From TV quizzes to game shows: the plot of play on television

Davide Tortorella

From TV quizzes to game shows: the plot of play on television

may fri 27, 2016 - 7.00 p.m.
teatro Bolognini - Via del Presto, 5
 admission euro 3.00

How has play on TV changed over the 60 years that separate Lascia o raddoppia and Caduta libera, and what has changed in our involvement as viewers? In the golden age of quizzes, what mysterious virtues transformed a Mr Nobody into an instant hero of the cathode tube and an idol of the masses? What are the immutable personalities, objects and locations in the ceremony of the game on the small screen? Why was Mike Bongiorno the undisputed king of this ceremony? How can one reconcile the game and a sense of spectacle? Why does a competitor who wins fairly create a sensation, but someone who wins by cheating make even bigger waves? And what if it’s the authors who are cheating? Are there “legal” ways to fix a game? But above all: how do you create a good question? Tortorella uses a cross section of television history, from TV quizzes to game shows and a showreel of memorable footage, to tell the story of the most special of games: where one gets others to play.

Davide Tortorella was born in Milan in 1961. He learnt the art of play on television from his father Cino (creator and author of all the Saturday afternoon shows, from Chissà chi lo sa? To Il Dirodorlando, for the famous children’s strand TV dei ragazzi), with whom he started to collaborate from the age of ten. He has dedicated almost his entire forty-year career behind the scenes in television to games including M’ama non m’ama, Doppio Slalom, La grande sfida, Vinca il migliore, La ruota della fortuna, Genius, Parole Crociate (the only television show to be sponsored by the weekly puzzle magazine, La Settimana Enigmistica), The Money Drop and many others. He has created riddles, quizzes and practical jokes of every kind for presenters Mike Bongiorno, Paolo Bonolis, Gerry Scotti and others besides. Inevitably he has often taken on the role of competition referee (the “notary” figure), as well as selecting tens of thousands of aspiring contestants.