Game Show Memories – Brainbox Challenge.

Brainbox Challenge (BBC2, 2008)

Over the years, BBC2 have tried out a huge amount of game shows in daytime and early-evening slots. Just about all of them, with the exception of the long-running Eggheads, have ended up doing fairly badly. This is an example of another one that ended up coming and going fairly quickly, although I do remember coming across this one day and thinking that this was an interesting idea (although for me anything is better than Eggheads).

The host of Brainbox Challenge was Clive Anderson. Around this time there were a lot of “brain training” games, where people had to solve various puzzles involving letters, numbers, shapes, and so on. This idea was expanded on for this show, which was a little like the Mental Agility round in The Krypton Factor too. The aim is for a contestant to play various challenges and test their skills against an opponent, and every time they succeed, they go up the money ladder.

Before the next game, they are shown who their new opponent would be, in a similar style to Playing For Time. A little information was revealed about them, but not necessarily what their best skills were. They can leave at this point, and take the money that they have won, or they could play them, knowing that if they were to lose, they would drop back to their previous safe level.

The scoring system was similar to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, with questions being played for increasing amounts of money, and dropping back to your last safe level when you are defeated. Five games are played in every edition, and whoever the current champion is at the end gets the opportunity to play the bonus round, where a sequence of shapes have to be memorised and then recalled for extra money.

The maximum amount on offer is £13,000, if they reach the top of the money ladder, and get every answer right in the bonus rounds too. Brainbox Challenge (not to be confused with Brain Box, one of those short-lived call-and-lose live shows that was also around at this time) only ran for four weeks, and ending up doing so badly in the evening slot, that the final week was shown at 1pm, which was rather disappointing.

Viewers could also play some of the games themselves on the website (but not for money). I personally would’ve liked to see more editions, but it wasn’t to be. And curiously, there was a game show with a similar idea on the CBBC Channel around the same time called Brain-Jitsu, which seemed to be a little better received, and presented this style of challenge in a much more exciting and creative way.

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