Fort Boyard (TV series)
|Created by||Jacques Antoine, Jean-Pierre Mitrecey, Pierre Launay|
Melinda Messenger (1998–2001)
Jodie Penfold (2003)
Patrice Laffont (French version, 1990–1999)
Jean-Pierre Castaldi (French version, 2000–2002)
Olivier Minne (French version, 2003–)
Leslie Grantham (1998–2001)
Christopher Ellison (2003)
Geoffrey Bayldon (1998–2001)
Tom Baker (2003)
|Theme music composer||Paul Koulak|
|Country of origin||France|
|No. of series||133 (in total, all countries up to 2012)
23 (French version)
5 (English version)
|No. of episodes||1,503 (overall total, all countries up to 2012)
265 (French version, at the end of 2012 season)
78 (English version)
|Running time||UK: 60 mins (inc. adverts)
95–110 mins (2010–)
60–120 mins (1990–2009)
|Production company(s)||Adventure Line Productions|
|Original channel||France 2 (France: since 1992)
Channel 5 (UK: 1998–2001)
Challenge (UK: 2003)
|Picture format||4:3 (1990–2007)
16:9 (most countries, 2008–)
|Original airing||French version:
7 July 1990 – present
16 October 1998 –
3 December 2003 (UK)
|Followed by||Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge|
|Related shows||The Crystal Maze (1990–1995)
The Desert Forges (2001)
|Official French Fort Boyard Website|
Fort Boyard is a French game show created by Jacques Antoine that was first broadcast in 1990 (as Les Clés de Fort Boyard, shortened for the second series in 1991) and is popular to this day. It has been re-made across the globe, successfully in many countries. Those include: Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and more recently in Algeria, Poland and Finland over a 20-year period.
Set and filmed on the real Fort Boyard in France, the programme appears similar to The Crystal Maze (which was created by Antoine for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom after Fort Boyard itself was unavailable to film in because of its then ongoing refurbishment). In both programmes the contestants have to complete challenges to win prize money. However, while The Crystal Maze varies the type of games quite considerably, Fort Boyard tends to focus mainly on physical and endurance challenges. Although Fort Boyard was something of a pioneer in the area of game show fear and adventure, later programmes such as Fear Factor have pushed things even further, requiring Fort Boyard to react and adapt with new twists and games, including a couple of seasons in which the contestants spent the night in the Fort (this was particularly popular in the French version).
UK Cast 
In the UK, two sets of presenters have been used for Fort Boyard. The first set appeared during the first four series of the show, which were broadcast by Channel 5, with the second appearing in the 2003 Challenge-aired fifth series.
The leading presenters of Fort Boyard on Channel 5 and Challenge were Melinda Messenger (series 1–4) and Jodie Penfold (series 5). Their roles were to give advice and support for the teams, commentate for the viewers, and match wits with Boyard, the "Master of the Fort".
The other characters in Fort Boyard are:
- Boyard (played by Leslie Grantham in series 1–4, Christopher Ellison in series 5) is the Master Of The Fort, who sets the challenges that the team must complete to win. In the UK versions of the show, he is portrayed as a selfish, commanding, and malevolent character who takes great pleasure in ensuring that fear and failure plague the contestants. Grantham portrayed these traits slightly more strongly, with Ellison sometimes showing sympathy, or even being generous to the contestants.
- The Professor (Geoffrey Bayldon, series 1–4) is an eccentric scientist who has become mad over the years as a result of being kept prisoner by Boyard in the 'Watch Tower'. His task is to ask the contestants riddles, which, if answered correctly, will give the team a key or clue word. Along with Captain Baker, he also talks to the contestants briefly before asking the riddles and to the viewers.
- Captain Baker (Tom Baker, series 5), the replacement for The Professor, is an insane sea captain held captive by Boyard.
Fort Boyard Cast 
There is also the resident Fort Boyard cast, who first appeared in the French version, and were subsequently featured in most of the other international formats, including the original UK versions, however these were all excluded for Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge:
- Jacques and Jules (André Bouchet and Alain Prévost respectively) are two dwarves who lead the team through the Fort to the next challenge. Deni (Anthony Laborde) replaces Jules later in the show. The three are called Passe-Partout, Passe-Temps, and Passe-Muraille respectively in the French version. Jacques (Passe-Partout) is also responsible for locking the contestants in the cells of the Fort if they fail to get out within the time limit whilst Jules (Passe-Temps), in later series, Demi (Passe-Muraille) take contestants to the 'The Watch Tower'.
- Monique (Monique d`Angeon) turns a statue shaped as a tiger's head to release the gold or close the gate in the 'Treasure Room'. She is called Felindra in the French version and was absent in 1998 and 2006, replaced by Kareen (Thierry's daughter). In the first UK series (1998), the unnamed Tiger Master (Thierry Le Portier) performs this role. He is called Major in the French version.
- La Boule (Yves Marchesseau) bangs the gong to indicate the start and end of time and locks the contestants in cages when they fail to get out of challenge rooms in time.
Famous contestants 
UK series 
Series 3 aired two celebrity editions of Fort Boyard following the success of the 1999 special; broadcast on 5 January and 25 August 2001, one edition featured Rhodri Williams, Lisa Rogers, "Handy" Andy Kane, Tricia Penrose and Phil Gayle as the contestants. Rhodri was the team captain and the team won £14,350 for charity.
Another celebrity edition aired at the end of series four (episode 14) in 2001 featuring Sally Gray, Scott Wright, Nell McAndrew, Keith Duffy and Tris Payne. Sally Gray was the team captain and the team won £10,130 for charity. Episode 4 of series 4, on 13 October 2001, was a special featuring contestants from The Mole.
Celebrity editions were also broadcast during the 2003 series by Challenge. It featured Doug Williams, Nikita (now stars in TNA), Paul Birchall, James Tighe, and Sweet Saraya, all of whom were wrestling stars from British promotion FWA. Doug Williams captained the team. Other celebrities appearing in series 5 included Tim Vine and Craig Phillips, Big Brother 2000 winner. The team won £1,860 for charity, which was topped up by a further £5,000 because Tim Vine accepted a challenge to tell 10 jokes in one minute.
Other series 
Since 1993, teams on the French version of the show consist entirely of celebrities. These include: cyclist Laurent Fignon, figure skating champion Brian Joubert (appearing in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013), Djibril Cissé, R&B singer Leslie, Tony Parker, and Eva Longoria in 2009 and many others. However, in 2010 the formula was dramatically changed and the squads, of four members each, did not consist of any celebrities. The "duel" format was used that year. The celebrities returned in 2011 playing for charity.
In most series of the Danish version, teams have consisted entirely of celebrities. In the 2010 and 2012 series of the Finnish version, team members were celebrities. Most (or all) games of the Russian series consisted of famous Russian singers, actors, TV presenters and sportsmen.
In the 2013 Canadian version, it will consist of 24 participants in total, 12 artistic personalities ("celebrities") and 12 members of the public, divided into six teams of four equally.
In the Argentine version of the show, aired in 1999 and 2000, a celebrity joined the other 4 people to help them on their challenges.
Fort Boyard around the world 
Fort Boyard is a French game show first broadcast in 1990; but the fort is also used by television stations from other countries in order to produce their own versions of the show. Foreign versions of the show can last between 22 and 80 minutes, depending on the country and format used. In total, 29 foreign versions of the show have broadcast around the world since 1990.
List of national presenters 
The following table is of presenters (known as facilitators in some countries) of Fort Boyard. Current hosts (as of 2012/13) are in bold font.
