Tipping Point (game show)

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Tipping Point
Tipping Point game show title card.jpg
GenreQuiz Show
Created by
  • Hugh Rycroft
  • Matthew Boulby
Presented byBen Shephard
Theme music composerMarc Sylvan
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series
    • 12 (Regular)
    • 8 (Lucky Stars)
    • 3 (Best Ever Finals)
No. of episodes
    • 1,390 (Regular; as of 27 January 2023)
    • 75 (Lucky Stars; as of 24 July 2022)
    • 8 (Specials; as of 17 December 2022)
    • 25 (Best Ever Finals; as of 29 August 2022)
Running time60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company
    • RDF Television (2012–2014)
    • Fizz (2015–present)
Original networkITV
Picture format16:9 (HDTV) 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release2 July 2012 (2012-07-02) –

Tipping Point is a British television quiz show that is broadcast on ITV, although repeats are shown on W which is part of the BBC. First airing on 2 July 2012, it is presented by Ben Shephard and features three contestants (originally four before Series 12) answering questions on the subject of general knowledge to win counters which they use on a large coin pusher arcade-style machine. Only the winner at the end has a chance to take home any money; the others leave with nothing except any non-cash prizes they may have won during the game.


The machine consists of two shelves filled with flat circular counters; the upper shelf slowly extends and retracts, whilst the lower one is stationary. The rear face of the machine is divided into four drop zones, each of which contains a pegboard similar to those found in pachinko machines. Contestants answer questions to win counters, then choose a drop zone and press their buzzer to release one counter at a time into that zone. The goal is to have the counters land flat on the upper shelf so that its retraction will cause them to push other counters over its front edge, leading them in turn to push still others off the lower shelf and into a collection trough referred to as the "win zone". Contestants win £50 for each counter that drops into the win zone during their turn. Any counters that bounce out of the machine and land on either the floor or the lip of the win zone during a turn are still credited toward that contestant's score.

Three "mystery counters" were added in Series 2, each labelled with a question mark. If a mystery counter enters the win zone, the contestant in control of the machine wins a prize (monthly flower bouquets, weekend holiday, etc.) which is theirs to keep regardless of the game's final outcome. Two "double counters" were added in Series 5, each labelled with a x2. If a double counter enters the win zone, the value of all counters that land in the win zone on that same drop is doubled. If both double counters fall on the same drop, the total value is quadrupled. This was first achieved in the 45th episode of Series 11 which was first broadcast on 28 December 2021. As of Series 9, the mystery and double counters are respectively coloured green and yellow so they can easily be distinguished amongst the others in the machine. Typically, the game begins with one counter of each type on the lower shelf and the other ones on the upper shelf.

Counters that enter the win zone when the machine is not in play are "ambient drops" and are removed from the machine with no effect on scoring (except in the Final Round). If such a drop occurs after a contestant has chosen a drop zone but before they have pressed the buzzer to release a counter, they are given the option to play from that zone or select a different one. Any mystery or double counters that fall into the win zone as an ambient drop are put back in the machine as near as possible to the position they occupied before falling.

A "ghost drop" occurs when a counter drifts forward as it falls through a drop zone and its face makes contact with the clear plastic sheet covering the front of the zone. The resulting friction can greatly slow the counter or even stop its descent altogether for a very short period of time. Ghost drops, mistimed drops and unexpected bounces can lead to a counter landing on the upper shelf so that it partially overlaps or "rides" on others; such plays rarely trigger falls into the win zone and can adversely affect a contestant's turn.

For the first 11 Regular series, with four contestants per game, the lowest-scoring contestant at the end of each round is eliminated from the game and forfeits all their money. In the event of a tie for low score, a sudden-death toss-up is used to break the tie. A correct buzz-in answer allows the contestant to advance while a wrong answer eliminates them. If more than two contestants are tied for low score, the toss-ups continue until either one has been eliminated or all but one have advanced. In Series 12, with only three contestants per game, eliminations occur only at the end of Rounds 2 and 3.

