‘We are gathered here today to witness the joining of two TV formats – wedding programmes and game shows – in the unholy matrimony that is Wedding Day Winners on BBC1.
‘If any person present knows why these two shouldn’t be joined in marriage, he or she should declare it now.’
Yes, hello! Over here!
With TV producers needing an endless slew of new shiny floor game shows (owing to the fact that they so frequently get cancelled), and what with programmes about relationships so de rigeur at the moment, it was only a matter of time before a show like Wedding Day Winners plopped into our lives.
The format sees two couples – Natasha and Dimitri against Lucy and Tristran in the first episode – and their families going head to head to fight it out to win wedding gifts. These range from stuff definitely worth turning up for (a year’s worth of Champagne) to things you’d need a gift receipt for (an inflatable hot tub and “VIP circus night”. Nope, no idea).
The forced-fun games include getting everyone to jump up and down on their chairs to pop a fictional Champagne cork, assembling a jam-filled multi-tiered cake while blindfolded in a fat suit on a rotating floor or having to pick up flowers while wearing a giant bride costume. Also on a rotating floor (they’re not cheap, we need to get our money’s worth).
It’s a bit Generation Game, a bit It’s a Knockout and a bit shit. And that’s all before Anton Du Beke turns up.
Ultimately the star prize up for grabs is a 5-star dream honeymoon and a supposed “fairytale” wedding. But more on that later.
Lorraine Kelly (yes, she’s actually on the BBC – do not adjust your set) is joined by comedian Rob Beckett, who feels like a wedding guest’s +1 as he’s forced into asking the most basic questions to anyone and everyone, thrusting a microphone at random family members to get their opinion on what has just happened or what is about to happen.
“You excited about the wedding?” he asks one. “Very excited, yes,” is the reply.
And then another: “Lovely day isn’t it – excited about this?” “Yes.”
Rob’s having the awkward superficial chat that you exchange with so many people at a wedding – the people you who you’ve never met, don’t care about, won’t speak to again and have nothing in common with other than being at this wedding. It’s dull, pointless and instigates the sort of one-word responses such questions are worthy of.
The all-too-real wedding experience continues with time-filling talking head VTs in which we hear from happy couples who know the engaged pairs. They talk at length about how they first met, when they fell in love, describe their wedding day and explain just how magical it was.
Yep, you’re the only singleton trapped on the smug marrieds table, all the while contemplating if you made the right choice with the dessert and trying to work out whether the free bar has run out. You’re trapped. Trapped and bored.
And then Lorraine Kelly is declaring the next challenge – a dance-off between the families.
“Everybody loves to hit the dancefloor at a wedding but can you imagine if Strictly star Anton Du Beke and actress Preeya Kalidas surprised you with a secret challenge?”
Well firstly I wouldn’t in any way be surprised because Anton will – and does – turn up to literally anything.
No Saturday night BBC1 entertainment show gets away Beke-free, although in Wedding Day Winners he’s also joined by former Strictly contestant and astrologer Russell Grant, who judges the baking challenge (why? Because he likes a bit of cake?) and Shirley Ballas, who pitches up to judge the families’ dance routines and performances – which all just stresses the point that for the eight months of the year that Strictly Come Dancing is off air, BBC1 doesn’t really know what to do with its Saturday night entertainment slot.
The odd prolonged advert for Gary Barlow’s latest theatre project aside, the BBC often spews out these high-concept, low-rating shiny-floor shows that for viewers are either too daft (Epic Win), too convoluted (Prized Apart) or both (Don’t Scare the Hare).
And in the case of Wedding Day Winners (and Len Goodman’s Partners in Rhyme), they actually shoehorn in some Strictly faces for good measure.
It’s unlikely Wedding Day Winners will live long enough to have a renewal but at least the couples taking part in this series will be able to look back on their magical dream “fairytale” wedding held in front of the nation.
Yes, because Wedding Day Winners culminates in an actual wedding.
The jam is scraped off the floor, the fat suits packed away and a soft focus lens is stuck on the camera as the winning couple are treated to the beautiful wedding of their dreams. In the very same TV studio where they’ve just made total pillocks of themselves. As Lorraine Kelly and Rob Beckett stand on a giant polystyrene cake and their ceremony (such as it is) is truncated and squeezed into the last five minutes of the show.
Nevertheless, Wedding Day Winners does feel like being at an actual wedding: the time drags and it’s only really enjoyable if you’re blind drunk.
Wedding Day Winners starts 7:25pm on Saturday 6th January on BBC1