You've just been made producer of Countdown...

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Rhys Benjamin
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You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:19 pm

(just a bit of fun)

... and you've been given carte blanche by Channel 4 to spend whatever you want, do whatever you want, and you have complete control over everything: scheduling, host choices, et cetera. What changes do you make, and why?

For me:
- go back to 9-rounders. Keeps games exciting and one-sided dominations aren't prolonged and drawn out. Sam vs Bernie, for example, was almost quite painful to watch. Plus 15-rounders can really drag as well.
- go for a more jovial personality as host when Nick retires. Not that I would like a Whiteley clone, but someone who laughs and injects, rather than removes, fun from the proceedings. I was saddened when Paul Zenon got SEXPOT the other day and Nick Hewer completely ruined it by rejecting any and all laughter.
- brand new set. No expense spared. Make it all look shinier and glossier and add more colours than blue and brown.
- change the letters font.
- change series lengths to 4 rather than 6 months (i.e. 3 per year). With fewer interruptions for cricket, racing, etc, I don't really want another Corinna Atwood-gate. In 2019 there were 238 programmes, so in a normal year, moving this to 72-73 prelims per series rather than 110+ would be a good move for me. It's not the same as 1997 when you had 4 series in a year. Moreover, this would tie in nicely with the following point:
- get the kids watching again. 4:30pm. And having 3 series in a year the finals would coincide with the kids' holidays (Easter, late Aug, Christmas) which would generate a lot of interest. And also gives the phrase "teatime teaser" more meaning as opposed to today's afternoon anagrams.
- stick with the current one COC every 3 years, but have "Supreme Championship III" as Series 100.
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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by JackHurst » Thu Oct 08, 2020 6:42 am

It's is all Goatdown letters and there is a pit of snakes. When players pick their final letter tile they do it themselves by fishing the letter they want out of a pit of snakes

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by JackHurst » Thu Oct 08, 2020 6:45 am

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:19 pm
- change the letters font.
Wingdings? Jokerman? Papyrus?

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:44 am

I think I'd keep the 15-rounders unlike you, Rhys. I didn't like the old 15-rounder with only 3 numbers games. It was unbalanced and felt constipated. But I like the current format.

Changing series lengths might be a good idea. There was always the risk of 9 octochamps when they got 8 at the first time of trying back in series 47 (the first 15-round, 6-month series).

And I agree about changing the time back to 4:30 or 4:15 or so.

And yes to another supreme championship, or a 40th anniversary special. But I'd make sure I went out of my way to try and contact certain players. I know for data protection reasons, they were unable to hold onto the details of everyone, but I'd put the word out that I wanted to get hold of x, y and z etc. The 30th birthday was basically all Apterites/c4cers and Scrabblers.

I'd replac Nick Hewer with Mark Deeks. I'd also go back to rotating the Susie role, rather than having just one person permanently. And I'd replace Rachel with someone who espoused less toxic views. And as for the guests, I'd be very picky about who I invited back on. If they send me to sleep - goodbye.

Edit - Also get rid of the 9-point bonus for 9s!

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Ian Volante » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:25 pm

Martin Jarvis as host, and go back to nine-rounders so he can talk more.
meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Johnny Canuck » Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:07 pm

The lowest-scoring person each week would be forced to dig through mountains of celluloid in the Channel 4 vaults until all our wiki recaps were done.
Writing a haiku
With seventeen syllables
Is very diffi-

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:49 pm

Ian Volante wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:25 pm
Martin Jarvis as host, and go back to nine-rounders so he can talk more.
When he just read out passages from Just William, it was probably the laziest and most arrogant thing a DC guest has ever done.

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Ben Wilson » Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:07 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:49 pm
Ian Volante wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:25 pm
Martin Jarvis as host, and go back to nine-rounders so he can talk more.
When he just read out passages from Just William, it was probably the laziest and most arrogant thing a DC guest has ever done.
I'd argue the time he read out 'Mrs Worthington' as a dramatic poem tops that.

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Conor » Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:17 am

I don't agree with going back to 9 rounders. If the problem is too many one-sided games then you should try to reduce these rather than shortening the whole show.

I'd allow past contestants to reapply. Not just 'unlucky losers' but everyone (series champions etc). There'd be a min number of years between reappearances: I'd guess between 5 and 10. This number is chosen so that there's not an overflow of past elite contestants, I'd want the median standard to increase, have more competitive prelims and series finals but still have it so that normal non-apterous contestants can make it on and win a few.

The threshold for forced retirement is reduced to 5 or 6 games. (Thinking about it, 8 seems like so many shows. It'd be better with more competitive prelims but I think it really doesn't work well currently; there are far too many mismatches.) Series lengths are unchanged but the finals are increased to 16 players.

