Sunday, 8 July 2007

Who'd Have Fort It?

I'm currently sitting in a hotel room in Denmark, watching the French (original) version of Fort Boyard with Danish subtitles. Fortunately, the premise is sufficiently obvious that the language barriers aren't causing me any major problems. I have even been able, using a combination of my incredible deductive mind and my almost uncanny grasp of French (I couldn't solve the wizard's riddle in the tower, so that tells you how much French I know), to work out the differences between this and the English version, and it really hammers home just how poor our version was.

The French version is, if I have inferred correctly, a clearly fantastic show worthy of counting The Crystal Maze among its offspring. Look, it even has a crystal in it:


The contestants are currently competing in little individual "duels" against oddly bemasked enemies. The duels are very silly tasks, but they win 15 seconds of time every time they win. I have no idea what this time is for, but it will surely involve collecting bits of tin foil from the air.

It also introduced the split-screen format later used by the first three series of real-time drama series 24. This was used because (apparently instead of the silly bit with keys at the start of our version) all the contestants must play in one long game, to get the aforementioned crystal. I saw one player, in a diving suit, reading some underwater instructions to another player, via radio, who had another part of the instructions, while some other players had to work to open a gate. Eventually, they all met up in the crystal room and collected it.



The dwarfs are present in both versions. The French one is also enhanced by apparently having the heterosexual male contestants wear blue t-shirts and the women and homosexual men wearing pink. I'm fairly sure one of them is a transexual.

It appears that importing French TV shows is not a good idea. A holiday to France introduced me to a show called Interville, in which two teams, from different towns, play games against each other and try to win a prize. There was exactly one good thing about the show, and that was the bull which terrorised the players while they were trying to perform some harmless task or other. This was removed for the British version, called Simply The Best.

1 comment:

Richard John said...

Channel 4 couldn't get the rights to Fort Boyard, so they made the Crystal Maze instead.