Developed by Richard Osman (off of Pointless) and presented by Alexander Armstrong (also off of Pointless) and Big Brother’s Emma Willis, Prize Island sees couples compete in a variety of challenges on to win everything from a kettle to a car. Despite it being filmed in Mozambique, and therefore costing a lot of money, though, there seemed to be more than a little embarrassment surrounding it – not least on the part of ITV itself, who postponed it from the spring to now – around six months later. The show also had little publicity and was shunted into the unenviable time slot of 5:40 on a Sunday evening.
Yes, this Total Wipeout/Takeshi’s Castle/Fort Boyard/Generation Game/Argos commercial began tonight and, do you know what, it actually wasn’t that bad. I mean, don’t get me wrong: it’s not going to be scooping an NTA any time soon but it wasn’t quite as horrific as the press (and, admittedly, I) made out.
Of course, there were some moments which were simply car-crash TV (one round consisted of a game of Hoopla, with the prizes being a vacuum cleaner, iron and ironing board) but I found that if you watch it with low expectations, it’s actually quite bearable. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that ITV had no reason to keep it under wraps for so long. If I was being exceptionally, and begrudgingly, generous, I might even say that Prize Island is worthy of a Saturday night broadcast. I’m not certain about that last one yet, though.
So, that’s it. Not a long review but it says everything I want to say. Prize Island is obviously going to be hated by those who think that no TV is worth being made if it isn’t biting satire or high-brow drama but there’ll also be those who’ll spend the next few Sundays sitting down for an hour of average games with average prizes. As with a lot of shows nowadays, it’s harmless fun.
Image credits: Thanks to ITV and Endemol, ©Endemol
Prize Island is on Sunday evenings on ITV
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