|Algeria||Mohamed Reda & Samira Zitouni|
|Argentina||Julián Weich & Araceli Gonzalez|
|Armenia||Tina Kandelaki & Ruben Jaghinyan|
|Balkins||Philippe Leray (general)|
|Belgium||Hans Schiffers & Alexandra Potvin (1992) ;
Dagmar Liekens & Chris Van den Durpel (1999–2000) ;
Jean-Michel Zecca & Sandrine Dans (2006–07)
|Bulgaria||Dimitar Pavlov (2007–08);
Мосю Рошел (2009)
|Canada (Québec)||Guy Richer & France Beaudoin (1993);
Guy Mongrain (1994–2001) & Marie-Soleil Tougas (1994–97) / Sylvie Bernier (1998–2001);
Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge & Dave Morissette (2013)
|Denmark||Thomas Mygind (1993–2000) & Camilla Sachs Bostrup (1993–95) / Kamilla Gregersen (1995–97) / Camilla Ottesen (1997–2000);
Camilla Ottesen & Peter Schmeichel (2009–2010)
|Finland||Merja Larivaara & Kari-Pekka Toivonen (2010);
Ellen Jokikunnas & Ivan Puopolo (2012)
|France||Patrice Laffont (1990–99) & Marie Talon (1990, first 9 emissions) / Sophie Davant (1990–91) / Valérie Pascal (1992) / Cendrine Dominguez (1993–99);
Jean-Pierre Castaldi & Cendrine Dominguez (2000–02);
Olivier Minne (2003–present) & Sarah Lelouch (2003–05) / Anne-Gaëlle Riccio (2006–09)
|Germany||Reiner Schöne & Rita Werner (1990);
Steven Gätjen, Alexander Mazza & Sonya Kraus (2000–01);
Andrea Kaiser & Alexander Wesselsky (2010)
|Greece||Christos Ferentinos & Orthoula Papadakou|
|Hungary||Vizy Andras & Demcsák Zsuzsa|
|Israel||Aki Avni & Sigal Shachmon|
|Italy||Unknown (1991 pilot)|
|Lebanon||2 hosts Unknown (2002–03)|
|Netherlands||Bas Westerweel & Ria Visser (1991);
Hans Schiffers & Alexandra Potvin (1992);
Gerard Ekdom (2011–present) & Lauren Verster (2012–present) / Art Rooijakkers (2011)
|Norway||Jon Michelet & Lise Nilssen (1993);
Steffen Tangstad (1994);
Nils Ole Oftebro (1995–96 & 1999–2000) / Elisa Røtterud (2000);
Daniel Franck (2010–11) & Jenny Skavlan (2010) / Henriette Lien (2011)
|Poland||Robert Gonera & Katarzyna Glinka|
|Russia||Leonid Parfenov & Yelena Khanga (1998);
Sergey Brilev & Yanina Batyrchina (2002);
Leonid Yarmolnik & Oksana Fedorova (2003–04);
Leonid Yarmolnik & Ekaterina Konovalova (episode 1) / Elena Korikova (episode 2) (2006);
Nikolai Valuev & Anna Ardov (2012)
|Serbia||Иван Јевтовић (English: Ivan Jevtovic)|
|Slovakia||Stano Pavlik & Andy Gregor Timková|
|South Korea||Nam Hee Suk & Lee Hyori|
|Spain||Paula Vazquez & Félix Álvarez|
|Sweden||Erik Blix & Anne Barlind (1990);
Gunde Svan (1992–98, 2010–present) & Agneta Sjödin (1992–94, 1998, 2010–present) / Kayo Shekoni (1995–97);
Gry Forssell & Henrik Johnsson (Spring 2000);
Håkan Södergren & Linda Nyberg (Autumn 2000);
Hans Fahlén & Kristin Kaspersen (2003–04)
|Turkey||Yosi Mizrahl & Jancet Paçal (2000);
Evrim Akın (2007–08)
|Ukraine||Grigory Glady & Vita Smatcheliouk|
|United Kingdom||see 'UK Cast' section above|
|United States||Chris Berman & Cathy Lee Crosby (1991 pilot)|
Production history 
Each year, several issues (episodes) are recorded from May to July (or August in 2000; due to a large number of countries attending) for various television networks around the world, mostly in Europe.
Italy have only ever made a pilot for Fort Boyard back in 1991.
Returns to the fort 
The United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden returned in 2011 to film new series' of the show. That same year, the Netherlands also returned after a 10-year absence. These have all adapted to the new "duel" version.
Finland and Russia returned in 2012, after a break of one and five years respectively. Canada will return to the fort in 2013, after an absence of 12 years since the last season was recorded in 2000 (broadcast in 2001) and will produce their first "duel" version of the show.
Belgium, Denmark & Germany returned in recent years for a new series, but did not in 2011 or 2012. Armenia and Bulgaria (as a solo nation) in 2009 and Finland in 2010, joined to produce their own versions. Bulgaria previously took part in a Balkans tri-nations version during 2007 & 2008, with former participant Turkey (who last filmed a single-team version in 2000).
Currently, the year 2000 contained the most episodes filmed of any year (123 for eleven countries). To date, 2005 has the least (26), with just the French and Greek versions attending.
Here are the numbers (French version included):
- Overall number of episodes filmed since 1990 = 1,503 (at the end of 2012 filming)
- Overall number of French episodes filmed = 265 (in 23 seasons)
Productions for 2013 
- Canada (Québec) – 1993–2000, 2013
- France – 1990 – present (23rd season)
- Russia – 1998, 2002–2004, 2006, 2012, 2013
- United Kingdom – 1998–2001, 2003, 2011 (Joint production with US), UK only: 2012, 2013
Productions for 2012 
- Finland – 2010, 2012
- Netherlands – 1990, 1991 (Joint production with Belgium), 2011, 2012
- Russia – 1998, 2002–2004, 2006, 2012
- Sweden – 1990, 1992–1997, 1999–2000, 2003–2004, 2010–2012
2012 filming dates 
|#||Country||Local title||Format||Start Date||End Date||Episodes||Premiere/Air Dates|
|1||France||Fort Boyard||1 Team||May 25||June 8||11^||7 July–1 September 2012 (Summer run)|
|2||Sweden||Fångarna på fortet
(Prisoners of the fortress)
|Duel||June 11||June 19||12||24 August–9 November 2012 (first half)
16 March – 20 April 2013 (second half)
|3||The Netherlands||Fort Boyard||June 21||June 25||10||3 September–5 November 2012|
|4||Finland||Fort Boyard - Linnake||June ??||July ?||10||9 March 2013|
|5||France||Prince of Lu||Special||July 6||July 6||2||N/A|
|6||UK||Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge||Duel||July 7||July 14||10||8 December 2012 (UK),
Early 2013 (USA)
|7||Russia||Форт Боярд||July 16||July 21||10||16 February 2013|
In total, 65 episodes were produced worldwide in 2012.
^ The French series aired eight summer editions, followed by three night-time specials (for the first time since 1997); one at Halloween and two further were broadcast on 22/29 December 2012.
Productions for 2011 
- Algeria – 2006, 2008–2011
- Norway – 1993–1996, 1999–2000, 2010–2011
- United States – 1991 (only a pilot was made for ABC), 2011 (Joint production with UK)
2011 filming dates 
|#||Country||Local title||Format||Start Date||End Date||Episodes||Premiere/Air Dates|
|1||France||Fort Boyard||1 Team||May 30||June 3||7||2 July–20 August 2011|
|2||Sweden||Fångarna på fortet||Duel||June 6||June 14||12||23 August–22 October 2011|
|3||Norway||Fangene på fortet
(The prisoners at the fort)
|June 16||June 28||20||15–28 August 2011|
|4||Algeria||Bordj El Abtal
|1 Team||June 30||July 5||13||31 March 2012|
|5||France||Prince of Lu||Special||July 7||July 7||2||N/A|
|6||USA and UK||Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge||Duel||July 9||July 15||20||17 October 2011 (USA),
1 January 2012 (UK)
|7||The Netherlands||Fort Boyard||July 18||July 22||10||5 September 2011|
In total, 84 episodes were produced worldwide in 2011.
Past productions 1990–2010 
Each year below donates to a series/season of Fort Boyard.
- Argentina – 1999, 2000
- Armenia – 2009
- Belgium (Flanders) – 1991 (Joint production with the Netherlands), 1999–2000
- Belgium (Wallonia) – 2006–2007
- Balkans (joint production of Bulgaria, Serbia & Turkey) – 2007, 2008
- Bulgaria – 2009
- Denmark – 1993–1997, 1999–2000, 2009–2010
- Germany – 1990, 2000–2001, 2010
- Georgia – 2004
- Greece – 2004–2008
- Hungary – 2000
- Israel – 1998, 1999
- Italy – 1991 (only a pilot was made)
- Lebanon – 2002, 2003
- Poland – 2008
- Slovakia – 1998, 1999
- South Korea – 2003
- Spain – 2001
- Switzerland – 1995
- Turkey – 2000
- Ukraine – 2004
Some countries, such as The Czech Republic, aired the original French version dubbed as opposed to producing their own. Poland, Finland (subtitled), Ukraine and Russia also did this before producing their own versions in later years.
Fort Boyard’s format varies from country to country, but the basics are the same. A team of friends enter the Fort with the intention of winning Boyard’s gold. To do this, the contestants have to successfully complete a series of challenges set by Boyard himself.
The first thing done in the game is the sounding of the Fort’s gong by French character ‘La Boule’. Once the gong sounds the game time begins ticking down. In the UK version the game lasted for 40 minutes, in the French version 60 to 120 minutes, depending on the year. As of 2012/13, most countries use the show's new "duel" version, except the French.
The show's original format is outlined in the following sections, starting with 'Phase One'.
Phase One 
The first set of challenges the contestants have to complete is to win a certain number of keys (in series 1–4 of the UK version four keys were needed, whereas five were need in series 5; five were needed in the Canadian version, and seven in the French, Swedish, and Danish versions). These keys, once won, are used to open the gate to the Treasure Room, a central room in the Fort where the gold is held.
