50/50 (children's game show)

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Genre Children's game show
Presented by Sally Gray (1997–2002)
Angellica Bell (2003–4)
Sophie McDonnell (2005)
Voices of Matthew Davies (1998–2000)
Dave Kelly (2001–5)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 118 (inc. 4 Christmas specials)
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) BBC Scotland
Original network BBC1 (UK)
BBC Two (UK)
YTV (Canada)
Picture format 4:3 (1997–2000)
16:9 (2001–05)
Original release 7 April 1997 (1997-04-07) – 12 July 2005 (2005-07-12)

50/50 is a British children's game show that aired from 7 April 1997 to 12 July 2005 on BBC1. The show featured two schools from the UK putting forward 50 students, with each contestant wearing a coloured T-shirt with a numbered badge from 1 to 50 clipped on. Each episode consisted of a series of physical and general knowledge rounds with points on offer. The team with the most points after all the rounds won a top prize for their school (later a glass trophy). Official merchandise was additionally gifted to both the winning and losing teams for taking part, as well another prize for the losing team (until 2002).

The two schools competing were originally represented by the T-shirt colours orange and green before they changed to blue and yellow for the second series in 1998, as well an overhaul in the studio set and presentation. The contestants sat opposite each other in raised seating while the game took place in between them. The contestant numbers were randomly selected, each used once only, for both teams (in some games, only one team) and announced and displayed by a large-screened computer named 'Flynn'. Some of the contestants did not get an opportunity to take part in a physical game, but there was always an observation round for all contestants to play where points are won by the number of correct answers to true or false questions from each team. The physical games usually consisted of inflatable obstacle courses, similar to those found in other children's game shows such as Get Your Own Back, Fun House, Run the Risk and Pump It Up.

A total of 11,800 contestants from 236 schools have appeared on the programme, the majority of which were from Scotland and the north of England, as the show was produced by BBC Scotland.


The show's first presenter was Sally Gray, from its inception until 2002. Angellica Bell presented the show from 2003 until 2004. The final presenter was former Precious singer Sophie McDonnell in 2005. All three main presenters have also worked on other CBBC shows.


Also in the series was 'Flynn', an oval-shaped screen voiced over in the background. In each episode, he announced which players were randomly selected for each event by announcing numbers as they appeared on the screen, commentated during a game and provided score updates after the end of each round. At the beginning of each episode between 2003 and 2005, he revealed embarrassing facts about two of the contestants (such as a recent social faux-pas, etc.), one from each team. In addition, Flynn warned contestants, "No conferring!" before the start of a question round with a loud siren where only the selected player may answer (otherwise the siren sounded and the team scored no points). The warning and the siren were silenced in the last two series.

In the first series, Flynn did not speak and was square-shaped. The 50/50 logo was displayed on the screen, depicted by two bubbles (the top-left green and the bottom-right orange) split away from each other, each displaying two figures of the number 50 with other spherical bubbles in the background. From series 2 onwards, it displayed the 50/50 logo represented by a blue and yellow egg-shaped capsule that continuously floated around in the air in a fixed position, with the two different colour halves spinning in opposite directions and the left "50" mirrored to the one on the right, in front of a variety of other egg-shaped capsules rising in the background. The animation was slow and smooth but was much faster when an event was played and the logo either expanded or shrunk, as well as additional effects being included. When the scores were revealed, the logo split and a short music cue played as the scores increased to their updated totals to add to the excitement (followed by a cheer from the teams).

Flynn was originally voiced by Matthew Davies but he only provided commentary for sports-themed events during the third and fourth series. Dave Kelly succeeded in the fifth series and commentated on all events.


A variety of physical and quiz games have been played over the show's airing. In the earlier series, contestants often engaged in larger forms of simple activities, such as laying giant dominoes on the floor, throwing a ball into a net whilst standing on a giant foot and manoeuvring giant robots. Some of the physical games also featured a quiz at the end of an obstacle course. These included slotting discs with soap opera characters printed on them into the correct column corresponding to the name of the TV show and determining whether food was produced under or over the ground.

Since series 5, physical games featuring a quiz were scrapped, so general knowledge was only tested in the quiz rounds (i.e. games that did not involve inflatables). The games involved larger and more complex inflatables and other equipment.

