- The Banker (Deal or No Deal UK)
"The Banker" is the name given to the quasi-fictional
antagoniston the game show Deal or No Deal.
Notionally, the money on the gameboard in Deal or No Deal is The Banker's own. As such, his role is to make cash offers to buy the contestant's chosen box rather than allowing them to continue and risk them winning much more.
The Banker is played by "Himself", as stated on the end credits. He talks to the host
Noel Edmondsvia the Bakelitetelephone on the contestant's desk. He also regularly talks to the daily player.
The character was called "The Dealer" in pre-publicity for the show; evidently, the name was changed before recording started (though this may have simply been a mistake as "Banker" or the local equivalent is used in most other international versions of the show). Channel 4's website referred to him as such though on their listings page until 12 April when after a number of complaints, including an organised campaign by posters to the forum of the website Cook'd and Bomb'd, the text was changed to say The Banker.
In versions of Deal or No Deal around the world, the Banker's offers are usually made purely by computer, or by a dispassionate unseen, unheard figure. However, as
Broadcast magazinenoted in March 2006, the UK version of the show was the first to exploit the potential for The Banker to be an active character. This direction was then followed by the US version of the show and led to changes in the French and Italian versions to bring their Bankers to the fore as villains.
Despite not being seen or heard on screen, this personification led to a high degree of public and media interest in The Banker.
Guardian newspaperin March 2006, called The Banker 'a cult character in the making and no mistake' and included him in their hotlist.
Television programmes such as
Harry Hill's TV Burp, GMTV, Richard and Judy, and Dead Ringersall made jokes about and regularly speculated as to the Banker's real identity in episodes aired between November 2005 through April 2006.
Newsnightmentioned the Banker in July 2006 when discussing the power of charm and spin in politics, an email from a viewer was read out on air - "Even the most dreadful character defect can be forgiven when you are charming and witty - look at the popularity of The Banker on Noel Edmonds's show". Noel Edmondshimself faced regular questioning on the subject. A typical example being during a webchat on the Channel 4 website [ [http://www.channel4.com/community/showcards/D/Deal_or_No_Deal.html channel4.com ] ] , where he said "The Banker is a real person! I am now being asked all the time whether there is somebody on the phone and I've been accused of pretending that I'm talking to nobody. The truth is that The Banker is a very dry, extremely astute number cruncher. He watches the player very closely and obviously wants them to go away with as little money as possible. He is not somebody I would wish to socialise with."
Speculation as to the Banker's real identity reached its peak in April 2006 when a flurry of reports appeared in the National press.
The Manchester Evening Newsand The Daily Mirroreven teased the revelations on the front pages of their editions on Monday 3 April 2006. Under the headline "Corrie Cop is Noel's Banker" these stories suggested that the Banker was really ex Coronation Streetactor and former UK host of " The Mole", Glenn Hugill[cite news
title = Ex-Corrie star outed as No Deal banker
The Manchester Evening News
url = http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/209/209993_excorrie_star_outed_as_no_deal_banker.html
accessdate = 2007-03-03 ]
The Mirror went on to claim that as Series Producer of the show, the offers were calculated by Hugill, in discussion with his two executive producers Richard Hague and Richard Osman, but that Hugill made the final decision and that it was he spoke to Noel and the contestants via the telephone. In these articles Hugill's age was reported to be 41, whereas he was in fact born in 1970 and was 36 at the time of writing. [http://www.bothersbar.co.uk/weekendspecials/hugill.htm A Man Walks Into a Bar... Glenn Hugill ] ] This has led some to question the article and to question whether someone of that age could convince so many contestants he was much older.
The newspaper article was discussed widely in the following days on national radio stations including the
Jo Whileyshow on Radio One. Noel Edmonds, who had been facing questions about the Banker's identity for months, now faced questions about Glenn Hugill but he insisted in heat magazine in July 2006 that Hugill was indeed in charge of the production as its series producer but that the Banker was a separate entity.
Glenn Hugill himself, whilst neither confirming or denying that he is indeed the Banker, continues in interviews to refer to the Banker in the third person and insists the Banker acts entirely alone.
However, it is clear that whoever is "playing" The Banker has some considerable improvisational skills, as the offers and Banker's banter frequently respond to something the contestant has done or said during gameplay. Also, when contestants are handed the phone The Banker frequently is able to make them dissolve into hysterics with his unheard chat. This would lend weight to the theory that Hugill is indeed the public voice of The Banker, as he has had previous acting experience.
