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Yesterday, due to a fuckup, I broke my ability to remove cash from my bank account, so no LARP, no alcohol and nothing this Friday night. Except…

I applied for tickets though Hat Trick for a pilot of a newsy/satire type show with Sir Trevor McDonald, partly because the concept interested me, but a lot because everyone who went got first dibs at the hotly contested tickets for the Have I Got News For You new series next month. Anyway. (There has been an hour gap between the writing of those two full stops. Damn Wikipedia and its crackpot organisation).

Anyway, due to the fact they have moved the South Bank, Waterloo Station, the London Eye, the National Theatre and possibly London itself since I last went there, I eventually got to the London Studios in time to be second to last in the queue, and along with the last 30 people didn’t get in. Instead we were invited to go see the filming a new Quiz show from the people who invented Deal or No Deal called “The Rest Of Your Life”.

The concept of the game is this:

A couple are the contestants. There is an arrangement of 11 spaces, each has a Red light (3) or a White light (8) by it. One of the contestants – we shall call them Mark – picks the numbers, while the other – who we will call Mary – wanders from space to space. Mark picks a number; Mary walks to it; there is a period of built tension as the host (Nicky Campbell in this case) asks them if they’re perfectly sure, possibly goes for an ad break, still perfectly sure, asks the audience, phones a friend etc; Light is revealed to be red or white. If it’s white you get +1, red you get -1. Reveal all the reds and it’s game over. After you get to +4, you can choose to jump to round two, or keep going and risk losing it. You can’t skip unless you’re last draw was a white.

At the start they draw one of three possible amounts of money. For the first part of the show their score is this amount × their score as above, so you might get out of round one with £100. In the second half you have 15 spaces (4 red, 11 white), but this time the steps are time (1 month, 2 months, 3, 6, 1 year, 2 years, 5, 10, 20, Rest of your life) which represent how long you will get monthly cheques for the amount you won in round one. There are complications around this.

It’s quite interesting really, though it’s not more than picking random numbers. There is some limited strategy – most on the “Stick or twist” level – and a smattering of spousal trust (In the Complications referred to above), but mostly it was a matter of watching how people reacted and behaved in these conditions. Also, the end game got really interesting, but I can’t tell you why until they broadcast it (and I don’t know when they will). But it involves the end game (Where they have to pick from red and white lights) and an audience member called Roxanne…

It was fun, and kind of mindless, and the warm-up comedian was great in a kind of bad way (“My butcher asked me if I wanted a bet about whether I could grab the meat off the hooks, but I refused, the steaks were too high”), but worth an otherwise deathly dull Friday night.

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