The Cube (game show)

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The Cube
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 79 (as of 8 August 2015)
Location(s) Fountain Studios
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Objective Productions
Distributor All3Media
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 22 August 2009 (2009-08-22) – present
Related shows 1000 Heartbeats
External links

The Cube is a British game show which first aired on ITV on 22 August 2009. Hosted 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. It is based on the idea that even straightforward tasks become extremely challenging when confined and put under pressure inside a small, enclosed area whilst surrounded by a large live studio audience. Once inside, contestants can feel both claustrophobic and disorientated, affecting their concentration and abilities. Using "state-of-the-art filming techniques", the show aims to demonstrate the intense anxiety which contestants undergo as they progress through each task. The challenges involve catching, throwing, estimating, reacting, memorising, balancing, etc. Colin McFarlane provides the disembodied voice of The Cube, who explains the rules of the games.[1][2]


The game is played by a single contestant in a 4m x 4m x 4m Perspex transparent cube. The object of the game is to complete as many of seven games, each of which worth an increasing amount of prize money, inside The Cube as possible before failing an attempt nine times in total. Each game is pre-selected for the contestant before the show to suit their difficulty and can test a contestant's mental agility, physical ability, intelligence, observation or response. Each episode usually consists of two contestants' games.

Each contestant begins with nine lives. Each time a contestant makes an unsuccessful attempt at a game, one life is lost. The contestant must repeat the game until they are successful or run out of lives. Any contestant who runs out of lives is said to be defeated by The Cube and loses all money accumulated, with the exception of celebrities (who leave with £1,000 for their respective charities). After a contestant succeeds in a game, they are able to see a preview of what their next challenge is and can choose to leave with their prize money or play the next game to win the larger sum of money.

During a preview, the name of a challenge is revealed and its rules are then explained by the voiceover. They are each physically demonstrated by "The Body", a metal-masked character described by Colin McFarlane in the original series as "an expert at all games played within the Cube". Her real name is currently unknown.

Some games have specific restrictions to increase the difficulty of the game, which, if disobeyed, will immediately cost a life. For example, some of the games may only be played with one hand. Some have time limits, and some of these games feature stopwatches that are started and stopped by the contestant. Games that involve throwing or catching an object at a target usually have a red line the contestant must stand behind whilst playing the game.

The seventh and final game is worth a jackpot of £250,000; contestants who complete this game are said to have "beaten the Cube". It is a more difficult version of one of the six games a contestant previously played, and struggled to complete. Only one person has attempted, and completed, the seventh game: runner Mo Farah, who appeared in a special episode of a celebrity series in 2012 where British gold-medallists were the contestants. Interestingly, Farah's seventh game was a more difficult version of the "Barrier" game, which he had completed without difficulty earlier in his run. Farah ultimately defeated the Cube with six lives remaining.

Contestants are given two lifelines, each of which can be used once only. The first is called 'simplify', which makes a game considerably easier (e.g. by giving the contestant additional time). It may be used before any attempt at a challenge and remains in effect until the contestant succeeds or fails the current challenge. Once the contestant completes their first game, the second lifeline is unlocked. This is called a 'trial run'. The trial run allows them to play the game once without being penalised for losing or committing to playing the game (although they cannot advance to the next game if they succeed in the trial) before deciding whether to play or take the money.

Phillip Schofield occasionally offers statistics to advise a player about whether to bank their money or continue gameplay. Family members and/or friends of the contestant watch on in the audience, sometimes providing assistance with making decisions and recommending techniques for the game.


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 in celebration. The technique used is called "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 7, which premiered on 1 March 2014, the show received a revamp, including a new studio set (the wave lines in the background were replaced by a circular replica of the letter C), new opening credits, a redesign of graphics and several new games. The 7 game format and prize money structure remain the same.


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 22 February 2014 15 12 3
7 1 March 2014 19 December 2014 10 6 4
8 3 June 2015 8 August 2015 8 6 2
9 2017 2017 TBA TBA TBA

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

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 worth £1,000, £50,000 and £100,000. The players were given 5 lives and a Simplify.


Readers of named it the best new game show of 2009 in their "Hall of fame" poll.[5]


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.


     Currently airing  
     No longer airing  
     Non-broadcast pilot  
Country Name Host Channel Top prize Premiere/air dates Status
 Arab World[6] The Cube Dhaffer L'Abidine Dubai TV Dhs250,000 2 February 2014 No longer airing
 China 梦立方
Mèng lìfāng
Cheng Lei Dragon TV Prize[a] or ¥250,000 13 May 2012 – 4 September 2013[7] No longer airing
 France Le Cube Nagui France 2 50,000 1 July – 30 August 2013 No longer airing
 Germany The Cube – Besiege den Würfel! Nazan Eckes RTL 250,000 29 April 2011[8] No longer airing
 Hungary A Kocka Nóra Ördög TV2 10,000,000 Ft 23 November 2015[9] Currently airing
 Italy The Cube – La Sfida Teo Mammucari Italia 1 100,000 7 September 2011[10] No longer airing
 Portugal O Cubo Jorge Gabriel RTP 30,000 16 May – 11 July 2010 No longer airing
 Russia[11] Куб
Dmitry Kharatyan Channel One 3,000,000 30 March – 30 November 2013 No longer airing
 Saudi Arabia المكعب
Al Moukaab
Faisal Al Issa KSA 1 SR250,000 17 March – 8 July 2010 No longer airing
 Spain El Cubo Raquel Sánchez Silva Cuatro 150,000 8 February 2012[12] No longer airing
 Ukraine Куб
Maksim Chmerkovskiy STB 250,000 21 November 2011[13] Currently airing
Dmitry Tancovich 500,000
 United States The Cube Neil Patrick Harris CBS $500,000 N/A Non-broadcast pilot
  1. ^ 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.

The UK version of The Cube is also currently being simulcast in Ireland by UTV Ireland. It is broadcast in New Zealand on TV1, and in Australia on the Nine Network. Old series are broadcast in Bosnia and Herzegovina by RTRS, in Serbia by Ultra TV and in Singapore by MediaCorp Channel 5.

Filming locations[edit]

The German, Italian, Portuguese, 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)


An electronic board game based on the series was made available in stores from November 2010.[14] As of June 2011, the game has been discontinued by most main retailers.[15] 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 7 cm x 7 cm x 7 cm plastic cube for playing a series of 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 the open top of the cube. This is, in almost all games involving the cube, removed in a simplify. 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. It was available on the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS. 33 games are playable in this version including two unseen new games: Flight Path (already played in international versions) and Retrace. If the Cube is beaten, Extreme Mode is unlocked, featuring more extreme versions of five popular games: Revolution, Pathfinder, Perimeter, Rebound and Momentum.


External links[edit]