In May 2008 The Banker celebrated with a special week of "Banker's Birthday" shows were aired from Monday 12 May onwards. However Hugill's birthday is 8 February.
In the entry for "Deal Or No Deal" on the
UKGameshows.comwebsite [http://www.ukgameshows.com/page/index.php/Deal_or_No_Deal] (run by David J. Bodycombe, a long-time friend of Hugill's), the link for "The Banker" redirects to the entry for Glenn Hugill. The "Deal or No Deal" article also seems to imply that the Banker is a producer of the programme. Whilst not explicitly stating that the producer in question is Hugill, it could be interpreted as semi-official confirmation that he is.
In the late part of 2006 and early part of 2007 the Banker had gained sufficient celebrity status in his own right to be interviewed by various newspapers and magazines, including
Heat, The Radio Timesand TV Times. These interviews were all characterized by outrageous flirting by the Banker with his female interviewer.
As the show progresses, so the Banker has provided more and more information of his private life, both in interviews and on screen, building up quite a three dimensional picture for a person that no-one has ever seen.
The Banker's birthday is 12 May. This was made clear on episode broadcast leading up to and on 12 May 2006.In October 2006, when a contestant revealed they were born in the
Chinese yearof the Dog, The Banker revealed he was born in the year of the Dragon. This would mean he was born in one of the following years: 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964 or 1976. If his claim to have narrowly missed out on competing in the 1972 Olympics is to be taken as canon, then of these only 1940 and 1952 are likely. The event in which he missed out on was likely swimming, in the Oct/Nov 2008 issue of the Sky Digital Magazine he revealed to have three gold swimming badges.
According to the Deal or No Deal behind the scenes book, the Banker weighed 12 pounds at birth and "when the midwife slapped me on the back, I in return, elbowed her in the throat."
The Banker has made several references to his mother, and also to his estranged son, who he never speaks to on account of his being a charity worker.
The Banker regularly mentions that he has had six previous wives, with the position of Mrs. Banker number seven being currently vacant.
In two episodes during 2006 and in the Deal or No Deal behind the scenes book he revealed that he uses a rhyme to remind him how each union ended:-:"Divorced, divorced, divorced,":"Divorced, beheaded, divorced."
On the 20 April 2007 show, the banker reconfirmed that he has been divorced 5 times.
In August 2006 he said that his fourth wife was named Mena, saying "I was Mean and she was Mena". As of February 2007 and in Bob's game, the Banker has a new serious ladyfriend called Morticia. However, he broke up with her a week later, giving the reason that he was sick of her dragging him to
Weston-super-Mare(the home town of that day's player).
Valentine's Dayboth in 2006 and 2007 the Banker mentioned that he always gives his mother a single white rose, stolen from next door's garden. On 8 January 2007, the day after Laura's £250,000 win, The Banker's mother actually spoke to Noel on the telephone, to his obvious amazement. She told Noel he was sobbing in his bedroom, and that he was a 'cherub' really, and that he had fallen in with a bad crowd. When he finally came to the phone he was heard to sob loudly over Noel's microphone, as opposed to the number of occasions he has been heard cackling at a contestant's misfortune.
In Suzanne's game in August 2006, The Banker said he was also bullied at school and told a story about how his classmates threw his abacus into a pond, forcing him to swim to retrieve it. This means that he used to be a great swimmer, with the nickname 'The Wet Rocket' and nearly competed in the
Munich Olympicsin 1972.
On 16 November 2006 Noel Edmonds turned on Exeter's Christmas lights. He revealed that the banker used to study "Financial affairs and Politics" at Exeter University and suggested that students could find his identity by looking at the records. [cite news
title = Feel or no feel
url = http://exepose.ex.ac.uk/exepose/200607/Exepose%20-%202006-11-20.pdf
accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
This "fact" was mentioned during an episode of
University Challengeon the 17 September 2007 when Jeremy Paxmanintroduced Exeter University and named The Banker as one of the institution's famous alumni. Noel Edmondsfrequently describes The Banker as an older man, who is overweight and has little hair. On 30 August 2006, The Banker said that contestant Lance was his 'doppelganger'.
On 9 March 2007 Spanish contestant Gus asked to speak to The Banker. Noel claimed that The Banker was very well educated and so could speak many languages. After a conversation with him over the phone in Spanish, Gus remarked that he had been speaking in French and not Spanish. However, Artak claimed during his game on 23 November 2007 that the Banker spoke "perfect Russian".
