The Wall is overacting on a grand scale in a gameshow which brings Danny Dyer and telly legend Angela Rippon – together at last!
The titular device is a giant version of a Japanese pachinko machine where balls drop (f’nar, f’nar) down into slots at the bottom of a… wall. Get it in the right hole and you win money. Get it in the wrong one and… anyone? anyone? Bueller?
Two players at a time will asked questions while balls fall. Get them right and you’ll bank the money relating to where they land. Get them wrong, and that amount will be deducted from your total. As long as you have money in the bank by the end of question give, you can continue to the next round.
From round 2, one of the pair goes into isolation, there is more prize money at stake, and there are two green balls (to add money to the total), two red balls (to deduct money), and three white balls – which are “question balls”. If the person in isolation gets questions right, those balls will turn green, otherwise red… and you know how that’ll affect the money.
Oddly, there’s a crazy system where the contestants can physically load giant balls into a ‘device’ in front of them, even though the balls on the wall, itself, so someone else is dropping them into that machine, so just as fake as on Tipping Point when a contestant presses the ‘button’ in front of them, while a stage-hand drops the counter in from the top of the machine (because the ‘button’ isn’t actually connected to anything)
However, back to this, and as the balls descend, the contestants also shout at them as if they have any say or sway over where they can go. But then, these individuals are clearly quite mad.
Naturally, the questions get harder as time goes on, but while the plus with this show is that it gets on with the game quite quickly, the minuses are that (a) we don’t actually get to see Ms Rippon in the flesh (she just announces questions from behind the scenes), and (b) the two women picked as contestants in the first episode are incredibly annoying.
Given that we have a quiz show based around things dropping, it does feel similar in TV terms to the aforementioned Tipping Point (even though both shows have roots in different physical games), and that ITV show does feel better overall. Perhaps it’s because they have more contestants, and that not all of them stick around for the duration of the show, so the chances are that the annoying ones will disappear sooner.
There’s a final part of the game which boils down to a gamble, as to which amount will be won based on the two sections of the game… and this is where I clearly lost the plot of what was going on, because I didn’t realise there were two different sections of the game.
As for what amount the pair do or don’t win, you’ll only find out by watching the programme, but what I can say is that the whole thing is dragged out incessantly. 50 minutes is way too long for one set of contestants. Perhaps if they’d had two sets and mixed up the games a bit, it would’ve given more variety.
Also, before the final big reveal, these two completely dragged even that out by each giving a big, rambling speech which just shouted “We have been told to eek this out for as long as possible”, making the whole thing feel very unnatural.
I won’t be back for a second fall down the wall. Will you?
Episode 1 Score: 4/10
The Wall begins on BBC1 tonight at 8.35pm. It won’t be available to pre-order on any format, but after broadcast, each episode will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Richard van’t Riet
Producer: Stephen Lovelock
Presenters: Danny Dyer, Angela Rippon
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.