Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Now official: our MPs are Pointless

The BBC teatime quiz show Pointless is unusual because it doesn't follow the usual shouty format of that particular genre of television entertainment.

Hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, it doesn't involve raucous audience participation, suspenseful music or long, long pauses before the contestant is told whether they've actually won anything. I like it.

How it works is this. The point is to score as few points as possible. Questions have previously been posed to 100 members of the public and the trick is to come up with answers they didn't give – ie literally Pointless answers.

The other day the final test for one pair of contestants (they failed) was to name MPs from parties outside of the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem parties who had not been mentioned by the 100 people surveyed. As Osman pointed out, it was a question that would have suited contestants from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland where our politicians are not so well-known nationally.

As it turns out only two local MPs got a mention in the 100-person survey. Martin McGuinness was one although he wasn't actually an MP when the show was broadcast as his Mid Ulster seat is now held by Francie Molloy.

Nigel Dodds, interestingly enough, was the other. As for the rest of our MPs – all apparently regarded as Pointless ...

Who would have thought it?

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