What to do with the guest is a tricky one. I'd want to remove the guest slot, but it seems weird to invite a celeb on just for a week and not give them time to talk. And having Susie just on her own wouldn't be great. I'd either: rotate between a few in-house guests who have good interaction with Susie, or have Rachel sit with Susie and the letters drawn via computer.

Of course everyone would rather the programme was at a timeslot where people could actually watch it, but why stop at 4.30: 7pm maybe. Just before the Champions League.

There should also be a cash prize for winning the series: maybe £50,000.

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Callum Todd » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:46 am

Cancel the whole show and bring back Scrapheap Challenge in its place.
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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Countdown Team » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:14 pm

Great post.

Take your wish list as granted. But then, run the show.
12 hours, costume, makeup, scripts, sound, lighting, teasers, conundrums, scoring, DC guests content, set problems, 8 cameras, all done as live.
Then resign.

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Mark Deeks » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:17 pm

Scrap the make-up, let these ugly bastards suffer for their sins. Make a standard uniform to give it that schoolyard feel, save some time there. Get whoever does the calendar to set the teasers, outsource that. Take out conundrums cos no one likes those. There you go, that's time saved already.
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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Ben Wilson » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:22 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:17 pm
Get whoever does the calendar to set the teasers, outsource that.
*Nods*

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:43 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:17 pm
Scrap the make-up, let these ugly bastards suffer for their sins. Make a standard uniform to give it that schoolyard feel, save some time there. Get whoever does the calendar to set the teasers, outsource that. Take out conundrums cos no one likes those. There you go, that's time saved already.
Or Rachel can buy her own dresses.

What I'm slightly more fascinated by is "scripts". Nick can do the opening spiel on his own without any pointers. Then we'll broadcast it live, so the director can scream "GET ON WITH IT" in his ear endlessly.

Mind you I do need a job, so open to... well, anything at the moment. Though probably not make-up artist. Haven't done enough drag performances yet to perfect that one.
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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Mark Deeks » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:57 pm

Ways to save further time:

- Save on the time spent turning the letters board into the numbers board by having it rotate like on Numberwang and make that rotation part of the run time of the show. That's probably, what, another hour saved per filming day right there.

- No DC guests. This will also save money which can be reinvested into staff pensions and a Christmas do.

- Trim down the theme music so it's just "ba da, ba da, ba da la la BOOOOM", save the whole spinny clock thing. Straight into the show, crack on. Limit the opening anecdote length to 14 seconds with the power to mute as necessary.

- Shorten rounds to 10 seconds and have them picked automatically. The Instant format, basically.

- No audience. Use the freed-up space to put a pool table in, couple of fruities, make a night of it. This might also get Jon Corby back interested in the game, if for some insane reason you wanted that.

Honestly, if I was in charge, we'd start a full day's filming at 9am sharp and be two pints in by four. It's just a shame that I have to be the one with all the ideas, really. The truly sensible ideas that I am obviously deadly serious about.
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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by JackHurst » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:27 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:57 pm
Ways to save further time:

- Save on the time spent turning the letters board into the numbers board by having it rotate like on Numberwang and make that rotation part of the run time of the show. That's probably, what, another hour saved per filming day right there.

- No DC guests. This will also save money which can be reinvested into staff pensions and a Christmas do.

- Trim down the theme music so it's just "ba da, ba da, ba da la la BOOOOM", save the whole spinny clock thing. Straight into the show, crack on. Limit the opening anecdote length to 14 seconds with the power to mute as necessary.

- Shorten rounds to 10 seconds and have them picked automatically. The Instant format, basically.

- No audience. Use the freed-up space to put a pool table in, couple of fruities, make a night of it. This might also get Jon Corby back interested in the game, if for some insane reason you wanted that.

Honestly, if I was in charge, we'd start a full day's filming at 9am sharp and be two pints in by four. It's just a shame that I have to be the one with all the ideas, really. The truly sensible ideas that I am obviously deadly serious about.
This is brilliant.

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Dave Preece » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:45 am

No one quoted or mentioned CountdownTeam's comment?

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:29 am

You just mentioned it. That covers us all.

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:38 pm

Dave Preece wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:45 am
No one quoted or mentioned CountdownTeam's comment?
I was going to, but couldn't think of anything sufficiently witty other than the rather feeble "ace, I'll start on Monday".
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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:41 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:38 pm
Dave Preece wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:45 am
No one quoted or mentioned CountdownTeam's comment?
I was going to, but couldn't think of anything sufficiently witty other than the rather feeble "ace, I'll start on Monday".
Good enough.

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Paul Anderson » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:24 am

Let the picker choose the length of the letters rounds, 9-18 letters, double points for anything over an 8.
Oh and do the whole thing live at 8pm

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Re: You've just been made producer of Countdown...

Post by Sam Cappleman-Lynes » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:05 am

Paul Anderson wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:24 am
Let the picker choose the length of the letters rounds, 9-18 letters, double points for anything over an 8.
Next ZD special?

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