On 30 April 2007 The Banker told contestant Roy that he was not interested in
golf. He called it 'marbles for old people'.
In the Oct/Nov 2008 edition of the Sky Digital Magazine, an interview with The Banker was published. It was revealed that The Banker has an MSc in financial analysis and fund management, BScs in pure mathematics, statistics and mathematical sciences and a Masters in behavioural and biological psychology. He also stated that he was a registered
Christmas Day2006, at the end of the show, a brief clip of The Banker was shown. A man in a suit and hat was switching off his television after watching the contestants sing Christmas carols. The Banker then took out a mint humbug from a jar and grunted to himself. This clip was only from the back of The Banker, so little could be told from his appearance. However, he seemed to be old and overweight. On his desk was a photograph of his two boxer dogs, which he had previously revealed in three different shows to be called 'Scrooge' and 'Marley'. In the back of the shot appeared to be a picture with the words 'This is not a charity you know' embroidered on it. The Banker had previously mentioned to contestant Joseph, who originated it, that he would have the phrase mounted on his wall.
At the end of the
New Year's Eve2007 show, the Banker made another appearance. He was shown relaxing at a beach, sat on a deck chair dressed in swimming trunks, whilst being given a massage by former contestants, Jean and Orry. Once again, only his back was shown.
On 21 January 2008, Deal or No Deal featured its first ever entirely deaf contestant. In response, the Banker, when defeated by the £30,000 winning contestant, was shown on the screen in the studio. His torso, dressed in a black suit and white shirt, was visible, as were his arms waving a
white flag, suggesting he was surrendering to his triumphant opponent. He had also previously issued a video message, in a similar format, where he quipped, in sign language, that Edmonds wore a wig. It should be noticed that he had a significantly different appearance in these video messages: the Banker appeared to have a slim to average build. This may indicate that an actor portrayed the Banker in his previous appearances.
Other than this brief Christmas clip, The Banker has never actually appeared visually on the show. It seems that not even
Noel Edmondshas seen him. However, on several occasions, Noel has held up the telephone receiver to his microphone, and the Banker's voice can be heard. He has been heard laughing manically, blowing kisses and imitating Basil Brush. Contestants have variously described his voice as sounding like 'a dirty phone call', old and sexy, rather like well spoken deep voiced fellow contestant Lance and 'the Scream man'.
On some occasions, The Banker has given poems and gifts to the chosen contestant. These gifts have included a bottle of bubble bath, a mini replica of a Deal or No Deal box, a bunch of roses, a Deal or No Deal mug and champagne. Poems have been to favourite contestants, including Morris, Stevie, Lucy, Tony and Bunney. Noel has often imitated the Banker's voice in a deep Churchillian tone.
From time to time, contestants have brought gifts for the Banker. Normally a member of the studio crew is dispatched to take the gift to the Banker.
On a few occasions, The Banker's voice has been heard. In Clive's game, Clive asked the banker to up the offer from £9,500 to £12,000 and he'll deal. the Banker shouts, "NO DEALLLLLL!" down the phone. The argument goes on and you can clearly hear the bankers final line - "Nine thousand, Five hundred and one pound, that's all you're getting."On Margaret's show, 3 March 2008 with two boxes remaining - 1p and £20,000 The banker can be heard screaming "1p!" down the phone, and, on 4 March 2008 in Steve's game, the banker mimicked his wife's "Rabbish!!" (Originally meaning rubbish) saying, which was heard clearly. On 2 June 2008, The Banker played the song "Celebration" down the phone at contestant Len's misfortune. He then shouts "Let's celebrate, yeah! Yeah, come on let's dance! Ha ha!!"
The Banker's personality is one of the most essential components of the show, and on many occasions has generated good or bad offers, gifts and surprises. On some shows, The Banker has been cheeky, and offered things such as a copy of the rules, 2 weeks of therapy, a book on How To Make Friends and Influence People, a loofa and "a train ticket back to wherever you came from". On other occasions, he has been kind, by offering substantially high offers, chances to double offers and offer increases. On 15 April 2006 The Banker doubled contestants Gabrielle's and Savvas' winnings, after they both revealed they would be donating the money to charity. The Banker has also been cruel, by only offering box swaps, substantially low offers, decreasing offers and threats to other contestants.
