Tipping Point (game show)

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Tipping Point
Tipping Point game show title card.jpg
Genre Game show
Created by
Presented by Ben Shephard
Theme music composer Marc Sylvan
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series
    • 13 (Regular)
    • 9 (Lucky Stars)
    • 4 (Best Ever Finals)
No. of episodes
    • 1,525 (Regular; as of 8 March 2024)
    • 82 (Lucky Stars; as of 3 September 2023)
    • 11 (Specials; as of 26 December 2023)
    • 33 (Best Ever Finals; as of 15 March 2024)
Production
Running time60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company
    • RDF Television (2012–2015)
    • Fizz (2016–2024) [1]
    • Banijay UK (2024–present) [2]
Original release
Network ITV1
Release2 July 2012 (2012-07-02) 
present

Tipping Point is a British quiz show that is broadcast on the ITV network, with repeats also on W (part of UKTV) and Really (part of Warner Bros. Discovery). First airing on 2 July 2012, the programme is presented by Ben Shephard and features three players (four players in Series 1–11) answering questions on the subject of general knowledge to win counters which they use on a large coin pusher arcade-style machine. [3] [4] Only the winner at the end has a chance to take home any money; the others leave with nothing except any non-cash prizes they may have won during the game. [5]

Contents

Gameplay

The machine consists of two shelves filled with flat circular counters; the upper shelf slowly extends and retracts, whilst the lower one is stationary. The rear face of the machine is divided into four drop zones, each of which contains a pegboard similar to those found in pachinko machines. Contestants answer questions to win counters, then choose a drop zone and press their buzzer to release one counter at a time into that zone. The goal is to have the counters land flat on the upper shelf so that its retraction will cause them to push other counters over its front edge, leading them in turn to push still others off the lower shelf and into a collection trough referred to as the "win zone". Contestants win £50 for each counter that drops into the win zone during their turn. Any counters that bounce out of the machine and land on either the floor or the lip of the win zone during a turn are still credited toward that contestant's score.

Three "mystery counters" were introduced in Series 2, each labelled with a question mark. For each mystery counter that enters the win zone, the contestant in control of the machine wins a prize (e.g. monthly flower bouquets, weekend holiday) which is theirs to keep regardless of the game's final outcome. Two "double counters" were introduced in Series 5, each labelled "x2". If one double counter enters the win zone, all counters falling on that same drop are scored for double value (£100 each); if both double counters fall on the same drop, the total is quadrupled (£200 each). As of Series 9, the mystery and double counters are respectively coloured green and yellow to more easily distinguish them from the others in the machine. Typically, the game begins with one counter of each type on the lower shelf and the other ones on the upper shelf.

Counters that enter the win zone when the machine is not in play are "ambient drops" and are removed from the machine with no effect on scoring. If such a drop occurs after a contestant has chosen a drop zone but before they have pressed the buzzer to release a counter, they are given the option to play from that zone or select a different one. Any mystery or double counters that fall into the win zone as an ambient drop are put back in the machine as near as possible to the position they occupied before falling.

A "ghost drop" occurs when a counter drifts forward as it falls through a drop zone and its face makes contact with the clear plastic sheet covering the front of the zone. The resulting friction can greatly slow the counter or even stop its descent altogether for a very short period of time. Ghost drops, mistimed drops and unexpected bounces can lead to a counter landing on the upper shelf so that it partially overlaps or "rides" on others; such plays rarely trigger falls into the win zone and can adversely affect a contestant's turn.

In Series 1 to 11, with four contestants per episode, the lowest-scoring contestant at the end of each round is eliminated from the game and forfeits all their money. In the event of a tie for low score, a sudden-death toss-up is used to break the tie. A correct buzz-in answer allows the contestant to advance while a wrong answer eliminates them. If more than two contestants are tied for low score, the toss-ups continue until either one has been eliminated or all but one have advanced. As of Series 12, with three contestants per episode, eliminations occur only at the end of Rounds 2 and 3.

Contestants who are blind or visually-impaired are allowed to have a helper stationed backstage who can see the machine on a monitor and give advice through an audio earpiece as to where and when to play each counter. Contestants who are deaf or hearing-impaired are allowed to have an interpreter on stage who can interpret between spoken words and sign language. In both cases, the helper or interpreter may not assist in answering questions or take any other active role in the game. [6]

Round 1

Each contestant is given three counters at the outset. The host asks a series of toss-up general knowledge questions and the first contestant to buzz-in may answer. A correct answer allows the contestant to either play one of their own counters or force an opponent to play one instead, based on their judgement of how likely the machine is to pay out on that particular turn. Once a contestant has used all of their counters, they may not answer any more questions. When only one contestant has any counters remaining, they need not buzz-in, but must continue answering questions correctly in order to use their counters.

A contestant who gives a wrong answer or no answer at any time loses one counter, which is placed into a penalty pot. If this pot contains any counters by the end of the round, they are put at stake on one final toss-up open to all contestants. A correct answer awards all the counters, while a miss freezes the contestant out for a new question asked to the others. If no contestants miss any questions, the round ends once they have all used the three counters they were given.

