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The Weakest Link

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The television quiz show “The weakest link” is aired at 5:15pm on BBC1. It was first aired on the 14th August 2000 and there have been over one thousand episodes. The aim of the show is to answer questions correctly to a general knowledge quiz with in quick fire rounds. Contestants compete to try and win the ten thousand pounds prize money. The show’s target audience covers a wide range of people which is why the show is so successful. “The Weakest Link’s” target audience includes the elderly, housewives, and mother’s home from the school run, school children, students and the unemployed.

The presenter of the show is Anne Robinson who is well known for her quick sarcastic comments. She talks in a rather monotone voice which makes her appear intimidating and cause tension amongst the contestants. Her continuous wearing of black symbolically represents her “evil” side and authority. From her frequent choice of wearing this colour it has almost become a symbol of the show and a uniform. Her sarcastic and rude comments such as “alas the body builder who worked on his body and not his brain” raise the tension and also attract a greater number of viewers.

When someone is evicted from the show her catch phrase “you are the weakest link-goodbye” is spoken in a more clipped manner, which once again builds up the tension in the unfortunate contestant as well as the other contestants. The presenter stands in the middle so she is the focus of attention and the protagonist. She stands on a small platform which represents how she is superior to the contestants and her amount of power on the television quiz show.

Her way of standing and body language also represents her stern side; she stands erect with her arms folded which creates a barrier between her and contestants, which then makes them feel isolated and alone. Lighting is used frequently throughout the show again to create tension and suspense. Dark lighting is used on the audience throughout the show which isolates the contestants and makes the audience powerless; they cannot do anything to help the contestants: this raises tension. Blue lights are used when the contestants are introducing themselves.

This makes the contestant tense and nervous as at that point all focus is on them. When the contestants are casting their vote the light turns to blue behind them. Blue is a calming colour so when the vote is revealed the clue is used to represent that the danger has passed. Flashing blue and green lights are used at the beginning and end of a round in time with the music to the show. this adds an element of drama and tension it is also used to strike fear in the hearts of the contestants.

Red lights are used whilst the contestants are selecting their vote, this makes contestants stand out and shows danger: there fellow contestants could be selecting them as the “weakest link”, so their prize money is at risk. This is once again used to raise tension as it comes straight after a calming blue light. White light is continuously used around the presenter, Anne Robinson as this shows her power and importance in the show; it emphasises her superiority over the contestants. Spotlights are used when the “weakest link” is walking off the set during the “walk of shame”.

These lights are used so that everyone can see what is going on and create tension and embarrassment in the contestant, as the focus is on them. Camera angles are used frequently throughout the show “The Weakest Link”. Close up shots which feature the head and shoulders of the desired person are used whilst voting on contestants. This reinforces and creates an emotional bond between the television audience and contestants. It also creates suspense and tension as this shot allows the audience to see the contestant’s expressions.

The shot is also used on the presenter during rounds this is to show her superiority throughout the round. The other type of shot which is used is a front shot which shows a person from the waist upwards. It is used on the contestants whilst they are giving their answering during the rounds. This is used to show their expressions and reactions to the questions asked. It also raises tension as all focus is on that contestant. Overhead shots are used during several occasions throughout the show. These are after the round, after ever two to three rounds and at the beginning of the walk of shame.

This shot is used t remind the audience of how many contestants are left so that they know who is still playing. The shot is used to remind the audience of how many contestants are left so that they know who is still playing. The shot manages to capture the contestant’s isolation and makes them look inferior to Anne Robinson. The overhead shot is also used to create tension during the walk of shame; it causes embarrassment in the contestant who had been voted as “The Weakest Link”. Back shots are used just as the round ends and whilst the contestants vote; we get a back shot of the presenter during these times.

This is used s that we can see the contestants from the presenter’s point of view. It shows Anne Robinsons authority and makes the television audiences feel more powerful and superior like the presenter. Long shots are used two or three times between questions. It highlights the status differences between the contestants and the presenter, this particular shot manages to create a vast amount of tension as it highlights the emotional distance between the contestants and the presenter. It is also used in the form of quick, sharp movement as the contestants are revealing their votes.