On 26 March 2007, contestant Kelsie got to speak to the Banker and excitedly told Noel that the Banker offered her £29,000 and the chance that he would come out of his office and reveal himself to her and everyone in the studio. Kelsie excitedly dealt, but her happiness was turned to tears at the end of the game when her box was opened to contain the £250,000. The Banker had in fact tricked Kelsie into accepting the offer of £29,000. He was never going to come out of his office.
During Easter 2007, the Banker offered contestant Phil £26,000, which he took — only to discover that his box contained £35,000. Two more unfortunate contestants dealt at the same offer, and both had much larger amounts in their boxes. Other contestants have also dealt at this amount, and have either squandered a much larger sum of money or dealt one or two rounds too early. Since then, the offer of £26,000 has been referred to as the Banker's "Old Faithful".
The Banker has on occasion offered surprise offers, such as early box swaps, chances to double offers, offer increases, offer decreases and additional gifts. The most memorable of these have been giving contestant Ned the chance to double every one of his offers and eventually giving him 9 offers instead of 6 (the multiple offers re-appeared on the two £500k shows at Christmas 2006), giving contestant Sarah-Jane a set of steak knives with her first offer, giving Ingerlise a red rose and dinner for two in her offers, giving contestant Sue a Deal or No Deal mug and increasing contestant Naqiyah's offer from £7,777 to £14,014.
On the 16 May 2008 (played in fancy dress as it was Bankers Birthday Week), twins Zara and Zoe won £3,000 between them. Just as the show was about to end, the Banker made a surprise call and told the twins they could have another £3,000, hence, being able to take home £3,000 each.
On 30 May 2008, for the first time ever, the banker let the contestant make up her own offers. It seemed she could make up a ridiculously high amount, but the banker then informed her that if she suggested and unreasonable offer, he would only offer her the swap at the end. On one of the last rounds, she suggested an offer of an amount around £7,000, after a lot of discussion with the other contestants. The Banker replied 'No deal!', and told her the highest he'd go up to was £4,500, leaving her to go through the rest of the game with no life lines and only a swap at the end.
On 2 June 2008 contestant Len was chosen for his game. Known for wearing a certain
cardigan, the banker told Edmonds to open the cabinate under the centre desk where the contestants box was placed. Edmonds pulled out a navy blue cardigan with the Bankers red 'B' logo on it. Len decided not to wear it after a few rounds, but at the end of the game, after winning a small amount, Edmonds made a comment to Len, saying that he could put the cardigan on the internet and probably get a lot of money for it. Halfway through saying it, the Banker rang up and offered Len an extra £500 for the cardigan. Len agreed and went away with an extra £500, adding up to a total win over over £1,000.
Normally The Banker is listed in credits as played by himself, but on
April Fools Day2006 the listing was 'Richard Oldman', a play on 'Rich (H)ard Old Man. On April Fools Day 2007, he was listed as 'Titus Aduxas' (a play on 'tight as a duck's arse').
The Banker also said that he enjoyed the
Eurovision Song Contest. He also says that he has a psychic and several servants. The contestant on the 8 January 2007 show had previously expressed the opinion that as long as the £250,000 remained in play, no deal should be accepted. Therefore, the Banker offered no money, only the opportunity to swap his box, until the £250,000 was revealed, which only occurred after three offers had been made.
On the last show before a summer break, The Banker gave each contestant a bookmark which said "This bookmark belongs to..." on one side and "the next member of the 1p club" on the other. Coincidentally, that day's player, Giorgio Fellicini, did leave with the 1p.
On 12 December 2006, during the
Royal Variety Performanceshown on BBC One, Noel Edmondswas asked to introduce Rod Stewart to the stage. During Edmonds' time on stage, he went to answer a ringing telephone, and referred to the caller as Mr. Banker. The Banker stated that he was in the same room as Noel, at which point he turned around to face Prince Charles in the royal box and said "You definitely have the bigger box."
On 11 January 2007, the Banker revealed to Jasmine, the first pregnant contestant, that he has one child and that the child is a charity worker. The Banker also mentions that he was not present at birth because he wasn't sure if he was present at its conception.
Regular on screen mentions have also disclosed the names of the Banker's entourage. He has a butler named Pennyworth. Interestingly Pennyworth is also the surname of Alfred, butler to
Bruce Wayne; alias Batman.He has a masseur and personal trainer named Andre, who he has often referred to as having 'magic hands'.He also has a driver named Harrison and according to the Deal or No Deal behind the scenes book he also may have a cook "but I can't swear to it as I have never been in my kitchen."
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