High Stakes: are you committed?

High Stakes, the newest game show kid on the block, starring unlikely host Jeremy Kyle, had its second outing tonight. We look at the format and ask how suitable Jezza is at guiding contestants through the game.

How it works:

Copyright: ITV

Standing on a virtual board, the contestant has the chance to win up to £500,000 by avoiding standing on one of 7 numbers. Contestants may either choose a clue that helps them work out which number is the ‘trap’ or just risk it by choosing randomly (or as part of a non-existent ‘strategy’, akin to Deal or No Deal’s ‘gameplans’). Each level gets harder by having an extra trap door, reducing the chances that a guess will be fruitful and move them up a level. If they step on the incorrect number the game ends and they go away with £1000 unless they complete the game entirely. Contestants may either choose to ‘cash out’ (take the money and run) or ‘raise the stakes’ (move on to the next level). Jeremy may help the contestants out by providing them with his pearls of wisdom curated through eons of discussing other people’s business.

Seemingly a cross between The Chase (moving through a virtual board) and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (losing money after an incorrect answer), you’d think it’d be a smash hit. Yet add in ITV’s daytime darling and scourge of the philandering population, Jeremy Kyle, and you’ve got an interesting quandary: does he translate to prime time and is he a good candidate for this show format?

No. That’s the short answer. But stay with me and I’ll elaborate.

Copyright: ITV

Jeremy Kyle is quite shouty. Unlike other game show hosts, like Phillip Schofield (The Cube, which we’re very excited by) and Chris Tarrant (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire), you don’t get the sense that Jeremy invests a lot of his own feelings in each contestant and that he cares whether they win or not. Jezza seems to spend a lot of time mocking contestants’ accents (repeating ‘Baaaarns-leh‘ at first contestant Richard) and laughing at their faux pas; “IT’S THE LENGTH NOT THE HEIGHT!”. There are attempts at fabricating tension throughout the show and at one point Jezza declares that he won’t be able to sleep at night if an answer is wrong. Somehow, I don’t believe him.

Contestants must confirm they are ‘committed’ to each number – similar to ‘is that your final answer?’. Agreeing to commit to a number is a dangerous notion when it comes to Jeremy Kyle. Next he’ll want you to make an honest number of 7, agreeing to take responsibility for the numerous children you’ll have with 7. You’ll be angry at the notion that 7 8 9. Nine will be on stage with you next year, for a follow up where 9 admits she’s actually in love with 3. A forbidden age-gap relationship. I digress. Tune in next week for the full story.

The ‘daring and often reckless’ Richard, from Baarns-leh, who wanted to win £25,000, says he’ll be able to buy a house, go on holiday and buy an engagement ring. How cheap IS Baaaarns-leh!?

Celia, who’s up after Richard from Baaaarns-leh, is introduced as a lady ‘who always looks on the bright side but her friends say she finds all the negatives in life’. Jeremy’s introduction is very chat show and you expect him to start grilling her on her personal life and making her cry while she admits she’s more of a ‘glass half empty’ kinda girl.

WHY DIDN’T YOU MARRY HER?

Then there’s Dean, who proposed to his girlfriend when he was 12. Backstage, said girlfriend, replete with small baby, confirms they were childhood sweethearts. “I’m a risk taker”, says Dean. I’ll say. Coming on High Stakes with Jeremy Kyle, admitting you proposed as an underage lothario then daring to get your girlfriend pregnant out of wedlock? “WHY DIDN’T YOU MARRY HER BEFORE YOU TOOK YOUR PANTS OFF, EH DEAN?” he (didn’t) say. “Your daughter will look at you and forever go ‘LOSER!’ if you don’t win” he (does) say.

So, will you be ‘cashing out’ early (and not watching because you value your time and would rather watch paint dry) or RAISING THE STAKES? 

Posted by Tannice for thecustardtv. Follow her on Twitter.

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