This shows the continuality and quick fire style of the popular quiz show. Sound is used to create tension in “The Weakest Link” in many ways. One sound effect which is used is the ticking clock which is heard at the beginning of the show whilst the contestants and rules of the show are being introduced. This creates tension as it makes the contestants rush; it also represents how “The Weakest Link” is a fast paced quiz show where the amount of time which is available to you decreases each round. The ticking sound of the clock is also used to represent the nervous heart beats of contestants.

Low beat music is used throughout the whole show, it is used symbolically to represent danger which builds up nerves in the contestants and prevents them from gathering their thoughts together therefore making the task of answering questions more difficult. Bold loud music is used in between each stage in the show such as after rounds and the “walk of shame”. It effectively separates the stages of the show and lets the audience and contestants know which stage they are at. The volume and emphasis of this music creates tension by raising the nerves in contestants.

Quicker and louder music is used when a round is about to end, it is used in conjunction with the flashing lights. The purpose of this is to warn contestants and let them know that they only have a few seconds left of the round. This once again makes the contestants feel nervous and builds up tension within the game. Four strong beats are used at the beginning of each round to once again represent the heart beats and unease of the contestants. It also shows the adrenaline rush which the game provides and the over all anticipation of whether they will survive to play in the next round.

There is a voiceover which is used throughout the quiz show; it is used at the end of each round as voting has commenced. It informs the television audience of who is the strongest and “The Weakest Link”. It always ends on a rhetorical question suck as “they are the weakest link but will the other contestants notice? ” This enables the audience to question whether the correct choice has been made to whether that person should have been voted off by doing this it raises tension in the audience. The Person who does the voiceover is always a male who has a deep and tranquil voice. In this case it is a man known as Jon Briggs.

He is used to make the audience at home feel privileged which is an example of dramatic irony. This is because they are the only people who hear the information which is being given. It helps bring the audience in the game. The contestants voice over is used during the “walk of shame”. Your start to hear the contestants comments before they are made visible. This gives an insiders view point of the game. They are speaking out to the target audience and give there thoughts of who they believe should have been voted “The Weakest Link”. Other key features which build up tension and suspense on “The Weakest Link” are on screen graphics.

The logo which is in the form of a stylised chain emphasises the idea of links. It builds suspense because contestants don’t want to be the one to break the chain. The money chain which is featured on the left hand side of the screen is blue which is a calming colour. The money which they have attained is highlighted in red which represents the danger of the chance it could be lost. As contestants can’t see this it means it adds to the confusion of the game and creates tension in the television audience, it is used in conjunction with the sound effects.

The time is found in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, it is used to show how much time is left to answer or bank the money which they have attained, this once again creates tension for the television audience. The answer bar which is found along the bottom of the screen during the head to head round is another on screen graphic which is used. A red tick is displayed if the question is answered correctly and a blue cross is displayed if the answer is wrong. This creates tension in the TV audience and confusion due to the unusual colours which have been chosen.

The colours are juxtaposed as red is usually a symbol of danger however in this case they don’t represent this. The answer bar also reminds the audience of the state of play and who is currently the strongest and “The Weakest Link”. “The Weakest Link” also has special celebrity editions, in these the money is for charity so therefore it is even more important that the money is not lost. The prize money is much greater at fifty thousand pounds which works out at five thousand pounds per round. By having a greater prize money it raises the stakes and therefore also the tension.

The reputations of the celebrities are at risk which means it builds up tension in the contestant and suspense in the audience. A huge variety of celebrities have been evolved in these special editions such as soap actors, sports men, page three girls, TV chefs, TV presenters, models, Big Brother housemates, Dr. Who actors, singers, charity representatives, tennis players and many more.

Anne Robinson still teases the contestants despite their celebrity status, however they are more willing to answer back which creates tension as the audience are constantly wondering “what are they going to say ? as they compete for the last word. Celebrity editions have been considered as amongst the funniest episodes as they give a greater television audience. Finally the head to head round is another aspect of the game which creates tension, if scores are level after five questions there is a sudden death round. The very name of this round implies tension, and also the fact that just one answer can make a huge difference builds up suspense.

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