I'm starting to think that I have been very naïve
I genuinely thought that the outcome of adventures was mostly based on the skills of the team and that each adventure was more or less mapped out beforehand (subject obviously to the team taking the right objects, answering the riddles correctly etc).
I get the impression that the very early series are much more of a mapped out dungeon.
This would explain why, for example, a team might die even when they do well in the clue room questions - they simply take the wrong item. Or conversely if a team survives after doing badly in a clue room - purely by complete luck, they happen to take the correct items.
Considering the comments below about this team being "less deserving to win", I suspect this is the ultimate cause of that.
Do we know to what extent the production team made decisions to kill off teams that didn't make good TV?
As mentioned by Drassil, there is a quoted email from Tim Child: http://www.knightmare.com/forum/viewtop ... =309#p4898
. However, whereas some people seem to read that as a definitive and clad-in-stone explanation of exactly how the production process worked, I see it as more of an abstract explanation formed retrospectively.
The explanation I recently received from Tim was more or less as I previously stated it and approximately corresponds with the explanation quoted by Steve in the post that I just linked to (but is a little less precise and much more general). Basically, it's a tradeoff between the desire to make good TV and the practicalities of having a filming schedule, probably also considering other complexities such as actor contracts and availability, prop availability, pre-filmed sequences, etc:
Obviously you don't kill off a team (even if they just walked off a cliff) if you have to stop filming for a day for the next team to show up. Similarly, team introductions are slow, and you don't want to have more than one per episode (I think this was an actual issue that Tim raised when I spoke to him). Hence, you extend their quest until practical and then kill them off.
Similarly, you don't want to prolong a quest (unless you have to) if the viewers *know* that the dungeoneer is doomed. It's just boring to watch.
If a team is making good TV, you might allow the occasional small lapse or mistake - after all, the end product is supposed to be entertainment and you may allow the occasional hiccough in gameplay in order to allow that.
And I think that's all there is to it. Trying to look for some kind of specific "status" of the team at any point just seems too fixed and too artificial to me.