A Madrigal was a kind of medieval lament bemoaning the state of the world and harking back to mythical golden age which never existed. In the modern world this is known as the Daily Mail. The teams take it in turns to sing various lines in order to make up a the verses of a madrigal. They continue until the Chairman blows his horn.
Nothing is more important than a brand name but this can be used carelessly. In
the 1960s a well known petrol company claimed that your car would run better on
BP, leaving customers wondering how many Bees it would take to fill a tank.
Obviously getting your product branding right is paramount, so the teams are
asked to suggest product names that might have gone horribly wrong with the
addition of one extra word.
This round is inspired by the recent ITV show The Masked Singer, an
international format where once popular singers perform well known songs with
their identities concealed to a panel of judges - a certainly welcome change
from the more customary disguise of many of our ageing celebrities, a prison van
blanket. In The Masked Singer, viewers try to guess the identity of the masked
celebrities and this is the show’s version of it. At the piano to accompany the masked celebrity is Colin Sell.
Based on the television game, each team is asked to give their opinions on a meal cooked up by the other team.
Down the years certain scenes, or entire plays, have lost the sense intended thanks to misinterpretation by generations of theatre directors. Most fans of the stage have no idea that Waiting for Godot was originally set in a restaurant, Henry Higgins line By George, I think she’s got it! should in fact be spoken in a Doctor’s surgery, nor indeed that Hamlet’s soliloquy To be or not to be actually concerned his choice of pencil. The teams are asked to take certain extracts from well known works and perform them in a completely new style, and conduct a short masterclass.
This round looks at odd medical conditions, and in fact I understand Tim Brooke-Taylor has recently been suffering a very rare tropical disease - frostbite. The round operates like a standard Doctor’s surgery in which the patient describes the symptoms of his complaint upon which the Doctor will base his diagnosis. To add a touch of realism the teams have been waiting outside for three hours reading a 1978 edition of Knitting Pattern Monthly. One team describes their complaint for the other team to guess.
The Chairman’s favourite boardgame as a child was Monopoly. What more innocent fun could there be than to enjoy a silly fantasy world in which it is possible to buy up railway, gas, and electricity companies for a song, with a view to massively overcharging the unsuspecting customer. This round is an exciting new medical version of the Scrabble board game.
The teams are asked to suggest for advice that might totally mislead a first time visitors to Britain.
Panellists are asked for sure-fire number one smash failures.
missing letter song titles
The teams are asked to suggest titles of songs that would have been quite
different if just one letter had been removed.
This game is based on those terrific magazine interviews detailing a typical day in the lives of celebrities. Thanks to these magazines we have been able to read about how Johnathon Ross Mum got a part in Eastenders, and how Jim Davidson’s wife ended up in Casualty. The Chairman brings along a selection of his favourite interviews to give the teams some insight into what it must be like to be a celebrity. Unfortunately certain words are missing from the articles and the teams are asked to suggest what the sections may contain.
Hardly a week goes by without another celebrity opening a restaurant that
mirrors their personality. The Chairman was thinking of this while waiting for his large cod at Geoffrey Boycott’s chippy. The teams are asked to suggest some popular foods
that have been ruined by a single letter typo.
mistyped song titles
We are all aware of the havoc a single mistyped letter can cause. Writing
his memoires recently, Barry Cryer suffered a proof reading nightmare with a
mistyped J, while an extraneous P resulted in a lengthy ban from the day room.
In this round the teams are asked to suggest songs which would sound very
different if one letter had been mistyped.
Even the smallest mistake can destroy meaning as Lionel Richie found out to his
cost when he penned “You’re Once, Twice, Three Times a Layby”. The teams are
asked to come up with examples of mistyped proverbs where one small mistake has
completely altered its meaning.
moab is my wash pot
Panellists are asked to identify a personality from their obscure autobiography title.
This isn’t like all those other general knowledge quizzes where people learn useless bits of information that they repeat like parrots, which are the 7th most popular pet in Leicestershire. The chairman has a selection of questions on how money can be saved by finding unusual uses for ordinary household objects.
The teams play a couple of rounds of the favourite boardgame.
In this game the teams have to improvise a scene, suggested by the Chairman, to fit a random selection of background mood music.
