British breakfast show's grim prize stuns viewers: 'Completely dystopian'

·3-min read

A well-intentioned game of Spin The Wheel, where a breakfast show viewer can have their energy bills paid for them, has infuriated the British public and fuelled Russian propaganda.

On Monday (local time), the UK TV show This Morning featured a game of Spin The Wheel, but with a slight twist very much reflecting a huge public concern at the moment.

The winner could score a cash prize of up to £3,000 ($5130) or have their annual energy bill paid.

Host Phillip Schofield asked Alex, the caller who was having the wheel spun for him, how he was feeling about his energy bills.

He said he was very worried about his bills, saying his payments were absolute "murder".

A picture of UK Breakfast show This Morning and its spinning wheel to give away prizes of energy bills paid for. Source: ITV via @scottygb
UK Breakfast show This Morning was paying energy bills as a prize. Source: ITV via @scottygb

In the UK, the average annual energy bill is £1,971 ($A3370), however, it is scheduled to increase by 80 per cent from October 1, the BBC reported.

Australians have also suffered from skyrocketing energy prices. Earlier this year parts of Australia saw a 100 per cent price increase. The changes will differ in each state and territory.

People slam 'dystopian' segment

The wheel did stop on 'energy bills', much to Alex's delight.

"Oh, what a relief, thank you very much," he said, but not everyone was happy with the prize.

"#ThisMorning has turned completely dystopian, and Black Mirror by offering to pay energy bills as a competition prize," TV critic Scott Bryan said on Twitter.

Another person remarked the segment was proof the UK had hit "rock bottom".

A screenshot from The Spin The Wheel game on UK TV showing the energy bill prize.
The Spin The Wheel segment was criticised with people suggesting it was "normalising suffering". Source: ITV via @scottygb

Prizes becoming 'essentials rather than luxuries'

"This is how suffering becomes normalised — yes, by ordinary morning TV programs," another said.

"What if that 'prize' was to 'feed your children for 4 months'?" one viewer said.

"When prizes are no longer luxuries but essentials, then dystopia commences."

Despite the backlash, the segment returned on Tuesday, though instead of 'energy bills' the wheel read 'household bills' and people could have their bills paid for the next four months up to the value of £3,000 ($A5100).

However, the slight change did not go down well, with some people saying the breakfast show was just doubling down and trivialising the pain felt during inflation and surging energy prices in Europe.

Russians say breakfast show proves sanctions aren't working

The Spin The Wheel segment was featured on Russian television. Francis Scarr, a BBC journalist who monitors Russian media, spotted the appearance.

The Russian state TV show tried to use the segment and the unusual prizes to suggest Western sanctions against Moscow weren't working, The Independent reported.

Of course, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions being imposed on Russia have led to soaring energy prices.

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