That’ll Test ‘Em, More4

by | Apr 4, 2006 | All, Reviews

Debut: Tuesday 4 April 2006

Did we like it?

As a TV quiz, this parents-versus-pupils clash was average, with the questions either falling into the camp of general knowledge or esoteric facts you only ever need to know to pass exams, but proceedings were enhanced by quizmaster Jeremy Hardy.

What was good about it?

• Quiz master Jeremy Hardy’s scarcely stifled scorn, most frequently directed at the superb stupidity of the pupils (who were culled from the children in this years That’ll Teach ’Em). He did a good impression of a tweedy master who thinks he’s witty but gets the piss taken out of him at playtime

• Some of the questions could be answered with a leisurely ignition of the brain such as the six planets furthest away from the Sun. While others more brought back the memories of school science labs and desks rotting because of the soaked-in sulphuric acid, the dizzying effects of sniffing those heavily-inked test papers or the ritual humiliation of being forced to read out a phrase in a foreign language with only a rudimentary understanding of even English phonetics.

• Jeremy’s introduction to the pupils as “muggers to be”

• The use of That’ll Teach ‘Em’s matron as the glamorous, curvaceous scorer, totting up the points using chalk on a blackboard

• While the Identify the Animal Excrement round was horrible, Jeremy scored points for subtitling it The Origin of the Faeces

• One of the pupils answering that ‘American’ is a language.

What was bad about it?

• The audience had that chirrupy, complacent mood that only ever appears in studios when preponderantly populated by friends and family. The sporadic laughs as one of the pupils makes a private joke that only their pals, or anyone under 16, could possibly hope to comprehend.

• The cheap ‘David Beckham is thick’ gag. Yes that’s right, the England captain – nobody in the past decade while he has been at the top has made a similar observation.

• The pandering to puerile ideology such as having Uranus as the answer to a question or getting the teams to chop up dung to identify the animal that has deposited it.

• The cameramen who kept getting into shot. If it was a live show, this would be passable, but they could have done some re-shoots or edited it better.

• The question of determining which is the most difficult – O-levels or GSCEs – was never seriously attempted. Much of the knowledge crammed into the head at 16 solely to pass exams soon dissipates.

• The three pupils were all too cocky, high-fiving it all over the place. We preferred it when school pupils were quiet and respectful a la Top Of The Form

• The Blackboard Torture maths round had us – and the contestants – totally stumped

• Mr Warr, the creepy That’ll Teach ‘Em headmaster, hamming it up when he came on to get the contestants to translate foreign phrases (although we did learn that the French equivalent of “six of one, half a dozen of the other” is “a white hat or a hat white”)

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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