I didn’t think much of the BBC’s new version of Pointless last night. The format seemed different as the contestants sat on tall stools while engaging in mansplaining and shouting, often at the same time.
There was only one presenter instead of the usual two and she had trouble controlling the five men taking part. And she wasn’t half as funny as Richard Osman, but few people are.
The original is a quiz in which contestants try to score as few points as possible by, according to the BBC, “plumbing the depths of their general knowledge to come up with the answers no one else can think of”.
In this new version, the contestants simplified the rules by just plumbing the depths.
The debate was called Our Next Prime Minister, presumably because That’s What I Call A Shitshow Shower was too long.
The Fab Five were Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart. According to the front-page review in the Daily Telegraph, this was the Boris and Rory Show (hopefully a pilot that will sink without trace).
The Telegraph is also known as the Boris Bulletin. That newspaper is devoted to blindly supporting Johnson while also paying him £270,000 for writing the same column every week; some of us would happily write the same column every week for a lot less than that.
This leadership debate seemed entirely pointless, but at least Boris Johnson showed up for this one. He skipped the Channel 4 version and was represented by an empty lectern (which just happens to be the perfect Boris metaphor).
Johnson puffed, piffled and wiffle-waffled his way through, providing evasive answers to viewers who were kept a safe distance away on a large screen.
It’s easy to see why Johnson’s agent advised against the Channel 4 gig – a revival of Deal Or No Deal. Keeping Johnson out of the limelight had been the tactic adopted by his keepers until last night – not easy as that man can’t seen the limelight without hogging it, quoting cod Latin or telling porkies.
Anyone looking at the new version of Pointless will have been taken aback by that sub-title: Our Next Prime Minister? Oh, surely not. Has there been a scheduling mistake here; was Theresa ‘Blankety Blank’ May as bad as all that? Sadly, yes – but would you look at this shifty bunch.
If you don’t support or like the Tories, it’s hard to say who you want to win. Rory Stewart strikes me as the least unlikable and the most honest. Even if he is at heart just as much of a Tory posh boy as Boris the Blather.
Should you wish to cheer yourself up, just consider this: while BBC1 was running its new version of Pointless, over in the US Donald Trump was launching his bid for re-election in 2020 with a rally in Florida.
Trump carried on as expected, throwing out lies, exaggeration and bluster (just another day in Trump-land, then).
One section is worthy of repeating…
“Just imagine what this angry left-wing mob would do if they were in charge of this country. Imagine if we had a Democrat president and Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents, which they are trying to do now anyway.”
Trump often projects his own fears and failings on to others. Here, he was essentially talking about himself, the media-hating president who would love to shut down free speech. The law-bending president who makes sure the law is on his side.
I reckon the American version of Pointless is even worse than ours. God save them and us.