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007: Road to a Million


‘… amoral junk that brings back bread and circuses in the worst possible way; in this world, the poor are the playthings of the rich, who dangle money in front of their victims for their own elitist kicks…’

‘If you put ordinary people into a James Bond adventure, would they crumble?’ asks Brian Cox at the start of this 10 episode reality tv show for streamer Amazon Prime; they might crumble, but I’ll be dissolved into dust if I have to watch another episode of this show, which feels like a snail slowly making its painful way down the edge of a razor-blade. Others in the WordPress community use the acronym DNF for Did Not Finish; 007: Road to A Million is more CGS (Couldn’t Get Started) or just a standard CGAF, no translation required.

So don’t get me wrong, like most Brits, I was brought up with Bond, but this officially licenced act of brand extension would make you wish for a better role model for us all. The concept is a treasure hunt; ‘I’ve placed ten questions around the world,’ intones the Controller (Cox) but Coxy hasn’t been up all night sellotaping packages to cranes in far-off countries, he’s sitting behind a bank of monitors in a way that might be like a Bond villain if Bond villains hosted crappy reality cash-in shows. Ten sets of contestants must answer some remarkably inane questions, the kind you’d expect a child to be able to answer at Trivial Pursuit, to win a slice of the dosh that well-heeled Amazon and Barbara Broccoli ponied up as bait. ‘If our world has taught us anything, the best way to motivate people is with money,’ says The Controller depressingly, and providing a greasy pole for us poor to climb for the amusement of the filthy rich is the disturbing gist of this Orwellian nightmare of a show.

So we head off to the Scottish Highlands with no sign of James Bond at all, the contestants are ordinary people, ‘a cross section of Britain today, if you will,’ says the Controller loftily. James and Joey Bone are from Laandaan, innit, and say they fink Scotland is ‘proper naughty’ when a bus drops them near Torrin in the Isle of Skye; there’s nothing encapsulates the heady feel of vintage Bond than two clueless geezers getting off a bus into the cold and offering up laconic gems like ‘…it’s gonna hit me knackers in a minnit !’ The Controller has provided a suitcase primed with a question with three possible answers, Hamlet, Richard III and Macbeth. The question is ‘Which Scottish king was identified with Shakespeare?’ and the Bone brothers cogitate dutifully on this for several agonising minutes. ‘Richard the Third…was a king…who was deformed,’ they surmise, setting back both history and modern thinking by several hundred years. Could Macbeth have been a Scottish king? ‘That’s it!’ says James ‘ That’s it!’ says Joey, ‘That’s IT’ says James. Fresh from this triumph of the intellect, the Chuckle brothers head towards Venice for their next clue, while meanwhile in the B story, two unfortunate girls who can’t pronounce ‘loch’ and think the Huns invaded Scotland rather than the Romans get consigned to the bin-juice of history. So back we go to the Bone brothers, who have arrived at a farm. ‘This is a farm’ they explain while Ian Fleming is fired from his grave like he’s on an ejector seat.

Laughing at these competitors is what Road to a Million is all about; somehow Amazon Prime and the Bond producers felt that it would be great optics to get a selection of ex-cops, nurses, father and son, married couples and make them scrabble for cash as entertainment; we actually hear sound-bites of the victims discussing not having enough money to live from month to month, just to pique our delicious understanding of their desperation. Sporting a message and morality that’s completely alien to Bond or indeed normal people, 007: Road to A Million is amoral junk that brings back bread and circuses in the worst possible way; in this world, the poor are the playthings of the rich, who dangle money in front of their victims for their own elitist kicks. Having made one decent movie in forty years, maybe the Bond franchise makers feel such a victory lap is in order, but they’d be better focusing on making James Bond work for the audience than torturing us all with this muck.


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    • I guess they saw the tractors and stuff and made an intuitive guess, just like James Bond would. What has two men struggling to find a street in Venice have to do with James Bond? Nothing. I don’t think the people who made this are paying any respect to what it has meant to people. They usually seem pretty fussy, but a Bond themed reality tv game show is a stretch.

  1. Eh. I did some thinking and concluded the only good reality TV is when it knows and admits it is all fake for the sake of drama, but if I truly believed that I’d have to concede Love Island is quality television.

      • It’s all tabloid, so all the same to me. I have been watching Married At First Sight, recently which is essentially Love Island for people who think they wouldn’t stoop so low as to watch Love Island. As for this James Bond show, maybe doing something vaguely similar to Hunted might have been better?

        • This was like Hunger Games but for real, with questions from This Morning with Holly and Phil. I’m not a tabloid tv fan so my reference points are limited. The Bond people are generally fussy but they trashed their own brand here.

  2. Saw this advertised on Amazon last night and passed it by. We don’t do reality shows so it was a quick nope decision. This sounds like rock bottom is the only destination for everyone involved. Sad it’s come to this.

  3. This sounds like that Amazing Race show, which I’ve also heard of but never seen. I did laugh at the two guys (or is that blokes) who had trouble getting Macbeth, but then I thought this might reflect the state of general knowledge now. They don’t teach Shakespeare in high school anymore, I just found out, so where would they learn something like that? I’m afraid the answers we all knew in Trivial Pursuit as kids are now Ph. D. level.

    Oh well, I don’t watch reality shows or game shows so it’s a pass. But it’s a fun review.

    rich filthy rich, is fired his grave, is that Road to a Million is all about, victory lap in in order

    • The bar is set so low, and the choice of competitors so poor, it just feels like the rich sneering at the poor, the boot stomping on the face for eternity.

      Thanks for the typos!

  4. I laughed my way through this review. First, that you thought anything to do with “reality tv” was worth watching. Second, that you got morally outraged at the “candid conversations” between contestants (you do know all that stuff is completely made up, just to pull at your heart strings, right?). Thirdly, it was amusing to see that the run of the mill citizen of the world is still an idiot.

    I am glad you spent your time so productively 😉

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