I can’t remember how the conversation started. Grace, Charlotte, Alex and Rosie were over for wine, and – being a sophisticated bunch – somehow we ended up discussing the international variations of Deal Or No Deal. Rather snobbishly, we decided that the American variant must be greatly inferior to its European counterparts: flashy, over-the-top displays of enthusiasm in a big studio with models and whooping and a large ‘DEAL!’ button prop. Sure, Noel Edmonds might be insufferable, but at least he brings a measure of calm to the serious business of picking boxes at random for half an hour.
Then we watched some of it. And you know what? American Deal or No Deal is (or rather was, since it’s been cancelled) genuinely entertaining. It’s fun enough to watch – at least, it’s fun enough to watch when you’ve got several bottles of wine to hand – despite the ludicrous deliberation over ‘strategy’ which still goes on. Game shows are supposed to be about exaggerated silliness – that’s why they’re fun. And in our state of mild intoxication, we decided we wanted in on some of that fun ourselves. So naturally we agreed to meet two deals later in our own custom-built studio (my living room) and play our own Deal or No Deal, complete with sound effects, an interactive game board and 24 prizes of varying quality.
(I say ‘we’, but it was mostly Charlotte who pushed this from drunken concept into we’re-really-doing-this. She is awesome.)