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Genre Quiz Show
Presented by Robert Kilroy-Silk
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 20 (16 un-aired)
Running time 30 minutes
Original network ITV
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
First shown in 2001
Original release 5 November 2001 – 26 November 2001

Shafted was a short-lived British quiz show on ITV, presented by Robert Kilroy-Silk, based on game theory.


The game begins with six players and is played in five rounds. In the first round, each player must declare how much money they would like to receive, to a maximum of £25,000. The person who asks for the largest amount is immediately eliminated from the game and receives nothing; the other five are credited with the amounts they requested.

In each of the next three rounds, the host reads the first few words of a question and invites the players to wager a portion of their totals. Once the wagers are entered, the host reads the entire question and the player who made the largest wager has to answer it. A correct answer adds the wager to their total, while a miss deducts it. Once the host has asked as many questions as there are players still in the game, the leader chooses one opponent to eliminate with no winnings. The totals of all remaining players are then increased to match that of the leader.

At the beginning of the third round, each player is given an option to "Shift," or force an opponent to answer a question meant for them. Each player can use this option once during the third or fourth rounds.

A complete question often leads in a very different direction from that suggested by its incomplete prompt. Example:

In the fifth and final round, the two remaining players stand at podiums facing each other in a form of the prisoner's dilemma, with the leader's total at stake. A brief snippet of a backstage interview with each player is shown to the audience, after which both of them must secretly decide to "share" or "shaft." Their choices are revealed to the home viewers, but not to the audience, host, or players, and they are then given a chance to discuss the situation and change their decisions if they wish. Their final choices determine the fate of the jackpot.

  • If both choose "share," each wins half the money.
  • If one chooses "share" and the other "shaft," the shafting player wins all the money.
  • If both choose "shaft," neither wins any money.


Despite excellent viewing figures, the show was dropped four episodes after it started in 2001, and was listed as the worst British television show of the 2000s in the Penguin TV Companion (2006).[1]

Kilroy-Silk's actions on the show were frequently mocked on Have I Got News for You in late 2004, particularly his delivery of the show's tag-line, "Their fate will be in each other's hands as they decide whether to share or to shaft", and the associated hand actions. During several episodes, a clip of this was inserted into the show at some point, occasionally the clip continues to surface in the show.

On March 26, 2012, Pointless co-presenter Richard Osman, writing for The Guardian named Shafted among four of UK TV's worst ever gameshows.[2]

International versions[edit]


Genre Quiz Show
Presented by Red Symons
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 40
Location(s) Melbourne, Victoria
Running time 30 minutes
Original network Nine Network
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 11 February – 5 April 2002

An Australian version of the show starring Red Symons ran between 11 February to 5 April 2002 on the Nine Network. If, in the final round of this version, one contestant decided to shaft while the other contestant decided to share, the person who shafted would not only win all of the cash, but would get to play in the next game with the title of "Master Shafter". When the series started, the other contestants knew who the master shafter was, and that person was regularly eliminated first. This was later changed so that the master shafter was not revealed to the other contestants until the very end of the show. The show was suspended in April 2002 due to very bad ratings. Only one time in the show, two contestants chose to share and won a lot of money. They hugged in the end unlike the other episodes.

Also in the Australian version, contestants can bid up to $500 where the contestant who makes the highest bid gets eliminated in the first round. Unlike the British version, the majority of the questions that were asked were toss-up questions. From round two onwards, the current player with the highest amount picks one of the four topics where a set of questions are given out for the contestants to answer. Before this could happen, contestants must make a bid as to how much money they are willing to risk for every question they get correct. If two or more pick the same bid, the one who locked their bid the fastest will get it and the next contestants bid will be $5 less to avoid two or more players having the same bid. During the set of questions, contestants buzz in for a chance to answer and win or lose their bidding amount for every question they answer correctly or not. After this, half of a question is read for the contestants where they must bid an amount to have the right of answering the question. The highest bidder gets a chance to answer it with the second half of that question revealed. After this, the contestant with the highest score has the right to eliminate another contestant. That eliminated contestant has thirty seconds to persuade that contestant to stay in the game. (One time a contestant didn't bother and wanted to be eliminated.) Then the contestant must decide whether to stick with their decision or change their mind, if they change their mind, that contestant is eliminated and gets no say to save themselves. At the end of the round, all contestants have the same amount equal to the leader.

Other versions[edit]

Pilots for Shafted were made in seven other European countries as well as in the United States for CBS but none of them got picked up.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ben Quinn (27 October 2006). "Racist stereotypes 'make the worst TV'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. 
  2. ^ Richard Osman (2012-10-26). "UK TV's worst ever gameshows". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-07.