Clockwatchers, the government body responsible for monitoring game show standards has come out to defend the industry from criticism of 'dumbing down', amid revelations that this year has seen record numbers of contestants winning the top prize.
'Results are improving because our schools are doing sterling work preparing kids for game shows', claimed a Clockwatchers spokesperson. 'The way that 9 years of education all comes down to the final round, can you handle the pressure, answering as many arbitrary questions as you can against the clock, it's great training. Our kids are more prepared than ever for the real world workplace of game shows.'
Much of the criticism has been targeted at the prevalence of multiple-choice questions in quiz shows. 'Half of the questions now you can guess and still get right', said Shadow Schools Secretary Ed Balls on the Today program. 'Multiple-choice proves nothing. Everyone guessed wrong in the last general election didn't they?'
'What happened to the game shows that used to be about testing the whole person, help them grow and learn? All these programmes test is your ability to hold and recall facts. In some of these shows, you get two points simply for remembering your name, just like at a Tory hustings.'
'Talk of dumbing down - there is one game show where celebrities have to eat animal testicles, things like that. Reminds me of my school dinners', quipped Balls.
Jeremy Clarkson used his column in the Sun to make an argument for shows 'getting easier' citing evidence of conjecture and gut instinct. 'These shows are dumbing down so low it resembles a limbo for puffins. If a bunch of 2010 guests faced what I did from when I went on '3-2-1' in 1980, they'd be flummoxed like a vicar in a Koenigsegg. I mean 'are you smarter than a 10-year old? In my day it was 'are you smarter than a nobel prize winner.'
Clockwatchers do have government support from the Minister for Game Shows, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who backed the organisation to effectively maintain standards. 'They were right to introduce the new 'top prize plus a star' result. Contestants have so much general knowledge these days that we needed something extra to give them. A trip to Majorca for two is not enough for our top guests. A trip to Majorca 'plus a star' is a great prize.'