Round 2

Each contestant answers 45 seconds [3] (30 seconds in Series 1 to 11) of rapid-fire general knowledge questions and receives a counter for each correct answer. Once the time is up, the contestant uses the counters they earned in an attempt to win more money. The contestant in the lead after Round 1 decides who will play first and then after the chosen contestant has finished their turn, the higher-scoring of the two remaining contestants decides who will play next. In case of a tie before their turn, the contestant who gave a correct answer in Round 1 first has priority.

Round 3

The two remaining contestants are asked six questions; three directed to each contestant alternately. After hearing the question, the contestant in control may either answer or pass to their opponent. The contestant who answered receives a counter for a correct answer, while their opponent receives one for a wrong answer. Each counter is used as soon as it is earned. The contestant in the lead after Round 2 decides who will have the first question. If the contestants are tied going into this round, the contestant who was leading at the beginning of Round 2 has priority.

Final

The last remaining contestant is given a jackpot counter (larger than the others used in the game and coloured gold with a red star) and chooses a zone from which to drop it into the machine. The goal of this round is to win a £10,000 jackpot by getting the counter into the win zone. In order to do so, the contestant must earn counters by answering one multiple-choice question from each of six categories in any order desired. Questions have three answer options and may be played for one, two or three counters, with higher-value questions being more difficult. The correct answer awards the chosen number of counters, which the contestant immediately plays into the machine.

Counters that enter the win zone during this round are worth £50 apiece, including any that fall during the initial playing of the jackpot counter. The mystery and double counters are still in effect. Once the jackpot counter is in the machine, ambient drops are not voided, but are added to the contestant's winnings; however, they are voided before the jackpot counter goes in and after the last category has been used. If the jackpot counter enters the win zone, the contestant's cash total is augmented to £10,000; as of Series 8, the jackpot is doubled to £20,000 or quadrupled to £40,000 if one or both double counters fall with the jackpot respectively.

If the contestant fails to win the jackpot after using up all six categories, they may either trade the accumulated money for three more counters or end the game at this point and keep all winnings. If the contestant trades, all the counters except the jackpot counter award no money and they forfeit all their winnings if it remains in the machine; however, the double and mystery counters remain in effect only if they fall with the jackpot. If the contestant ends the game and the jackpot counter is on the bottom shelf, they play the three additional counters to see if they would have been able to win the jackpot by trading.

Tipping Point: Lucky Stars and Specials

Title-card for Lucky Stars. Tipping Point Lucky Stars.png
Title-card for Lucky Stars.

A celebrity version under the title Tipping Point: Lucky Stars where celebrities are playing on behalf of a selected charity. In the celebrity version, each episode (except ones filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Soccer Aid Specials) has a live audience. The episodes are broadcast in a primetime slot.

The celebrity episodes feature some changes to the ordinary format:

  1. All cash values are doubled (normal and mystery counters are worth £100 and the jackpot is £20,000) (except for the Soccer Aid Specials).
  2. There are no double counters in the machine (except for the Soccer Aid Specials).
  3. Mystery counters award either a joke prize (e.g. a Tipping Point themed T-shirt, a Tipping Point themed backpack), a cash bonus or a question relevant to the contestant in control that allows them to play a bonus counter by giving the correct answer. In the Soccer Aid Specials, the prizes are donations to help people in need and the counters have the Soccer Aid logo on them instead of the question mark.
  4. The time limit in Round 2 is 30 seconds (except for the Soccer Aid Specials).
  5. The contestants who don’t make it to the Final still take home the money they have accumulated for their chosen charities and even if a contestant is eliminated with a total of £0, a donation is still made to their charity.
  6. In the Final, if the contestant takes the trade at the end but fails, their charity still receives £1,000.

Tipping Point: Best Ever Finals

Tipping Point: Best Ever Finals is a half hour spin-off that is shown at times when the Regular or Lucky Stars episodes are neither first broadcast nor repeated (e.g. during ITV Horse Racing coverage). The programme showcases the best and most dramatic finales from previous episodes of Regular Tipping Point and as of Series 2, they also included some dramatic finales from previous episodes of the primetime celebrity spin-off Tipping Point: Lucky Stars.