The challenges that are set to win the keys are located in small cells around the Fort, with small water-timers (a Clepsydre) outside to give the contestant a time limit (around 2–3 minutes, depending on the game) to complete it; in the UK version, Boyard would start the timer upon saying to a contestant that "their time starts now", whereas in the 5th series, Boyard would start it after telling Jacques to open the door of a challenge room. If a contestant fails to leave the challenge room before the time runs out, he or she is locked in and then shortly after taken away to a cage (by La Boule) meaning they are not allowed to continue with the rest of the key games and must stay there until then end of Phase One. In the UK's 4th series, La Boule would give the contestant a large bunch of rusty keys. One of these keys would unlock the cage allowing the contestant to re-join the team.
During this phase of the game, one contestant goes up to the Watch Tower to win an additional key for the team (see below). This could be done twice.
Once the contestants reach the end of Phase One, usually towards the end of their game time, there is a trip to the Treasure Room with all of the keys that they have won so far. If they have enough to unlock the Treasure Room Door then the keys are entered and the gate is unlocked. However, it does not open until later in the show.
If they are short of keys to open the gate then team members are 'sacrificed' for keys, one team member for each key short. The 'sacrificed' contestants are then placed in an underground cell and locked in. These team members remain for the rest of the game, and are therefore unable to contribute any more for the team.
If the team has more keys than necessary to unlock the gate then any extra keys gained can be swapped for free clue words to assist the team in the next phase of the game.
Note: Most of these games are listed by their Ultimate Challenge names.
Phase One challenges 
From 1990 to 2012, there were 180 different events (key games). The name of the game may change from country-country; but the game itself remains the same (some of these names are official as of Ultimate Challenge).
Note: This is NOT the full list of games that have been played. The years below are for when the game was played or last present at the fort, in the French version or Ultimate Challenge (some games are present but not played every year). A full list of games can be found here.
Here is a selection of some of these challenges:
Arm Wrestling (1990–2009): The contestant has to arm wrestle against the strongman, whilst trying to grab the key, which is in a little box, with the other hand. Between their hands is a lever, so as the contestant pushes the strongman's arm down, the key is lowered so it becomes accessible to grab.
Asylum (2001–2006): Upon entry, the contestant notes that the key is trapped in a metal shaft. He or she then pulls a lever, which raises the key on this axis, but the lever moves to the other side of the partition that separates the cell into two. The contestant must then pass to the other side of this through a padded door rocker, the latter operating in the strength of the shoulders by throwing themeselves on the top to push it over. Once on the other side, he or she can once again operate the lever, which will again raise the key further. After several trips, the key is released from its axis and the contestant can finally collect the key and exit the cell.
Pyramid (2007–2012): In the center of the cell is a pole placed on a pyramid base. The pyramid is filled with weighted bags connected to the pole, which also lies the key underneath them. To remove the key, the contestant has to climb the pyramid and remove each bag one at a time in order. The key is also attached to the pole.
Ball Surfing (1998–2002): To release the key the contestant has to get one ball into the bucket at the end of the runway, four sections of which are not in position. Contestants stand on a surfboard, which swivels these sections, but if they don't move quickly enough to line up the next section in time, the ball drops to the ground, so they have to start again.
Barrel (2006–2010): To reach the door of the safe containing the key, contestants are required to move through two partitions using a giant barrel. These partitions have the fingerprints of the barrel. Contestants must have the barrel and insert it into the wall. But the cylinder has three sets of rods. So it must be run each time to find the right position to move it into the wall. After passing through the two walls, the door is safe to be opened with the same barrel and the same technique as for partitions. If they can open the door, they can get the key and exit the cell, going back through the walls, but without the barrel.
Barrel Maze (1999–2004): The player must move a barrel from one end of a maze to the other where the key is locked in a vice. On the barrel is a tool which releases the key. The maze consists of 20 barrels, including one that cannot move, and these barrels must be moved so that the key can be freed.
Barrel Walk (2002–2010): The contestant enters a cell decorated like a wine cellar. The key is at the bottom of the cell, hanging from the ceiling. To get it, the contestant must pass through the cell while walking on a barrel lying on the ground and keeping balance by using a rope attached to a ceiling track. If he or she loses control of the barrel, the contestant can drop from the rope and put the barrel in the right direction, but doing this means the rope will reset back to the beginning of the track. Obstacles on the ground include bottle caps and large ropes. Also, a metal curled wire runs across the cell, near the end of the track, to make the game more difficult. Contestants have sometimes injured themselves when jumping from the barrel to reach the key hanging above.
The Barrier (2000–2001): Inside the room the key is locked in a perspex cube which is easily opened, but when it is tampered with a door comes down blocking the exit. To get out, the contestant has to remove the boxes which make up the barrier until there's a hole big enough to get out of.
Board (2001–2002): The contestant has to walk along the board (similar to a surfboard) to the end and collect the key hanging from above.
Boiler Room (1996–2012): The contestant is handcuffed to a pipeline which runs around the cell. He or she has to guide the cuffs along the pipes, navigating through valves and so on which screw off, to the end where they can grab the key and exit the cell. In Ultimate Challenge, the player is not handcuffed to the pipeline; instead, they move the key which is attached to a chain through the pipe maze until they reach the exit. An additional version, Cold Room, was created in 2012 where the contestant must guide the cuffs along a pipeline underwater.
Bungee Web (1996–2000): The contestant jumps into a revolving web made up of a series of bungee cords and must cross to the end to retrieve a tool. This device is then used to access the key half way back along the bungee web. This last stage is the hardest because, as the web revolves, the player must release the key, which is going from below to above the player very quickly. As a consequence, some players have been locked in due to running out of time.
Buzz Off! (1998): The contestant has to carry a heavy machine that vibrates violently along the wire without touching it, just like in the classic game. Jaba the Pirate stands in the background trying his best to distract the player. If he or she successfully gets it to the end of the wire, the key is released.
Candy Roll (1993–2012): The contestant must get across a series of variously sized rolling cylinders to get to the key. Also known as "Cylinders". Gets its Ultimate Challenge name as the cylinders are painted to resemble pieces of candy. Contestants fail more often than they succeed at this.
Cannonball Seesaw (1996–2000, 2010–2012): In this simple yet rare challenge, the contestant must bounce cannonballs of various weights into differently sized barrels by jumping on a device similar to a seesaw. A similar game returned in the French 2010 duel format and in other duel versions.
Capstan (1994–2007): One test where the contestant faces the 'Strong Man'. In the cell is a capstan (a tool used by sailors on the boats to wind the rope). Each of the two must push the bar in the same direction to another, which requires a real show of strength and force. The contestant must push the bar all the way to the catch, in order to retrieve the key that is in the axis of the capstan.
Cotton Bales (2003–2012): A cargo net in the center of the room is filled with bales marked with cities and other destinations and a box containing a slip of paper naming a destination. The contestant must go to the bottom of the cargo net, find the sheet of paper, and then find the corresponding cotton bale which may contain either another destination or the key. However, once the contestant enters the room, a gate locks shut behind them that can only be unlocked with the key; if the contestant does not acquire the key and exit the cell within the time limit, they are automatically locked in. The test was done with the rules of the red hourglass in French 2003 version (beyond the time of the hourglass, the contestant is not a prisoner but time is deducted from the overall timer).
Crazy Billiards (2009–2010): The contestant enters the room and finds a pool cue. They must shoot a ball on a tilted billiards table into three targets on the opposite side, to release the key in a tube. The catch is that the cage and the holes are moving constantly.
The Descending Rope (1998–2011): The player must climb a rope and guide the key through a maze, but the trouble is that the rope descends as the contestant tries to go up it. In 1998, the key was in one of four tubes suspended from the ceiling. The contestant had to unscrew the bottom of the tubes to access the key.
Dolphin (2000–2010): The player, secured to a rope, has to follow the rope through an obstacle course requiring them to climb over and under a series of bars to grab a key and return the same way. The rope has just enough slack to allow the contestant to move through the course, but, if the key is dropped, it can't be retrieved.
Excalibur (1991–2012): The mighty sword is stuck is a wooden stump. The contender has to pull the sword out, and then use the sword to cut a rope on which the key is attached. The cutting is actually the harder part, due to the relative bluntness of the sword, and it is at this point that people usually fail the game.
The Fan (1995–1999): The two strongest contestants are sent into a room, at the end of which is a giant fan. They have to slot a perspex cover in front of it to stop the fan and release the key. As the fan is so loud the contestants are unable to hear anything; a red light goes on when there are 10 seconds left to get out.
Giant Chopsticks (2000–2012): The two contestants must transport a vase/bucket using two giant chopsticks through a course to the basket at the end, which is very difficult. If they drop the object, they must return to the start and try again. At the end of the course are two empty baskets; when both baskets are filled the key is released. Previously, three objects where needed in the baskets in order to win the key; this was later changed due to its difficulty and to make the game easier. Despite that, it has rarely been won in many versions of the show.
