the second box, and changed the entire complexion of the game, there was little tension from beginning to end.

The Student Speaks:- The Right Stuff

Hi to everyone!

I'm the newest member of the blog (for the moment)! My name is Chris Soames, I am studying Music at college and I will be giving the students-eye view of the show. For a student, of course, getting home during the early afternoons means that DOND (and, to a lesser extent, Countdown) are facts of life and, over the course of the shows short run, I have become a huge fan.

One of the things that strike me most about the show is the fact that, despite the logistics of the game being completely random, there does seem to be a knack to it. Jermaine and Kirsty, for example, both looked (almost from the moment they sat in the chair) as though they would do well, and they both won £75,000. Some of the others however, give off a very strong vibe of impending doom, and these games often end with tiny sums of money.

The really interesting thing about this show is that playing the game badly does not mean you will get a bad result. In fact, it almost guarantees a mediocre result. Almost all four-figure results happen because of a badly played game, people dealing too late, or (more often) too early.

The people who play the game exactly how it is meant to be played are the ones who seem to win the tiny money. Trevor, Lucy and, more recently, of course, Fadil, all pushed the game to its limits, and came away with virtually nothing.

Fadil's game was one of the best examples I have seen so far of "The Right Stuff". If £250,000 had have been in his box, he would have won it. Simple as that. It is of course, far simpler to talk about game tactics from the comfort of my own bedroom (whilst eating a very tasty chocolate egg.. Happy Easter everyone!!), but the most extreme results come from those who take risks. If Jermaine had pushed his luck just a little further....

So there it is, my first post. Hope it is okay!! (Go easy on me....)
See you again soon.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Gabrielle won £2000

[This was not a great game, take the headline and read other game reports, I will not be offended.]

Tonight nearly caught me out, I expected the show to start at 7.15pm (as on previous Saturdays) but it was actually 6.00pm. Grrr - Channel 4 need to advertise if they are going to bugger around with the times like this. On the plus side, at least its not in conflict with Dr Who. Anyway, tonight it was the black widow's turn to face the music. Rather than someone who would eat off her husband's head after ...relations, she reminded me of Joyce Grenfell. She talked like Ms Grenfell too, a rush of words with little meaning. Gabrielle was a seventh child and the required photos were of her brothers and sisters. Gabrielle made it clear that whatever she won tonight would be going to charities for the third world, so good for her.

Round one: Dave W opened the game and box 10 - £3000. Then Michael with box 8 - 10p. Sarah followed with box 1 - £35,000 the first of the power five had gone. Massimo opened box 11 - £10, and then the second of the power five went with Dave E and box 13 - £100,000. Not a great first round, but better than Fadil's, at least the £250,000 was still in play. The banker offered £1500 - 'No deal', of course.

Round two: The audience was very quiet, a strange atmosphere. Richard opened box 14 - £750. The the new guy Gaz had box 9 - £500. Finally Gabrielle went for Claire. After the break Noel asked Claire how she would feel about opening the £250,000, which meant that when she actually revealed £75,000 in box 15, it wasn't quite so bad. The offer was £5900 - 'No deal'.

Round three: Gabrielle nearly went for Raj but when he explained that he had never had a red, she went to Emma with box 16 - it was still red but only £5000. Linda box 19, 1p - the loudest cheer of the night. Sandy opened the third box in the third round - and it was the big one - £250,000. The 'black widow' was having a black night. Noel and Gabrielle were trying to talk up the numbers left on the board, agreeing that the £50k was in the box in front of her. 'Congratulations, you are creating a psychological battle', said Noel having talked to the banker, the offer was £700. It seemed to me that Noel was trying to make her feel better about the offer, but the banker clearly felt he had her on the run. She had no option but to 'No Deal'.

Round four: Gary, box 6 - £100. Pat M opened £20,000. 'Her fall back position had weakened considerably - this has now become a desperate situation', said Noel. The break had to be endured before we would find out how desperate. On the return Julia opened box 22 - £5. She was facing 4 blues against 4 reds, and she was mumbling. The banker suggested she was so away with the fairies that the contestants should decide. 'I am away with the fairies? You should spend a night with us', suggesting that there were crazier contestants than her in the studio. Claire was laughing, but Morris wasn't. Noel wrote down the offer and showed it to a bunch of contestants most of whom said 'deal'. Hilary finally told Gabrielle that the offer was £5000 - this was all very patronising. Gabrielle mumbled to herself in a nervous state which was difficult to watch. She said 'no deal'.

Round five: Dot opened box 17 - 50p. John next with £1 in box 18, and finally poet Morris - 'Gabrielle I wish you more money, black widow no more...dumb de dumb de dumb', but it was £10,000. The offer was £6500. Again Gabrielle talked gibberish - and Noel didn't argue, clearly struggling to communicate with this starnge woman he just asked the question. 'No deal'.

Round six: Hilary, box 5 - £15,000. 'That's ok' said Gabrielle defensively, but Noel was shouting 'the safety net has gone'. Patrick next with box 2 - £250. If she could find the £50 then she was in clover. She went for Raj in box 20, even though she had shyed away from him in round three, and as it turned out with good reason - £50,000. It was all over really, a choice between £50 and £1000 but Gabrielle was laughing it off. 'Welcome to the confused center' said Noel to the banker. The offer was £330, and she immediately rejected it. He offered the swap but she decided to stick. Noel pointed out that the other box was 7, supposed to be her lucky number as she was the seventh child. She was persuaded and changed her mind. Everyone except Gabrielle felt that changing her mind was a bad idea, but Noel had put the idea in her head and she was suddenly determined. Noel opened her box to reveal the £1000, her first piece of luck all evening. And then came her second - the banker phoned back to say that as she was donating her winnings to charity he would double her win.

This was not a great game, Gabrielle was a bag of nerves from beginning to end and at no stage did she have a handle on what was going on. Its a shame for channel 4 when this happens, and its probably why they didn't bother advertising the time change but its in the nature of the game. And anyway without the troughs how can you enjoy the highs?