Nothing But the Truth, then

  • 10/28/2007 10:08:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

According to Sky's PR monolith, "Hosted by Jerry Springer, contestants are hooked up to a lie-detector and asked a tailored set of increasingly personal and risqué questions about their life in order to win a jackpot of £50,000. The situation is made more embarrassing by their closest friends, family and partners being in the audience to witness their confessions." And, we have to say, it was pretty entertaining. But, we do have a number of petty gripes. Because we're as hard to please as a scouse postie.

Gripe one. We're willing to be corrected on this, but the impression we've got of this is that all the lie detecting is actually done during the backstage (off screen, and away from the family and friends who'd come along) Q&A session with researchers. All that is actually happening on-stage is that a selection of questions from the earlier session are read out (this part in front of the cameras, audience, Jerry, friends and family) and any answers given have to be the same as previously. The response to their replies is then announced, but all the lie-detecting was done previously.

This is slightly skirted over in Jerry's introduction, to convey an impression of everything happening on stage, in much the same way as Chris Tarrant used to pretend ...Millionaire was broadcast live by slotting some topical remarks to that day's news (which were actually recorded a day after the remainder of the show). Just another example of TEH HORRID TV LIE FACTORY? Not really, we can't help but feel the show would be enhanced by a team of boffins in the corner of the studio hunched around a polygraph machine.

Gripe two. Aside from the one about the taxi driver having a 'bit on the side', the questions asked were mostly rather tame. Asking a taxi driver if he'd ever criticised the government while driving his cab (HE DID!), or if he ever uses pornographic material (HE DOES!) isn't exactly going to get any grannies dropping their knitting these days. Now that they've used one of their best hands in the first episode -
"Have you ever thought about having a homosexual experience? [pause] Don't answer now, we'll be back after this break!"

[five minutes later]

"No, I haven't."

- they'd better be ramping up the awkwardness dramatically over the next week. And it's a bit of a shame they couldn't have used something more challenging if they were going to have lots of obvious "black cab driver" questions, such as "have you ever made a comment to a passenger that could be considered racist?".

Gripe three. It's all very slow. It's all very well to be full of suspense in these post-WWTBAM times, but over one hour and two contestants, we've yet to see anyone actually tell an untruth. Understandably, the prizes on offer have head to be kept low, just so there's a chance someone will risk a lie, but dragging out someone's chance of getting up to a mere thousand pounds to almost fifteen minutes is an almost glacial pace in today's modern short-attention-span society. Upping the prizes wouldn't really help - hell, we'd happily claim we fantasise about molesting seafood on national television if there was a million quid in it - so just get the trivial questions over and done with. (And we don't really have a piscine fetish. Not since the time we caught gonorrhea from that tench, anyway.)

Of course, we'll still be watching it for the next few days. Expect further reports, because we've made a vow to ourselves to update more often.

It'll never last.

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