If a contestant is visually impaired, they are allowed to have a helper stationed backstage, who can see the machine on a monitor and give advice through an audio earpiece as to where and when to play each counter. However, the helper may not assist in answering the questions.

Round 1[edit]

Each contestant is given three counters at the start of this round. A series of toss-up questions is asked, and the first contestant to buzz-in may answer. A correct answer allows the contestant to either play one of their own counters or force an opponent to play one instead, based on their judgement of how likely the machine is to pay out on that particular turn. Once a contestant runs out of counters, they may not answer any more questions; the last remaining contestant need not buzz-in, but must continue answering correctly in order to use their counters.

A contestant who gives an incorrect or no answer at any time loses one counter, which is placed into a penalty pot. If the pot contains any counters at the end of the round, they are all put at stake on one final toss-up question which is open to all contestants. An incorrect answer on this question freezes the contestant out and a new question is asked to the others.

If no contestants lose any counters, the round ends once they have each used the three they were given.

Round 2[edit]

Each contestant answers 45 seconds of rapid-fire general knowledge questions and receives a counter for each correct answer. Once the time is up, the contestant uses these counters in an attempt to win more money. The leader at the end of Round 1 decides who will play first; after the chosen contestant has finished their turn, the higher-scoring of the other two decides who will play next. In case of a tie before their turn, the contestant who gave a correct answer in Round 1 first has priority.

Except for the Soccer Aid specials, the time limit was 30 seconds in the first 11 regular series and Lucky Stars.

Round 3[edit]

The two remaining contestants are asked six questions, three to each contestant alternately, and the leader at the end of Round 2 decides who will start. After hearing the question, the contestant in control may either answer or pass to the opponent. A correct answer awards a counter to the contestant who gave it, while the opponent receives one for a wrong answer. Each counter is used as soon as it is earned. If the contestants are tied going into this round, the first one who gave a correct answer in Round 2 has priority.

Final round[edit]

The contestant is given a jackpot counter (larger than the others used in the game and coloured gold with a red star) and chooses a zone from which to drop it into the machine. The goal of this round is to win a £10,000 jackpot by getting the counter into the win zone. The contestant must answer one multiple-choice question from each of six categories in any order they want. For each category, all the questions have three answer options: one counter (easy), two counters (medium) or three counters (difficult) and the contestant must choose how many they want to play for. A correct answer awards the amount of counters which the contestant selected and they immediately get dropped in the machine.

Counters that enter the win zone during this round are worth £50 apiece, including any that fall during the initial playing of the jackpot counter, and the mystery and double counters are still in effect. Once the jackpot counter is in the machine, ambient drops are not voided, but are added to the contestant's winnings; however, they are voided before the jackpot counter goes in and after the last category has been used. If the jackpot counter enters the win zone, the contestant's cash total is augmented to £10,000. As of Series 8, the jackpot is doubled to £20,000 if a double counter falls on the same drop in which it is won.

If the contestant fails to recover the jackpot counter after using up all six categories, they may either trade the accumulated money for three more counters or end the game at this point and keep all winnings. If the contestant trades, all the counters except the jackpot counter become worthless and they forfeit all the money they had if the jackpot counter remains in the machine; however, the jackpot can still be increased to £20,000 with a double counter and the mystery prizes will only count if they fall with the jackpot. If the contestant ends the game and the jackpot counter is on the bottom shelf, they play the three additional counters and see if they would have been able to win the jackpot by trading.

Regardless of the outcome in this round, the contestant keeps all mystery prizes they have won at any point in the game.

Tipping Point: Lucky Stars[edit]

The title-card for the Lucky Stars series.

A series of 12 celebrity episodes under the title Tipping Point: Lucky Stars aired on ITV beginning on 9 June 2013. The programme was shown in a primetime slot. Three further series were then aired; Series 2 in Summer 2014, Series 3 in Autumn 2016 and Series 4 in Autumn 2017. A Christmas special aired on 29 December 2018 ahead of Series 5 in Summer 2019 and a Christmas Special on 25 December 2019. Series 6 commenced in Autumn 2020 and a Christmas Special aired on 24 December 2020. Series 7 then aired throughout Spring 2021 ahead of the 2021 Soccer Aid Special on 2 September 2021 and a Christmas Special on 24 December 2021. Series 8 then began airing in Spring 2022 with the 2022 Soccer Aid Special on 9 June 2022 and a Christmas Special on 17 December 2022.