Giant Loom (2001–2012): The contestant transports corn in a holey bucket from a barrel to a pair of scales. The corn must weigh down one side of the scales to lift the key which is on the other side. Inside the room are chickens. In later series, the chickens were replaced with having the contestant step through a giant loom, hence its Ultimate Challenge name.
Hanging Tough (1990–2012): The contestant(s) must first climb to one of two strings hanging from the ceiling. These strings are found to have a bracket with a foot hole. The contestant must advance by using these two brackets by detaching the rope from a ceiling hook and putting into the next hook (and so on) to get to the end of the course and collect the key. To save time, it is advisable that the contestant(s) leaves their feet in the stirrups. This game is also played as a duel with two tracks on the ceiling.
Infernal Ladder (1993–2012): The contender has to hook the metal bars into slots in the wall and ceiling to climb the overhang and reach the key. However, there are only two bars at the bottom, with another two hanging down, so the bars have to be re-used. This game will not be visible in France in 2012. The cell 110 is occupied by the authority allowing operation of high-tech tests (Interactive Cell, Visual Enigma etc.). This game is also played as a duel with two tracks.
Interactive Cell (2011–2012): The contestant enters a room to participate in a touch-screen-based computerized challenge introduced by a new resident of the fort, Luciole. These challenges vary from mazes to memory puzzles.
The Library (1997–2000): When the player enters the room, the door is automatically locked. The only way out is to get the key. Fake books must be piled up, allowing the contestant to reach a lever to release the key and open the door again. This challenge was only featured on the show for a brief period due to the difficulty, but mostly because contestants often tried to stand on an unstable table for height, which was dangerous.
The Magician (1990–2012): The contestant(s) faces the 'Magician of the Fort' in a simple but difficult game. A small key is under one of three cups he has available on the table, he turns and moves the cups with his talents as a manipulator. The contestant must find what cup the key is inside. There are three small keys in total, each key opens a padlock. When the three locks are open, the real key can be collected.
Mission Impossible (1996–2012): The contestant climbs a ladder and enters the cell via its window. Inside are a number of obstacles, such as ladders and nets, which the contestant must climb over to get to the key. If the floor is touched an alarm goes off; the contestant automatically loses and is taken away to the cages. The key is in a locked cylinder which is opened using a tool given to the contestant at the beginning. The contestant must leave out the window, still not touching the floor. Some players have dropped the key or the tool or even knocked pieces of the scenery loose, resulting in a lock-in.
Mousetrap (2001–2005): Two candidates enter the cell, a man and a woman usually. They are left with a mousetrap. The one contestant sits in the cage of the trap while the other will raise the cage using arm strength. To raise the cage, the contestant must remove a plug on one side of the trap so that his/her teammate can elevate the cage up a notch. To lock the cage, he or she only has to insert the plug into the new hole. This is than repeated on the other side of the cage. By doing this, the cage will rise gradually. Once at the top of the mousetrap, the contestant can pass their hand through the cage (which contains rats/mice in some versions) to unhook the key. To exit, he or she can exit through a door at the top with some help. But if the cage is not brought to the top before the end of the hourglass, the contestant can not exit and will remain a prisoner inside the mousetrap.
Mr. Chan (2007–2009): Mr. Chan replaced the Monkey Bridge in 2007. Mr. Chan chooses someone to be a "sacrifice". Mr. Chan will then show a tangram puzzle which another chosen team member must replicate in a box full of creatures. About halfway through the challenge, Mr. Chan will give a hint. When the time runs out, Mr. Chan does a jump and the sacrifice becomes a prisoner. It has only had 2 wins out of 20, with no teams winning in 2008. He returned in 2009 with a new style of game, involving completing a pattern while the template rotates. 2 teams won in 2009, making the running total 4 wins out of 30.
Mud Wrestler (1990–2006, 2011–2012): A female contestant takes on a strong woman, who wrestles her in the mud. The contestant must reach the key, which hangs from the ceiling at the other end of the room.
Neon Water (1999–2005): The contestant has to fill up a long tube with green neon water which lies just by the cell's entrance. They must then carry the water through an obstacle course and fill up three cylinders with the luminous liquid. The player has to cover up both ends of the tube so that little water is lost.
Net-Ball (2004–2010): A net inclined at 45° occupies substantially the entire length of the cell. Upon entering, the contestant grasps a ball under the net he or she will have to bring up this thread evolving on it, passing the arms through to hold the ball and advance it. If the contestant drops the ball, it will return to the starting point and will have to start again. At the top, he or she passes the ball into a hole, then it will roll down the path and release the key near the exit. In some years, the key was required to exit the cell.
Coffee Grinder (2012): Before entering the cell, the contestant receives a pierced shovel grain. At the bottom of the cell is a coffee grinder. To make it work, the contestant must insert coffee beans in the container. The grains are in bags located on the other side of the room near the entrance. With the shovel, the contestant must take the grain to go pour into the machine whilst the floor below the machine is spinning violently to make the game more difficult. After at least five round trips, depending on the amount of grain brought into the machine. If the contestant manages to put enough grain in the machine, a green light will start flashing. It tells the contestant he/she should press the red button on the machine, so to pour the coffee into the cup. This action automatically pushes up the key in the pipe and makes it accessible.
Planetarium (2006–2009): The contestant enters the cell via a corridor down to recover from his head in his hands and into the openings of a large circular plate in permanent rotation. On this plateau, several balls of different colors and sizes. The contestant must return one of the balls (red) which is smaller than the others, into the hole provided for this purpose, by tilting the pan in all directions. If the contestant succeeds, the fall of the red ball triggers a system and the key is released near the exit door of the cell.
Pole Position (2005–2012): A male and two female contestants enter the room. On the ceiling are the numbers 1–9 with poles attached to them. The contestants must climb the poles to find the red buttons near the correct 3 numbers. Then they must all push the buttons in unison to fry the string holding the key in a box near the entrance. Note: This game is still on the fort but was not played during the 2011 French series.
Pots of Fear (1990–2012): There is a long row of large jars in one of the Fort's cells. The contestant has to feel inside each jar, which contains things such as worms and rats, until the key is found.
Powder Keg (1992–1995, 2011–2012): In this test is a cell with a bass drum, a contestant must get on it standing to reach a transparent maze hung up high, in which lies the key inside. To successfully recover the key, he/she must move it toward the exit of this maze using the two long hooks provided. But to destabilize the contestant, boxes explode in the cell around them. When 10 seconds remain, the bass drum the contestant is standing on explodes, quickly promting them to exit the cell. From 1992–1995, it was a puzzle with iron rods entwined in one another.
Power Pedal (2000–2012): The contestant has to pedal a handbike overhead across the cell to push the key along. The key is only accessed if the handbike reaches the end and the key falls to the floor.
Power Pull (1990–2012): Hanging at the bottom of a rope out the cell window are some weights, and the key. The contestant has to pull on the rope until the rope locks into the pulley. Then the contestant must climb out of the window into a cage on the side of the Fort, and reach out for the key.
Punch Ball (2007–2012): The contestant is equipped with boxing gloves. The contestant then enters the cell and mounts a small boxing ring, which is equipped with a treadmill. The contestant must hit a punching bag, in order to hit the target behind and must keep up with the treadmill. With the more punches the target receives, the key will come down lower and lower until it's released and can be collected. The contestant must be careful not to get hit in his face by the punching bag.
Red Alert (2012): The contestant has to traverse a corridor of red wires without touching them to retrieve a key at the end. The key is located on a stand protected by glass box, which lowers each time a wire is touched. If the wires are triggered, the key becomes more and more inaccessible and, ultimately, can cause the player to be locked in (a gate at the entrance will shut if the wires are triggered five times or more). Once the contestant has the key, they can exit the cell via a different corridor running alongside (marked "Exit"). This test is a modern version of Topkapi, present on the fort between 1990–1993.
Rock The Boat (1997, 2011–2012): This challenge manifested itself in two incarnations. In 2011, it consisted of a contestant having to guide a container containing the key along a rope through obstacles in a violently shaking room; in 1997 and 2012, however, the contestant must instead search for the key in the cabin.
Running Water (1995–2012): Above a treadmill, hanging on the ceiling, are a series of buckets containing water. The contestant has to jog on the treadmill, lift down the buckets and pour the water into a tube. This tube leads into another, so that the key is pushed upwards by the water.
Sand Boxes (1999–2003): A contestant enters a chamber that is full of sand, with wooden bars blocking the way. The contestant must slide under holes in the bottom of the bars. The contestant must then use boxes (also pushed under the holes) to reach the key. In the later series with Jodie Penfold, the rooms included snakes and spiders with the sand.
Saw (1999–2000): Two male contestants enter the cell. The key here is locked into a timber block that they will have to cut, using a 2-way saw provided, in order to release the key. The saw is suspended from the ceiling and is weighed down by two 40 kilo counterweights, which makes handling it very difficult. They must push/ride the saw into the timber in a "see-saw" like motion in order to cut the timber successfully.
