Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel is a new gameshow which seeks to answer the question: Why is Michael McIntyre popular?
Well, maybe it won’t do that, but his wheel takes social distancing to a whole new level, as each special guest appears to be in a different county, such is the distance between them.
But who are these celebrity behemoths? Jennifer Aniston? Donald Trump? Rihanna? Not quite. There’s Mel B (who we have to be reminded is from the Spice Girls), Gok Wan (fashion, apparently), Susie Dent from Countdown, Richard Arnold – the GMTV legend in his own lunchtime, Joey Essex, Dermot O’Leary, and the only one I’d have time for, Jason Donovan. Basically, this is the modern equivalent of ‘celebs’ on Blankety Blank.
Hopefully, the wheel will spin faster and faster, most of them will feel ill, and someone will get a bit of Gok stuck down their throat. Eh? Eh? There’s some Saturday night innuendo for yer!
Under the wheel are normal people as the contestants, including Jen from Northern Ireland, and Michael has to announce her country of origin as if he’s trying to mimic Alan Partridge offending the Irish. A lifetime beckons on the 4am show at North Norfolk Digital, if you’re not careful, McIntyre.
Essentially, Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel is like putting a member of the public within a massive Trivial Pursuit board (but without paying the royalties for the name), as each celeb has their own speciality, like Words, World War II and… Spice Girls. Wonder who has that last one?
The contestant decides who he wants to ‘land on’ after they spin the wheel, with an option being the one you want to shut out, and if you land on them, then you go back down underground and another normal person comes back up in your place.
I’ll give no spoilers as to the questions or answers or prizes, obviously, but it’s safe to explain part of the first spin of the wheel. The contestant picks one of his celebs as Susie Dent, for Words, but the spin lands on Gok Wan. Hence, Gok has to answer the question on words. This is starting to look like a massive Bullseye-meets-Wheel Of Fortune board.
Each question has four options – also taking this into the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire category, and to go through these takes forever. This is why the programme takes an hour.
Over the course of the show, the prize money will be built up, but it’s whoever is in the centre chair at the end who will be playing for the cash, so you could have one player accumulating plenty of money, then get a question wrong and go back down underground, leaving someone else to pocket it all.
The comparisons with other gameshows has one more card to play, and it’s The Chase. The contestant at the end has to pick one of the celebs to help them with the final question. Of all the celebs, we’ll be told who was the best at answering questions, who was the worst and who fell in the middle.
If the prize pot is X, then help from the middle celeb would give you X, help from the best gives you half of X, while help from the worst gives you 2X.
Oh, maybe another comparison, since for the final question, they get 30 seconds on the Countdown clock.
Overall: Everything you expect from something associated with Michael McIntyre. One episode was enough for me, and after trying to explain it all, I’m off for a lie down.
Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel begins on Saturday November 28th on BBC1 at 8.30pm. The series is unlikely to ever be on Blu-ray and DVD, but you can watch each episode after broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Chris Power
Producers: Simon Adsett, James Pratt
Music: Paul Farrer
Presenter: Michael McIntyre
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.