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Don’t Blow The Inheritance
He’s best known as the king of the one-liners and star of the sitcom Not Going Out. Now comic Tim Vine is presenting a new gameshow called Don’t Blow The Inheritance in which teams of two from different generations of the same family try to win a big cash prize.
It’s a family show – something for families to take part in and something the whole family can watch?
Yes, the basic premise is that there are four teams of two and each team is made up of either a daughter or a mum or a son and a father, or maybe a nephew and an uncle or a grandson and grandparents. So there’s a younger member of the family and an older one. I call them ‘offspring’, and I say, ‘Offspring on your buzzers!’
And you’ve got a ready-made catchphrase!
I’ve got other catchphrases! I also say, ‘You can blow a candle, you can even blow a trumpet. But whatever you do, don’t blow the inheritance!’ And, ‘We’ve lost a team. It’s the end of a dream!’
So how does the game work?
You’ve got these four teams and the younger one stands in front of the older one. In the early rounds, the younger one buzzes if they think the older one knows the answer. And that’s how the money gets built up. At the end of each round we lose a pair, so there’s one pair left in the final round. Then the younger person has to try to answer questions to win the money their older relative has built up. They could be playing for around £20,000, so there’s a lot of pressure on them.
Are the questions general knowledge or specialist?
The first round is general knowledge, then there’s a Top 10 round in which, for example, you have 30 seconds to name the most populated countries in the world. The teams are usually made up of a mum or dad and their son or daughter, and sometimes they blame each other for buzzing in, if it all goes wrong.
You’ve come up with some catchphrases, but do you also pepper the show with your trademark one-liners…
Yes, I try a few one-liners – like you say, I can’t help myself. And I have a nice chat with the contestants at the start of the show, and we try to put in some jokes relating to them as well.
Does anyone try to tell you jokes?
Not really, but I asked someone to tell me about the marathons they run in, and he said, ‘Marathons as opposed to Snickers, before you say it.’ But I wasn’t going to say it!
Hopefully, you’ll get a prime-time slot for the show?
A what? A grandson?
Oh prime-time! Sorry, you made me splutter! Prime time. Good lord, forgive me! Yes, that would be my ideal scenario, to have it on later in the day.
Now, aside from Don’t Blow The Inheritance, you’re still very busy. But you’re not going to be in the next two series of Not Going Out?
That’s right. I just felt like a change from that. It wasn’t really linked to this. It was quite fortuitous that it popped up but, in a way, this made me realise that it’s nice to have a change and do something completely different.
Well, you’ve also got your show at the Edinburgh Festival, and you’re doing a chat-show tour…
And I’m working on an annual as well, so I’ve got to take various photographs of me looking like an idiot doing very silly things. I have got quite a lot on – at least until the beginning of next year or so. Then we’ll see what happens. But I’m looking forward to this show being on TV.
Speaking of silly things, your infamous ‘pen behind the ear trick’… How long did it take to perfect?
I don’t think I have perfected it! If you ask me to do it, I couldn’t do it every time. I first started doing it when I was filming The Sketch Show with Lee Mack, Ronni Ancona, Karen Taylor and Jim Tavare. I used to occasionally throw a pen at my ear – without the somersault initially. I’d throw it at my ear, just to try to make it land – a bit like when Clint Eastwood or Kenny Everett chucked a cigarette up in the air and caught it in their mouth. So I was slightly surprised when it landed, and I thought maybe I could put a somersault in there too. You hang around a lot during filming, so that’s when I started doing it.
I did once do it while on tour in Croydon, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I don’t really want it to land yet. I want to keep it going.’ So I threw it up about eight feet in the air, and it was spinning around in the air, and I put my ear in the way thinking that it was just going to bounce off of my head. And it landed! Of course, the whole audience were cheering but, at the same time, there was an element of, ’Oh well, if you can do that whenever you like, you’ve wasted our time.’