Can show's contestants stay awake? Can the viewers?

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The Independent Online

Channel 5 is to launch a new television programme in which 26 people will touch a truck. Nothing else is required, other than an audience keen to watch 26 people touching a truck.

Channel 5 is to launch a new television programme in which 26 people will touch a truck. Nothing else is required, other than an audience keen to watch 26 people touching a truck.

Touching the Truck, as it is imaginatively titled, marks the arrival of the Japanese-style endurance contest in Britain. Never mind Millionaire, forget The Weakest Link - in television industry terms, this is innovative, groundbreaking stuff.

The winner, said a Channel 5 spokeswoman, will be the person who touches the truck the longest without letting go or falling sleep. He or she will win the truck: a £50,000 four-wheel-drive. The show will be a "five-day event", to be broadcast in the spring and with real-time live coverage on the internet.

Contestants will be monitored by judges and given five minutes an hour for the toilet. On their breaks they will also be able to consort with family and friends charged with keeping them awake. "Its all about sleep deprivation," said Channel 5.

While this is a first for British terrestrial TV before, it does not match the excruciating tasks dreamt up by the Japanese, who have sat contestants on a toilet seat heated from below by a bunsen burner, or seasoned their faces and plunged them into pools of starving catfish.

The idea seems to come from Texas, with the record standing at more than 125 hours. The British competition will be held at Lakeside shopping centre, Essex, and, says the producer, Glenn Barden, "a countrywide search is on for 26 contestants to take part. The competition will see raw emotional drama as it pushes people to their absolute limit."

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