Game Show Memories – Who Dares Wins.

Who Dares Wins (BBC1, 2007-present)

Since its launch in 1994, BBC1 has shown the National Lottery draw live on Saturday evenings. They have tried several ways to turn this into something of an entertainment occasion. Viewers have always been unsure about this, always insisting that they simply want the numbers and don’t want pop groups and the like getting in the way. Another way that they have tried to get people to watch the draw is to have game shows. There have been a lot of these over the years, and I haven’t been a big fan of all of them, but one that I have liked is Who Dares Wins.

This is a show that was hosted by Nick Knowles and it was all based around lists. Two teams of two take part. They are put together at the start of the show and they don’t know one another beforehand, and the idea is that they have to work together to play the game and progress. The first section of the game is a best of three and whoever wins this goes into the final. vlcsnap-00574

The list is then revealed, it could be something like Oscar-winning films or Premier League football teams, which will have many possible correct answers. The teams then bid on how many answers they think they will know. One team is then challenged to give the answers, and they will usually need to give around 10 or 15 correct answers that are on the list to win. If they get one wrong though, play passes to the other team who win the list. This is then done for a second time. vlcsnap-00573

If one team wins the first two lists, they win this part of the game and go into the final. If it is one game each though, there is a deciding game played which has different rules. Another list is given, but this time the teams take it in turn to give answers. If a team gets one wrong, the other team then has to give a right answer to progress. Just before playing the final, this is usually around the time that the National Lottery draw is shown. vlcsnap-00592

Now that we all know whether we have just become millionaires or not, it’s now time for some money to be won in the studio. The winning team are given one more list, and this time, the more correct answers they give, the more money win, with a maximum £50,000 on offer for giving 15 correct answers. Get one wrong though, and they lose the money, so they can stop at any time if they become less confident about knowing any more correct answers. They then play the first section of the game against as defending champions against a new team of two, and they can stay on for as long as they want if they keep winning, and some teams have won six-figure sums of money over several shows. vlcsnap-00593

Shows about lists seems to have become more popular in recent years, with the success of Pointless being one of the best examples. Who Dares Wins has now been running for almost a decade now on BBC1, whereas most of the other shows tried out in this slot are short-lived flops. It still remains good to watch and it is one of the Saturday night shows that I have enjoyed in more recent years.

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One thought on “Game Show Memories – Who Dares Wins.

  1. Des Elmes says:

    I was a big fan of Who Dares Wins in its early years, then went off it around 2012 when it seemed to become a little too formulaic for my liking: the vast majority of the teams were one man and one lady (I’ve always been very much in favour of gender equality, but I still didn’t see why they couldn’t have had slightly bigger numbers of all-male and all-female teams), and just about *every* episode featured lists of a particular actor or actress’s films and a particular singer or band’s songs (almost like The Wall being played on every single episode of Gladiators, IMO).

    I’m back into it now, though – having accepted that the producers probably *want* the vast majority of the teams to be one man and one lady, and also having noticed that they have added a bit more variance to the lists (there are still film and pop music lists in every episode, but at least they now include the likes of “British actors nominated for an Oscar since 1980” and “Artists who recorded Radio 2’s Top 100 Albums” instead of just the likes of “Clint Eastwood films” and “Coldplay songs”).

    I watched the complete run of Chrissy and Joe on YouTube – and was quite amazed that they won 12 games, four more than any other team, yet still fell £5k short of the record for the most money won (although it certainly didn’t help that they blew four of their money lists and lost a combined £20k on three of these). That record continues to be held by Trish and Seamus from the first series in ’07; it would be quite remarkable if the show ended with no team having surpassed or equalled their £170k.

    I also watched the Bohemian Rhapsody words list – and still consider the best exhibition of Who Dares Wins play to be Nat and Euan naming 40 chemical elements during their long run on the 2011 series (winning seven games and £155k). The Bohemian Rhapsody list included the likes of “a”, “the”, “of”, “from”, “and”, “if”, “it”, “to”, “for”, “I”, “I’d”, “I’m” and “I’ve” – so even if you were completely unfamiliar with the song, it was still very possible to give a few correct answers. No such luxury with the chemical elements list, however – if you had no knowledge of the periodic table whatsoever and were forced to play this list, you’d be up the proverbial creek.

    Finally, just to clarify, the main Lottery draw was shown immediately after the second money list in each episode, and the Thunderball draw immediately beforehand. I say “was” because, of course, future episodes *won’t* include the draws, as they depart from BBC1 on New Year’s Eve… 😉

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