The return of Noel Edmonds to our screens was truly magnificent to behold. Like a highwaisted bearded behemoth he strides around the set of Deal or no deal talking to the camera, knowing that singlehandedly he is dumbing up the game show.
Noel has form. Those who dislike him ignore his history as a cultural terrorist, a pivotal figure in the modern disdain for celebrity.
On Swap Shop, Noel’s treatment of John Craven humanised the newscaster. On Noel’s House Party (a show disnterred some years later, hosted by Geordie chimpunks and christened Ant and Dec’s Staurday night takeaway (Ant’s the one with the forehead available for showing IMAX)) Noel circumvented the cult of celebrity. One feature, Open the cupboard was masterful in its simplicity. A celebrity was in a cupboard singing a collection of songs. A punter stood outside listening to the songs. The camera focused primarily on said punter for the duration until they guessed the celebrity (winning excellent prizes). At the instant the celeb was revealed the camera swung away focusing elsewhere. The debunking of celebrity that ended up with reality shows such as Celebrity Big Brother and I’m a celebrity, get me a better agent, began there. Noel humiliated the vainglorious. True, in his turn he himself fell, usurped by a pink and yellow latex blob created as a means of debunking celebrity, but Noel always deserved better (aside from his Noel’s Christmas presents schtick where he found various terminally ill individuals to patronise with that trip/ visit from The Hollies/fiddle orchestra they always wanted – for that he deserved his go on the celebrity spit, slowly turned above the embers of a slowly smouldering Trinny and Susannah, with an apple shoved up his…, anyway).
So Noel came back. The second best TV resurrection of 2005 (nothing can top the return of Doctor Who). But not for Noel the simple option. INstead he chose Deal or no deal – Schroedinger’s game show. In this there are 22 identical boxes, each containing a sum of money from 1 p to £250,000. A randomly chosen punter (who has spent the past six weeks of his or her life, living the Partridge Travel Lodge lifestyle in Bristol) takes his or her box to the front and them randomly chooses boxes. Occasionally, a phone rings and Noel method acts to a disembodied voiceless banker who offers to buy the punter’s box. The interest of the show lies in Noel’s increasing hysterics (praising the gameplay of someone randomly choosing boxes to open). His belief in the banker (there is no evidence for him, it is a matter of faith). BUt most interesting is the influence of quantum theory on the programme (note I am not a quantum theorist – just a lawyer).
Schroedinger in discussing the role of the observer indicates that until observed it is not known whether an item is A or not A. Accordingly, if there is a cat in a sealed airtight box it may be dead or not dead. You cannot tell until you open the box if the cat is alive or dead. Accordingly, until then the observer must treat the cat as both alive and dead. The similarity to Deal or no Deal is marked. Each box contains a number representing a sum of money. Until opened the punter’s box might contain any one of the numbers and the banker – making the offer to buy the box cannot make assumptions. As an introduction to quantum phsyics for the elderly/students/unwell and unemployed it serves its purpose. As a revival for Noel – stuck in recursion in his Bristolian circle of hell it seems somehow appropriate .