Tipping Point (game show)

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Tipping Point
Tipping Point game show title card.jpg
GenreQuiz show
Created byHugh Rycroft
Matthew Boulby
Presented byBen Shephard
Theme music composerMarc Sylvan
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series11 (Regular)
7 (Lucky Stars)
No. of episodes1,000 (regular; as of 18 March 2020)
62 (Lucky Stars; as of 25 December 2020)
Running time60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production companiesRDF Television (2012–14)
Fizz (2015–present)
Original networkITV
Picture format16:9 (HDTV) 1080i
Original release2 July 2012 (2012-07-02) –

Tipping Point is a British television quiz show which began airing on ITV on 2 July 2012, and is presented by Ben Shephard. Three contestants answer 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 credited toward that contestant's score.

Three "mystery counters" were added in series 2, each labelled with a question mark; at the start of the game, two are on the upper shelf and one is on the lower. 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" labelled "x2" were added in series 5, one each on the upper and lower shelves, which double the value of all counters that land in the win zone on that same drop. Starting with series 9, the mystery and double counters are respectively coloured green and yellow, so that they can be easily distinguished from the others in the machine.

Counters that enter the win zone when the machine is not in play, excluding the final round, are "ambient drops" and are removed from the machine with no effect on scoring. If such a drop occurs after a contestant has chosen a drop zone but before they can press 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 replaced 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, until 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, adversely affecting the contestant's turn.

At the end of each round, the lowest-scoring contestant 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 miss eliminates them. If three or more contestants are tied for low score, or if all contestants are tied, the toss-ups continue until either one has been eliminated or all but one have advanced.

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

Round 1[edit]

The four contestants are each 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 response 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 response 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 four contestants. An incorrect response 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 30 seconds (45 in the soccer aid special) of rapid-fire general knowledge questions and receives a counter for each correct answer, then 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 at any point, the first tied contestant who gave a correct answer in Round 1 has priority.

Round 3[edit]

In Round 3, the two remaining contestants are asked six questions alternately, three to each contestant, and the leader at the end of Round 2 decides who will start. After hearing a question, the contestant in control may either answer or pass to the opponent. One counter is awarded for each correct answer, while a miss awards it to the opponent. 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; all questions have three answer options. For each category, the contestant chooses whether to play for one (easy), two (medium), or three counters (difficult). A correct answer awards the selected number of counters, which the contestant immediately plays 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. Ambient drops are not voided in this round, but are added to the contestant's winnings. 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. This was first achieved in the 5th episode of Series 10 on 4 March 2020 and again in the 26th episode of Series 11 on 26 May 2021. [2]

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. In the former case, all counters except the one for the jackpot become worthless, and the contestant forfeits all their money if it remains in the machine. In the latter case, if the jackpot counter is on the bottom shelf, the contestant plays the three counters to see if they would have been able to win.

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, in the summer of 2014, the autumn of 2016 and the autumn of 2017. A Christmas special aired in December 2018, ahead of a fifth series in summer 2019. The sixth series commenced in Autumn 2020 and a Christmas Special aired in December 2020.

The celebrity episodes feature some changes to the ordinary format:

  1. There are only three contestants rather than four.
  2. Each contestant plays on behalf of a selected charity.
  3. All cash values are doubled: £100 for normal and mystery counters, and £20,000 for recovering the jackpot counter.
  4. Double counters are not present in the machine.
  5. Mystery counters award either a small joke prize, a cash bonus (not counted in the scoring), or a question about the playing contestant that allows them to play another counter by giving a correct answer.
  6. All three contestants play the first two rounds.
  7. 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 zero, a donation is still made to his or her charity.
  8. In the final round, if the contestant trades the money in but loses, his or her charity still receives £1,000.
  9. Episodes recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic were recorded before a live audience, instead of using canned applause as in the regular series.

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. The second series 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
2 2 January 2013 26 February 2013 40
3 20 May 2013 20 November 2013 70 Series 3 took breaks on 1 July – 6 September, 28 October – 1 November and 11 – 19 November 2013
4 17 February 2014 29 August 2014 70 Series 4 took breaks on 28 April – 6 June and 10 June – 1 August 2014
5 5 January 2015 4 December 2015 125 Series 5 took breaks on 16–27 March, 4 May – 4 September, 23–24 September, 1, 7, 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 2016 and 23 May – 26 August
7 2 January 2017 10 November 2017 150 Series 7 took breaks on 20 January, 14–17 March, 22 March, 6–7 April and 31 May – 1 September.
8 8 January 2018 17 May 2019 165 Series 8 took breaks on 12–16 March, 9–13 April, 28 May – 30 August and 10 December 2018 – 10 May 2019. The 23 April episode was aired on 31 August due to the birth of Prince Louis of Cambridge.
9 1 January 2019 9 December 2020 165 The mystery and double counters have been given new standout green and yellow colours respectively. 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.
11 19 April 2021 TBC 165 Filming started in March 2020, with the first 20 episodes recorded shortly before lockdown regulations took place. Production then resumed in late July 2020 with COVID-19 safety measures in place. "New set" episodes premiered from 10 May 2021. Series 11 took a break on 4 June – 27 August 2021.

Lucky Stars[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes
1 9 June 2013 25 August 2013 12
2 5 July 2014 23 August 2014 8
3 15 October 2016 3 December 2016 8
4 3 September 2017 29 October 2017 8 No episode on 8 October 2017.
5 7 July 2019 22 September 2019 11
6 13 September 2020 29 November 2020 12
7 4 April 2021 16 May 2021 7 This series was recorded with strict COVID measures in place, including social distancing of on-screen members and crew, and no audience present.


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 programme was recorded with strict COVID measures in place, including social distancing of on-screen members and crew, and no audience present.
2 September 2021 Soccer Aid Special

Best Ever Finals[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 12 March 2019 17 November 2019 5
2 10 March 2020 6 June 2021 11

International transmissions[edit]

  • Australia Australia – the Nine Network airs episodes of the British version in the 3:00 pm timeslot on weekdays, in direct competition with rival ITV-produced game show The Chase on the Seven Network. In Western Australia, it airs at 4:00 pm on weekdays. A repeat of the same day's episode is shown sometime after midnight the following day.[3][4][5] For a brief period in January 2021, episodes also aired in prime time, on Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm.[6]
  • 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.[7] An electronic board game based on the show was released in 2015 by John Adams under its Ideal Games brand.[8][9] Another Tipping Point app was released in 2020 called Tipping Point Blast!


  1. ^ https://www.banijayrights.com/programmes/7286
  2. ^ Scullard, Vickie (5 March 2020). "Emotional Tipping Point winner on moment he scooped £20,000". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  3. ^ McKnight, Robert (9 August 2019). "Is Nine looking to replace MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT with a UK game show?". TV Blackbox. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  4. ^ Knox, David (10 August 2019). "Tipping Point coming to Nine". TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  5. ^ Knox, David (21 November 2019). "Nine News Now to rest over summer for Tipping Point". TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  6. ^ Knox, David (28 December 2020). "Tipping Point goes primetime". TV Tonight. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  7. ^ Games, Barnstorm. "Tipping Point".
  8. ^ "Zodiak Rights strikes deal for Tipping Point board game". licensing.biz.
  9. ^ "Ideal Tipping Point".

External links[edit]