The celebrity episodes feature some changes to the ordinary format:

  1. Each contestant plays on behalf of a selected charity.
  2. All cash values are doubled: £100 for normal and mystery counters and £20,000 for recovering the jackpot counter. However, the cash values aren’t doubled in the Soccer Aid Specials.
  3. Double counters are not present in the machine except for the Soccer Aid Specials.
  4. Mystery counters award either a small joke prize, a cash bonus or a question relevant to the contestant in control that allows them to play a bonus counter by giving a correct answer. In the Soccer Aid Specials, the prizes are donations to help people in need and the counters have the Soccer Aid logo on them instead of the question mark.
  5. In Round 2, the time limit is 30 seconds rather than 45 seconds except for the Soccer Aid Specials.
  6. The losing contestants after rounds 2 and 3 still take home the money they have accumulated for their chosen charities. If a contestant is eliminated with a total of £0, a donation is still made to his or her charity.
  7. In the final round, if the contestant takes the trade at the end but fails, their charity still receives £1,000.
  8. If they do win the jackpot, they don’t show a montage of their overall game.
  9. All episodes (except ones recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic) have a live audience.

Tipping Point: Best Ever Finals[edit]

Tipping Point: Best Ever Finals is a half hour spin-off that is shown at times when the regular series is neither shown nor repeated (e.g. during ITV horse racing coverage). The programme showcases the best and most dramatic jackpot finales from previous daytime series of Tipping Point. Starting from Series 2, they also included some dramatic jackpot final rounds from previous series of the primetime celebrity spin-off Tipping Point: Lucky Stars.


Regular series[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes
1 2 July 2012 27 July 2012 20 Series 1 took no breaks.
2 2 January 2013 26 February 2013 40 Mystery prize counters were introduced. Series 2 took no breaks.
3 20 May 2013 8 November 2013 70 Series 3 took breaks on: 1 July–6 September and 28 October–1 November 2013.
4 17 February 2014 29 August 2014 70 Series 4 took breaks on: 28 April–1 August 2014.
5 5 January 2015 4 December 2015 125 Double counters were introduced. Series 5 took breaks on: 16–27 March, 4 May–4 September, 23–24 September, 1 October, 7 October, 16 October and 9–20 November 2015.
6 7 December 2015 21 October 2016 150 Series 6 took breaks on: 21 December 2015–1 January and 23 May–26 August 2016.
7 2 January 2017 10 November 2017 150 Series 7 took breaks on: 20 January, 14–17 March, 22 March, 6–7 April and 1 June–1 September 2017.
8 8 January 2018 17 May 2019 165 Double counters started doubling the jackpot. Series 8 took breaks on: 12–16 March, 9–13 April, 23 April due to the birth of Prince Louis of Cambridge, 28 May–30 August and 10 December 2018–10 May 2019.
9 1 January 2019 9 December 2020 165 The mystery prize and double counters were given the new standout green and yellow colours. Series 9 took breaks on: 12–15 March, 1–5 April, 13 May–30 August, 9 December 2019–31 August and 14 September–8 December 2020.
10 1 January 2020 12 March 2021 165 Series 10 took breaks on: 9–13 March, 23 March–11 September, 9–31 December 2020 and 20 January 2021 due to Joe Biden becoming US President.
11 19 April 2021 1 June 2022 165 Filming started in March 2020 with 18 episodes recorded shortly before lockdown regulations took place. Production then resumed in July 2020 with COVID-19 safety measures in place with the other 147 episodes using a new setup. These episodes were first broadcast from 10 May 2021. This series started a week later than originally planned due to the death of Prince Philip. Series 11 took breaks on: 4 June–27 August, 2 September, 13–27 December 2021 and 14 March–27 May 2022.
12 11 April 2022 2023 165 In this series, there are only 3 contestants per episode instead of 4 and the time limit in Round 2 has been increased to 45 seconds. This series still uses COVID-19 safety measures. Series 12 took breaks on: 30 May–2 September, 6 September due to Liz Truss becoming UK Prime Minister, 9–19 September due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II and 21 November–27 December 2022.
13 2023 TBA 165

