The Cube (game show)

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The Cube
The-Cube-ITV.jpg
Created by Adam Adler
Presented by Phillip Schofield
Voices of Colin McFarlane
Theme music composer Nick Foster
Ken Bolam
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 77 (as of upcoming 8 July 2015)
Production
Location(s) Fountain Studios
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Objective Productions
Distributor All3Media
Release
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release 22 August 2009 (2009-08-22) – present
External links
Website

The Cube is a triple BAFTA Award–winning British game show which first aired on ITV on 22 August 2009. Presented by Phillip Schofield, it offers contestants the chance to win a top prize of £250,000 by completing challenges from within a 4m × 4m × 4m Perspex cube. The show is based on the idea that even straightforward tasks become extremely challenging when confined and put under pressure in front of a large live studio audience. Once inside, contestants can feel both claustrophobic and disorientated. Using "state-of-the-art filming techniques", the show aims to demonstrate the intense anxiety which contestants undergo as they progress through each task. Colin McFarlane provides the disembodied voice of The Cube, who explains the rules of the games.[1][2]

Format[edit]

Contestants are set a task to complete which can test their mental agility, physical ability, intelligence, observation or response; these tasks are played within a large metal cube. If they successfully complete the task, they will move up the money ladder. Each contestant begins with nine lives. Each time a contestant makes an unsuccessful attempt at a game, one life is lost and the contestant must repeat the game until they are successful. Any contestant who runs out of lives while attempting a game is defeated by The Cube and loses all the money he or she accumulated to that point, with the exception of celebrities (who leave with £1000 for their charities). Contestants may stop before attempting a game and take the money they have won but once a contestant decides to play, he or she cannot change their decision. Almost every episode features two contestants' games.

The seventh and final game, if the contestant makes it that far, is a harder version of a challenge the contestant has previously played and struggled at.

Contestants are given a simplify, which can only be used once and makes a game considerably easier (for instance, by giving the contestant additional time). Once the contestant completes their first game, they are given a trial run: a trial run allows them to play the game once without being penalised for losing or committed to playing the game (although they cannot advance to the next game if they succeed in the trial).

Before each game, there is a short demonstration by "The Body", a masked female character described as "an expert at all games played within the Cube". Her demonstrations show the contestant and audience how the games are played.

Phillip Schofield sometimes offers statistical information about the game the contestant is about to play. This may variously include the average number of lives the game takes from players, the percentage of players that completed the game on their first try, or whether a particular group of people (e.g. men or women, or taller or shorter people) are better at the game than another.

Filming[edit]

Objective Productions first approached Channel 4 in 2008 with the format. It was made into a non-televised pilot by the channel,[3] and was hosted by Justin Lee Collins. Channel 4 eventually decided not to commission the show because it would have been too expensive.[4] In February 2009, ITV purchased the rights to the show and filming began during April 2009 at Wembley's Fountain Studios. The Cube is one of the first shows to use the game freeze filming technique on a frequent basis, such as when a contestant jumps. This is Time slice. Using specially designed cameras, it allows the viewer to see one side of the Cube before the action is frozen, spun to another face of the Cube and then resumed. Slow-motion shots are again common to show action replays of the task a contestant just completed, or the critical moment of a game, to heighten the excitement of whether the contestant will succeed or fail. The show makes extensive use of CGI to project images onto the walls and ceiling of the Cube, while a screen on the floor is also capable of showing images. These film techniques make the seemingly simple tasks that are put before the contestants seem much more exciting than they would normally be.

For Series 8, which premiered on 1 March 2014, the show received a revamp. Including a new studio set, new opening credits, a redesign of graphics and several new games. The 7 game format and prize money structure however remain the same.

Transmissions[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
No. Regular Celebrity
1 22 August 2009 3 October 2009 7 7 0
2 19 September 2010 2 January 2011 12 9 3
3 3 April 2011 11 June 2011 9 8 1
4 30 October 2011 31 December 2011 9 8 1
5 14 April 2012 23 December 2012 9 6 3
6 2 March 2013 18 May 2013 12 12 0
7 30 June 2013 22 February 2014 3 0 3
8 1 March 2014 19 December 2014 10 6 4
9 3 June 2015[5] 8 July 2015 6 6 0

Prize money[edit]

Since the first episode, The Cube has had a prize money structure starting at £1,000 and ending at the £250,000 jackpot. Below is a breakdown of the Prize money structure, showing the game number and amount of prize money that can be won for successfully completing that game. If a player loses all their lives at any point during the game they lose all the money they have accumulated to that point.

