“You played the dream game!”

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 by

Sorry to keep banging on about it, but Deal or no Deal continues to delight and confound in equal measure.

Noel’s verbal flights of fancy at the beginning of each edition are still getting evermore shameless and extravagant. We’ve not only had him proclaiming the series “the most successful programme on television”, but also “the most creative show on TV” and “the most talked about programme across the land”. Then there’s all the trappings. The theme tune has been restyled to incorporate sleigh bells. The contestant’s name badges have bits of cardboard holly on them. “Let’s have a fast round” has become a new catchphrase, as has Noel’s cheeky sign off “Join me tomorrow at 4.15 – I think you’ll be there”.

But there’s also the mechanics of the game itself. Every day something different seems to happen, be it the banker ringing up to offer the contestant the chance to swap their box with another one, or the contestant strolling round the set, or Noel going to sit in the audience, or the contestants all joining hands to try and will and positive result. Players arrive with demented strategies such as pretending to have a lucky number, or threatening to “take down” the banker, or constantly deferring to particular “friends” amongst the other contestants.

Finally there’s Noel’s bits of business. He sits on the floor. He lolls against a pillar. He sprawls against the gameboard. He collapses to his knees. Whole minutes go by when he doesn’t say anything, letting the contestant run with the show. He even does a bit of time-honoured squeaky-voiced shouting.

The fear is you’ll get to an episode which is less entertaining than the last. The joy is that never happens.


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