Shrinking Room (1992–2012): On the ceiling of the room are many keys. The contestant has to use these keys to try to open a wooden box which has three locks on it. Each lock requires a different key. The drawback is that the ceiling is continually lowering. This game is rarely completed as the players often forget to try each key for each lock, or lose concentration due to fear of the shrinking room. As of 2011, this game is played for a clue and also features a large snake and a smaller number of keys, but the keys have to be guided along tracks running on the ceiling to free them.
Sliding Wall (1990–2005): The contestant has to simply slide down or climb up the wall, collect the key, and climb back up, using the hand/foot grips or side wall, or slide down to exit the cell. This game is very difficult and usually resulted in a lock in. The test was done with the rules of the red hourglass in the French 2003 version (beyond the time of the hourglass, the contestant is not a prisoner but time is deducted from the overall game time).
Slot Machine (2008–2012): In the room is a spinning, square-shaped tube on the right mechanism on the left. The contestant must go through the tube, pick up the plates, go back through the tube, and slide them through the mechanism which causes plates on the other end of the tube to come out. This must be repeated until the key is found. A similar game called Drawers was present on the fort between 2000–2002.
Sucking Key (2001–2010): The key is attached to a string inside a narrow chamber. A contestant is locked into stocks, and must use only his or her head to pull the key through the chamber and into a tunnel, where the other contestants collect it. The chamber is full of creatures such as scorpions, spiders, maggots and millipedes. If they fail to get the key, they therefore cannot be released and are then a prisoner.
Swaying Rock Wall (2009–2010): The key is rotating on a fan on the ceiling of the room. Against the wall is a wedge-shaped rock wall that the contestant must climb. The catch is that the rock wall sways freely and if the contestant loses his or her balance, the wall will fall to one side, usually knocking the contestant off and requiring him or her to start again.
Tension Bridge (2006, 2011): This challenge has the format of a duel. A contestant competes against a gymnast, and must move along a rope bridge, grab a sack with a key attached, and move back along the bridge. Then, using the key, the contestant must unlock a box and retrieve a code before the gymnast destroys it. The code will enable the team to retrieve the key.
Terror Walk (1995–2012): The contestant climbs through the cell window where, on the outside wall of the Fort, there is a row of very thin ledges. The player has to climb along these to the next window, grab the key, and shuffle back again. This game is also played as a duel in Ultimate Challenge.
Thief (1990–2000): The contestant is placed on one side of the table, on the other side there is the 'Fort Wizard'. On the table there is a white circle drawn and two handprints. The contestant must place his hands on the prints, while the magician places the key on the circle. But the key is hanging on a ribbon held by the magician. The contestant should therefore try to catch the key before the magician pulls. There are two locations on the table that the Wizard uses randomly during the test. When the contestant gets the key, they can exit the cell.
Tiger Fishing (2009–2011): The contestant is given a fishing pole and must climb atop a cage of tigers and hook a key, pull it out of the holder, and retrieve it. Unfortunately, the key may fall into the tiger cage and be irretrievable.
Torture Room (1990–1994, 2010–2012): The contestant has to traverse a series of ropes, rings, bars, and ladders attached to the ceiling to reach the key.
Trapdoor (1994–2012) : In the cell, the female contestant has to climb onto the male contestant's back and grab the baton which hangs from the ceiling. Then, using this tool, she must bang the white latches on the ceiling boxes to open them. There are various things in each box, such as flour and gunge, but from one box a key falls. Also played as a duel.
Tube (1990–2012): At the top of a long perspex tube that winds up to the ceiling is the key. The contestant has to crawl up, grab the key and then slide back down. Note: This game is still on the fort but is not played in the 2011 French series. It has been adapted for the Ultimate Challenge and the 2011 French version, among others, as "Dark Descent".
Turnstile (1998–2012): The contestant has to unscrew a panel to get to the key, whilst avoiding the revolving paddles of the turnstile. In 1998–99 there was also a metal grid, which meant the contestant had to run forwards, but that was changed in 2000 for safety reasons.
Unstable Table (2000): One contestant lies atop a plastic "hammock" and has to balance while the other team member turns a crank to raise the hammock. Once the hammock is high enough, the person on the hammock can reach the key when a lever is pulled by the one turning the crank.
Wall Walk (1990–1994, 1998, 2006–2008): This test is probably one of the games that has generated the most prisoners, due to its extreme difficulty. A wall stands the length of the cell. On this wall is a ledge halfway up to about 2 cm wide. The contestant must move forward on this ledge, using the ceiling to help them, to retrieve the key that is at the end of it. Once the key is recovered, he or she must come back the same way, taking care not to fall from the ledge and risk getting locked in. If the contestant falls from the ledge it is near impossible to exit the cell. In 1998, a variation of the game was made so the contestant could easily exit the cell.
New Games for 2011 
- Interactive Cell
- Visual Enigma
New Games for 2012 
- Gagarin (cell 109) – A similar game, also using a gyroscope, was present on the fort between 1995–97.
- Red Alert (cell 113)
- From the Earth to the Moon (cell 205) – The new test From the Earth to the Moon is actually a great return of an ancient race: the Clock Chapel, on the fort between 1990–1995. For the occasion, the event has established an atmosphere of "space" and refers to the name by Jules Verne. Called Rocket Launcher in Ultimate Challenge.
- Percolator (cell 218) - Called Coffee Grinder in Ultimate Challenge.
- Anvil (outside, between the strong and the platform)
- Balance (outside, between the strong and the platform)
Note: Some older games have returned, such as the Fight in the Mud in recent years. Some clue games are also played as key games and vice versa.
Phase Two 
Once again in this part of the game the contestants have to complete a series of challenges, but instead of playing for keys they are playing for clue words. In addition, these games are more physically and mentally challenging to the contestants than those played in Phase One. Before these challenges, one contestant goes to the Watch Tower to try to win a clue word. Phase Two is around 10–20 minutes long in the UK version, this depends on how long the team take to win the required amount of keys needed to open the Treasure Room gate.
The objective in this phase is to try to figure out the password, which, if answered correctly, will release the gold. To do this, they must try to win clue words to help them in working out the password.
These clue words can be placed either before or after the password to make a common phrase. For example: if the clues words were hall and line then the password would be dance, as in dance hall and line dance.
To make it even more difficult to get the clue word, a time limit (3 minutes usually; occasionally between 2:00–3:30 minutes) is placed on each game. The clue words are usually written on pieces of paper and kept in canisters filled with gunpowder, and if the contestant fails to reach the canister in the allotted time the clue word explodes and the contestant loses the challenge. Unlike the First Phase, players are not locked in a cage if they fail to win the clue word.
Phase Two challenges 
From 1991 to 2011, there were 71 different adventures. This section details some of Fort Boyard's most famous games. The name of the game may change from country-country; but the game itself remains the same. The years below are for when the game was played or last present at the fort, in the French version or Ultimate Challenge.
Examples of the clue games, also known as "ordeals" or "adventures", are listed below:
Balloon Breaker (2006–2012): A contestant is harnessed to the inner walls of the fort. The rest of the team must pull the rope attached to the contestant all the way down to the ground and release it sending the one in the harness flying upwards. Meanwhile, they have to break a balloon containing the number code using a stick given before the challenge. This number code must be used to unlock the box containing the clue scroll.
The Catapult (1995–2004, 2012): In the centre of the Fort sits the contestant, attached to bungee cords. Another member of the team stands with an axe, while the rest of the team turns a wheel which takes the strain of the bungee. The person with the axe then has to cut the rope, which catapults the contestant up into the air. The contestant has to look out for the clue word, which is written on a large blackboard somewhere on the top of the Fort. Since 2003, instead of a clue word, the contestant has to look out for a 4 digit code, which is written on a large blackboard somewhere on the top of the Fort. The team then have to unlock a box with the code in order to get the clue canister. This game was replaced with Balloon Breaker in 2006. The game returned in the 2012 Halloween Special. The game is similar, but the contestant is launched by a detonator pressed by another member of the team.
Caterpillar (2001–2006, 2011-2012): Two parallel cables are strung above the 'Treasure Room' at the same location as the Tight Rope game. The contestant(s) are roped and use boards to transport themselves to the centre to reach the suspended key or canister hanging from above. In the duel format, the contestant(s) must then return to their platform, unscrew the canister using a tool and read out the code for the key box.
The Darkness (1991–2001): The player must go through a series of chambers, which are in complete darkness, and follow a string and the other players' directions (with the use of a map) to reach the end. Along the way, the contestant goes through some water, coal, a skeleton, and such features to eventually meet a room filled with light by a flame held by a naked person of the gender opposite to the player. The clue is written somewhere on the person's body, but some players miss the word due to the multiple tattoo-like prints also on the body. Although the genitals were never in view, when Fort Boyard was aired before the watershed, the topless woman's breasts would sometimes be blurred.
