I spent today huddled with approximately 100 other people in and old paint factory in Bristol watching two people open 44 cardboard boxes. Doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Well, also there was Mr Noel Edmonds Esq. Does that make it more enticing? Yep, I was in the audience for 2 episodes of ‘Deal Or No Deal’.
I’m not allowed to actually tell you what happened. Apparently Endamol Productions will be legally entitled to my first-born child if I were to do that. Not to worry, tune in to Channel 4 on the 19th & 20th of May and you’ll see the shows I saw being filmed.
What I can talk about is the incredible atmosphere – especially in the second show. When your separated by the boundary of the glowing box Deal Or No Deal (or DOND as the fans apparently call it) is just another quiz show. People are sacrificing 30-mins or so of their life purely for your entertainment. What do you care if they win Bully’s Special Prize or lose that teasmaid in a bad gamble? Being in the studio made that totally different. I could talk to the contestants – they were real people, with real issues and real reasons for desiring to beat the banker. I cared – something I never really have done about DOND. I wanted contestant 2 to win, I chewed my nails in despair as they agonised over the decision to deal or not. Worse still the contestant closest relations were sat right behind me. I heard them suffer as they watched their loved ones get closer to their dreams and closer to their despairs. It made the experience tense and exciting – so much more so than I have ever seen on TV. I’m embarrassed to say I caught myself screaming at one decision and dread watching it back for the fear that it’s very audible.
The DOND format is genius. The show should be over in 5-mins flat however the long drawn out game of luck (because no matte how much the stat-whores kid themselves that’s all it is) with the added sublime twist of a banker – a figure of hate makes the show fascinating viewing – it’s more about the psychology of the contestant that it is choosing boxes. Noel, throughout was a genuinely nice bloke and wants the contestant to do well… though that doesn’t necessarily mean winning the quarter of a million.