Worst UK game shows of all time

For every success story like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and The Weakest Link there are always a number of rubbish game shows that are soon confined to the history books. So here’s a list of some of the worst game shows in the history of the UK.

Naked Jungle

Featuring a standard assault course format, Naked Jungle stands out from the crowd because all of the contestants were naked and uncensored. If that sounds like a cynical ratings grab, it’s because that’s what it was. And it worked too; the show was a one-off special on Channel 5 and it attracted an audience of over two million people, which was a record for the channel at the time. Choosing to host Naked Jungle is considered by Keith Chegwin to be the worst decision of his career; perhaps that tells us everything we need to know about it.

The Chair

Hosted by fiery tennis legend John McEnroe, the concept of The Chair was a basic multiple choice quiz. The twist came with the fact that the contestant’s heartrate was constantly monitored and if it moved above a certain threshold they only had a few seconds for it to return to normal or they would be eliminated. Someone should have informed the producers that human beings don’t actually have any functional control over their heartrate. The show was so bad that the US version saw 13 episodes recorded and only 9 of them were ever aired.

Golden Balls

The moral that was taught by Golden Balls was that selfishness is the best way to live. At the end of three rounds worth of gameplay in which contestants increased the total jackpot, the two final players were given the option to secretly vote. They could either vote to split or steal. If both players voted split, they would shared the money equally. If one voted steal and the other voted split, the steal voter would receive all of the money. If they both voted steal, they would both receive nothing. It made for compelling TV but it couldn’t help but reduce your faith in humanity.


Shafted was basically exactly the same as Golden Balls except with Robert Kilroy Silk as the presenter – that is to say, exponentially worse.

101 Ways To Leave A Gameshow

A show that was more to do with ridiculous ways for contestants to be eliminated than the actual gameplay itself. Most of the ways to suffer elimination were some variation on falling into a large pool of water. Only 33 ways to leave were ever revealed as the show was cancelled after just one series – not a moment too soon.

Ice Warriors

Effectively this was Gladiators but on an ice rink. No, really. The Ice Warriors sported names like ‘Marax the Vixen’ and ‘Taaraz the Renegade’ and dressed in obscure medieval garb – it’s not apparent who thought this was a good idea. There were a variety of games most of which were functionally a race over the ice. The show was a flop and ITV got rid of it after one series.

Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend

Anyone who holds a competition to decide on their best friend is rather missing the point of a best friend, don’t you think? After finding a best friend in America, Paris Hilton brought her show over to the UK. The competition was eventually won by Sam Hextall from Burgess Hill, although there were no reports that Paris had relocated to Sussex to be closer to her BFF.

Red or Black?

Reportedly the most expensive game show in the history of British TV, Red or Black? had a £15 million budget. That didn’t stop it from being dreadful. Effectively a simple game of chance, even the collaboration of Ant & Dec with Simon Cowell and a host of other celebrity guests could not save it from tedium. The show’s reputation was not helped by the fact that the first ever winner of the £1m jackpot, Nathan Hageman, was revealed to have a criminal record.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with market-leading audience response technology company CLiKAPAD, who were consulted over this post.

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