I think game shows lead us into a degree of false security about the motivations of the human race. As much as people like to think they love someone else’s big success, the reality is quite sinister. People watch to see other people fail and we all know it.

All these shows like Deal or No Deal, Family Fortunes, Million Pound Drop and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire are no more than bitchy, high-heeled, horse-kick versions of Total Wipeout. But where the scars are physical on Total Wipeout, they are mental with the real rating winners.

So here we have it, family television divided into the exact same two categories as bullying.

So here we have it, family television divided into the exact same two categories as bullying. “You have no proof this impacts on audiences”, I hear you say. Well how many people do you hear excitedly talking about The National Lottery Saturday night show? Not many. Have you ever wondered why this might be? Well, it’s the only game where we don’t get to see hopes and dreams drain from people’s faces as they realise they’re not millionaires and will have to donate a bucket of spunk to pay the next month’s rent.

Friday night was the return of The Bank Job, the game show featuring a number of failures in each episode, so of course, a natural success. George Lamb hosts the show which sees a starting group of four people answer questions and open vaults for different amounts of cash, until eventually they are reduced to just one person who proceeds to the finals. I suppose this in a way makes it a little different to others. By the time the finals come around you know each person so well, you genuinely want your favourite to walk away with the cash. Although in another sense, you are projecting pure rage onto Mr Played600gamesonlinearrogantwat.

I love Golden Balls so I’m going to watch The BJ

I’m not going to sit here (in first class on a train to London la de da) and pretend I am created from moral fibre covered with a sprinkling of silver plated dust. Quite the opposite, I buy into this TV as much as the next person. So much so that if we rewind to Friday night I was the geek sat in a line with my family playing along with The Bank Job, using tubs of mushy peas and curry sauce as buzzers.

The Bank Job has the edge on other shows as it guarantees at the end someone, or more than one person, will walk away with a lump of cash. It’s not Million Pound Drop where winners are so rare it may as well be The Davina Show. It’s not Deal or no Deal, which, on the few times you do buy into it, peaks with a win of 1p. And it isn’t Family Fortunes, which is usually Z list celebrities losing money they had intended to donate to charity. The final however shares strong similarities with Golden Balls. So if you hear anyone saying “I love Golden Balls so I’m going to watch The BJ” you’re clued up now. You don’t need to embarrass yourself.


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