Did we like it?
It wasn’t half bad. In fact the worst thing about it was the fact that we caught the last 5 minutes of Cirque de Celebrite Two just before it. We hoped for awkward controversy and we weren’t disappointed, but we’re not sure how much longevity the series has.
What was good about it?
• The simple premise. All you have to do is tell the truth and you can climb through the rewards, Who Wants to be a Millionaire-style, to win a maximum of 50 grand. The best gameshows are always the simplest.
• Jerry Springer was an amiable host although he was at times straining every sinew to inject extra suspense into proceedings. He also has a nice line in humour as well: as first contestant Tony admitted to describing himself as “good-looking”, Springer revealed that there was a slight delay in confirming he was telling the truth because everyone backstage was laughing.
• There were plenty of difficult, awakward questions and this is where the interest in the show really lies. Tonight we had: “Are you currently dating more than one woman?” and “Do you regularly use pornography?”. Yes, it’s trashy, but it’s undeniably fun.
• Each contestant brings with them a support group of friends and family. This is quite a neat idea, because it places more pressure on the contestant and allows the questions to focus on people in the room. For example, Tony was asked: “Do you fancy your brother’s wife?” Both were in attendance and Tony was left with the choice of either admitting to it or hinting that he didn’t think she was good looking.
• Each questions is revealed to the audience on the big screen first before the contestant hears it. This is a useful device because the audience’s reaction – a laugh or a gasp – only increases the suspense for the contestant.
• It did leave us wanting more – we didn’t see what the £50,000 question would be and we really did want to find out if Aisha resented her Mum for bringing her back from China.
What was bad about it?
• We felt mildly cheated. We expected each contestant to be attached to a real polygraph machine with wires attached to their temples and their wrists, which would have been a wondeful visual. Instead, contestants have been asked 150 questions prior to the show using a lie detector and 21 questions are picked from that list, with the programme-makers aware of the true answers to each one thanks to the polygraph they took at the time.
• It has a similar problem to Millionaire in that after each question there is an infuriating desperation to inject suspense as a robotic woman’s voice says: “The answer is… … … … true.” When you know you’re going to hear that 20-odd times each show it becomes irritating surprisingly quickly. Thankfully, unlike the terminally dull easy questions on Millionaire, NBTT does put some juicy questions in even in the early stages.
• Such suspense is also unnecessary when someone has admitted to something embarrassing – it’s obvious that they’re telling the truth in that case – the suspense is whether they choose to own up or not.
• We didn’t get a single false answer on the first night which was a little disappointing.