I read that the German/Austrian/Swiss TV show “Wetten, dass..?” is going to be cancelled at the end of the year. It was first broadcast in 1981 and basically involves people betting that they can do certain tasks (think opening a bottle of beer with a fork lift truck). A few years ago a contestant became paralysed after his bet, a stunt involving jumping over cars, went horribly wrong. Suffice it to say that the show went downhill from then on, which led to the announcement that there won’t be more episodes after this year.
And now for the pencil link. In autumn 1988 there was a bet involving pencils, I remember it well, and I think most people who saw this ‘pencil episode’ will remember it well, too. A contestant bet he can recognise the colour of different coloured pencil by tasting the pencils (i.e. licking core / pencil point). Just to add some more pencil details, the coloured pencils were from Faber-Castell. What makes it so memorable was the fact the he cheated. He was actually from a satirical magazine called Titanic (a bit like ‘Private Eye’ in the UK). After the bet finished he announced on live TV that he cheated. The whole incident received huge attention in the media. No wonder, with around 20 million viewers Wetten, dass..? was the most successful TV show in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. People were wondering how he cheated (answer: he just peeked under the goggles they gave him) and how it’s possible that the people behind the show didn’t notice in advance. You can watch the pencil bet on youtube.
The photo in this blog post is © dpa. I believe that the use of the photo shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.