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Nero Fiddles While Gordon Burns

The Krypton Factor to make a comeback.

Easily among the top five or so UK gameshows of all time, this is fantastic news. But while I’m all for bringing things up to date where necessary, The Krypton Factor is one of those shows that would benefit from sticking as close to the original format as possible. To wit :

- It has to be presented by Gordon “North West Tonight” Burns. Has to be.

- Flight simulator, please.

- Assault course, please. Tweak this if you want, but just make sure it’s still outdoors at a military base somewhere, and full of logs and ropes.

- Observation round to include neat little comic vignettes. Tony Slattery optional, though I bet he’d do it if asked, he can’t seem to get on telly for love nor money nowadays.

- Don’t dumb it down or oversimplify it. The point of the show is that both the “mental” and “physical” challenges should be genuinely taxing. It’s not a “play at home” game.

- Don’t do the stupid climbing tower thing from the later series.

- Don’t do a Gladiators and think you can get away with it on the cheap. A show like this has enough residual affection among the general public that if you spend the money and do it right, you’ll get the ratings.

- It would fit really nicely on a Saturday night nowadays, but DON’T put it up against Who.

- Crystal Maze next, please.

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I agree with pretty much all of this. Especially the budget issue - you could do it on the cheap and have all the rounds take place in the studio, for instance, but it would lose a major part of what made the original show so great.

I wouldn’t be averse to someone other than Burns presenting, though - although I definitely agree that North West Tonight shows he could still do it brilliantly. No idea who would be a good replacement presenter, though - you need someone friendly, but with a bit of gravitas too.

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By John Hoare
September 26, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

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> It’s not a “play at home” game.

I don’t think it’s quite fair, there was plenty you could play along with with the original. But no, they shouldn’t make concessions on a modern day version.

> Don’t do the stupid climbing tower thing from the later series.

I’m going to come out and suggest I quite enjoyed the final series. We’re the changes unneccessary? Of course, and taking away the intelligence test was a bit foolish. But I’ve read some hilarious things about it online recently (“it didn’t have the assault course!” um… it very much did, and apparently Penny Smith hosted it on her own) that are quite far from the truth. I prefer to think of it as an ambitious reimagining that fell short of it’s own high watermark - the Super Round as an idea at least made sense.

The classic KF format that we know hadn’t always been the case (ITV did an awesome mini-series in the early 90s where they showed all the grand finals since the beginning on weekday afternoons with a “where are they now” piece on the winners which I’d kill to see again), and certainly the show evolved a great deal over its 18 year run.

By Brig Bother
September 26, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

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Actually, yes, “original format” is probably something of a misnomer - as you say, it did take some time to develop. “Classic” or “most-well-known” format is probably closer to the mark…

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By Seb Patrick
September 26, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

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>Nero Fiddles While Gordon Burns

I love you, in a way.

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By Phil Reed
September 26, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

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*goes to a post-punk postcard fair*

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By Jonathan Capps
September 26, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

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In many ways, I think it’s failure to innovate in it’s most “classic” form led to its downfall - it certainly wasn’t scared to tweak and make changes throughout the eighties, and I reckon some of its best stuff was pre-1989 - Spot the Continuity Errors and Double Take were tougher and more entertaining than “answer questions on the two minute film clip” it became, I’ve got a big soft spot for the ridiculous handbike and coloured screen response test (and indeed the flexability test) before they introduced the flight simulator, and whilst everyone likes the Art of Noise theme, I defy anyone to go and look up on Youtube old mid-80s KF titles with the bleak Tron-esque landscape and giant floating hands, eye and head and not call it the most terrifying yet awesome title sequence ever.

By Brig Bother
September 26, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

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I really don’t like that handbike response test - I think it’s really boring telly. And it confuses me as to what the contestants are supposed to be doing.

But agreed about the rest of it - Double Take especially was brilliant. My main worry is that they’re going to turn it into an all-studio show to save money - it’s the sheer *variety* of the rounds that I loved in the series. (Another reason why I prefer the flight sim stuff on location in place of another studio piece.)

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By John Hoare
September 26, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

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I actually don’t think you’ve got too much to worry about there - at the very least they’ve already suggested there’s going to be an actual real assault course (and really it’s so iconic that there’s no way they could get away with not having it) and I think they’re well aware that they can’t change too-o-o-o much, although I rather fancy they’ll use something computery for the Intelligence test rather than something which apparently frequently took up hours as they used to. The original Mental Agility was a computer maze thing but I can’t see them returning to that!

I’m hoping it will get a 45 minute slot - don’t forget it was advertless for most of its life, quite a lot of the changes towards the end (like the shorter observation and general knowledge rounds) were geared towards fitting a break in. Challenge/Virgin don’t do that bad a job cramming it all in for the repeats, considering.

As I’ve said elsewhere, I think the sad thing is it’s so poor these days, everyone’s decided ITV are going to ruin it before anything has actually happened… at least they’re not going down the celeb route.

By Brig Bother
September 26, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

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The Krypton Factor assault course:…

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By John Hoare
September 28, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

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