Mark Humphries: Pointless too condensed

Former Pointless host Mark Humphries says he wanted 10 to move the struggling game show to a later timeslot but that the biggest problem was in condensing is format to 22 minutes for a 6pm timeslot.

Speaking to told Mumbrellacast he says he had already resigned from SBS when he landed the role at 10, but it was a speedy timeframe between his final audition to production with little time to bond with co-star Andrew Rochford.

“Andrew and I had so little time together. Suddenly we were doing promotional photos, recording promos when we hadn’t even recorded an episode. Some of the kinks of the show were still being worked out. Because they had taken a 45 minute format and condensed it to 22 minutes some chunks had to go. They were still working that out when I got there,” he says.

“It was really hectic. If memory serves me in the first week we were doing those sorts of things and we were recording episodes the following week. So it was straight into the deep end.”

Humphries said he was encouraged by producers to play with the script after several weeks, but acknowledges, “If I have any regrets I didn’t feel confident coming in and putting my spin on things straight away. I felt like a ‘nobody’ and this was an established format. So I didn’t want to rock the boat or anything. It was only as I got more comfortable I toyed around with the introductions.

“The biggest problem was time… not enough time to incorporate the comedy I would like to, or in fact the comedy we had filmed. It was so tight. It was an inevitability of condensing that format.”

The show ran for 10 months on 10 with the network acknowledging its audience was too niche for the timeslot.

“I would have loved 10 to put us on at 9:00 or something,” Humphries suggests.

“When it came to filming, I have a very Blankety Blanks-style and sometimes I like to push it out of the 6pm family timeslot. What would have made the most sense is if the ABC had done it in the first place. I might be wrong about this, and I’m open to being corrected, I get the impression ABC can’t give money away on quiz shows.”


  1. I think the time slot was no god as channels 7 & 9 have their news programmes at that time.We never watch channel 10 news at 5.00 pm and abc & sbs are on at 7.00 pm.Also the prize money was a complete joke.

    • I find the idea of the prize money not being good enough interesting. How does it enhance your enjoyment of a show if someone wins big? You’re not getting a share of the money! And Have You Been Paying Attention and Hard Quiz rate their butts off with no real prizes to speak of!

  2. Pointless is a great show. And, as the show went on, I saw it becoming better, especially Mark and Rochford learning more about each other and playing around. That was how the program should of began with, it would have had even more people watching if that happened.

  3. Loved Pointless too – we’d play it back later, pausing to answer questions, and even turn the questions more into Rich List style where we’d see who got the most answers (especially things like countries that have two ‘e’s in their name and the like).

    We also did the UK version for a while but found we were skipping through too many parts of it due to the questions being too English (as in not knowing what you would know if you were living there).

    Now doing the same with Celeb – play back later, play/pause so we can actually answer the questions rather than just “watching: the show. Fast forward through all the chatter though. Great family fun, have even bought the board game now.

  4. TasTVcameraman

    I would like to see the program return at a later time slot and run for an hour. I felt that the two were really good coming up to the end of the show. I don’t watch the replacement at all.

  5. Despite the jokes about its name, Pointless is not. It is an interesting and engaging format for a television quiz show, aiming to get the lowest score. Very like golf in that respect. I would like to see it return in the longer format later in the evening. If it clashes with something we watch there is always the PVR. Who doesn’t have that facility these days?

  6. The English series blended two great hosts in a fresh format with ordinary people answering questions the folks at home could relate to.
    The Australian format mashed two people into an adapted format. For me Andrew Rochford had no credibility in the adjudicator role.
    The motto “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” comes to mind.

  7. I felt it was a great format but it was wasted at 6pm, the prize money was hilariously low, and it would likely have worked better as a weekly hour-long show in an 8.30pm-ish slot.

    I also didn’t think that Mark was well-suited to the role of host. Generally these sorts of roles should be given either to those who are more personable or comically authoritative (the late Cornelia Frances would have been great at this too).

    It’s unlikely to return, but I would watch it more consistently if 10 gives the show a late-night refresh.

  8. I loved how sharp and punchy the shorter Australian version was. The original by comparison now seems very slow. Here’s hoping Ten brings it back. Maybe a late afternoon time slot?

  9. The Last Post

    Glad he acknowledged the lack of chemistry between the two of them as that was painfully obvious from the beginning – all the way to the end.
    “Blankety Blanks” style?
    A talented host could play with that and pull it off.
    But there lies the problem…

    • Yeah why didn’t they adopt that format? Even Dancing With The Stars this year was much better having followed the US version. Go with what works best.

  10. Loved ‘Pointless’. Loved Mark. Loved the Doc. Miss the show!

    I thought they could’ve had some later night ”Specials”, with Project/I’m A Celebrity/Survivor/Masterchef/Batchelor people as contestants…. just as a way of introducing it to a new demographic and a new timeslot of viewers.
    Because once it settled, the show ran well… and Mark and Doc were absolutely priceless.

    • I said the same thing to my husband Hayley7. I felt Family Feud had all these opportunities to capture an audience that Pointless didn’t get. It struck me as such a strange thing considering the British version often has celebrity episodes! It would have given the show the opportunity to have that longer format and incorporate more of the adult humour too.

      I really miss our Pointless. The early episodes felt so rushed and that lack of chemistry was obvious but I felt it got better and better over time. Unfortunately there would have been a lot of people who never got to see that because they watched early and decided the show wasn’t for them.

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