Everest (1998–1999, 2002–2003, 2006): The chosen contestant climbs up two parallel ropes to reach the clue.
The Hammock (2004): The chosen contestant attempts to climb down a hammock to reach the clue, but climbing down the hammock destabilizes it and causes it to twist and swing even further. This challenge appeared only once.
Human Catapult (1991–2012): The contestant stands at the top of the Fort, looking down into the centre. He or she must then jump off the platform, and grab the canister which contains the clue while bouncing back up again. Some contestants failed to pluck the courage to make the jump, in which case, the clue is automatically lost.
Ladder Race (1994–2012): This game is suspended from the bridge of the Human Catapult game (see below). The contestant has to climb up a thin metal ladder in order to get the cartridge or key hanging from above. His or her team will help to achieve this, by holding the ladder down (which starts at 2 meters 50 off the ground), which is too flexible and mobile to climb alone. The game can also be played as a duel and has featured in many versions.
Leap of Faith (1996–2012): The contestant has to do a bungee jump off the side of the Fort. After jumping, while hanging upside down, the player has to climb partway up the rope and undo the canister which contains the clue word.
Ocean Plunge (1991–2012): Two contestants, one male and one female, zip-line down from the top of the Fort's bastions into the sea. One of them, usually the female, then swims to the pontoon, whilst the other has to swim over to a buoy, where he dives down deep to reach the lobster pot. Once he has it, he swims over to the pontoon where the second contestant opens the lobster pot, takes out a key and opens a box which contains the clue word. Once they have it they shout it out to their team using a megaphone. There have been a few variations to this, where the second player swims to a boat as opposed to the lobster pot. Once there, one of the pair needs to climb a ladder to reach the numbers for the other person to shout back to their team for the clue. An alternate version of this, named Raging Sea, is also played.
Poles Apart (2003–2010, 2012): A wooden pole is outside the Fort, above the sea, starting at cell 119 up to the terrace. The contestant must climb the pole to retrieve the canister/key at the top of it. Team members located at the cell window 219 or the terrace throw down small blocks, which the climber uses in order to move up the pole to reach the top. If the team run out of blocks, the climber is unable to reach the top and can not collect the canister or key. This game can also be played as a duel.
Rapid Ascent (1991–2011): The contestant(s) must climb up the side of the fort using only the rocks on the wall face. It is usually very windy and very difficult. This game can also be played as a duel.
Sailing (1997–2006): The contestant finds himself in a skiff (a kind of kayak) on the stairs outside the Fort. The rope drops, he descends the stairs and enters into the sea where there are three baskets. Once collected and attached to the rope, his teammates pull them back in. The team can then open the safe containing the clue, using the three small keys found inside the baskets. The keys are the same, but only one key works in each lock of the safe.
The Searching Head (1996–2012): The contestant moves along through a series of small chambers, with only the head exposed. In each chamber is a word which the player has to shout out to the team, who cross it off a list of similar words. The one left is the clue word. Each chamber is filled with a number of creatures to scare the player, which are in order: frogs, stick-insects, rats, cockroaches, and flies.
Sky Bike (1998–2012): Cycling along on the upside-down bicycle, the contestant comes to three rolled up flags. When unrolled each displays a letter, which the rest of the team must key into a combination lock to open a safe and gain the clue.
Snake Pit (1991–2012): A contestant is lowered into the snake pit, via a ladder. The clue word is split in two, each half being written on a snake. The contestant must find the two halves to make a whole, and to do so they have to pick up each snake and check its belly to see if one of the two halves of the clue is on it. There are hundreds of them, but the clue is always written on the big ones, one half usually being in a barrel and the other half in one of the small cupboards at the side of the pit.
Spiders and Scorpions (1991–2012): A contestant enters a room filled with tarantulas and scorpions in a chest. Three of the arachnids hold slips of paper, but only one of them has a clue word on it. In 2011, during the French version, the game is replaced by Stretcher. However in the international versions, Abandoned cabin is replaced with the original Spiders and Scorpions design. Both Stretcher and Spiders and Scorpions are played in some versions.
Sunken House/Underwater Dome (1991–2012): The contestant climbs down a hole into a series of flooded cellars. He or she exits the first two chambers underwater, and then climbs a ladder and crawls along a low corridor, on the floor of which is a word written in sand. This word is washed away by a torrent of water after a few seconds. The contestant climbs down another ladder into another chamber, where underwater are a series of boxes. One box has the sand word on it, and in here is the clue. The player then has to swim out via an underwater corridor. From the fourth series, the contestant instead has to guide a spanner tied to a chain/illuminated cable through obstacles in the flooded cellars to a bolted cylinder, which the player must open to reach the clue.
The Swing (1999–2012): One person is strapped into the Fort’s giant swing, which is hung at a right angle to the inside Fort wall. The rest of the team pulls on a heavy rope, which moves the swing back and forth. The clue is hanging so that the swing must be horizontal in order for the contestant to grab it. The person in the swing seat has no control, so even if they want to stop, they can't unless their team lets them.
Tight Rope (1997–2012): The contestant has to walk from one end of the tightrope to the other where the clue hangs in a canister.
New Games for 2011 
- Stretcher (replaces Spiders and Scorpions)
- Abandoned Cabin – French Exclusive
- Cage Immersed
- Cell RecRec (previously Shrinking Cell)
- Tanks – replaced by Cold Room in 2012
- Sewage (called Dark Descent in Ultimate Challenge)
- Creature Count/Code (called lotto in the French version)
Note: Some of these games are still in place on the fort, but have not been played recently in the French version and others. Most of these games are listed by their Ultimate Challenge names. Not all of the clue games played have been mentioned above.
The Watch Tower 
In the Watch Tower of the Fort lives a usually eccentric character that sets riddles for certain contestants; if the contestants give the correct answer, they receive a key. In the case of the clue riddles, the answer to the riddle is the clue word, so even if the contestant doesn't solve it in the Watch Tower he or she can still think about it during the rest of the game. If the contestant gives an incorrect answer to a key riddle, the key is thrown in to the sea, and another contestant has to swim for it. This was always won in the UK version as the strongest swimmer would retrieve the key. The swim was removed in series 5 of the UK version, but was re-introduced in Ultimate Challenge as Key to the Sea (without the Watch Tower riddle).
Since 2006, the contestants can no longer swim for the key; it is just put back where it was held. The clue word is also different and is not the same as the riddle. Therefore the riddle must be solved within the time limit to obtain the clue.
In the French version since 2011, The Watch Tower isn't used; instead, there are three trips to the Interactive Cell. The second trip is a Visual Riddle, about halfway through the key games, with Father Fouras on screen. The Clue Riddle is replaced by a telephone riddle where the player is in a booth inside one of the cells and has 1 minute to solve the riddle, given by Father Fouras over the phone, whilst cockroaches are dropped on top of them. This takes form of a game, called Abandoned Cabin, in the French version. The Watch Tower is however used in the 2012 Russian version of the show (the only country to use it that year).
The Treasure Room 
The Treasure Room (Treasure Chamber in Ultimate Challenge) is the climax to each episode of Fort Boyard. The gold is stored here, which is guarded by Boyard's tigers (except in Ultimate Challenge).
Once the Fort’s gong sounds for a second time, the game time is over. When the gong is struck (by La Boule) the tigers are taken away by Monique, the gate to The Treasure Room rises and will only stay open for 2:00 minutes in UK series 1 to 4, the time stated did not include the 20 seconds before the gate started to rise or 3:00 minutes in UK series 5. The 3 minutes includes 20 seconds before the gate started to rise (to open canisters/organise team). The gate takes 30 seconds to open and close fully for every version of Fort Boyard worldwide.
The French version have extra games which are played in order to win extra time in The Treasure Room. Four or six members of the team play a game each against the "Master of Darkness", if they win they will be get extra time in the Treasure Room, making it a full 4 minutes. From 2011 onwards, the duels against the "Master of Darkness" can reduce the team's time to 2:00 and give them a maximum time of 4:00.
If by this time the team has still not figured out the password from the clues won, they can "sacrifice" players in exchange for extra clues to help them. The sacrificed players have to reach the clue by putting their hand into one of the tiger-shaped hand traps around the Treasure Room entrance; once their hands are inside they cannot release them and participate in collecting the gold.
The contestants now have to spell out the password on the giant alphabet on the floor of the Treasure Room by standing on the corresponding letters on the grid and using cannonballs if there are not enough players. The team must also ensure the word is spelled correctly, as a mistake could cost them the prize.
Once this is done, Monique rotates the tiger's head (a statue), and the word will either be declared correct or incorrect, and the gold is released if the word is correct.