Most of the games listed below were played in the later series of the show:

  • The Rollometer - Typically the first game of the show between 2001 and 2003 where contestants jump onto a giant, rocky, inflatable round table with a giant sphere hanging above them. Contestants must jump up and collect either a blue or yellow tag depending on their team colour whilst also trying to keep their balance on the table. There are also a few gold tags which are situated a little higher than the team colours. 10 points are awarded if the players get a tag of their team colour and 20 are given for a golden tag. In the last two series, the tags were star-shaped and the gold tags were replaced by red 'mystery stars'. They could increase a score or score 0 (or, in the last series, even decrease a score). The score is displayed inside the mystery star.
  • The Spike – This was only introduced in 2004 and 2005 and was typically the first game of the show. Four contestants must battle their way through a forest of spikes, then through a 'spiky jaw'. After climbing up a hill, they collect one puzzle piece hanging above the top of the hill, slide down the other side of the hill and hand the puzzle piece over to their team's selected 'builder', who slots the puzzle of four pieces of the number 50 into the correct space. Each puzzle piece is worth 10 points, and the first team to complete the puzzle score a bonus 30 points, making a total of 70.
  • The Observator – The two teams will see part of a music video. They will then be asked five questions relating to specific details in the video. Each team member answers true or false on a keypad. If they get it right, they get a point. When Angelica Bell was a presenter, it was played before The Avalanche. When Sophie McDonnell was a presenter, it was played after the first time one team plays The Cube or The Wire. This contest is also used as a tiebreaker round in the event that a tie occurs at the end of the game.
  • The Pulse – Renamed "The Brainbuster" until the last episode of Series 8. A player will be picked at random to answer a general knowledge question. They can play – get it right and score 100 points, get it wrong and they score nothing – or pass – their team-mates will vote on the question in the same manner as The Observator, with a maximum of 50 points.
  • 50 to 1 - This was only introduced when Sally Gray was the presenter in 2001 and 2002. This was played in a similar way to "The Pulse". Questions are fired at alternate teams. A number is randomly selected in a faster-paced manner than in "The Pulse". The question is then immediately asked with no optional choices. The contestant then has three seconds to answer. They can answer alone for 20 points or pass the question over to their team-mates by saying, "50 to 1". Three optional choices are displayed and the team members vote on their keypads. The chosen contestant then selects one of the three answers with the help of voting results (displayed in percentages on Flynn's screen). They may go against the team's most popular answer if they wish. Only five points is scored for a right answer in a 50 to 1 situation. A wrong answer or no answer within three seconds scores 0.
  • The Revolve – One-by-one, contestants must pass an obstacle course and enter a revolving maze. There are puzzle pieces hanging above the centre. This works in much the same way as The Spike – four randomly picked contestants will get to the centre of the maze, grab a puzzle piece in their team's colour, get out of the maze and hand the piece to their builder who builds the puzzle. 20 points are scored for each piece on the table. Completing the puzzle first is worth a bonus 40 points, making a total of 120.
  • The Cube – A team captain inserts a ball inside a large, tiltable Perspex cube. Four contestants guide a ball by tilting each corner of the cube. At various points within three layers are holes to drop the ball into, and at the bottom is a Hit Zone (20 points for the first two, 40 points for any others) and a Miss Zone (lose 10 points). There is also a chute that will give you a direct Hit. The game music is the same music for The Tensioner.
  • The Square – Same rules as The Cube apply but teams are restricted to only using 2 dimensions at a time. This was played before the introduction of The Cube, which replaced this game.
  • The Wire – This was only introduced when Sophie McDonnell was the presenter in 2005. Each player in a team of five must manoeuvre a hoop along a wired section. Each completed section gives 20 points. 5 points are deducted any time the hoop touches the wire. After each section the hoops reduce in diameter. An extra 20 points is scored if the whole course is completed within 2 minutes. If the time limit expires, the game ends. Each player must also maintain their balance on a section of very small hills and horizontal hoops along the way.
  • The Elevator – Players release a series of balls into a chute, which will be fired from the end of a funnel held by the team's 'shooter'. They must then race the balls by climbing up and sliding down an inflatable hill (previously a 'bish-bash' and then a mangle) to get to their team's shooter. By moving the end of a pivoted, long-tailed seat downwards to raise the shooter high in the air, the shooter aims at a chute as the balls are released. The balls must fill the tube to the designated score marker (the lowest being 20, then 40, 60, 80 and 120) to achieve the points. In the later series, each ball scored 10 points but the score markers remained (this time in increments of 30) and a lid was installed above the shoot, which opens when the shooter is elevated, to prevent the shooter attempting to score from ground level.
