Tipping Point has to be one of the worst gameshows ever made… and I love it. It is an ITV daytime show which started in 2012. The format is quite simple: contestants answer questions to win counters which they then put in the machine to try and win counters which represent money.
What makes me laugh is how serious the contestants get over the game. There’s something about middle-aged people getting overly excited at an oversized arcade game that I find interesting. As in all gameshows, the contestants are the usual people who will embarrass themselves on TV by shrieking and celebrating in an unusual fashion. When something goes wrong in the game, they get properly angry and look as though their wife just left them (or husband in the case of women). But when they win they jump about and clap, forgetting all sense of dignity and the fact they are on national television. Now, this is common within gameshows, but the reason it is funnier in this show is the fact they are doing all this over an arcade machine! Imagine your nan standing in the middle of an arcade shouting and crying because she’s just lost all her tuppences. Or sometimes you get the other kind of contestants. The ones who don’t really care about the game, they’re just happy for a day out and wanting to win a bit of money with minimum fuss.
The presenter, Ben Shephard, is okay. He’s not particularly annoying, but he’s also not especially interesting. He gets just as excited as the contestants, but his excitement is quietly reserved, so you never really feel he’s interested in the game. He knows all about the machine (or at least he’s learnt his lines) and talks about it as though it is something really popular.
The thing I find slightly annoying is that they have their own ‘technical terms’ for things that happen in the game. For example, if a counter falls and lands on top of another counter, it is called a ‘rider’. When I first watched the show, I didn’t know this and they kept talking about riders and it sounded like the arcade game was far more popular than I had ever thought.
The questions are good questions. In some gameshows you get either really obvious questions that people get wrong and you shout at the TV, or you get impossible questions about foreign politics that nobody gets right but most of the contestants have lucky guesses at. This show has a variety of topics ranging from entertainment to British history, so there’s opportunity for everyone to get some right… even me. The only problem with this though, is that when I watch gameshows with mother in the room she insists on shouting the answer at the TV, which is incredibly annoying because most of the time I know it’s just a random guess – which is very annoying when she gets it right.
Another thing that doesn’t make much sense to me is the final. The aim of the final is to put a big counter (worth £10,000) in and try to play in order to get it out again. But while they’re doing this, any counters that come out of the machine still count as money. I watched one and during the final they amounted £5,000 and she never got the big counter out. Yet at the end she was really upset she never won it, but I thought £5,000 was still a pretty good amount to go away with. Sometimes they gamble their winnings to get a few more counters to carry on trying get the big one out, often with absolutely no chance. If it were me, i’d keep the £5,000. What i’d prefer is if they used real 2p coins and a regular sized machine. It would be less interesting I grant you, but funnier to watch them leave having won a total of £1.20.
I think what makes this show successful is that it’s got a gimmick. The best gameshows have a unique feature. Like Blockbusters uses the letter-based questions, Wheel of Fortune has the wheel, Family Fortunes has the survey format, and the king of all of them… Catchphrase, with it’s poorly animated charades and the wonderful Roy Walker. I’m now off to watch Catchphrase (i’ve got it on series record).
Our rating: (3 / 5)