“We’re not mucking around,” host Mark Humphries announces in the debut episode of TEN’s new quiz show Pointless, and he isn’t kidding.

There’s next to no time to chat with the three teams competing to win the general knowledge show, based on the long-running UK series. That will be good news to those tired of relentless contestant back-stories in game shows. It speaks to the Australian adaptation’s biggest challenge: how to cut down a one hour format to just 22 minutes on commercial TV. In fact, the first team is eliminated before the first ad break (but will get to return in a subsequent episode).

Pointless UK has been screening for some time on ABC with Alexander Armstrong & Richard Osman, but TEN is banking that most viewers won’t have seen that version. When it was featured briefly on TEN’s own Gogglebox, most of the couch-reviewers were confused by the format.

Like Family Feud, which this show ironically replaces, it surveys 100 people on general knowledge questions to identify the most-obscure “pointless” answer. Teams who score too high are eliminated.

In this condensed version are familiar challenges such as Open-ended Answers and Picture Board, although we arrive at Head to Head with 2 teams by just the second break. Opening night topics include Phobias, Paris tourist sights, The Beach Boys and Aussie Cuisine.

A smiling Dr. Andrew Rochford, whose brain is apparently brimming with Pointless answers, is on hand with Humphries as the show’s adjudicator on a set that crosses futuristic with the Opera House, before a small studio audience.

The polite contestants are varied, including older and multicultural representation, which the genre is usually good at embracing.

But the prize money is modest, kicking off with just $2000 (which jackpots with each unwon episode) and a $500 bonus for any Pointless answer. That made me laugh out loud, which may not have been the intent.

With such time constraints the onus is on the home-audience playability and the chemistry between the two hosts. On that front Pointless does pretty well.

Sure, there are fewer questions than the UK version but a quick show is hopefully a good show. It’s great to see a non-network name given hosting duties in SBS comedian Humphries (although we still struggle to see females fronting the genre). With a satirist in the hosting role, I did sometimes find myself wondering if the sincerity was an act, or waiting for a punchline after the perspex trophy was given the angelic choir music treatment. But Humphries assures he lerrrrves the show and his asides were indeed game-show ready.

Given most of TEN’s audience presumably haven’t seen Pointless on ABC, and probably Humphries on SBS, the cosmetic changes will probably be easy to overcome.

Whether they prefer the simplicity of Grant Denyer’s effusive Family Feud to its natural enemy in the very same timeslot, as opposed to one that draws less comparison, is an exercise that is hopefully a lot less Pointless.

Pointless screens 6pm weeknights on TEN.


  1. Didn’t bother to watch, as I saw a couple of editions of the UK version, and found it as stimulating as watching paint dry! Dr. Andrew Rochford is far too intelligent and bright to be relegated to a friggin’ game show – what was he thinking? Oh..wait! Money, I guess! There are too many game shows on TV – filling the Australian quota with reality shows is a bad, bad move!

  2. Maev....Sydney

    Pointless repeat on this afternoon when I turned on TV….now read repeat again tonight…11.30-11.40PM…instead of The Project….Over kill?!?

  3. I missed the premiere. I was very aware of it coming (through other avenues) but because I rarely watch Ch10, never realised it wasn’t on ABC and kept watching for it there.

    The hosts are better than I expected, but the shouty man needs to lower his voice. I don’t like the truncated format at all, it really needs the extra round and a lot more questions. There are even less choices in each “pass”. It feels like the show has been dumbed-down, as if they think that Aussies couldn’t manage the full format.

    What is great, is the absence of the filler talking to contestants about their histories. In particular, I don’t miss the “what would you do with the money..” part.

    The prize money is fine, considering it is jackpot format. A team can win a big amount if they are lucky enough to break a drought run.

  4. npstanley80

    I Thought Pointless was a boring program won’t be watching again hate both versions bring back Grant Denyer and Family Feud this show was great

  5. I thought 10 did a good job. They’ve cut the number of contestants, and the number of rounds, but that works OK in the time they have available. I really like the fact that they don’t waste time on annoying back stories for the contestants, they just introduce them and get on with the show.

    The hosts were a bit awkward. They haven’t developed a good rapport, schtick, or whateve you want to call it. This will come with time, experience and practice. I wouldn’t expect everything to go smoothly from the very first show.

    The big question still remains. How will the show resonate with 10’s audience? It’s a good show, but not well suited to the demographics 10 usually attract. Good on them for giving it a go, and I hope it works. That said, I think Pointless would work better on the ABC, as a replacement for that awful Paul McDermott quiz show.

