CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Quizmaster Richard has all the right answers to keep us tuning in
Richard Osman‘s House Of Games
Hornby: A Model World
Every celebrity quiz show ought to award extra marks for virtue signalling. Then we’d see some real competition for scoring points.
Roving estate agent Jasmine Harman trounced her rivals on Richard Osman’s House Of Games (BBC2) by seizing the tiniest excuse to declare: ‘I’m vegan!’
Jasmine, best-known as presenter of A Place In The Sun: Home Or Away?, was answering one of the tongue-twisters in the final round.
House Of Games airs its 500th edition this week, and every episode ends with a puzzler called Answer-Smash. Players get two clues, and win points by compressing the two solutions into one word.
Osman’s House Of Games, with different brainteasing challenges each day, is a great show for playing along at home
For example: What’s a big golf tournament in the States, and who played Margo in The Good Life? It’s . . . the U.S. Openelope Keith. This is a splendidly silly game that leaves players spluttering as they try to pronounce the answer.
Jasmine proved quicker than any of her fellow celebs — Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, actor Dave Johns and sports presenter Jason Mohammad. They were scratching their heads when a picture of an exotic fruit flashed up beneath a half-finished nursery rhyme: ‘There was an old lady who . . .’
‘Swallowed a flychee!’ exclaimed Jasmine. Everyone gaped at her, Richard included. They might have remembered the old woman ‘swallowed a fly’ — but who knows what a lychee looks like?
‘I’m vegan, so the fruits and vegetables are, like, my area,’ Jasmine crowed. She got the next one as well: a picture of a shiny black eggplant, below a question about a French mime artist. Answer: Marcel Marceaubergine.
House Of Games, with different brainteasing challenges each day, is a great show for playing along at home. The effortlessly genial Osman keeps viewers involved, turning to the camera and asking us how we’re doing, and congratulating us when he suspects we’re winning.
Perhaps there’s a little wizardry in the editing, or maybe celebrities are just naturally slow to answer, but no one ever spoils the fun by guessing too quickly. There’s always a second or two of silence before someone buzzes in after each question.
You’ll have to be quick, though, if you want to burnish your credentials faster than the professionals. One question (‘When was the Communist Manifesto published?’) gave three of the celebs a chance to tell us what they’d studied at university. None of them got the date right, though. It was 1848. Give yourself a pat on the back if you knew that at home . . . as Richard would say.
Pats on the back all round for the toy train executives in Hornby: A Model World (Yesterday) as they came up with, quite literally, a new line. Running out of vintage steam engines to recreate in miniature, product director Simon Kohler had the brilliant idea of doing all the same trains . . . but even smaller. Listening to his staff plotting the launch felt strangely exciting, like being an office spy.
Pats on the back all round for the toy train executives in Hornby: A Model World (Yesterday) as they came up with, quite literally, a new line
Simon’s celebrated range of perfectly faithful replicas has traditionally been at 1:76 scale. The latest models, though, are even tinier, at 1:120 scale, also known as TT or tabletop scale.
That means smaller tracks, smaller accessories and (with a bit of luck) bigger turnover. It seems a counterintuitive choice: I’d have expected that enthusiasts would demand bigger models with more visible details . . . but then, I’m not a collector.
I couldn’t help but be impressed by the work of professional modeller Kathy Millatt in Solihull, though, as she built a diorama of the Port Dinorwic station near Anglesey, with rolling stock made using a 3D computer printer. A very new-fangled way to celebrate old-fangled technology.