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Photo: ITV
Photo: ITV

Pop CultureNovember 22, 2019

A game show crossover like no other: The Chase meets Tipping Point

Photo: ITV
Photo: ITV

Hidden in the deep bowels of the internet is an episode of television too good to be true: Tipping Point Lucky Stars, featuring the geniuses of The Chase. Tara Ward watches the crossover episode of your TV dreams.

The world is filled with unexpected joys, and discovering the episode of Tipping Point: Lucky Stars featuring the Chasers is one of them. Lucky Stars is the celebrity version of Tipping Point, the wacky quiz show where contestants answer questions to win counters to drop into a giant arcade machine. For every counter the machine pushes into the winning zone, contestants earn cash and prizes beyond their wildest dreams.

Even Coolio’s been on Tipping Point:Lucky Stars, and it is indeed the Gangsta’s Paradise of television quiz shows. It’s infuriatingly slow and repetitive, yet hugely absorbing, and I can never tear mine own eyes away from it. Lives are changed in a second by the unpredictable roll of a circular disc as it falls from a great height, and contestants never fail to give dumb answers to simple questions. Also, “you want a slider, not a rider” are words you don’t hear enough on daytime television, so we owe Tipping Point a lot.

But the best thing about Tipping Point? The day the Chasers turned up.

Photo: ITV

Season 3, episode 4 of Lucky Stars is the television crossover we never knew we needed. Three of The Chase brainaics grace the Tipping Point stage, bringing together two of the greatest quiz shows in nerdtastic harmony. The Chasers claim to be playing for charity, but they’re also about to answer the question heard around New Zealand every night at 5pm: who is the Chaser to rule them all?

The Sinnaman, The Governess and The Beast appear on Tipping Point as themselves, so host Ben Shephard calls them Paul, Anne and Mark, because that is their names. Seeing the Governess without her power suit or The Beast in a relaxed yellow shirt is like seeing your teacher at the supermarket, or bumping into your local MP in the underpants aisle at Farmers. Something wasn’t quite right, but I was Great Kiwi Bake Off’s Dean Brettschneider eating a chocolate cake in the shape of a graveyard. I didn’t like it. I LOVED IT.

You’d think this would be a walk in the park for The Chase’s brainboxes, because Tipping Point questions are usually things like “which tool is used for knocking in nails?” or “what day is Christmas Day usually celebrated?”. The meek and mild Ben Shephard must have been quietly bricking it, facing contestants who not only knew the meaning of lots of big words, but could also pronounce them in three different languages. Who would blink first, The Chase or Tipping Point?

They all blinked at once. It was the second question of the game, and not one of the Chasers knew what kind of animal Pumba from The Lion King was.

Put this in a time capsule so future generations know our folly.

For the love of sweet Bradley Walsh, does it only take a cartoon warthog to bring The Chase empire to its knees? Of course not, the Chasers were here to play. Pumba aside, they answered questions before Ben had a chance to open his mouth. They hit their buzzers so hard the podiums rattled. As they fired off facts about Russian presidents and Swedish political parties, the Tipping Point discs of doom slid back and forth in silent fear. The drop zones quivered in shock. For once, it was not about them. They were but pathetic props in the Tipping Point game of life.

Meanwhile, Ben Shephard was loving himself sick. “You know your Willy’s” he told Mark, after The Beast correctly answered a question about war tanks. “That top shelf looks cracking, Anne, and you’ve got a few on the bottom as well,” he said, because Ben’s got double entendres to burn. “Anne’s left some dangler’s there for you, Mark,” he pointed out, as the audience roared with laughter. Would Ben say that to Coolio? Jury’s still out.

Anne’s danglers did her no good. She won a Mystery Counter by revealing that she once took a IQ test with a chimp, and the chimp was smarter. The audience cackled, while I seethed silently. Nobody laughs at my Governess, not even a genius monkey. Anne was the first to be eliminated, having been dealt a cruel hand by that evil machine. I will grieve her loss every time I see a circle, or something dangling. Or both.

This is like the messiest game of backgammon ever.

Paul and Mark advanced to the next round. “Is that where you wanted it?” Ben asked Paul, as another counter clattered down the drop zone. “No idea,” Paul replied, because Tipping Point is a game you can succeed in while having no idea what’s going on. Mark won a mystery prize of a tiara, everyone missed an obvious joke about Uranus, and I wondered if Tipping Point was three rounds too long. Bradley Walsh would have been all over Uranus, FYI.

Finally, we found our tipping point. Mark was the Chasiest Chaser of them all, thrashing Paul in the third round and scooping the £20,000 prize for charity. Everyone’s a winner in this match made in TV heaven, but Lucky Stars proved what we all ready knew: nothing will ever beat the brilliance of The Chase, dangly bits and all.

Tipping Point is broadcast on TVNZ 1 and streams on TVNZ OnDemand

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