What do Big Brother, Total Wipeout, Dating in the Dark and ITV's celebrity diving show Splash! have in common? One: they're all TV formats that could sit proudly alongside Alan Partridge's Monkey Tennis. Two: they're successful UK series that emanate originally from Holland.
But with Splash! over for now (plus the Big Brother house boarded up 'til summer, no new series in sight for Dating in the Dark and Total Wipeout totally wiped out) what might be next? Desperate British TV execs looking once more to The Netherlands for inspiration will no doubt be giving the following Dutch formats serious consideration...
Help! My Child Has a Sixth Sense (Help! Mijn Kind Heeft Een Zesde Zintuig)
Does your son see dead people? Perhaps your daughter spends her spare time staring at TV static repeating “They’re here!” If so, this could be the show for you. Help! My Child Has a Sixth Sense employs a medium to help the youngsters understand their gifts, showing them “they’re not crazy, they’re just special!”*
*Note: children may, in fact, be crazy
Part of You
In 2007, De Grote Donorshow – The Big Donor Show – convinced Dutch viewers that 25 kidney patients were competing for a replacement organ from a terminally ill woman. That was a hoax. This is not. In Part of You, donors decide who gets their spare organ based on the desperate video messages sent in by prospective recipients and their families. It's a bit like Sky Living's Sing Date, but with human offal, rather than love, as the prize.
Pretty Smart (Lekker Slim)
You’d think all attractive women would be stupid, right? But the devious producers of this show have gathered together a selection of beauties, some of whom are – bizarrely – not idiots (and some of whom, presumably, are). The show gives a male contestant the chance to demonstrate his own brains (or lack thereof) by challenging him to predict how well each of the girls will perform in a general knowledge quiz.
The Wedding Of... (De Bruiloft Van...)
Feel free to enjoy the first seven-eighths of this show, which follow a bride and groom and their families through their wedding preparations. Just don’t expect it to have any bearing on whether they win the cash prize on offer at the end. That’s entirely down to the post-nuptial kiss – succeed in making it last exactly 30 seconds and they get the money; fail, and it's no honeymoon for them…
The Pain Game
Get a question wrong on most game shows and the worst you have to contend with is a disconcertingly flatulent buzzer sound and a lack of points. In The Pain Game you're really punished for your ignorance. Three competing teams are asked the same question, with the accuracy of their answers recorded on (what else?) a set of traffic lights. The best gets a cash prize, the next-best gets nothing and the red-light response triggers a punishment, such as.... down two glasses of vinegar, stop a spinning bicycle tyre with your bare buttocks, catch a falling piece of paper between two of the team's heads, tongue a toothless granddad for 15 seconds, get shot in the arse with a paintball gun, lick a toilet seat clean. Yes, it would probably get an audience over here – but would it get any contestants?