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The Cube is back on ITV

One of Britain’s most beloved game show is back on the ITV screens starting this Saturday at 8:15 PM. So in order to feed your anticipation, here is a brief review of the show’s history so far.

The game show, awarded two times with a BAFTA prize for Best Entertainment Show, first aired on ITV2 in August 2009, and it’s presented by Phillip Schofield and narrated by Colin McFarlane. The idea of the show is that even the most straightforward tasks can become really difficult when confined and set in front of a large audience. The contestants have to complete the all challenges in a 4mx 4m x 4m Perspex cube, in order to win the grand prize of £250,000.  They can start feeling claustrophobic and disorientated, and the filming techniques used are trying to show the anxiety the contestants feel as they progress through the tasks.


The games take place inside The Cube, which seems like a miniature arena, with the audience placed on three sides, connected to a small stage by a swiveling path. The two contestants are introduced and have a short chat with the host, before they enter The Cube. Then the challenges begin, also known as The Game. The tasks vary from show to show and from series to series, starting with simpler ones like stopping a stopwatch after 10 seconds to test their agility, or building a tower of blocks.  If they complete the tasks they move up the money ladder, but if they lose a game they have to repeat it and  lose one of the nine lives they’ve started with.  If they run out of lives during completing a game, they lose all the money gained so far. Also, contestants have the option to stop after a game and take whatever money they’ve won, but once they decide to play a game they have to finish it.

Each game starts with a demonstration by a faceless female called “The Body”( her outfit involves a metal plate over her face) , which is the expert of all the games, with The Voice of the Cube explaining the rules. This part shows the competitors how the game is played and allows them to create their winning strategy.

There are seven games, with seven steps on the money ladder: £1000, £2000, £10,000, £20.000, £50,000, £100,000 and finally the big prize of £250,000.

Each of the players has two aids which can only be used once. One is the Simplify, which makes the game easier to play, like the target area is enlarged or the time limit increased. The other one is the Trial Run, which lets the contestant to try another game, without any penalty or reward. This means that if they fail while using the Trial Run they won’t lose a life, but if they succeed to complete the task they won’t get the money unless they do it again. The Trial Run can only be used starting from the second game.

The host is allowed to help the contestants decide whether they will play that game, by giving them statistics about the game like how many lives it takes to win it, or how many people succeeded to complete it on their first attempt.

When a contestant has left the game or has finished all his lives, a new contestant is brought and starts a new set of games.

The show features Celebrity special episodes, with only two contestants per episode, and all their winnings go to charity. If they get beaten by The Cube a donation of £1000 is made to their chosen charity. Some of the famous people who have played the games of The Cube are Dame Kelly Holmes, Joe Swash, Kelly Osbourne, Jenni McAlpine, Melanie Sykes, Ashley Banjo or Tom Fletcher. The only person to win the top prize was Olympic Gold Medalist Mo Farah, who had 6 lives remaining when he finished the games.

Records so far

  • In the first season of the show, the first person to get to the final point was Jonny Lowery who made it with only three lives left. For the final game he had to complete a more difficult version of Direction, having the path narrowed to just 20cm. He decided to leave with £100,000.
  • In the third series, Tom Fletcher from the group McFly, have reached the final game with four lives left. He was given a harder version of Barrier, where he had to cross three barriers. He didn’t go on, choosing to leave with £100,000.
  • Teresa was the first person who retired from the game because of a foot injury, caused when she was celebrating the completion of the Dual Reflex task.
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