Three people are given the chance to run their country during a major crisis. Guided by Gavin Hewitt they will be helped by three experts: Air Marshal Sir Tim Garden advises on military ... See full summary »






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Series cast summary:
Gavin Hewitt Gavin Hewitt ...  Himself - Presenter 2 episodes, 2004
John Burton ...  Captain Steve Simmonds / ... 2 episodes, 2004


Three people are given the chance to run their country during a major crisis. Guided by Gavin Hewitt they will be helped by three experts: Air Marshal Sir Tim Garden advises on military issues; Amanda Platell, communication strategy; and former police and intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge, emergency services response. By the end of the show they will know whether or not they are a potential prime minister. Written by Mathew Palmieri

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3 February 2004 (UK) See more »

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User Reviews

Little-seen but engaging reality show that is good as drama, game show and food for thought
27 March 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Presented by Gavin Hewitt, this games how places three people into the role of Government ministers in charge of the country during a crisis situation. Be it a natural disaster, a viral outbreak, a terrorist attack and so on, the three must decide from a selection of options at stages within the scenario – with their overall score being the ratio of right decisions against wrong decisions (as defined by experts in the real world). With video feed from the crisis, news coverage and connections to experts on the ground they must lead the country through the difficult time with the experts in the studio providing insight when requested.

Calling it a game show is a bit unfair because there is no grand prize, no score board over the whole series, no audience and no glitzy feel to it; rather it is a staged crisis with real people put into the difficult world of politics while also trying to serve the greater good. It is a mixed bag and could have been awful but it is actually pretty enjoyable if you like that sort of thing. The show does make for good watching because, unlike some shows where you turn off your brain and let it wash over you, this actually engages you and makes you think while the "ministers" are in the same boat. In fact, if you have digital television you have the chance to be involved and make the decisions yourself – I have never done this but then I don't need a "red button" to be able to play along and try to make the decisions myself.

The use of video footage and news coverage to set up and inform each incident is good and the limitations of budget are not too restricting, mainly the camera angles are just limited and the action filmed very close so that everywhere seems busy etc. The situation room itself is nicely done even if it lacks imagination (people looking at screens and walking around in a black background). The experts in the studio are very qualified but really it is the real people playing ministers that make the individual episodes work. If they really get into it then it is engaging; but when they are a bit apathetic and unwilling really to debate then it is a bit duller, although still good. The situations are pretty clever and the staged nature of each crisis makes for a well paced show that allows time for debates and a good number of decisions while also providing the chance for some time critical ones.

Overall this is a great little show but one that I notice is struggling to really find a market among the other reality shows where the brain is not required and mocking people is the aim; the second series is on after 11pm on BBC2 – probably aiming for the Newsnight crowd, a good move I guess part from the fact that it finishes very late as a result. A good idea that is well delivered; not sure if it is a BBC original series but it is the sort of idea that could do well in America with a bigger budget and a bigger sense of drama and tension.

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