Stage Amount
Game 1 £1,000
Game 2 £2,000
Game 3 £10,000
Game 4 £20,000
Game 5 £50,000
Game 6 £100,000
Game 7 £250,000

Contestants[edit]

Text Santa special[edit]

  • On 19 December 2014 as part of the annual ITV Text Santa charity appeal The Cube was played with a two player team.

The format was adjusted and consisted of only 3 games. £1,000, £50,000 and £100,000. The players were given 5 lives and a Simplify. 3 special Games were created for the show, as detailed below:

Game 1—£1,000: Barrier Buddies. The basic format was that of Barrier, but in this format, the contestants stand in opposite corners of The Cube. One contestant must cross the single Barrier, blindfolded as normal but when they reach the other side, they must pass the blindfold mask to their partner who must make the return journey. Both contestants must cross the barrier and return to the opposite corner to succeed.

Game 2—£50,000: Super Expulsion. Same format as Expulsion however both contestants must work together and remove 1000 balls from the container within 20 seconds. The container must be completely empty before the time runs out to win the game.

Game 3—£100,000: Couples Construction. Based on Construction but unlike the original version, the two contestants must take alternate turns to build a tower of 12 blocks. Once complete, the tower must remain standing for 3 seconds for the attempt to count. The simplify reduced the height of the tower to nine blocks.

Reception[edit]

Readers of ukgameshows.com named it the best new game show of 2009 in their "Hall of fame" poll.[6]

Awards[edit]

Year Group Award Result
2010 Broadcast Awards Best New Programme Nominated
Rose d'Or Best Game Show Nominated
2011 RTS Awards Best Entertainment Show Nominated
Broadcast Awards Best Entertainment Programme Won
BAFTA Best Entertainment Craft Team Won
Best Entertainment Programme Won
2012 Best Entertainment Craft Team Won
National Reality TV Awards Best Game Show Nominated
TV Choice Awards Best Game Show Won
Rose d'Or Best Game Show Nominated
National Television Awards Best Entertainment Programme Nominated
2013 Best Entertainment Programme Nominated
2014 Best Entertainment Programme Nominated

International versions[edit]

The format has been successful with international broadcasters. As of 2015, eleven countries have produced their own versions of the show. Some are still broadcasting, some have ceased broadcasting and in the case of the US version have not even been shown (only a pilot was filmed).

Below is a breakdown of the countries that have created their own versions along with other information including the Jackpot available and broadcast dates.

Legend:      Currently airing        No longer airing        Non-broadcast pilot  

Country Name Host Channel Top prize Premiere/air dates
 Arab World[7] The Cube Dhaffer L'Abidine Dubai TV Dhs250,000 2 February 2014
 China 梦立方
Mèng lìfāng
Cheng Lei Dragon TV To achieve the contestant's dream[8] or ¥250,000 13 May 2012 – 4 September 2013[9]
 France Le Cube Nagui France 2 50,000 1 July – 30 August 2013
 Germany The Cube – Besiege den Würfel! Nazan Eckes RTL 250,000 29 April 2011[10]
 Italy The Cube – La Sfida Teo Mammucari Italia 1 100,000 7 September 2011[11]
 Portugal O Cubo Jorge Gabriel RTP 30,000 16 May – 11 July 2010
 Russia[12] Куб
Kub
Dmitry Kharatyan Channel One 3,000,000 roubles 30 March – 30 November 2013
 Saudi Arabia المكعب
Al Moukaab
Faisal Al Issa KSA 1 SR250,000 17 March – 8 July 2010
 Spain El Cubo Raquel Sánchez Silva Cuatro 150,000 8 February 2012[13]
250,000
 Ukraine Куб
Kub
Maksim Chmerkovskiy STB 250,000 21 November 2011[14]
Dmitry Tancovich 500,000
 United States The Cube Neil Patrick Harris CBS $500,000 N/A

Filming locations[edit]

The German, Italian, Portugease, Saudi Arabian, Spanish and the U.S. pilot of The Cube were filmed at The Fountain Studios in London using the British set and games. Other international versions have created their own studio sets. The Chinese version of the show is filmed at the Zhabei Gymnasium in Shanghai; the Ukrainian version of the show is filmed at the Antonov Serial Production Plant in Kiev; the Russian version of the show is filmed at the Ostankino Technical Center in Moscow; the Arabian version is filmed at the Dubai Studio City in Dubai and the French version of the show is filmed in La Plaine Saint-Denis, near Paris.