Transmissions

Regular

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodesNotes
12 July 201227 July 201220 [5] Debuted as one of the summer replacements of The Chase with the other being Don't Blow the Inheritance . On 2 July 2022, there was a repeat of Episode 1 for its 10 year anniversary. Series 1 did not take any breaks.
22 January 201326 February 201340First series to feature the mystery counters. Series 2 did not take any breaks.
320 May 20138 November 201370 [7] Series 3 took breaks on: 1 July–6 September and 28 October–1 November 2013.
417 February 201429 August 201470 [8] Series 4 took breaks on: 21 April, 28 April–6 June and 10 June–1 August 2014.
55 January 20154 December 2015125 [9] First series to feature the double counters. Series 5 took breaks on: 16–27 March, 4 May–4 September, 23–24 September, 1 October, 7 October, 16 October and 9–20 November 2015.
67 December 201521 October 2016150 [10] [11] Series 6 took breaks on: 21 December 2015–1 January and 23 May–26 August 2016.
72 January 201710 November 2017150 [10] Series 7 took breaks on: 20 January due to Donald Trump becoming US President, 14–17 March, 22 March, 6–7 April and 1 June–1 September 2017.
88 January 201817 May 2019165First series where the double counters double the jackpot as well as the last series to feature the black mystery and double counters. Series 8 took breaks on: 12–16 March, 9–13 April, 23 April due to the birth of Prince Louis of Cambridge, [12] 28 May–30 August and 10 December 2018–10 May 2019.
91 January 20199 December 2020165First series to feature the respective green and yellow mystery and double counters. Series 9 took breaks on: 12–15 March, 1–5 April, 13 May–30 August, 9 December 2019–31 August and 14 September–8 December 2020.
10 [13] 1 January 202012 March 2021165 [14] This series contained the show's 1,000th episode. [15] Series 10 took breaks on: 9–13 March, 23 March–11 September, 9–31 December 2020 and 20 January 2021 due to Joe Biden becoming US President.
1119 April 2021 [1] 1 June 2022165 [1] This series had 18 episodes filmed shortly before the first COVID-19 lockdown regulations took place. After lockdown, the filming production resumed with COVID-19 safety measures in place (including social for the host and contestants), which involved the other 147 episodes using a new setup (10 May 2021 was the start date for the “new setup” episodes). Last series to feature four contestants and to use the 30 second time limit in Round 2. This series started a week later than originally planned due to the death of Prince Philip. Series 11 took breaks on: 4 June–27 August, 2 September, 13–27 December 2021 and 14 March–27 May 2022.
12 [1] 11 April 2022TBA165First series to feature three contestants and to use the 45 second time limit in Round 2. [3] This series still used COVID-19 safety measures. [1] Series 12 took breaks on: 30 May–2 September, 6 September due to Liz Truss becoming UK Prime Minister, 9–19 September due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, 21 November–27 December 2022, 13 March–12 May, 2–5 June, 7–8 June, 12 June–25 August and 11 September 2023–present.
1317 April 2023TBA100Series 13 took breaks on: 15 May–8 September, 22 September, 23 October 2023–26 January and 11 March 2024–present. No episode on 22 September 2023 because of live coverage of the 2023 Rugby World Cup game between Argentina and Samoa which aired from 4:00 p.m. (4:45 p.m.) kickoff on that day.
142024TBA100

Lucky Stars

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodesNotes
19 June 201325 August 201312Series 1, 2 and 3 all did not take any breaks.
25 July 201423 August 20148
315 October 20163 December 20168
43 September 201729 October 20178Last series to feature the black mystery counters. Series 4 took breaks on: 8 October 2017.
57 July 201922 September 201911First series to feature the green mystery counters. Series 5 took breaks on: 1 September 2019.
613 September 202029 November 202012Series 6 did not take any breaks.
74 April 202116 May 20217This series was filmed with COVID-19 safety measures in place (including social distancing for the host and contestants and no audience). Series 7 did not take any breaks.
83 April 202224 July 20229This series still used COVID-19 safety measures. Series 8 took breaks on: 17 April, 29 May–3 July and 17 July 2022 due to Britain looking for a new prime minister.
916 July 2023TBA9Series 9 took breaks on: 6 August and 10 September 2023–present.

Specials

TitleFirst broadcastNotes
2014 Text Santa Special19 December 2014
2015 Text Santa Special25 December 2015
2018 Christmas Special29 December 2018
2019 Christmas Special25 December 2019
2020 Christmas Special24 December 2020This episode was filmed with COVID-19 safety measures in place (including social distancing for the host and contestants and no audience).
2021 Soccer Aid Special2 September 2021This episode still used COVID-19 safety measures.
2021 Christmas Special24 December 2021This episode still used COVID-19 safety measures.
2022 Soccer Aid Special9 June 2022
2022 Christmas Special17 December 2022
2023 Soccer Aid Special8 June 2023
2023 Christmas Special26 December 2023

Best Ever Finals

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodesNotes
112 March 201917 November 20195Series 1 took breaks on: 16 March–16 November 2019.
210 March 202014 June 202112First series to show finales from Lucky Stars. Series 2 took breaks on: 14 March 2020–19 January, 21 January–15 March, 20–27 March, 29 March–5 June and 7–13 June 2021.
315 March 202229 August 20228Series 3 took breaks on: 19 March–16 August and 20–28 August 2022.
414 March 202315 March 20248Series 4 took breaks on: 18 March 2023–11 March 2024.

International transmissions

International versions

Legend:

CountryLocal nameNetworkPresenterAirdate
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia [23] [21] Tipping Point Australia [22] Nine Network Todd Woodbridge 24 December 2023 (sneak peek) [24]
29 January 2024present [25]
Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus [26] Tipping Point Alpha TV Cyprus Tasos Tryfonos10 September 2023–present

Merchandise

The official Tipping Point app for iOS was released by Barnstorm Games on 30 March 2014. The Android version was later released on 3 April 2014. [27] An electronic board game based on the show was released in 2015 by John Adams under its Ideal Games brand. [28] [29] Another Tipping Point app was released in 2020 called Tipping Point Blast!

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