  • The Fly – Each player grabs a suction cup, races along an obstacle course whilst holding it and hands it to their team's 'fly' – a player hooked up to the roof. By placing the suction cups on a table, the fly will pull himself/herself along. The last suction cup will be used to open a pyramid. Inside the pyramid is a plunger which the fly will then hit. Each suction cup is worth 10 points if correctly placed, and the first to the plunger gets an extra 30 points. In the later series, crossed-over wires were installed a few inches above the surface. Should the fly touch the wire, they must return to the back and try again.
  • The Tensioner – This was only introduced when Sally Gray was presenter. The team who have the least points after The Pulse will play this game. This is the only game to have two players from one team. The two players are attached to The Tensioner with horizontal bungee ropes and they must work together to avoid setting off the alarm as they make their way over the obstacles and up the course. If the ball touches either of the metal horizontal tubes, the alarm will sound and the two players must return to the previous footsteps and start again. If a player stands on the footprints, they get 20/40 points. The team must walk backwards. This did not appear in the late series due to an appearance of The Cube and then The Wire.
  • The Bridge – This was only introduced when Sally Gray was presenter. Each team will be given a metal bridge to use between these islands in a group and they make sure they pick up these crystals. When they get to the end, they must place the crystals in the correct holes. Their feet must not touch the ground or the team must return to the start.
  • The Stinger – This was only introduced when Sally Gray and Angellica Bell were presenting. The players must guide The Stinger - a long metal rod attached by four ropes - through the course to pass it from one zone to the next. Each zone is worth 10 points and there are eight in total. One player acts as the captain and gives advice to the other four players guiding The Stinger by pulling and moving the ropes. If the stinger touches the edges before reaching the next zone, the team must return The Stinger to the previous zone and start again from there.
  • The Avalanche – Consisting teams of six (previously eight), each player must battle through a small tunnel. In front of them are spiked stalagmites jutting out of the surface of the inflatable with snowflakes stuck on them (in the earlier series, there were white snowflakes, placed evenly, but in the later episodes there was a white snowflake above a gold one on each stalagmite). They then move past a pair of giant snowballs and a pair of giant ice cubes, climb up a hill on an attached cargo net, slide down the other side and press their team's snowdome to secure their points. Each player that hits the snowdome scores 30 points, white snowflakes are worth 50 points and gold snowflakes are worth 80 points. They may head for the snowdome without a snowflake to save time, but only one snowflake per player may be taken. If a player does not press a snowdome before the end of the game, the snowflake nor the snowdome will count. The Avalanche usually comes at the end of each episode.



Series Start date End date Episodes
1 7 April 1997[1] 16 June 1997[2] 9
2 6 April 1998[3] 3 August 1998[4] 13
3 12 April 1999[5] 26 July 1999[6] 13
4 3 April 2000[7] 17 July 2000[8] 13
5 2 April 2001[9] 16 July 2001[10] 13
6 15 April 2002[11] 22 July 2002[12] 13
7 8 April 2003[13] 8 July 2003[14] 14
8 6 April 2004[15] 13 July 2004[16] 15
9 5 April 2005[17] 12 July 2005[18] 15

Christmas Specials[edit]

28 December 1998[19]
26 December 1999[20]
25 December 2000[21]
26 December 2001[22]


  1. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 7 April 1997". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 16 June 1997". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 6 April 1998". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 3 August 1998". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 12 April 1999". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 26 July 1999". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 3 April 2000". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 17 July 2000". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 2 April 2001". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 16 July 2001". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 15 April 2002". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 22 July 2002". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 8 April 2003". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 8 July 2003". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 6 April 2004". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 13 July 2004". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 5 April 2005". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 12 July 2005". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 28 December 1998". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 26 December 1999". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 25 December 2000". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "50/50 - BBC One London - 26 December 2001". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 

External links[edit]