Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit

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Dara Ó Briain's Go 8 Bit
Genre Comedy Panel game
Created by Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon
Written by Dominic English (Series 1)
James Menzies (Series 2 & 3)
Directed by Steve Smith (Series 1, Various Series 2 & 3)
Jan Genesis (Various Series 2 & 3)
Presented by Dara Ó Briain
Starring Team Captains
Steve McNeil
Sam Pamphilon
Gaming Expert
Ellie Gibson
Theme music composer Liam Tate
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 27
Executive producer(s) Donald Taffner, Jr.
Michaela Hennessy-Vass (Series 2-3)
John Bartlett (Best Of)
Iain Coyle (UKTV)
Simon Lupton (UKTV - Ep. 1)
Producer(s) Darren Sole (Series Producer)
Rohan Acharya (Series 1, Best Of)
Ross Murray (Series 2-3)
Production location(s) Fountain Studios (Series 1)
BBC Elstree (Series 2-3)
Editor(s) Jason Boxall (Series 1)
Fergus March (Series 1, Best Of)
Luke Crockett (Series 2)
James Curry (Series 2 & 3)
Jon Ellis (Series 2 & 3)
Duncan Hart (Series 2 & 3)
Tom McPhee (Series 2 & 3)
Michael Pearce (Series 2 & 3)
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) DLT Entertainment UK LTD
Distributor DLT Entertainment LTD
Original network Dave
Picture format 16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original release 5 September 2016 (2016-09-05) – present
External links
Official website

Dara Ó Briain's Go 8 Bit is a British comedy panel game show, hosted by comedian Dara Ó Briain, co-starring video game journalist Ellie Gibson, and broadcast on Dave. The show's format is themed around two teams - English comedians Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon as team captains, along with a guest member for each team - competing in a series of rounds against each other for points through various video games; the games range from past classic, modern releases and indie games, as well as a specially designed round themed on a game. The winner of the each episode is the team to secure the most points after five rounds. The show was originally conceived by McNeil and Pamphilon for the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before it was later pitched for television, with the first episode premiering on 5 September 2016.

After the first series, the show was recommissioned for two more series,[1] with viewers able to watch episodes a week earlier than scheduled via UKTV Play, the on demand service. A spin-off show called Go 8 Bit DLC was later created and aired following each episode of the second series, which was presented by Gibson, McNeil and Pamphilon.[2] On 5 February 2018, Dave aired a one-hour special of the programme, entitled The Best of Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit, featuring the best bits of series 1 and 2.[3]


In 2013, McNeil and Pamphilon began work to devise a show they would perform for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that year. The comedians had very little on ideas for what they would create, but eventually settled on the idea of using video games to create humour.[4] Their concept, entitled McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!, focused on them leading teams that competed against each other via playing video games, with the loser having to take a forfeit.[5] Examples of forfeits that occurred included McNeil being punched, and Pamphilon eating a whole jar of jalapeño peppers.[6][7] When interviewed by The Guardian about the concept they created, McNeil explained the reasoning behind their idea:[4]

"We'd had the idea of doing a late night show on Friday and Saturday nights, just for fun, where we'd get comedians drunk and then encourage them to abuse each other while they played retro games – purely for shenanigans. Somewhat tediously, it was more successful than anything else we'd done up to that point. So we kept doing it."

While the show's popularity led to it featuring on the Fringe the following year,[8] the concept was seen to have potential. The television rights were optioned by production company DLT Entertainment UK Limited, who assigned producer Rohan Acharya to develop its format for television. The basic development of the programme established a budget that allowed six episodes to be produced as a sales tool, with a presentation of the televised concept performed at The Tabernacle in 2014. After watching the presentation, Dave gave the green light to supporting the show and taking on its six episodes, a decision that was further assisted by Dara Ó Briain agreeing to become the show's host; his attachment to it led to the show's name changing to become Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit. To assist in its development on Dave, Darren Sole was brought on as Series Producer.[9] When the show was given a live performance in a London pub, Ellie Gibson became immediately interested in what she saw and auditioned for a role on the programme as a gaming expert, which she subsequently secured.[4]


The show focuses on comedians McNeil and Pamphilon as the captain of their own team, with each episode seeing them joined by a guest teammate. The goal for both teams is to secure the most points after five rounds of competitive gaming. The rules for each round vary, depending on the game being played and the mode of gameplay used - for example, the rules could state that the teams have to maintain the highest score when the allotted playing time is up, while in another game, the rules could stipulate that its the best of five matches to determine the winner and team members switch controllers after each match. While Gibson provides overall information on each game that is played by the teams, in a humorous style, along with the rules for winning each round, both she and Ó Briain also provide commentary when a game is underway.

The main stage used for the show, where the host, expert and teams are situated on, features a special mechanism which allows it to move 90 degrees clockwise and counter-clockwise between two positions - the "Play" position, which faces the teams towards a large screen used for the majority of rounds to play video games on, except for the final round, in which they face a special stage to play a unique game on it; and the "Rest" position, used between rounds. Both teams each sit at a couch for the duration of the show, except the final round, with each having a desk space set in front of them that is laden with various console controllers and a keyboard and mouse, depending on the choice of games being used. In some cases where the teams are playing an arcade video game, an arcade machine of the game is set up on the stage.

Each episode consists of five rounds that are played as follows:

  • Round 1 - A classic video game played by both teams. In this round, members of both team switch play when the current player is "KOed" during gameplay.
  • Round 2 & 3 - The favourite game of each guest. The guest that is playing, competes against the opposing team's captain.
  • Round 4 - A modern indie game or a big hit game, played by both teams.
  • Round 5 - A humorous take on a game, done up with life-size controller scheme, and played in a special stage area behind the screen. The game usually involves the guests playing this.

The team that wins a round receives a set amount of points that are determined before it begins via an audience vote. Prior to each episode, the audience are given log-in details to a voting app they can use on their phone. When a round is set to commence, the audience are asked to vote on the team they believe will win it, with voting ended upon the stage set to the Play position. The highest percentage value from the vote tally, becomes the points that are on offer for the winning team - for example, if the vote ends with team A getting 36% of the vote, and team B getting 64% of the vote, then the winner of the round will receive 64 points. For the final round, the amount of points on offer is doubled. In the event of a tie, both teams receive points based on the amount for the round.


See List of Dara Ó Briain's Go 8 Bit episodes


  1. ^ "Two more series for Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "There's more video game telly coming". Eurogamer. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "The Best of Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit". Digiguide. Retrieved 26 January 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c Stuart, Keith (6 September 2016). "Dara Ó Briain's Go 8 Bit: how comedy brought video games back to TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  6. ^ Smith, Andy (12 August 2013). "McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!". Broadway Baby. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  7. ^ Mulvihill, S. "FRINGE REVIEW – McNeil and Pamphilon Go 8-Bit". Edinburgh Spotlight. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "McNeil and Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit, Dave". Broadcast. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2018. 

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