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.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A post from Jonno

Jonno sent through the following as a comment against Chris' post Is Noel Losing It but its so good that I decided to create a post for it. Jonno many thanks, Iain.

I think that to criticise Noel for doing his job is to miss the point.

Perhaps DOND's current malaise can be compared with that of 'The Weakest Link' and 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' - i.e. that of their dependence on format as "entertainment dramas". If a game show is bleating about its status as drama, one of the most crucial elements is that of surprise, or "what happens next?". All too soon, Chris Tarrant's once-witty repartee with his contestants becomes the stuff of habit, once-dramatic statements become tired old catchphrases, and previously lovable quirks become annoying pillars, propping up the show far beyond its natural lifetime. Compare Chris Tarrant's schtick when going through the motions of 'Phone-a-Friend' with Anne Robinson's now-exhausted inquisition of what a contestant does for a living, and with Noel's stock phrases.

Chris: (looking up into space) Hello John? Chris Tarrant from ITV's Who Wants to be a Millionaire here!
Friend: Oooh, hello there!
Chris: (mocking) "Oooh, hello there!" We've got Brian here, and he's doing rather well actually...

Anne: So... Roger, what do you do?
Roger: I'm a (insert profession here).
Anne: Oh, are you now?
Roger: Yes.
Anne: And are you a good (insert profession here)?
Roger: I like to think so, Anne.
Anne: Oh, really? And yet you couldn’t even answer the question about (insert topic with a tenuous connection to contestant’s profession)? You can’t be a very good (insert profession), can you?

It becomes a situation in which the viewer could easily say the script along with the host, as if watching a Little Britain sketch for the 20th time, going through the motions in a pale shadow of what was once enjoyable, waiting for the catchphrases. In DOND, we've already had "the biggest game ever", "the biggest turn-around ever", "the highest offer ever", "the lowest offer ever", "the best opening round", "the worst opening round”, "you'll be back" and so on. Could it be that the catchphrases are now just a depressing imitation of what we once found genuinely exciting and funny? The problem is that the "drama" is now missing that crucial element, that of the genuinely unexpected.

Noel's strengths as a host are obvious from the first edition of DOND a viewer watches. As a confident, enthusiastic, positive, believing anchor of the programme, he managed to turn a potentially dull, simplistic gambling game - featuring relatively low sums of money - into one in which both studio audience and viewers are skilfully manipulated into actually caring. (I say that not in a negative sense... after all, it's what expertly made drama does best.) He did this by informing us, with a staggering sense of self-belief, and with a complete lack of subtlety or irony, that what we were watching was important. And we believed, because it was entertaining for us to do so, and because of the host and audience's almost cult-like resolute belief that positivity and support was somehow able to dictate the outcome of purely random events. It was, in fact, that very aspect that got me hooked on the programme. I was awestruck by Noel’s unshakeable belief in himself and the product, his skill in manufacturing the notion of importance to the show, and his subsequent return to the top of his profession through the power of positive thinking, self-belief and a nod to the heavens. And all this in an afternoon gameshow with no more inherent importance, weight, complexity or battling against adversity than Countdown or Fifteen-to-One.

The first inkling I got that something was wrong was a Wednesday a couple of months back. At the end of a fairly dull game, Noel advised viewers to tune in the following day as “something really big and important is going to happen”. I tuned in to discover the surprise: the top prize money had been raised to £20 000 or something. Well no, Noel, it wasn’t actually that important, since I’m not remotely interested in an unknown person winning money at ridiculous odds after presumably spending a great deal of money on phone calls.

I had tuned in especially for that edition, leaving me with the feeling that Noel’s over-hyped sense of what is “important” had rapidly lost its currency. If every single game is potentially important, nothing is important, nothing is a surprise. Aside from the winning of the top prize money (which ironically signalled the beginning of the end for ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ in its reducing the odds of surprise to zero – why is the scenario apparently so eagerly anticipated by Noel and DOND viewers?), there is little new of importance to expect, never mind the desperate gimmicks of early box-swapping and the increasingly arbitrary decisions of the “evil” Banker.

Not even the temporary publicity through the eventual winning of the top prize will help in the long term. Noel is an incredibly skilled game show host – the entire format depends on him and his reaction to events. But even he can only come up with a finite number of spontaneous reactions to a finite set of predictable events. Both the format and its host are obviously exhausted.

1 comment:

Adie said...

I've absolutely nothing against Noel who does a great job day after day, but I'm in total agreement with Jonno that his stock responses and constant hyperbole are getting a little tiresome now, especially on a 2-shows-a-day schedule!

Notwithstanding Noel's long-term and well-paid contract, I really think it would be interesting to have some temporary presenters drafted in for odd weeks... they'd have to be careful who to bring in (being that relaxed on camera whilst also keeping the game going and building that sense of excitement won't be as easy as Noel makes it look), but could be a real tonic for the show, and give us a chance to miss Noel occaisionally...