• Comedians Rob Beckett and Aisling Bea with '8 Out of 10 Cats' host, Jimmy Carr. (Channel 4)Source: Channel 4
Not the Countdown one, the other one.
Shane Cubis

5 Aug 2019 - 11:16 AM  UPDATED 5 Aug 2019 - 11:29 AM

If there was an award for Most Confusingly Named TV Show, 8 Out of 10 Cats would be in with a shot (but they’d lose to Doctor Who or Vanderpump Rules). But the confusion doesn’t stop with the title of this thing – oh no. There’s a whole format in play here, and if you go in cold, you could find yourself one of the two cats who didn’t make it…

What does that mean? We don’t know, but it sounded pretty cool, didn’t it? No? Fine. Let’s move on to the show.

For starters, it’s a panel game

That means there’s a host (Jimmy Carr) and a pair of teams with three members apiece. That’s a total of seven people on stage – and five of them change from episode to episode, because nowadays there’s only one permanent team captain, comedian Rob Beckett, and the other team’s captain is a guest position. Those teams do hilarious battle and/or ignore the actual contest in favour of being the funniest. Either way, we’re entertained.

It’s all about the polls

Much like Family Feud relies on the wisdom of the crowd for its material, 8 Out of 10 Cats asks the great British public what they reckon about a bunch of different things. Then it’s up to our intrepid contenders to put themselves in the mindtanks of the men and women of the street. In what specific way, you ask? Find out next! 

There are a bunch of differently themed rounds

It’s not just a matter of asking people what they think about stuff. Basically, Jimmy will ask everyone a question like “Were you more popular or academic at school?” and the teams will use that as a launching point to tell painful stories from their youth. At some stage there’ll be a definitive answer regarding what they think most people would pick, and points will be allocated. Although really, if you’re in this for the “game” more than the “show”, you’re bound to be in the minority, statistically speaking.

The show has evolved over time

They’ve made quite a lot of these things over the years, which means we’ve seen team captains come and go, one of the original four rounds jettisoned and less emphasis on current affairs… although obviously Brexit is a timeless subject. Also, Jimmy Carr has grown 14 years older, even if he’s constantly accused of being a vampire.

The new series of 8 Out of 10 Cats airs on Tuesday nights at 9:30pm on SBS.


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