Week 8, 18 December 1996.

It's double or quits this week. 2000 for each challenge successfully completed, but double the losses for anyone who gets caught.

Richard Littlejohn hasn't come dressed as Santa Claus. This can only be a good thing.

Lucy and Paul are playing at home in Liverpool, where there's fog. The choppers are down, but Victoria has sent a film clip. "It's their home turf," says Victoria, expecting a lot of duff leads. Victoria caught Drew and Scott here in week two, and she's brought out the couriers who helped her then. Paul addresses the nation to say, no, he's not having any sort of fling with Lucy. He brings his children onto camera, but his girlfriend is more camera shy. Lucy's looking anxious, but she did that all last week.

For the fourth (count 'em!) week, we're playing in Newcastle. Jon and Jon can hear a car outside the box already, and we're only in the opening moments. Paul Denchfield has taken over from Matt Randall, and is seeking sponsorship from the Tyne Bridge Tourist Board. Paul has brought out the bloodhounds, the Sealed Knot historic re-enactment society, the Beetle Club who were so useful last week, and some cabbies.

Lucy and Paul's challenge: dress as angels and help out at Santa's Grotto. It's not as silly as it sounds, and they start to enjoy it. Victoria is tipped off that they're in central Manchester. She's in central Birmingham, but has a ruse: get the security guards to get them to fill in some paperwork. Lucy sweet-talks her way out of the place. In Wolverhampton, they're getting 20 minutes head start, but that's all. Victoria's in Birmingham, but her cab is involved in an accident. Someone really likes these guys. They hit Merry Hill on Monday, Victoria hits traffic, and a good idea. They have to go through Shrewsbury to get to Liverpool, and Victoria lies in wait. Victoria has a lucky break and catches them on film in Bootle, but then loses them down the back of the shopping centre.

Five successes, two filmings, for the fairies across the Mersey. Ho ho ho. Lucy reveals that a friend of a friend helped them out, and hid them somewhere advantageous. 10,000 on the line tonight. The line to Liverpool isn't as good as it might be, we only have phone contact. Down at the docks, staff from the Echo are helping. Well, are they? Richard's suspicious, but Victoria sees no alternative. Tanya suggests they're at Townsend Road and Priory Lane in Anfield.

Paul's also out of video contact, thanks to the rubbish weather. He's hoping to hear from a cabbie any moment. Could they be in Jesmond? "Never heard of it," says Jon (or is it Jon?)

Some of the runners have joined us in the studio: Beryl and June, Andy and Dave, Anthony and Tracie, and Drew but not Scott. "One person on the internet, one treacherous Scouser..." says Richard to Dave. "It won't happen," says the cabbie.

We were supposed to be playing with James and Gary. Their task: appear as a pantomime dame each night. Derby, Oxford, and Dave catches them in Newbury on Saturday. There's the sound of one person clapping. Richard told the lads to stick within the rules of the game last week. Then Dave called, saying how the pair had offered him money not to catch them. He takes a phone call, offering him three grand to throw the game. It seems perfectly serious, and the players are disqualified at once. The "Nic" referred to on the tape is Nic Christodolu, one of the OB producers on the show.

In their defence, James and Gary say it was all a joke, the stuff about used banknotes and money in toilets is a confection worthy of Oleg. Yeah, right.

Victoria's headed for Derby Road and Sandhill Road, but Lucy and Paul are giving nothing away.

Jon and Jon say they're not under the Tyne Bridge, and they're clearly not in the same phone box as last week. Their task: visit a Christmas party, and kiss the boss, dressed as Santa. They blag a night with some fans in St John's Wood. Paul reckons they're headed up to Nottingham. Almost: they're at Club 18-30 in Blackpool, where there are more attractive young ladies. Paul's in the cold in Nottingham, the lads are having a great night over a hundred miles away. Saturday morning, and about 30 minutes' sleep, they're headed off to Buxton, then checkout girls in Bradford. Paul finally catches up with them in York on Monday, and finds something fishy. They plan their getaway in the hotel lobby, right under Paul's nose. In a panic, the two split up in the centre of York. Paul follows and catches up with one of them, and Jon has a new running partner. Paul!

They eventually met back up, and tried to go to the Policemans' Ball, but there weren't enough people there, so they had to replan. John points out this was really difficult for Paul, as there's a party in every hotel every night. Turns out that Jon's mobile had run out of charge, and he was helped out by a lady in a restaurant. Monday's disaster was the only failure of the week, so they're playing for 12,000 tonight, and a potential 19,000 in total. If they're not caught, they beat Beryl and June as the series top earners.

Paul's falling to bits: no one is keeping their rendezvous. The runners could be in Newton Road, Jesmond Park, which is literally 200m away and within running distance.

Stanley Road for Victoria? She's on her way. Hopefully we'll get some pictures from her at some point tonight.

Back to the running man, and Paul Denchfield's glasses are steaming up. He's found a phone box... it's empty.

Victoria is five minutes from Stanley Road, which is no good. Paul is now lost in Newcastle, soaked, exhausted, out of breath, and not feeling at all happy.

Lucy and Paul are giving their 14,000 to Western Spirit charity, Jon and Jon are going on holiday. Wanted will return in the new year.

Out in the real world, Kofi Annan of Ghana will be the UN's new Secretary General, effective January 1 next year. Liverpool take over from Newcastle at the top of the Premier League.

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