No Win No Fee (BBC1, 2001-2003)
This is a daytime game show that ran for a couple of years and was hosted by Paul Ross (he hosted a lot of game shows on TV around this time and he is also following me on Twitter. I’m not really sure why but I’m not complaining, hello to you Paul). Contestants competed against one another to answer various questions and win a cash prize. It might not sound like much, but there was a twist.
The daily cash prize that was on offer was Paul’s appearance fee of £4,000. This means that if the show ended with a winning contestant, Paul doesn’t receive a payment for hosting that edition. Don’t believe him? It was written into his contract. 12 contestants took part, and Paul had a keen interest in what was happening all along as it was his money that was on the line. Will he be the one going home empty-handed?
A contestant is picked at random and they are shown two questions. They pick the one that will be asked, and they then pick someone who they think will get it wrong. The two contestants then stand next to Paul who talks about things like checking their body language, insisting that the skill of being able to correctly pick a contestant who will get it wrong is as much a key to winning the game as answering the questions yourself.
The contestant is then asked for their answer. If they get it right, they stay in the game, and the picker is eliminated. If they get it wrong, the picker stays in. Either way, one of them will go, and Paul will then say the show’s catchphrase to them “I’m pleased to say… you’re out”. This is repeated five times until there are six contestants remaining who go into the second round.
Again, a contestant is picked at random, but this time they do not see the question in advance. They pick a contestant, and this time they have to decide if they will get the answer wrong or right. If they make the wrong decision, they will be eliminated. This carries on until there are two contestants remaining, at which point the question on offer becomes crucial because this is the one where the money could be won.
On most occasions a contestant went away with the money, leaving Paul rather disappointed. If there can be some criticisms about the format of No Win No Fee, it’s that maybe too many contestants took part, and in theory a contestant can get all the way to the end and win by answering as few two questions throughout the whole of the show. Although it’s another game show that is little remembered now, it was an interesting idea.