  6. I found it quite pleasant and easy to watch. Mark and Andrew bounced off each other quite well. Thought the studio was a bit too small though. Much bigger in the english version.

  7. I still prefer the UK version but will give it more time to win me over…however the host needs to lower his voice and stop shouting !

  8. Harshreality

    This show does make a lot of points. (just not good ones)

    1. The point that this show has less prize money than Family Feud.
    2. The point that CBS/TEN are trying to cut costs after overpaying for Lisa Wilkinson.
    3. The point that 7,9 & 10 networks were not interested in showing the UK version when they show other UK variations such as The Chase and Got Talent.
    4. The point that the average Australian TV viewer will be perplexed by the unconventional scoring of the show. A lot like how Australians never got the Jeopardy phrases “what is/are” “who is/are” and this will be no different.

    • I’d never watched it before and don’t get this business about it being hard to understand. No harder to follow than any other game show in my books.

      • Yes!!! I just commented below about this, how is it hard to understand give the least popular answer?!!! Don’t get the difficulty with Jeopardy either, is this just a beat up by people wanting to show how ‘clever’ they are by saying others are basically too dumb to get it?

  9. melbourneamy

    Big fan of the UK version, but this….what the word….pointless…. no maybe I’ll use dreadful The host is rather annoying too, he needs to use his inside voice. I had to turn the tv down every time he spoke. Won’t watch it again, so
    I Can’t see it lasting

    • I reckon come start of 2019 ten’s news will be at 6pm. They have tried with game shows at 6pm and it just too hard against the format of the competition. They need to invest in News at 6pm and give it time to build. Pointless currently looks like they are airing the Pilots and rehearsals. This show at 6pm needs some energy. It is so stiff. I though Humphries was gong to be the new star!. I trust there is some personality in there somewhere…show us. And $2000 per episode reminds me of Blankety blanks in the 70’s. Not worth the contestants coming in for that! There needs to be a minimum of 10K and it jackpots $2K per night……and then try it at 5.30pm!

  10. So they replaced family feud with a show which is like family feud but in reverse.your aim is to get the least chosen answer. Absolutely ridiculous

    • Even more ridiculous they get hardly anything for it (if anything at all) for playing something that’s even harder than what family feud was.

        • At least that show is actually funny and entertaining and not as insanely difficult to play. If a game show has no money or expensive prizes to win then it should be either funny or fun to play or not be too hard.

  11. I’ve watched a lot of the UK version – this was an alright adaptation but trying to fit in 22 minutes felt very rushed compared to what I was used to. Not necessarily a bad thing, but will be good to see the rapport develop between the hosts over time and also allow for some more time to hear from the contestants. They didn’t even provide a full list of pointless answers to the jackpot round which was disappointing when as the article says playing along at home is a drawcard.

    I must say it’s a concern that 10% of those surveyed couldn’t identify the Eiffel Tower as well! Some of the other scores were quite low too.

    • And here I was thinking there must have only been a handful of Pointless answers! Which had my husband and I both exclaiming that it was very difficult to win. If there were more, they definitely should have been shown. Half the fun of Pointless is feeling smug when you get a Pointless answer!

  12. Admittedly, it took me a little while to figure out the format and concept of the show, especially in regards to how the lowest score is more favourable. Once I had gotten the grasp of how the show worked, I had taken a liking to it. I hope the Australian version is as good as the British version.

  13. I think the aussie version works surprisingly well in a reduced 22 minute format, but unfortunately the final round really suffers and feels too rushed and lacking tension. I hope they can find a way to bring back the original choice of 3 topics and 3 answers.

    • I miss round 2 which is the most fun. In this version it’s just one round with 3 pairs competing for 2 slots in the Head to Head, too easy.

  14. Watched the show tonight. Not a bad little show but not my favourite either. Prize money should definitely be higher, should start at either $5,000 or $10,000. Low jackpot reminds me of the Get Your Hand On A Grand competition on Studio 10 which gives away a fraction of the amount rival shows do.

  15. “Most of the couch-reviewers were confused by the format” that’s why it will fail in Australia. Here commercial television views just aren’t as intelligent as UK BBC viewers, and on channel ten which is practically trailer-trash tv… nope, nope, nope…

  16. David, prize money is consistent with UK version, 1000 pound per episode + 250 pound per pointless answer.
    I think the small jackpots were mentioned on Gogglebox Australia when watching the British version.

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