The 5 best British game shows

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Ever since the exciting arrival of the incredibly popular and successful Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on British television in the late 90’s, Brits have always gone above and beyond when it comes to creating new and stimulating game show concepts.

From picking the least popular answers, to being constantly belittled by an angry Anne Robinson, many of the best ideas and formats have gone from strength to strength and have even been picked up by other nations around the world.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at just a handful of some of the best and most memorable UK game shows from the past few decades…



In 2009 the BBC began airing Pointless, the quiz where you have to come up with the most obscure answers to a range of questions and topics.

The show is hosted by funny man and frequent Have I Got News For You host Alexander Armstrong- who is accompanied by assistant Richard Osman – the man who looks after all the details and information regarding a contestants particular answer. It has gained huge success with the British audience and has become one of the most popular quizzes currently on TV.


The Crystal Maze

In the early 90’s we were introduced to Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O’Brien frantically running about a large set of various zones and leading contestants to play whacky games in order to collect crystals.

Channel 4’s The Crystal Maze made its debut in 1990 and instantly gained a cult following of fans who loved the range of skill, physical, mental and mystery challenges as well as the overly exuberant hosting from O’Brien.


The Cube

ITV’s The Cube is a fine example of quite a simplistic idea done right. There are many echoes of the aforementioned The Crystal Maze here, and surely a little influence taken from the 1997 mystery horror movie Cube.

The show involved contestants walking in to a large transparent cube-shaped room where they have to play a number of what initially appear to be very simple skill-based games. The show is hosted by the silver haired fox himself, Phillip Schofield, in his typically likeable style (arguable).


Deal or No Deal

Although not strictly of British origin, the UK version of Deal or No Deal has often been a staple of late afternoon quiz-time telly.

Probably more notable for helping to partially re-launch the career of TV personality Noel Edmonds, who had been away from our screens for a number of years, the show is played out in hundreds of countries and the franchise has grown and grown even to include a number of spin off variations such as the slot game at Coral Casino.



Still running after 33 years is Channel 4’s TV classic Countdown. Even though the show is actually based on a French game, it has literally become a British institution and it was actually the first show to air when C4 debuted back in 1982.

The program is literally an anagram and maths-based show with two contestants competing for the highest score.