Top prize winners[edit]

Across all versions of the show, 6 contestants have won the final game and taken away the Jackpot.

Country Contestant Jackpot game Jackpot won Date
 Arab World Hamad Al Yahmadi Blind Shot Dhs250,000 20 April 2014
 China Chen Kun Extraction ¥250,000 22 July 2012 (Charity special)
Wu Jing Tower ¥250,000 2 May 2013 (Charity special)
 Portugal Vítor Costa Barrier €30,000 30 May 2010
 Ukraine Andriy Serko Rapid Fire 250,000 UAH 29 October 2012
 United Kingdom Mo Farah Barrier £250,000 14 July 2012 (Charity special)

Merchandise[edit]

An electronic board game based on the series was made available in stores from November 2010.[15] As of June 2011, the game has been discontinued by most main retailers.[16] The game comes with an electronic handheld system featuring games such as Time Freeze and Stop Zone, as well as 9 balls- six 18mm blow moulded balls, 1 30mm EVA foam ball, 1 25mm hard ball and one 50mm hard ball. The balls are used for different reasons and the foam ball is used for most games with a ball. For Multisphere, all balls are used unless it is being played in a room with hard floors, in that case eight balls are used. Tubes are used for almost every physical game for starting positions, voids, tubes, towers and columns. Other equipment in the board game are track pieces, discs, clips, z shaped platform pieces, cannons, blocks, a ball flipper, a beam and card pieces,and a 7x7x7 plastic cube for playing a series of sixty physical games. The cube is used for a container and to connect onto the cube platform for the electronic games. A reducer also comes with the cube allowing it to reduce the size of it. The Simplify for games with the reducer generally remove it. Many well known and classic games are here as well as new games such as Roller, Catch, Retrieval and Bounce, everyday life games and interesting and complex games.

Around the time of the release of the board game, a Game App version of the series was made available via the iTunes store for use on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. This app version originally featured sixteen games from the series: Balance, Cylinder, Descent, Drop Zone, Focus, Multisphere, Perimeter, Precision, Quantity, Reaction, Revolution, Shatter, Stabilise, Stop Zone and Time Freeze. The first update for the game came in April 2011 with Pulse added Another update for the game was made available in June 2011, adding a further free game, Succession, and making eight games available via in app purchase in 2 "packs" Exact, Pathfinder, Totalise and Tower in Pack one and Invert, Composure, Calculate and Navigate in Pack two. A Further update was made available in October 2011, adding a further free game, Axis. 2 further games followed in 2012, Eliminate in April and Symmetry in October. In February 2013, Chase, which at that time had not been shown on TV, was made available. Almost a year later on 21 February 2014 Avoid was added. The most recent update came on 19 May 2014 when 4 games new games were made available via In App Purchase. These new games were Reset, Plummet, Selection and Tally all which are new games from the most recent series. There are currently 35 games available to play in the App version.

On 9 November 2012, a Cube game was released on consoles for the first time. Released on Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS. 33 games are playable in this version including two unseen new games which are Flight Path (already played in international versions) and Retrace. If you beat the Cube, then you unlock Extreme Mode, Where you play more "extreme" versions of 5 popular games which are Revolution, Pathfinder, Perimeter, Rebound and Momentum.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Cube ITV.
  2. ^ "Schofield to host ITV gameshow 'The Cube'". Digital Spy. 
  3. ^ Channel 4 piloting gameshow in a cube Digital Spy
  4. ^ ITV snaps up C4-piloted gameshow Broadcast
  5. ^ http://www.itv.com/presscentre/ep1week23/cube
  6. ^ "Poll of the Year 2009". UKGameshows. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  7. ^ "Dubai TV". Dmi.ae. 2012-05-06. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  8. ^ For example, the prize of the first 5 games for the very first contestant were football boots, complete set of freestyle football equipments, freestyle football party, replacement of old home appliances and a freestyle football studio respectively.
  9. ^ "东方卫视梦立方官方网站". dragontv.cn. 
  10. ^ "TVmatrix". tvmatrix.de. 
  11. ^ The Cube–Italian TV
  12. ^ суббота, 16:50. "Куб - Анкета - Первый канал". 1tv.ru. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  13. ^ "Cuatro busca concursantes para 'El Cubo'". cuatro.com. 
  14. ^ "Шоу Куб: смотреть онлайн". КУБ. 
  15. ^ "Buy The Cube Family Electronic Game at Argos.co.uk - Your Online Shop for Games and board games.". argos.co.uk. 
  16. ^ "Generic Error". debenhams.com. 

External links[edit]