The Bubble

So what’s the verdict on BBC2’s new quiz show The Bubble  – will it float or burst?

It’s an appealing enough idea – send three contestants into exile in a media-free zone for a few days. When they come out, show them some of the real news they’ve missed, mixed in with some fake stories, and see if they can guess which is which.

The first episode, featuring comedians Frank Skinner and Reginald D Hunter and TV presenter Victoria Coren, was promising enough, even though it got off to a sticky start.

It turned out that BBC bosses had suffered  a serious sense of humour failure and refused  to allow any falsified BBC news footage on the programme.

This unfortunate episode formed the basis of one of the questions in the quiz where truth is, indeed, sometimes stranger than fiction.

Presenter David Mitchell put on a brave face and claimed that they had managed fine, with the help of clips kindly supplied by ITV and Sky – who must have relished the irony.

Some of the fake stories (Big Daddy’s ghost featuring in a sight-seeing tour of haunted York) were comically inventive while others (Mumsnet website infiltrated by poitical spies) were feeble and not particularly funny.  

The Bubble has all the requisite ingredients for a successful quiz show, yet there seems to be something lacking. It could do with being a bit more dynamic  – but how?  Erm. good question. Mock the Week combines quiz questions with stand-up, QI has props and Stephen Fry: what could the Bubble do to liven things up?  

It might have been interesting to see or hear a little more about how people react when deprived of the telecommunications network  which is so much a part of our daily lives.  Does its absence encourage interaction and activity? Instead of couch potatoes eating TV dinners, do we get a group sitting round a table enjoying their meal, engaged in animated conversation?

We were given a brief glimpse of Frank tossing a pancake (less of the  jokes about him having found his true calling, thank you.) What else did they do while holed up in a lovely old country house?  

 “I learnt how to play snooker” offered Victoria helpfully, which was quickly countered by Reg’s retort:  “No, you didn’t.”

I’m not expecting a Big Brother-style account of what went on in the house – quite the reverse. What I’m after is something short, sharp, stylish, intelligent, witty and entertaining.

That’s what I look for in a light-hearted TV quiz show. Too much to ask? Come on David and guests, you can do it.  



~ by A_A on February 22, 2010.

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