Quiz Bob himself is here to explain how our new format "CHAINED!" came about. Don't worry, there are no spoilers in the article - but some of the things discussed may make more sense after viewing the pilot episode!
It's been over two years since launching a new "flagship" QuizBob format.
Drop It first appeared at the start of 2019, following on from the quiz that started it all in mid-2018, Mucked Up. Both of those shows remain our most popular formats, and I'm very proud of them both. I'm proud too of the four shorter format quizzes that we've launched since, but I felt a new "big" show was long overdue. Running this website had (literally) become a full-time job, though, so I just didn't seem to have the time...
And then suddenly last March, like a lot of people, I found I had a lot more spare time than I was used to having. Filming stopped. Customer Experiences paused. Of course there was still a website to manage and filmed content to edit, but I was certainly able to devote some time to thinking about new formats.
Those who know me well will also know that I'm a complete game show nerd. I love them, even the rubbish ones that no-one else remembers. (Anyone else recall "Steal" on ITV in the early 1990s? Thought not. And... You're welcome.)
The main thing I've realised over the years is that - generally speaking - the best formats are the ones that can be explained simply, usually in a sentence:
Fifteen questions, one million pounds.
Say what you see.
Gold to gold in 60 seconds.
Keep the correct answers, drop the wrong answers. (Hang on, this one seems familiar...)
There's usually a lot more to the formats, of course - but the basic premise of each show is easily summed up.
I've always tried to keep QuizBob shows similarly simple. Whilst the various rounds in Chained! might have their differences, they can all be summed up in one sentence: Don't break the chain of correct answers. So long as you keep on answering correctly, you will succeed.
So, the foundation was there - but how to make it something different to other shows was proving a challenge. I've never denied that Mucked Up and Drop It share a lot of the same DNA - but they have enough differences in format and tone to be distinctive, too.
It had also been a desire of mine to create a more ambitious two-player show that worked just as well as a one-player show. With that in mind, the structure of the game was tweaked and altered and refined over many days, weeks, perhaps months - we all know that time didn't really matter in 2020. I like to think that the end format works just as well whether being played by battling buddies looking for revenge, or a single player hoping to escape! (You'll have to take my word for now that the single player version is equally tense...)
I certainly didn't expect that the two-player version would be the first to be filmed in the year of social distancing - but then I met Benjy and Justin, housemates who attended a shoot together last summer. It became clear filming their episodes of Puzzle Funnel and Slime Balls that they would be ideal for the pilot of Chained!, and being housemates, they didn't need to social distance on set. (In fact, we did try to keep them apart as much as possible, simply to see if it would be feasible to film future editions with social distancing. So don't worry about the multiple fist-bumps you see!)
Within 24 hours of their first shoot, I contacted them to explain the pilot idea and see if they were interested - and I was thrilled that they both agreed without hesitation.
And so, a few weeks later, we were back on set again to film the pilot of Chained!, and no matter how much planning and preparation is put into a new show, it's not until the footage has been filmed and edited together that it's really possible to see if it's a success. In fact, it's not even for me to judge - that's your job, as viewers. Personally, I think the show is great. It's not perfect - pilots never are - but it's definitely an exciting format, with loads of banter, a record amount of mess and, yep, the Best Guests. It truly is our most ambitious show so far.
Those of a certain age might see influences from CBBC's Get Your Own Back, and perhaps even Gunge 'Em in the Dungeon / It's Torture from Motormouth on CITV in the the late 1980s. There are also influences, believe it or not, from the Paul Daniel quiz Every Second Counts too - an absolute classic of the 1980s/90s. But it's also slightly more grown-up in tone, too, with swearing, adult humour and even some adult questions this time around: definitely don't show this one to the kids!
I hope you enjoy watching Chained! as much as we enjoyed making it. Well, as much as two of us enjoyed making it - I get a feeling the loser of the show didn't have such a great time! It's taken over 9 months to go from concept to first release, which is the biggest amount of time put into one format so far. Hopefully it shows.
So what are you waiting for? Download the show and enjoy! Then let me know what you think via the usual channels and if the show proves popular, we'll film more episodes just as soon as it's safe to do so...