Deal Or No Deal returns, this time to ITV, and in the hands of the very personable Stephen Mulhern.
The gameshow was a huge hit when Noel Edmonds brought it to our screens, but everything has its time, and it came to an end in 2016 – after 11 years – with ten special episodes. They were planning more to get through the remainder of the waiting contestants, but ratings precluded this.
As this is a preview, obviously no spoilers about who’s chosen for the first show, or which boxes they select and/or what they do or don’t win, since that would negate the reason for watching it.
As always, the chosen contestant will choose one box at a time, hoping the blue boxes (lower value) are removed sooner than any red ones, thus boosting the offer from the unseen banker. Everyone gets to pick a box at random, and it’s basically a random game of chance, yet the contestants big it up, treating it like a choice between life or death.
Mr Mulhern has the same sort of patter as Noel, and the game follows the usual process of: open 5 boxes then the banker offers a deal, then another 3 boxes, then another 3 and so on, and eventually, they get down to two boxes – if they go all the way – with the contestant holding one, and with one left on the wings. Then, do you go for yours, or the alternative? Or do you deal at any point?
One thing I can say is that if any contestant was to agree to the banker’s offer very early on, it would make for a very short programme!
Interestingly, compare this ‘first’ show with that of the original run, which was incredibly low-key. Later, it was expanded to an hour and encouraged those in the hot seat to get up and move around a lot, hugging fellow members on the wings as they open boxes, and with everyone telling sob stories.
As an aside, after I stopped watching Deal Or No Deal reguarly and just saw occasional shows, Noel started introducing extra elements like ‘box 23’ which would either allow you to double your money, halve it, nil it, etc. Plus, a blue button on the desk, the reason for which I’ve completely forgotten, because it was thrown in during the later years. There’s none of that, here. We’re back to first principles.
There is one significant change, however. The top box is worth £100,000, instead of £250K…
In today’s TV climate, if anyone’s got the chutzpah to make Deal Or No Deal work, it’s Mr Mulhern, and it certainly does work. Also, thankfully, they haven’t really changed anything. That can either be a help or a hinderance, since everyone gets excited for when a show returns after a few years, but after the hype’s died down, what next? The programme is due to run for a minimum of 20 episodes, up until the week before Christmas, so only time will tell.
Deal Or No Deal begins tomorrow on ITV at 4pm. Once aired, each episode will also be on ITVX. It’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Director: Ollie Bartlett
Music: Augustin Blousfeld
Presenter: Stephen Mulhern
The Banker: Himself
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.