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The biggest British Game Show ‘brands’ of the twenty-first century

The biggest British Game Show 'brands' of the twenty-first century

Throughout British television history, game shows have been a staple component of network broadcasting schedules. Produced in a vast variety of different formats, these programs continue to engage and entertain on a daily basis, as viewers regularly tune in to ‘play along’ with the on-screen action. Indeed, even in the current context, with on-demand television, streaming platforms, and online content readily available at the touch of a button, traditional gameshows still attract huge audiences.

Given their status and popularity, many can now be considered ‘brands’ – a symbol of television culture, and a serious marketable force in their own right. Many of Britain’s most-revered game shows have seen spin-off adaptations, celebrity specials, accompanying merchandise, and modern-day reboots, with the watching masses often eager to consume the latest offering from these successful franchises.

But what exactly are the biggest British Game Show brands of the twenty-first century? Let’s take a look.

Deal or No Deal

On air from October 2005 until December 2016 and hosted by the charismatic Noel Edmonds, Deal or No Deal captivated audiences with its simple but gripping formula, and its depiction of the ‘banker’ character – a pantomime villain desperate to undermine the player’s progress by any means necessary. Such was the show’s success, we still see it represented across a number of entertainment channels.

Adaptations of the show including a book entitled ‘Can You Beat the Banker’ have also been released, as has a suite of board games, video games, and interactive DVDs where players try to outwit The Banker. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the games high stakes, the show has branched out into the iGaming industry. Providers like Paddy Power’s online bingo website offer a range of Deal or No Deal slots and bingo rooms, where players can access a hybrid game which merges elements of the classic casino vertical with the hit television show.


Source: Pexels

The Weakest Link

Presented by the purposefully condescending Anne Robinson (who served as the main attraction for some viewers) and initially narrated by the rather monotone Jon Briggs, the Weakest Link was a daytime television favourite for well over a decade. Since 2017, the show has been revived with celebrity and charity editions, and is now in the safe hands of celebrated comedian Romesh Ranganathan.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

For a while, the outcome of the previous evening’s instalment of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was the hot topic of conversation up and down the country. Hosted by Chris Tarrant, the quiz show saw contestants answer progressively more challenging questions in a bid to win (at the time) an unprecedented prize pot of £1m. The program was re-booted in 2018, but there is some ambiguity over its immediate future following an ITV announcement earlier this year.  

The U.S version of the show was also well-received, so much so that Disney World opted to construct a replica Who Wants to Be a Millionaire studio in its Orlando resort, inviting visitors to watch – and play – the iconic game.

streaming platforms

Source: Unsplash


If performing mental gymnastics on a Tuesday teatime is your idea of fun, then Countdown might just be the perfect game show for you. Although launched in 1982 (we know, eighteen years short of our cut-off), Countdown has continued to stage battles between mathematics & linguistics experts right up until the present day.

The program has had an extensive list of famous television personalities in its presenting chair, including Richard Whiteley, Des Lynam, Des O’Connor, Jeff Stelling and, for a short stint, the aforementioned Anne Robinson, whilst brain boxes Carol Vorderman, Suzie Dent, and Rachel Riley have also contributed immensely to Countdown’s remarkable success.    

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