TV review: The Button, BBC One
- Henry Northmore
- 16 April 2018
New family gameshow from the creators of Taskmaster
Get a good gameshow and it can run and run for years and years. Iconic formats like The Price is Right, Countdown, Family Fortunes and Mastermind have secured their place in the TV hall of fame. However, it's an increasingly cluttered marketplace; the daytime and weekend schedules are packed to bursting point with quizzes. Some are gold (Pointless), others (sorry, Tenable) are pure filler.
In recent years there's one outlier that has set a new high. Taskmaster (over on Dave) mixed the comedy panel show with a gameshow, for an inspired hour of insanity. Presented by Greg Davis and originally created by Alex Horne at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, it pits comedians against comedians in a series of weird tests and trials. Who could forget Sally Philips bizarre 'birth' video or Josh Widdicombe's tattoo? And Bob Mortimer's edible mask still gives us nightmares.
The Button takes all that lunacy and repackages it in family friendly format. The premise is that a large button is placed in five homes across the country. At any given moment it can turn red heralding the start of a task that all the families have to complete simultaneously. These are set by the disembodied voice of Horne and can take anywhere from one to twenty minutes, involving props, books, ping pong balls and inflatables. They're never ridiculously complex but require a bit of luck, lateral thinking and a lot of running around like idiots. Whoever completes the challenge fastest wins a pot of cash.
No offence, all the contestants seem lovely, but some are terrible. And how they approach each assignment is where the real fun lies. Imagine GoggleBox with a competitive element. Admittedly it's not as sharp or manic as Taskmaster; instead it's silly, genuinely funny nonsense for all the family.
Episodes watched: one and two of eight
The Button starts on BBC One, Fri 20 Apr, 7.30pm.