We all love pub quizzes and like TV quiz shows. I think it’s partly because we are curious to see whether we can answer the questions and sometimes, to occasionally, laugh at some of the bizarre answers offered by contestants under time pressure.

One of my favourites recently was a lady who was asked:-

‘Hydrocarbons are made up of carbon and which other element ?’

‘Carbon dioxide’

I loved this answer because she replied, in part, with ‘Carbon’ which would have meant that hydrocarbons comprised of carbon, and well, more carbon. Then she added two atoms of oxygen for good measure.

Tipping Point is a very simple game; it’s essentially the Penny Falls we all loved as children when we visited the amusement arcades at the seaside.

However, to tart it up a bit for TV, Tipping Point has introduced a load of silly phrases and words to make the game seem more exciting:-

  • ‘broad push’ - when multiple counters fall and get pushed on the next level. These, in turn, get moved forward en masse to push more counters forward than a single counter could

  • ‘ghost drop’ - when a counter takes a long time to fall, sometimes by lodging on a peg, so it takes longer to fall to the bottom.

  • ‘rider’ - when a counter doesn’t lay flat but lies over another counter, reducing its effectiveness.

This is probably the most common and irritating. We get contestants and the host, Ben Shephard, constantly urging ‘Don’t ride, don’t ride, DON’T YOU DARE RIDE !’ or ‘OH NO ! DAVID ! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT - IT’S A RIDER’

  • ‘flat’ - when a counter falls and just lies, err, flat so it’s optimally positioned to be pushed onto other counters in an effort to move them too. ‘JUST SETTLE FLAT. GO FLAT !’

  • ’light up drop zone 3 please’ - the contestant has a choice of four separate columns in which to place the counter. These are known as ‘drop-zones’ but it’s incredibly irritating to constantly hear ‘drop zone 3 please Ben’ followed by ‘drop zone 3 - light her up please’.

  • ‘ambient drop’ - a rogue counter that falls, and may potentially dislodge more counters, but sadly when no contestant is active. Any fallen counters are declared null and void. Ben loves these rare events and almost screams orgasmically as he reiterates the rules to the disappointed contestant.

  • ‘rapid drop’ - a counter that falls through the drop zone without hitting any pegs that disrupt or change its direction resulting in a fast, vertical drop.

  • ‘boomerang drop’ - a counter that is dropped from one drop zone but miraculously is diverted (obeying the laws of physics) and ends its journey in an adjacent drop zone.

  • ’lateral movement’ - another common and incredibly irritating phrase. Used when the counter is simply going to do nothing of note other then fill an empty void. Ben immediately tries to dispel everyone’s disappointment and boredom by fuelling a forlorn hope for some sideways motion and shrieking ‘Janet, don’t worry. We might get some lateral here’, ‘If we could just get some lateral, maybe the silver one will drop’ or ‘We could use some lateral here’.

Another element I find slightly irritating is the fake, forced bonhomie and camaraderie on the show. You are a contestant, competing for money against three other contestants, you don’t know, on a TV game show. Please don’t pretend you’re all best friends and like each other by congratulating or otherwise commenting or providing lengthy, detailed Tipping Point analysis during other players’ turns.

‘Oh - marvellous drop, Peter. That’s set you up very nicely indeed.’

‘Oh - she’s not being very kind to us today’ (attempting to humanise the machine)

‘Oh yes - well done Yvonne. You’ve capitalised on all my hard work there and won £450 but I don’t care. Honest.’

‘Oh - hard luck Brian. I can’t believe that black one on the edge didn’t fall.’

The best counter-example was a wonderful young man with a wispy, straggly beard (probably a student) who simply answered all his questions, frowned and silently cursed when he got a question wrong and barely reacted or smiled after a successful answer. He also grimaced, sighed inwardly and silently cursed when other contestants did well. He certainly didn’t comment, praise, empathise with or interact with the other players. On the contrary, you could almost see him wince as other players luckily dislodged multiple counters to increase their total.

So that’s why I hate ‘Tipping Point’. Plus I have applied 79 times to go on the show and not been accepted.