Then the contestants have the remaining time to collect as much gold as they can and place it in a bucket outside of the Treasure Room. It is only what is in this bucket that they get to keep; any that lands on the floor is not counted. When the time is nearly up in the Treasure Room, a bell rings, and the gate begins to close slowly. The contestants have to leave before the gate shuts completely because when the door shuts the tigers are released back into the Treasure Room. (the release of the tigers is delayed until the contestants are out of the Treasure Room, a portcullis is pulled in some version's to block the tigers from being released). In the 1990 French version, and in the 2006 Russian version of the show, contestants were locked in the Treasure Room. The gold collected were lost as a result.
If, however, they declare an incorrect word, the gold is not released and instead the gate to the treasure room begins to close immediately, prompting the contestants to make a quick escape, and they complete the game with no winnings.
The won gold is then weighed and converted into currency; this makes the contestants’ prize money. In most countries, the money won by the team is given to a charity.
Some countries, including Spain, Argentina, the UK, and Belgium, give the money directly to the members of the team. Some give vacations instead of money, dependent on how much the team won.
In France, between 1990 and 1992, the treasure was given to the team, but since 1993, the whole prize goes to charity. Then again in 2010, the prize money was given to the contestants.
Summary of the UK rules (depending on the series) 
|Series||Year(s)||Number of Keys
|Game Play||Treasure Room
|Missing Keys||Extra Clues||Notes|
(1 free key after swim)
|40 minutes||2:00 minutes||Dungeon
(1 person per
(Tigers head outside
|arrival on boat|
|2||1999–2000||arrival on boat +
open gate to enter Fort (before the gong)
|4||2001||arrival onboard helicopter|
|5||2003||5 (no free key)||3:00 minutes||arrival on boat 1|
1 Opening titles shown the original series (1–3) boat, and did not actually show the 2003 remake series arriving outside the Fort.
Fort Boyard has aired on many networks around the world, including:
- Algeria – Canal Algérie
- Argentina – Canal 13 Artear
- Armenia – USArmenia, Armenia TV
- Azerbaijan – Lider TV (2009–2010)
- Belarus – Russian version: ONT (2013)
- Belgium – BRT (1991), VT4 (1999–2001), RTL-TVI (2007–2008)
- Bulgaria – bTV
- Canada – TVA (1993–2001, 2013); Repeats: TVA (2009, 2011–12)
- Cyprus – Sigma TV (until mid-2010)
- Czech Republic – TV Nova (1994–1995), Prima Cool (since 2012, airs the UK version's episodes from series 3 to 5)
- Denmark – TV3 (1993–2000, 2009–2010)
- Finland – French version: Yle TV1 (1993); Finnish 2010 version: SuomiTV (2010), Nelonen (2011); 2012 version: Nelonen (2013)
- France – Antenne 2 (1990–1992), France 2 (1992–present), TV5Monde & Gulli (repeats)
- Georgia – Rustavi 2
- Germany – Sat 1 (1990), Pro 7 (2000, 2002), Kabel 1 (2011)
- Greece – STAR
- Hungary – TV2
- Indonesia – TV5Monde Asie
- Israel – Channel 2
- Italy – unknown
- Jordan – JRTV Channel 2
- Lebanon – LBC
- Malaysia – NTV7 (since 2011, airs the UK version's episodes from the late 1990s)
- the Netherlands – AVRO
- Norway – TV3 (1993–1997, 1999–2002, 2011)
- Poland – TVP2
- Romania – ProTV
- Russia – NTV (1994–1998), Russia TV Channel (2002–2004, 2006) / Rossiya 2 (2003–05 repeats), Channel One (2013)
- Serbia – Fox televizija
- Slovakia – TV Markíza
- South Korea – SBS
- Spain – Telecinco
- Sweden – TV4 (1990, 1992–1998, 2003, 2005, 2010–2011, 2011, 2012), TV3 (2000, two seasons)
- Switzerland – TSR
- Turkey – Star TV (2000), Fox Turkey (2008, 2009)
- Ukraine – 1+1, TET (repeats)
- United Kingdom – Channel 5 (1998–2001), Challenge (2003), CITV (2012–)
Technical details 
From a broadcasting perspective, Fort Boyard itself was refurbished during 1988–89 to become, essentially, a large outdoor television studio. The Fort has its own doctor, catering facilities, as well as production gallery and veterinary centre.
The Fort is equipped with 10 portable television cameras, one camera crane for overhead shots, one under-water camera as well as a number of smaller cameras which specifically cover individual games and challenges around the Fort.
The majority of shows are filmed in the 4:3 aspect ratio, although some shows, for countries including Sweden and France since 2008, now use the more common 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. PAL is the favoured recording format for Fort Boyard, offering the highest quality pictures.
UK transmissions 
|Series||Year(s)||Episodes||Start Date||End Date||Channel|
|1||1998||10||16 October 1998||25 December 1998||Channel 5|
|2||1999–2000||15||12 November 1999||11 February 2000|
|3||2000–2001||18||3 November 2000||25 August 2001|
|4||2001||14||22 September 2001||25 December 2001|
|5||2003||20||20 October 2003||3 December 2003||Challenge|
- In total, 57 episodes were shown in the original Channel 5 series; including four celebrity editions and a special edition of The Mole.
Note: Series 3 was shown in two parts (3 November 2000–5 January 2001, 30 June 2001–25 August 2001) and contained two celebrity editions.
Variations to the format 
In 1996, at the height of the French version's popularity, a mini-series entitled Fort Boyard at Night was shown in the autumn. It was filmed entirely at night, and the teams also had slightly more time in which to complete the challenges. In 1997, there were three night-time specials, at Halloween, Christmas, and New Year. In 2012, three further night-time editions were filmed and aired between Halloween and Christmas on 31 October, 22 December and 29 December.
In some of the French (Seasons 14–16, 2003–2005) and Russian versions (2003–2004), the contestants stay overnight in the Fortress. During this time, they played endurance, mind, and psychological games both for the release of any prisoners they may have had, and for keys to, or time in, the Treasure Room at the end of the game.
Although most seasons have seen changes (not least in hosts), recent changes to the French version of Fort Boyard included:
- From 2006 to 2009, the number of keys determined how much access the team had to the Treasure Room. 5 keys were the minimum needed to open the gate, but the gate would only open to a certain height, which made carrying coins through the gate difficult. A 6th key would open the gate roughly halfway, but it was still not easy to get through. To open the gate fully, 7 keys were needed. In 2006, when the host pulls the switch the Treasure Room gate would start to open immediately. If a team member did not get out of the Treasure Room in time, a portcullis was activated which stopped the tigers, but the money collected was lost forever.
The Council 
- In the council, teams no longer play to free prisoners; rather, they play for up to 60 extra seconds of extra time in the Treasure Room, in addition to the three minutes guaranteed. From 1995 to 2011, there were a total of 31 different council games.
Hall of Imprints
- There was a new section in which one member donned a diving suit and dived down to the underwater control centre. There, he or she was guided by the team through an underground passage filled with traps and coded doors towards the "Hall of Imprints", freeing their prisoners along the way. Once all members (except the diver) had reached the Hall, they used their right hands to release the crystal, which they needed to enter the council.
2007 season 
- They have extra games which are played in order to win extra time in The Treasure Room. Four members of the team play a game each against the Master of Darkness, if they won they got 15 seconds each, a total of 1 minute, of extra time in the Treasure room, making it a full 4 minutes.
The Treasure Room
- 2007 was the only season the time in the Treasure Room started at the opening of the gate. The team had 3:00–4:00 minutes from when the host pulled the switch to open the gate. The team also had 25 seconds (if they had 6 keys) or 15 seconds (if they had 7 keys) before the start of the time; this made the time actually 3:15–4:25 minutes in total.
2008 season 
- In 2008, the diving section changed. All members except the diver entered the control centre. They had to put 9 colored cubes in the correct order, using clues provided by the host. Once the 9 cubes are in place, the trap door for the diver opened. The diver entered a flooded room, with a treasure box, a drawing, and a maze with various colored keys in it. He or she has had to describe the small drawing to the other team members. The drawing corresponds to a drawing on one of the 9 colored cubes. The color of the matching cube determined the key to retrieve from the maze. The team members had to guide the diver through the maze, as the diver only see it from behind. After the key had been freed, it was used to unchain the treasure box. The box is was then lifted from the water, but couldn't be opened yet. The key to open it was inside the Treasure Room and would fall down together with the gold.
2009 season 
- 2009 saw many more changes. Main changes included new opening titles, graphics and a wall of progress which Demi (Passe Muraille) was in control of which lined the wall of the Fort (the wall above the Treasure Room). There were 6 new key games and 2 new clue games in 2009. One of the first major changes on the Fort was the before game challenge, called The Tube, which was only used this season. There was a large tube full of coloured water. The team had to find 2 black scratching posts, situated around the Fort, to find the numbers which was the combination to unlock the box containing the cup which was connected to the tube . If they could fill the cup with water before the tube ran out they got a bonus key game after the 45:00 minutes of key games had finished. This game was played in the central circle before the gong.
