Whittle (game show)
|Created by||Chris Kwantes
|Presented by||Tim Vine|
|Narrated by||Neville Watchurst (uncredited)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||130|
|Running time||30 minutes (inc. adverts)|
|Original network||Channel 5|
|Original release||31 March 1997– 21 June 1998|
|Related shows||Everybody's Equal|
Whittle is a UK game show for Channel 5, hosted by comedian Tim Vine. The show aired throughout the channel's first two broadcasting years, from 31 March 1997 to 21 June 1998. It was shown at 18:00 (later 17:30) as part of a quiz block with the series 100%. The game show is similar to Everybody's Equal, the Chris Tarrant-presented ITV game show.
The show is played by an audience of 100 people who would through the show be 'whittled' down to a single winner.
During the first half of the show, the contestants answer questions which appear on a giant screen along with four possible answers, exactly one of which is correct. The players then have ten seconds to press a button on their keypads according to which answer they think is correct. Players failing to give the correct answer within ten seconds are eliminated from the game. The host would often find and ridicule anyone who chose the obviously incorrect answers. This is repeated up to six times in the first half, which must end with exactly ten players remaining; this is achieved by making the last question a timed question, in which not only are players failing to give the correct answer eliminated, players failing to give the correct answer and be one of the ten fastest correct answers are also eliminated.
In the second half, only the ten surviving players from the first half are involved. Play continues as before, with surviving players requiring correct answers to continue in the game; however, correct answers now earned the player £10. Incorrect answers lead to elimination from the game and purely for comic effect, the eliminated contestants are punished by being made to wear a "Whittle mask" - in bright yellow with a large purple W on it. There are up to four questions in the second half, the last one of which may be timed, aiming to find a single winner, who earns a guaranteed £250.
The end game consists of the winner trying to place four items in the correct sequence to turn £250 into £500. However, if they fail, all the audience members who got the correct sequence and typed it into their keypads within 15 seconds get the second £250 shared between them. Typically, 5-50 people among the audience will get it right and earn somewhere between £5 and £50 each.
The format was first used in the UK on the ITV game show Everybody's Equal, which was hosted by Chris Tarrant. The main difference was that the prize money was higher on the Tarrant version. While Everybody's Equal was far from "serious" in its presentation, Whittle compensated for its lower prize fund by significantly raising the level of comedy in the show.
Much like the various hosts of Blankety Blank, Vine would often sarcastically refer to the "extravagant" prizes, encouraging audiences to shout ever-changing catchphrases such as "It's a river of money!" and "Wow, I'll need a financial adviser!". In this spirit, audience members would often react with mock-delight at winning very small sums in the end game ("What will you spend the money on?", "Two bottles of milk! Hooray!"). Vine would also regularly make deliberately ludicrous claims about the show, such as "This is Whittle, the highest rating game show in the world!" or "There are billions of people at home rooting for you!".
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