34 years after the fantasy film Willow was released – created by Star Wars’ George Lucas and starring Harry Potter’s Warwick Davis – it’s being revived in a new Disney+ series serving as a sequel to the film, with Davis once again playing the titular role.
International fans of the show likely most associate Davis with his fantasy roles – not just in Star Wars and Harry Potter, but Merlin, The Chronicles of Narnia, and more – but may not know that he also presents one of the most fiendishly difficult UK quiz shows, Tenable.
Davis has been the host of Tenable since it launched in 2016, and it’s now had six series on ITV, the latest of which finished airing in October.
In each episode of the show, five contestants (who all know each other) form a team, and in the great tradition of British pub quizzes they give themselves an amusing quiz team name, often featuring a terrible pun on the town they’re all from. Notable examples include ‘Life’s a Wisbech’, ‘Wigan-a Win It’ and ‘Stoked To Be Here’.
The name of the game in Tenable is to give as many answers as possible in a ‘Top 10’ list on a given theme, such as ‘The 10 Prime Ministers Either Side of John Major’, ‘The 10 Largest Countries Beginning with S’ or ‘The 10 Elements with a Letter P in Their Chemical Symbol’. Here’s an example:
As you’ll see, it starts out relatively manageable: in the first four rounds, each of the contestants (except the Team Captain) face their own Top 10 list, but they only have to find five of the answers to secure their place in the final – any correct answers after that banks money in their prize pot. They also have one life, so they’re allowed to get one guess wrong, plus they can ‘nominate’ a team mate to give an answer for them, and their team can also buzz in and ‘overrule’ them if they think an answer they’ve given is wrong, and offer an alternative. Although, as you can see in round two of this Soccer Aid special episode, that doesn’t always help matters:
But if they make more than one mistake, they’re eliminated, and then in round five it’s the Team Captain’s turn, and if they get enough questions right they can choose to reinstate any of their eliminated team mates in exchange for some of their team’s prize money.
Then comes the final – the chance to actually bank the prize money they’ve spent the whole episode earning – but here’s the kicker: they only win the money if they get ALL TEN answers on the list correct!
All the remaining team members take part in the final, but as soon as they give a wrong answer they’re eliminated, and it’s up to any remaining team members to complete the Top 10 list. If they don’t get all ten answers, they don’t win a penny. Brutal.
Despite this unforgiving format, it’s not totally impossible to win, and some teams have walked away with some hefty prize money for a daytime quiz show (we’re talking tens of thousands):
We see 18 winners out of series four’s 60 episodes in the clip above, so you’ve got just over a 1 in 4 chance of banking the cash. That’s a hell of a lot of disappointed quiz teams. Still, they get a day out with Warwick Davis, whose quick-witted charm is arguably the glue that holds this bizarre quiz show together, so it’s not all bad.
Willow is available on Disney+ from 30th November