Mood Music should not be confused with the identically named game called Moo’d Music, which is a regular highlight of the Royal Agricultural Show.
As most people know the rules to this game, or can track down the International Mornington Crescent Society rulebook, I will not waste space repeating them here. (Beginners may like to see the transcript from a novice’s game.) However, the following are the simplified rules which should be enough to start you playing:
rules for mornington crescent (simplified)
1. Get to Mornington Crescent.
2. Stop your opponents getting there first.
On the show the teams frequently play one of the many variations.
Occasionally a round from the Armitage Shanks Series Mornington Crescent competition is played live, with commentary by Raymond Baxter.
You wont have failed to notice that many organisations these days feel the need to encapsulate their mission statement in a simple motto or slogan. For example back in 1997, the Labour Party brilliantly adopted the slogan Things Can Only Get Better - a notion they made even more true today. The teams are asked to suggest mottos likely to be adopted by certain societies, businesses, governments, or other organisatons.
In this round the Chairman asks the teams to suggest films that would have been
quite different if just one letter was mistakenly added to the title.
As a variation the teams are asked to suggest films that would have been quite different if one word was mistakenly added to the title.
This has become extremely popular with companies keen to fork out thousands on away days to country hotels in order to build up staff morale. In it someone is murdered and the rest have to pit their wits in order to work out who did it. The lights are dimmed and Colin Sell is asked to provide a sense of suspense on the piano, and the teams then wait for the murderer to strike.
This is another round the Chairman enjoyed when he was a lad. Back then a favourite of his was Pass the Parcel. He and his pals would sit around taking turns to unwrap a large package, each of them eager to get to the gift inside. Oh what happy days they enjoyed at the sorting office.
This round is just like Musical Chairs but with a one letter spelling mistake, so think yourself lucky you are not playing Beggar My Neighbour! The Theatre management asked the teams to leave the premises as they found them (actually they asked them to leave the premises as soon as they found them). This place is in a bit of a state and requires a good clean so the teams have been provided with various cleaning implements to get the job done. On the Chairman’s command Colin Sell will start to play the piano and teams will begin cleaning, but when the music stops the teams must cease their cleaning, anyone caught cleaning after the music stops will be disqualified. Eliminated players may challenge and the Chairman will carefully consider their protest before rejecting them out of hand.
In this round one member of a team sings a song, whilst the other responds as if they are having a conversation. Colin Sell accompanies them on the piano.
It is quite remarkable how many singing acts involve members of a family. We think of the Everley Brothers, the Nolan Sisters, and the Osmonds. Coincidentally, pianist Colin Sell was once mistaken as a member of the Partridge family - it took him nearly three weeks to pick the lead shot out of his backside. Panellists are asked to sing a song in the style of a (very) distant relation.
Choosing a good name for your band could be the difference between success and
failure. And with this in mind the teams are asked to suggest names of bands
almost certainly doomed to fail.
This round combines music and jokes, and requires piano accompaniment
provided by Colin Sell. Listeners will be interested to learn that Colin cleaned up
headlining at the Glastonbury this year, so if your car interior needs valeting
give him a call.
In this round Colin will play a series of musical clues which fit together to
form a well known joke. Teams must try to identify each clue and the team that
comes up with the punch line first wins.
The Chairman asks the panellists to sing the words of various popular Shakespearean passages to certain well known contemporary tunes of his choosing. The panellists are accompanied on the piano by Colin Sell, one of the finest musicians of the day. Of course when night comes, something seems to desert him.
This game is an orchestrated version of the radio programme With Great Pleasure. Panellists are asked to sing poetry to the tune of a song.
This round takes a look at the criminal justice system. Britain is rightly proud of its judicial process where even notorious villains are given a fair trial by a jury of their peers. And if found guilty handed stern sentences before being taken away by a security firm to be immediately clapped into release.
The teams take turns to enact a courtroom scene. Player A will be a barrister cross examining player B who’ll be the witness. However player B can only provide his evidence using the words of a well known song.
The Chairman reveals his secrets for winning the National Lottery. The teams are then asked to reveal theirs. Audience participation is required, and the listeners at home are invited to place their hands on their radios in order to feel the warmth of the Chairman’s mental powers.