Blog task 4
For this blog post, I am going to compare and contrast Come Dine With Me and The Graham Norton Show. I will discuss target audience, why these formats work, audience interaction and how these shows may be improved.
Come Dine With Me (CDWM) was first broadcast in 2005 and is now on its 30th series. It was made by ITV Studios and has been sold as a format around the world. It now plays on Channel 4 every weekday at 5:30pm. The Graham Norton Show (TGNS) was first broadcast in 2007 and is on it’s 14th series. It was originally shown on BBC Two, but now plays on BBC One every Friday at 10:35pm. As you can see just from this information, CDWM and TGNS are very different formats, they air at completely different times, meaning they will have completely different target audiences. If we delve deeper into these two formats, it becomes very clear just how diverse formats really are.
The knives (and forks) are out as a group of strangers compete for the title of ultimate dinner party host. And the £1000 on the table adds spice to the proceedings… (Come Dine With Me synopsis)
CDWM is a game show, which airs at 5:30pm, which in most households is just before or during dinner time, so this means families are most likely watching TV at this time. It also repeats a lot during the day, so also catches the attention of students. The show is based around cooking and competition, with the winner receiving a cash prize of £1,000. There are two different types of programmes for CDWM, one shows 4 contestants’ meals and a winner at the end of the one show, and the other show has 5 contestants for each night of the week, with the winner revealed at the end of the week. The main hook of the show is the narrator, Dave Lamb, who is very sarcastic and adds comic relief in some tense situations with contestants. They try to get diverse, loud and interesting people on the show, usually with people who are complete opposites to add some tension, competition and entertainment, as can be seen in clip 1 below:
The contestants go through a journey in the show, starting off all very individual, with their own views and opinions and ending all being friends and seeing a new light. This is not something that happens in every CDWM episode but it does happen quite frequently. This is the reason the show has been running so long and will continue to run for a lot longer.
TGNS is a chat show and airs a lot later then CDWM and is only on once a week. It is post watershed so is automatically aimed at an older audience. It does not have a particular synopsis or “hook line” because the show has different guests each week. Having said this, the intro to the show each week is practically the same, with slight changes made relating to the guests on that week as seen in clip 2:
TGNS has 3-4 celebrity guests on, usually one or two big stars, a performer/musician and a comedian, in that ranking order. Graham will talk to the guests about the work they are doing at that time, showing clips of new film releases and comedy sketches. The performer will usually do a song at the end of the show. TGNS is called The Graham Norton Show so, naturally, the show is driven by him, he acts as a link between the guests and offers comedic value when things get slightly awkward. He does his job very well and is very good at moving the show forward and linking conversations and the people on the couch. You can see that a lot of research goes into the making of the show, which is the main reason the show is so successful.
Come Dine With Me is all filmed on one camera, in people’s houses, which is very different to The Graham Norton Show’s studio based layout, this makes CDWM feel more relaxed, whereas TGNS is more formal, with suits, the posh “Red Couch” and the fancy lighting design. The equipment and location used for both of these formats work perfectly, CDWM would seem very unusual as a studio based show, just like TGNS wouldn’t be known as a single camera production, although this is something that could be thought through to create a new type of format, with Graham going to the celebs houses, instead of them coming to the studio.
TGNS is very audience based, as seen in clip 2, Graham always starts the show mixed in with the audience, making them feel like part of the show. Half way through the show he also asks the audience a question relating to one of the celebs on the couch, again, making sure they are not forgotten. Then, at the end of the show there is the famous Red Chair, where audience members sit and tell a story, if the story is interesting or funny, they get to walk off unscathed, if Graham is unimpressed however, he pulls a leaver and the person gets tipped backwards with the chair. The Red Chair emphasises audience participation and shows off Graham’s personality. This element makes The Graham Norton Show stand out from other chat shows. Audience participation is slightly lacking in CDWM, this is due to the format. Obviously, there is no live studio audience so the show relies on a narrator to fill the space a studio audience usually would with laughter or clapping. CDWM’s website is severely lacking anything to add extra content and interest to the show, they do have the recipe’s of the food cooked during the show, but something could definitely be done to spice this up and create something new and interesting for the show online. The website for this show is very basic, with no extra information or behind the scenes footage, only clips from the show itself, I definitely think this needs some improvements and an opportunity to make these would be to use the Red Chair as a way for the audiences at home to be more involved. There could be a Red Chair app, where you get to put pictures of your friends in the red chair and pull the leaver, or some sort of online page where people could vote for Story of the Month.
http://scrapbook.channel4.com/experts/comedinewithme (Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Scrapbook Website)
Audience participation is slightly lacking in CDWM, this is due to the format. Obviously, there is no live studio audience so the show relies on a narrator to fill the space a studio audience usually would with laughter or clapping. CDWM’s website does has a few extra things then the Graham Norton, such as the recipe’s of the food cooked during the show, more information on Dave Lamb, the presenter 10 steps to winning the show and a few links to foreign versions of the show, so this makes up for the lack of audience participation actual;y during the show itself. Something could definitely still be done to spice this website up though, as it is very formal and “wordy,” it needs to be more fun, creative and interesting, like the characters on the show. This would require a lot of planning and thought, maybe something involving an app again, like a Dave Lamb’s voice generator.
A way to improve The Graham Norton Show’s format could be to change the location, so instead of it being solely studio based with a live audience, it could be held in Graham’s home where he invites celebrities over for an evening and they can have a chat in the dining room over a glass of wine. There could be cooking elements to the show where the celebrities attempt to cook something in his kitchen and the whole atmosphere would be more relaxed and social. As for Come Dine With Me, the online presence and audience participation are the only things that really need updating, the format itself has proven to be quite solid and I think changing this would be a mistake.