- Another change was that teams no longer stopped collecting keys at 7 keys but could continue on to collect up to 10 keys. These extra 3 keys were exchanged for clue words at the Treasure Room.[clarification needed]
- The middle bit was also different. There were now 3 boxes which contained money. The problem was that 2 of them were sealed with glass. During this the prisoners would play Fear Factor style games in an attempt to win "pieces" to eliminate colours. The prisoners were released but if they did not win their Fear Factor games they were not allowed inside the Treasure Room.
- Duels were different in 2009. The team could see what was happening through a window. The starting time was 3:00, but the team needed to bet on the duels with time. These times were 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, and −15 seconds. If they win on −15 Seconds they did not lose any time. This made the minimum time in the Treasure Room 2:45, with the maximum being a full 4:00 minutes.
The Treasure Room
- The Treasure Room had changed in 2009. Firstly, the 6 key sign was raised to shoulder height. Secondly, teams couldn't trade clues for extra keys; they had to play with the keys they had. (If they got under 5 keys someone was sacrificed to Mr. Chan to gain a key.) In the Treasure Room they collected keys for boxes containing extra gold. They were allowed to pick only one box, at the end, and were allowed as many keys as there were people in the Treasure Room. Picking the correct box earned the team the extra gold.
Duel format 
Since 2003, a duel/tournament format has been used by other countries, who prefer this version of Fort Boyard. Two teams play in the Fort at the same time, with only one of them winning at the end. A similar format was used in 1991.
In 2007 and 2008, a formula with duels between three countries (Bulgaria, Serbia and Turkey) was used; two countries (Belgium and Netherlands) in 1991 and with teams of teenagers in 2011 (United Kingdom and United States).
Countries that have used this format include:
- Belgium & Netherlands (1991)
- Balkins (Tri-nations of Bulgaria, Serbia and Turkey) (2007–08)
- Bulgaria (2009)
- Canada (2013)
- Denmark (2009–2010)
- Finland (2010, 2012)
- France (2010)
- Germany (2010)
- Greece (2006–08)
- Norway (2010–11)
- Netherlands (2011–13)
- Russia (2006, 2012)
- Sweden (2003–04, 2010–13)
- United Kingdom (2011–13)
- United States (1991 pilot, 2011)
French version 
In 2010, the duel format was introduced to the show following the low ratings for the previous season in 2009. Although, this was not successful in the French version and was later dropped the same year. The show returned to a more classical version in 2011.
The changes made to the French version in 2010 were:
- Passe-Temps and Mr. Chan left the show.
- Olivier Minne became the only host.
- Two teams competed to try to win the most keys in the first section.
- 12 teams of 4 play 2 sections of the game. The Special team play only section 2 in game of episode 1 because all 4 members are former contestants in Fort Boyard.
- The team who won were called the "champion team" and would return the following week. Until the last episode, the Special team would play as the "normal team".
- Key games not only included the ones inside cells but also the clue games, which were played against a clepsydre. If the team lost a clue game they were made prisoner.
- There were 3 rounds of key games. Before each round there was a duel. Winning the duel not only won them a key, but also meant the other team had to win their game or their player was automatically made a prisoner.
- If there is no clear winner after the 3 rounds a new section of the show, Crossbow Relay, was introduced. Before this, the prisoners were released. All members had to complete a relay course for keys.
- The team with the lowest amount of keys was sent off the Fort and a new team (champion team from last week) was sent back to compete against the current champions.
- The champion team from the last episode then faced the round 1 winners in clue games. These clue games can be key games with clue canisters, or clue games which were against the clepsydre.
- There were 3 rounds of clue games, with each round starting with a duel. Again the losing team was made prisoner if they didn't win their clue game, but the winning team also got to choose which team got to play which game.
- After the clue rounds, any prisoners were released by the duels in the council room. 2/3 was required to win.
The Treasure Room
- At the Treasure Room, both teams used their clues and wrote down the codeword on a slate. Once this was put in place they had the remaining time of 3:30 (which included working out the code word). After 1 minute the gate started to open and began closes after 3:00 minutes (took 30 seconds to close fully). At around 0:15 seconds the slots were closed so the team couldn't insert any more money.
- The gold was then weighed and the codes were revealed. The team with the highest gold and correct codeword won.
- If both teams had the correct code, the team with the highest weight of gold won €10,000 and returned the following week.
- If both teams had the incorrect code, the champion team would return the following week, but didn't win €10,000.
- The team which won the Grand Final (episode 7) would receive €50,000 prize (includes the €10,000 won previously).
2010 German changes 
- Most of the show's characters are gone.
- The Watch Tower and the riddles have been removed.
- The duel/tournament format was used.
2011 French changes 
- Olivier Minne continues as the only host.
- Return to a more classic one team and seven keys required format. (45 mins of key games, 25 mins for the adventures)
- Return of celebrities playing for charity.
- 3 new characters, including the return of the mud wrestler (Lady Boo).
- Father Fouras now chairs the Council.
- The team can see what is happening in the Council through a window. The starting time is 3:00, but the team must bet on the duels with this time. The times are 20 seconds, 15 seconds, 15 seconds and 10 seconds. If they win on their choosing time it will be added to the 3:00 minutes, but if they lose it will be deducted. This makes the minimum time in the Treasure Room 2:00, with the maximum being a full 4:00.
The Hall Of Judgement
This takes place after the key games. The Hall of Judgement provides opportunities for candidates to obtain the missing keys against the sacrifice of one of them but also to free the team members locked in during the first half. The challenges are set by new character, the White Judge. (The challenges used are similar to those on The Cube and Minute to Win It)
- Each team member is free to be sacrificed to receive an extra key. The White Judge, sets a challenge the sacrifice/prisoner must complete in order to be released. If failed, they go directly into the terrible jails of La Boule until the end of the show; if they succeed, however, they are released and return to their team.
The Treasure Room
- When the host pulls the switch, the Treasure Room gate will start to open immediately. This was also done in 2006.
- The team have 12 seconds to process the password, instead of the normal 15 seconds.
2012 French changes 
- The times are 20 seconds, 15 seconds and 10 seconds. If they win on their choosing time it will be added to the 3:00 minutes, but if they lose it will be deducted. This makes the minimum time in the Treasure Room 2:15, with the maximum being 3:45 if all bets are won.
2011 UK changes 
- The show is now called Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge.
- Laura Hamilton and Andy Akinwolere, previously Geno Segers, present the new series.
- Teams are made-up of teenagers aged between 13–19 years old.
- The show's characters are gone and the tigers are not used.
- The teams only collect keys and the Treasure Room section is changed.
The music for the original French version of Fort Boyard was composed by Paul Koulak, a French music composer. He composed the main themes for the show as well as the incidental music and game music that is used throughout the show. His music has been used for every version of Fort Boyard around the world, except the German version, where they composed their own music for the show and games.
Up to 2011, six different opening theme songs have been used on the show; the first was used until 1994, the second in 1995, the third from 1996–2000, the fourth in 2001 and 2002 (used by the UK in 2003 during the Treasure Room), the "Dance Version" (used by France during the end credits of the night editions in 1996 and the UK from 1999 to 2001) and the current theme song which was introduced in the 2003 French version. Fort Boyard Ultimate Challenge uses a different opening theme and game music but does use the recent French opening credits and logo.
Some of the original music for Fort Boyard was released on CD in France, both on CD single and CD album form, in 1999. Tracks that featured on these CDs include:
- Fort Boyard Main Title Theme
- Fort Boyard Main Theme, Dance Version
- March of the Tigers
- The Cable Cycle
- From One Point in the Course to Another
Fort Boyard: La Legende 
Fort Boyard: La Legende is a live action adventure game, based in and around La Rochelle and on Fort Boyard. It was only released in the original French version (as a sort of tie-in to the game show Fort Boyard) and the later Dutch dubbed versions. The lack of an English version made this game highly obscure: it doesn't have a MobyGames entry. The hero of this game has no name; he is going to look for a treasure that was hidden by Napoleon at Fort Boyard. For this he needs to look around for clues, and get people to help, in and around La Rochelle.
The game is quite short: one can finish it in two hours. One attempt to stretch it is by putting in a lot of points where the player has lost the game. For instance, if the player is rude to Liliane Denis in the bar, she will not help, so the player cannot finish the game.
Original French cast
Hero: Franck Perrogon
Liliane Denis: Laetitia Marx
Jacqueline Duroselle: Emmanuelle Vauquet
Librarian: Helene Coulon
Fort Boyard: La Legende was released in 1996 by Expand Images, Microïds, France Télévision, and R&P ElectronicMedia.
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- Fort Boyard - Ultimate Challenge (UK & USA)
- Fort Boyard Russia
- Fort Boyard Algeria
- Fort Boyard Norway
- Fort Boyard Sweden
- Fort Boyard Finland
- Fort Boyard Denmark
- Fort Boyard Bulgaria
- Fort Boyard Poland
- Fort Boyard the Netherlands