You might as well turn the channel over after the first 10 minutes (Picture: PA)
My nails dig into the arm of the sofa, teeth grinding, no breath.
Two contestants of The Traitors series 2 are missing from the breakfast table – with only one more due to walk through the door.
Who did the treacherous trio decide to murder?
After a knock on the door, the cast nervously yell ‘come in!’
An audible gasp echoes around the room as the surviving contestant is revealed.
Presenter Claudia Winkleman then enters, peering out from under her iconic fringe and comically large turtleneck to scold them for having let another night go by without a Traitor being caught.
It is gripping TV. But then I flip the channel, a mere 10 minutes into the show.
I’ll come back to it in 30 minutes.
And that’s because nothing else in the episode is worth watching until the cast return to Andross Castle for the round table.
Every episode, the contestants take part in a pointless and – I’ll say it – boring challenge.
Whether they are assembling a pattern in a lake or identifying bird calls, the tasks add nothing to the show other than money to the prize fund.
The banishment is the best part of every episode (Picture: BBC/Studio Lambert)
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the show. I may actually be obsessed (Picture: BBC)
They don’t give the Faithfuls any clues as to who the Traitors are, or allow the Traitors a chance to hide their traitorous status.
The Traitors tell cameras that they work hard in the challenges to appear more Faithful, but actually there is incentive either way to put 110% effort in as they’re also building the prize pot for themselves. Hard work does not a Faithful prove.
The shield rule changes – where you can now openly grab them mid-challenge – works against the show’s interest. In season 1, it was an intriguing strategy where the shield-owner could keep their identity secret to protect their team.
This superior game-play has now been lost.
Also, the challenges are simply dull. They’re so easy that you can assume a massive portion of the pounds at stake will be won.
Every challenge should have £10,000 up for grabs, and any money not won by the Faithul should automatically go into the Traitors’ pot (Picture: BBC/Studio Lambert)
The producers either need to cut the challenge out entirely, or totally overhaul the game mechanics to give it a purpose.
My suggestion is that they introduce a second pot: one for the Faithful, and another for the Traitors.
Every challenge should have £10,000 up for grabs, and any money not won by the Faithul should automatically go into the Traitors’ pot.
This adds a whole new element to the show, reminiscent of Gen Z-beloved noughties CBBC show Trapped, where a secret saboteur acts against the group.
The Traitors will need to balance topping up their pot with evading obvious obstruction.
Cast members who are afraid of heights, can’t swim, or are generally not seen to be pulling their weight for the benefit of the Faithfuls will find their very Faithful-ness come into question.
I think this would massively shake up the dynamic of the show, with more fingers flying and increased opportunities for strategic thinking.
Producers could take some tips from the original Dutch version, in which not only could contestants win a shield, but someone else could win a dagger that could be used at the round table to make their vote count twice.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the show. I may actually be obsessed. The nuances to the strategies, the game theory, the psychology of the human condition and – I’ll admit – the drama just makes it such an addictive watch.
I just can’t help but notice that I tune out around half of the show, making for a bad viewing experience that I worry will one day leave me as apathetic about it as I am to Love Island now – which used to be must-watch TV.
At least the Love Island trials added something to the overall show, as truths were revealed or contestants would inevitably kiss someone outside of their couple. Cue the drama.
I know I’m not alone. A colleague admitted to me that he uses this time to open X (the app formerly known as Twitter) and read the latest memes of the episode.
So I beg the BBC to revisit their format in season 3 and make some much-needed changes before viewers drop off and the show is banished for good.
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