Lucky Stars[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes
1 9 June 2013 25 August 2013 12 Series 1 took no breaks.
2 5 July 2014 23 August 2014 8 Series 2 took no breaks.
3 15 October 2016 3 December 2016 8 Series 3 took no breaks.
4 3 September 2017 29 October 2017 8 Series 4 took breaks on: 8 October 2017.
5 7 July 2019 22 September 2019 11 The mystery prize counters were given the standout green colour. Series 5 took breaks on: 1 September 2019.
6 13 September 2020 29 November 2020 12 Series 6 took no breaks.
7 4 April 2021 16 May 2021 7 This series was recorded with COVID-19 safety measures in place. This included social distancing of on-screen members and crew and no audience. Series 7 took no breaks.
8 3 April 2022 24 July 2022 9 This series still uses COVID-19 safety measures. Series 8 took breaks on: 17 April, 29 May–3 July and 17 July 2022 due to Britain looking for a new prime minister.
9 2023 TBA 9


Date Title Notes
19 December 2014 Text Santa Special
29 December 2018 Christmas Special
25 December 2019 Christmas Special
24 December 2020 Christmas Special This episode was recorded with COVID-19 safety measures in place. This included social distancing of on-screen members and crew and no audience.
2 September 2021 Soccer Aid Special This episode still uses COVID-19 safety measures.
24 December 2021 Christmas Special This episode still uses COVID-19 safety measures.
9 June 2022 Soccer Aid Special This episode still uses COVID-19 safety measures.
17 December 2022 Christmas Special This episode still has the contestants spaced out but there is an audience.

Best Ever Finals[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 12 March 2019 17 November 2019 5
2 10 March 2020 14 June 2021 12
3 15 March 2022 29 August 2022 8
4 2023 TBA TBA

International transmissions[edit]

  • Australia Australia – the Nine Network first broadcast the regular series on 2 December 2019. Episodes air at 3:00 pm weekdays (except in Western Australia where it airs at 4:00 pm weekdays) in direct competition with rival ITV-produced game show The Chase on the Seven Network. A repeat of the same day's episode is shown sometime after midnight the following day.[2][3][4] For a brief period in January 2021, episodes also aired in prime time, at 7:30 pm Saturdays.[5]
  • Republic of Ireland Ireland – Virgin Media Two airs episodes Monday to Friday at 4:00pm and 5:00pm.
  • New Zealand New Zealand – TVNZ airs episodes of the original British version as well as its celebrity Lucky Stars counterpart Monday to Saturday at 10:00am and Monday to Friday at 3:00pm.


The official Tipping Point app for iOS was released by Barnstorm Games on 30 March 2014. The Android version was later released on 3 April 2014.[6] An electronic board game based on the show was released in 2015 by John Adams under its Ideal Games brand.[7][8] Another Tipping Point app was released in 2020 called Tipping Point Blast!


  1. ^ "Tipping Point". Banijay Rights. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  2. ^ McKnight, Robert (9 August 2019). "Is Nine looking to replace MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT with a UK game show?". TV Blackbox. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  3. ^ Knox, David (10 August 2019). "Tipping Point coming to Nine". TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  4. ^ Knox, David (21 November 2019). "Nine News Now to rest over summer for Tipping Point". TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  5. ^ Knox, David (28 December 2020). "Tipping Point goes primetime". TV Tonight. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  6. ^ Games, Barnstorm. "Tipping Point".
  7. ^ "Zodiak Rights strikes deal for Tipping Point board game". licensing.biz.
  8. ^ "Ideal Tipping Point". Amazon UK.

External links[edit]