Virtually every week without fail it trends worldwide on Twitter: #PointlessCelebrities, with suggestions including Kim Kardashian, Frankie Cocozza, Cher Lloyd and a million others.
Unfortunately the people posting this have jumped on the Twitter band-wagon failing to recognise the reference to hit BBC1 show Pointless (the celebrity version). Still though, it shows the wide-ranging power and appeal of the Beeb’s most successful quiz.
It’s quite remarkable the impact a simple teatime quiz show has had. It seems to have universal appeal to students, pensioners and everyone in between, having usurped Countdown as the nation’s favourite. But what is so special about Pointless?
Well, for starters, it’s refreshingly different. It’s like an educated version of Family Fortunes that someone has turned on its head, the aim being to get as few points as possible by thinking of answers that 100 people wouldn’t have said. And in fact, this is generally harder than it sounds.
The rounds themselves are endearingly specific, for instance ‘Name a foreign contestant who has competed in Series 1-8 of Strictly Come Dancing’. This usually results in a panic on the faces of around half the contestants, whilst one or two are able to smugly revel in their piles of Strictly annuals at home. And the same goes for any topic. In normal life your extensive knowledge of the suspension bridges of Britain or the hits of Meatloaf released between 1980 and 1986 may not be a particular advantage, but in Pointless this is your moment to shine.
Importantly though, if you don’t know an answer you are not made to feel small and stupid. It’s all kept light-hearted and friendly, fronted by the affable Alexander Armstrong, who, despite his own enormous intellect is very sympathetic and consoling when contestants get questions wrong. In fact joining the Two Hundred Club (two answers wrong consecutively) is regarded as quite an achievement.
It’s also pretty funny, especially the banter between Armstrong and his ‘Pointless Friend’ (and quiz master) Richard, a bespectacled and insanely tall* brainbox with a fantastically dry wit.
Now, inevitably, as with any show that proves itself popular, we have celebrity Pointless. It’s a humorous (and typically Pointless) twist that it has been entitled Pointless Celebrities. It’s a testament to the success of the show that they gave the celeb version a Saturday teatime slot and that it has recently trounced other programmes, most notably ITV’s first new episode of Primeval.
Sadly there’s no Pointless this week because of the Wimbledon coverage but avoid withdrawal symptoms by re-visiting it on BBC iPlayer
*Oh and just so you know – 6ft 7″ Richard’s height- while we’re on the subject of pointless facts.