As good as one’s word

Word­smiths will have their work cut out for them try­ing to find the mean­ing in the mad­ness of Den­ton’s lat­est of­fer­ing, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

EASONED host An­drew Den­ton has drawn on ob­scure, out-of-print and some ques­tion­able dic­tio­nar­ies as ref­er­ences for his lat­est TV game show. Randling, which takes its name from Mrs Byrne’s Dic­tionary of Un­usual, Ob­scure and Pre­pos­ter­ous Words, could be de­scribed as QI meets Reader’s Di­gests’ Word Power.

Based on the English lan­guage, Randling, is for­mat­ted in a way that hopes to en­lighten, ed­u­cate and amuse view­ers. Over 27 episodes, 10 hand­picked teams of two will fight it out to be the Randling cham­pion.

Cre­ated by Den­ton and Jon Casimir, the men be­hind the ABC’S Gruen Trans­fer, the idea for Randling started in 2010, but its cur­rent for­mat is vastly dif­fer­ent from the ini­tial idea.

‘‘We’ve prob­a­bly done, be­fore the first episode, about 20 ver­sions of it,’’ says Den­ton.

Casimir has warned peo­ple to not even Google some of the words be­cause they have been plucked from out-of-date books from an era long gone.

Casimir is con­fi­dent they have done more than enough re­search for Randling to head off the word­smiths, but ad­mits there will al­ways be view­ers who try and pick faults with ques­tions or an­swers.

‘‘Just like randling, there are words you are not go­ing to find in the Ox­ford English Dic­tionary.

‘‘We are not set­ting our sights on the Ox­ford; we are us­ing all kinds of dic­tio­nar­ies,’’ Casimir says.

‘‘There’s one word that evolved from the 1811 dic­tionary, which was a round-up of ev­ery swear word known to man.

Among those mak­ing up the teams are co­me­di­ans Mer­rick Watts and Annabel­crabb (who form the West Coast Odd Sox), jour­nal­ist Jen­nifer Byrne and The Chaser’s Chris Tay­lor (The Ar­gopel­ters), ac­tors Rob Carl­ton and Robyn But­ler (Ro­get’s Ram­jets) and Rockwiz host Ju­lia Zemiro and writer Michael Wil­liams (South­ern Fu­ries).

Den­ton says about 100 con­tes­tants tried out for the show, and although hav­ing a good grasp of the English lan­guage helped, it was not es­sen­tial.

‘‘We au­di­tioned co­me­di­ans, jour­nal­ists, po­ets and busi­ness­men and all sorts of peo­ple,’’ Den­ton says. ‘‘We wanted each team to have char­ac­ter. ‘‘Some are white col­lar, some are blue col­lar, some are very the­atri­cal and some are more jour­nal­is­tic.’’ Two teams play-off each episode and points won on the night ac­cu­mu­late through the se­ries with the best sides com­pet­ing in semi fi­nals and then a grand final. ‘‘For the last 10 years, most of the game shows on tele­vi­sion have been hit and gig­gle, which is quite de­light­ful to watch, but the points didn’t mat­ter from week to week,’ Casimir says.

‘‘They didn’t mat­ter on Good News Week, Thank God You’re Here and Spicks and Specks, so we thought when we came up with Randling it would be fun to go in the op­po­site di­rec­tion and ev­ery sin­gle point counts for the whole sea­son.’’

Wed­nes­days, 8.30pm, ABC1 host An­drew Den­ton.

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