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Your Home Is At Risk....


"Evening Gents", a catchphrase Mavis and I 'coined' from rare visits to the Victoria Casino where this was the short muttered greeting by the top-hatted doorman on entering one of Satan's dens of iniquity - a smoky clock-less place full of mixed races feverishly throwing cash on Blackjack, Poker and Roulette with a complimentary late night firing fry-up to drown your sorrows when the wallet's empty. Well, tonight, I discovered a new stranger form of gambling right here, right now in your own home, without the need for smart attire, membership or bling, nope, just make sure you're over 16.....


After a quick burst of channel surfing on the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), I stumbled across Sky's Channel 166, 'TTV', the gates to hell and 'The Great Big British Quiz'. No cash machines, credit cards, cheque books - just the good old 'dog & bone' to hand over the dosh; direct digit-dialing to Dante's Inferno!!

A 'simple' (!!) puzzle comes on screen, a simple presenter also on screen simply nags you to call in to try and win the guaranteed prize money with a further chance of the big daily jackpot, tonight about £50,000.

Ever the experimenter, I thought I'd give this a quick punt. My quiz asked me to 'add the numbers' from the following list (as accurate as I can recall):

The number of feet of a five foot hedge that has been trimmed from one foot.
The number of legs on eight giraffes, two lionesses and a rhino.
The number of wheels on three taxis.
All the even numbers less than 9.

I quickly calculated my answer of 80 (or 81 depending on the hedge if it had been trimmed and was 4 feet now or was 6 feet and trimmed to five!!!)

Fingaz on da triggaz, I dialled the number on screen as a satanic screen-scroll told me that 'TTV' was obeying all the rules & guidelines set by governing bodies OFCOM & ICTSIS. Incredible!! I got on after 2 tries (£1 per try), gave my answer of '80' - wrong!!!

After numerous rapid re-dials and re-mortgaged house, I got on again via an animated barking dog in the lower left of screen, the signal for the presenter, who may have had Alzheimer's the amount she kept repeating herself in such a short space of time.

"Where are you calling from?", the presenter asked. "Swiss Cottage", I answered, as the jackpot increased to £1,800. Tomorrow's replies would have been "Gamblers Annonymous", "Bailiff's" or "Jail" depending on time of day and BT's mood.


"What's your answer?" she continued. I quickly replied, "Depends on whether the taxi's have spare tyres or not, but I'll go with '81'". 'Unlucky' flashed a quick red-arrowed graphic. Where's that fry-up when you need it?

Kate & I were curious to see/hear the real answer so luckily about 5 minutes later, a girl, possibly called Claire gave her answer as 8136, yes, 8 thousand, 1 hundred and thirty six. WHAT DA F?!!! How in hell (and I was) do you get that answer??? No simple explanation from the simple presenter; Carol Vorderman wouldn't behave like that, ooh no, maybe that's why Carol's got her MBE.

So dear readers, for blog's sake, I needed answers & needed them fast - I made contact with 'The Great British Quiz' with correspondence to date below:

-----Original Message-----
From: Green Bandana
Sent: Wed 31/08/2005 01:19
To: Support User
Subject: Sky Channel 116 - The Great British Quiz - Pls. can you explain:

Quiz was won around 1AM, Wednesday Morning 31st August.
Correct answer was '8316' (8 thousand, 3 hundred and sixteen).

The question was add the numbers:
A five foot hedge, trimmed by one foot.
number of legs on 8 giraffes, 2 lionesses
and a rhino, number of wheels on 3 taxis.
Even numbers less than 9.

I'm stumped how the answer here was 8316
having spent loads of money & guesses!!!


Mr. J. Hyman
-----Original Message-----
From: Support User []
Sent: 31 August 2005 14:46
To: James Hyman

Mr. J. Hyman,

Thank you, for your email, great to hear you are enjoying the show. The Great Big British Quiz is jointly regulated by OFCOM and ICSTIS and complies with all necessary codes and guidelines. We constantly review the channels production to ensure that it is fair and seen to be fair.

We give the answers to all our quizzes on-air and we only ever have one answer for each quiz we show. Some of the more difficult puzzles are put together using a strict formula to make them fair for everybody and half the trick of it is to work out the formula.

We obviously canít divulge any formulas, as this would be unfair to the other players and that is half the fun of playing the games. We try to give an even mix of easy and difficult puzzles but as you are probably aware the more difficult puzzles take much longer to complete.

We want to be fair to all our viewers so if we are only able to tell some people how the answer is arrived at it might give some viewers an unfair advantage.

Good luck with future Quizzes! Regards Customer Service
The Great Big British Quiz
-----Original Message-----
From: Green Bandana
Sent: 31 August 2005 17:13
To: 'Support User'
Cc: ''; ''
Subject: RE: Sky Channel 116 - The Great British Quiz - Pls. can you explain

I appreciate your prompt answer though the answer to this particular
question seemed to way 'out there' and for all I and others viewers/contestants know, this could be a scam.

Incidentally, the quiz after this particular one seemed to skate on the Ofcom/ICSTIS guidelines. It was a simple quiz to guess a country by missing
letters for £50 ('Norway') and callers were not answered for a while, hence it appeared that the broadcaster was accuring as many callers and thus,
money, possibly unfairly.

I await your response.

Mr. J. Hyman
-----Original Message-----
From: Green Bandana
Sent: 06 September 2005 16:08
To: 'Support User'
Cc: ''; ''
Subject: RE: Sky Channel 116 - The Great British Quiz - Pls. can you explain (see below):

Yes, thanks I know that.

Still doesn't reassure me about the specific
quiz I entered being a scam.

-----Original Message-----
From: Support User []
Sent: 06 September 2005 11:37
To: James Hyman
Dear Mr Hyman,

We are regulated by both OFCOM and ICSTIS and comply with all the relavant guidelines and codes from both regulators.


The Great Big British Quiz Support Team
That's where it's at - you gotsta love the madness of all this -
Simple channel, simple format, simply a wonderful get rich quick scheme!!!

Game over!!! I recieved an interesting e-mail from a highly intelligent 50+ year old ex-COBOL computer programmer who decoded the above for me and who wishes to remain annonymous. After reading her extensive puzzle-solivng breakdown, I still maintain 'The Great British Quiz' are broadcasting very shadily, misleading its audience and skating on thin ice in regard to OFCOM & ICSTIS broadcast guidelines!! This blog's comments seem to mirror my opinions too.

Posted on September 01, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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