The Best of British Game Shows

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British TV game shows have left a huge mark on our lives, whether you were the child who rushed home from school to watch Countdown or part of the family who would gather around the television to watch Catchphrase together. From all of the great game shows throughout the years, we have managed to compile a list of our favorites. For one reason or another, we feel that these are the game shows that have helped shaped British culture.

Deal or No Deal

Apart from the fact that Noel Edmonds is a TV icon, this show ran on Channel 4 for an incredible 11 years. It starts with 22 boxes, each box is assigned to a contestant then one is randomly selected to bring their box forward and sit in the hot seat. By opening boxes a sum of money is eliminated, the aim is to leave the highest options on the board to get a high offer from the Banker or win the coveted £250,000.

Unfortunately, the UK game show is now off the air, however, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the game. Not only can you play deal or no deal games online or in various arcades, but there is also a US version hosted by Howie Mandel.


The highlight of British intelligence. Countdown is a test of spelling and mathematics, where contestants go head to head with 30 seconds on the clock to find an answer. In the numbers round, a player will choose five different numbers, then a random number generator will give them a total to reach. Using a combination of different mathematical methods, both players must try and find a solution, and the one who gets the closest wins the points. In the letters round, a player will select an array of consonants and vowels and then both will compete to create the longest word.

The music for the show has become well-known in British culture, with people singing it to tell people that their time is up. Many teachers use the countdown theme music in lessons to signify the end of a quiz. The show has gone on to have charity specials and celebrity guest appearances. You can even practice by playing along at home.


In all honesty, you couldn’t get more British if you tried with this one. One thing us Brits are known for is our ability to turn a phrase and cockney rhyming slang. Contestants compete against one another to guess the catchphrase they’re being shown to win money. Mr. Chips, the character of the show, is shown in multiple scenarios to illustrate the catchphrase.

The show originally aired in the 1980s but had a revival in 2013 with host Stephen Mulhern. It isn’t uncommon to find families watching the show together guessing away. We love this show because it brings the best of British culture to the TV screen and let’s be honest, we all think we’d be great at this one.

The Weakest Link

If you don’t know who Anne Robinson is, you most definitely have heard of her signature phrase – “you are the weakest link, goodbye”. In a series of rounds, Anne would quickly fire questions at the contestants, each correct answer would bring the group up another step on the money ladder, a wrong answer would lose it all. Players could bank money to protect their winnings but at the end of the round it would all come down to a vote. Each player casts one vote for who they think is the weakest link in the group. The one with the most votes is eliminated from the show with no hope of winning any money.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

There wasn’t one person who didn’t want to be on this show. The opportunity to win big money, even if it wasn’t the million, is what attracted a lot of popularity. The audience would be sat anxiously waiting, hoping their name would be selected for the hot seat. Chris Tarrant would then go on to ask the contestant a series of multiple-choice questions, each question worth a higher amount of money than the previous.

Contestants would climb up the 15-question ladder to reach a million but one wrong question would send them down to their last checkpoint and they would leave with a much smaller amount of money. Chris would often offer the contestants a cheque for the sum of money, hoping they would leave sooner than necessary and prevent them from winning the million. After 17 years, there were only five contestants who walked away with the six-figure-cheque.

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