Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask. Alexander Armstrong. Image credit: Black Dog Television.

Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask

Panel show hosted by Alexander Armstrong in which the guests don't just answer questions - they have to think them up too

What Do You Know? (Working Title)
Panel Show
2011 - 2013  (Dave)
15 (pilot + 2 series)
Alexander Armstrong, Dave Lamb
Dan Gaster, Will Ing, Paul Powell, Lee Stuart Evans, Ged Parsons, Steve Punt, Colin Swash, Ali Crockatt, Shaun Pye, David Scott, Pete Sinclair
Black Dog Television
& So Television

Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask is a panel show designed to challenge Britain's wittiest people to work harder. Host Alexander Armstrong not only wants his guests to answer questions on the topics of his choosing, he needs them to make up the questions too. The aim being to devise a question that only they know the answer to, and the other panellists won't.

The show covers topics as varied as Shakespeare, magic, weddings and the Bible.

During Series 1, Come Dine With Me voiceover man and comedian Dave Lamb sat in his very own 'fact bunker' dishing out fun factoids and extra helpings of trivia.

Guests on Series 2 will include Jack Whitehall, Marcus Brigstocke, Ed Byrne, Rebecca Front, Andrew Maxwell, Phil Jupitus, Jo Brand, Russell Kane, Susan Calman, Tim Vine, Jason Manford and Sandi Toksvig.

Our Review: The idea behind this panel-cum-quiz show is simple, but good. Alexander Armstrong throws out categories, and the guests taking part have to come up with a question they know the answer to, but one that they hope will stump their fellow players.

Some of the questions dreamt up by the guests are fairly highbrow and the host adds a touch of class too, but as guest Robert Webb pointed out in the pilot, it's airing on a digital channel that has a certain demographic: "It's not called David, it's called Dave" - so Big Ask doesn't ever quite get to QI levels of sophistication (not that that is a complaint, to be clear).

Due to the format, Armstrong doesn't really have to ask any questions, but he avoids making himself redundant by delivering some fairly good one-liners to fill the gaps and smoothly guide the conversations in the right direction.

One of the most curious elements of Series 1 was the presence of Dave Lamb, albeit relegated to only occasional, somewhat jarring contributions, from the 'fact bunker'. In the pilot he'd checked and validated all answers, but this was clearly false and his role lessened. Series 2, thankfully, does away with his interruptions altogether.

Overall, this is an entertaining show and a pat on the back to the people at Dave for making it.