Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (UK TV series)

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Who Wants to Be a Superhero?
Created by Stan Lee
Bruce Nash
Developed by CBBC / NBC Universal
Starring Sam Nixon
Mark Rhodes
Stan Lee
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 15
Production
Executive producer(s) Alex Cross
Running time 60 minutes
Release
Original network BBC Two/CBBC
Original release 3 January – 18 April 2009

Who Wants to Be a Superhero? is a UK children's reality show hosted by Sam Nixon, Mark Rhodes and Stan Lee, based on the NBC Universal/Sci Fi Channel (United States) series of the same name. The show is a co-production between CBBC and NBC.

Children aged 9 – 13 create and become their very own, unique, never before seen superhero characters for the series, taking part in missions and challenges and living away from home in ‘The Superhero Lair’ in London. Contestants responded to trials on the CBBC Channel and application forms on the CBBC website.

Superheroes[edit]

There were 13 superheroes in total; seven boys and six girls.

Boys[edit]

  • Deflector - James 10 [Eliminated 7th]
  • H20 Man - Karl 13 [Winner]
  • Mega-Might Man - Sam 10 [Eliminated 2nd]
  • 9 Lives - Jake 10 [Eliminated 5th]
  • Santh - Elliot 10 [Eliminated 6th] (youngest boy)
  • Steel Soldier - Tobe 13 [Quarter Finalist] [Eliminated 9th]
  • S.G.W. (Stop Global Warming) - Michael 11 but turned 12 in the semi finals [2nd place] [wasn't eliminated]

Girls[edit]

  • Dolphin Girl - Beth 9 [Eliminated 3rd]
  • Flying Feather - Branwen 10 [Eliminated 4th]
  • Gold-Starlet - Ellah 9 [3rd place] [wasn't eliminated] (youngest girl and youngest of all the superheroes)
  • Mizz Dungarees - Emma 10 [Eliminated 1st]
  • Princess Paw - Charlie 12 [Eliminated 8th] (oldest girl)
  • Pink Puffle Girl - 11 April [Semi Finalist] [Eliminated]

Powerdown[edit]

This table gives the order of superheroes being "powered down" (eliminated) from the series. Some weeks, superheroes were immune from being powered down as a reward for a challenge or were unable to take part due to illness.

Stats in Written Form

Superhero Times in Power Down
(Bottom 3)
Status
Mizz Dungeress 1 (Show 3) Eliminated 1st
Mega Might Man 2 (Show 3, Show 4) Eliminated 2nd
Dolphin Girl 3 (Show 2, Show 3, Show 5) Eliminated 3rd
Flying Feather 2 (Show 4, Show 7) Eliminated 4th
9 Lives 3 (Show 5, Show 6, Show 8) Eliminated 5th
Santh 3 (Show 6, Show 7, Show 9) Eliminated 6th
Deflector 2 (Show 2, Show 10) Eliminated 7th
Princess Paw 3 (Show 8, Show 10, Show 11) Eliminated 8th
Steel Soldier 2 (Show 4, Show 12) Eliminated 9th
Pink Puffle Girl 4 (Show 5, Show 9, Show 11, Show 13) Eliminated 10th
Gold Starlet 5 (show 2, Show 8, Show 10, Show 12, Show 13) Joint 2nd
SGW 4 (Show 6, Show 9, Show 11, Show 13) Joint 2nd
H20 Man 3 (Never) Winner

Stats in Grid Form

Colour Meaning
Powered Down (Eliminated from the series)
P In the Power Down (Bottom 3 up for elimination)
S Saved/Safe from Power Down
Superhero Episode
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
H2O Man P P P Won
Gold-Starlet P P P P P Joint 2nd
SGW P P P P Joint 2nd
Pink Puffle Girl P P P Eliminated 10th
Steel Soldier P Eliminated 9th
Princess Paw P P Eliminated 8th
Deflector P Eliminated 7th
Santh P P Eliminated 6th
9 Lives P S Eliminated 5th
Flying Feather P Eliminated 4th
Dolphin Girl P P S Eliminated 3rd
Mega Might Man P Eliminated 2nd
Mizz Dungarees Eliminated 1st

Footnotes:

  • There was not a power down in Show 1 as this documented the audition process for the series.
  • There was no elimination/powered down superhero in Show 2 as Sam & Mark decided to offer second chances to the superheroes in the bottom three.
  • There was no elimination/powered down superhero in Show 6 as Sam & Mark were unable to make a decision between the bottom three superheroes.
  • There was not a power down in Show 15 as this documented H20 Man's winning story and meeting Stan Lee in Los Angeles.

Leaderboard by number of Powerdowns[edit]

Place Superhero Number of Powerdowns Powerdown(s) shows Powerdown 1 Status Powerdown 2 Status Powerdown 3 Status Powerdown 4 Status Powerdown 5 Status Overall Status
1 Mizz Dungarees 1 Show 3 Eliminated g g g g 13th
2 Steel Soldier 2 Show 4, Show 12 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g g 5th (Quarter Finalist)
3 Deflector 2 Show 2, Show 10 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g 7th
4 Flying Feather 2 Show 4, Show 7 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g g 10th
5 Mega Might Man 2 Show 3, Show 4 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g g 12th
6 H20 Man 3 Show 7, Show 12, Show 13 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 4 1st (Finalist)
7 Princess Paw 3 Show 8, Show 10, Show 11 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g 6th
8 Santh 3 Show 6, Show 7, Show 9 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g 6th
9 9 Lives 3 Show 5, Show 6, Show 8 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g 9th
10 Dolphin Girl 3 Show 2, Show 3, Show 5 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Eliminated g g 11th
11 SGW 4 Show 6, Show 9, Show 11, Show 13 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 4 g Joint 2nd (Finalist)
12 Pink Puffle Girl 4 Show 5, Show 9, Show 11, Show 13 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Eliminated g 4th (Semi-Finalist)
13 Gold Starlet 5 Show 2, Show 8, Show 10, Show 12, Show 13 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 4 Joint 2nd (Finalist)

Villains[edit]

In most episodes, the superheroes take part in challenges and missions (as instructed by Stan Lee) to save the world from evil villain, Dr. Dark. Throughout the series, Dr. Dark tricks them, steals from them, and even goes as far as to imprison Sam and Mark. The villain is assisted by his evil, mutated, scary (and often angry) half human-half pig henchmen, whom the superheroes encounter multiple times during their missions. Dr. Dark is eventually defeated in episode 14 by the three finalists, on the roof of the secret lair. In the final episode, Stan Lee creates Fire Fiend, a fire based enemy for H2O Man's comic book.

Episode list and missions[edit]

Each episode (with the exception of episode 1 – auditions) the superheroes face one or two challenges working as a team, pairs, trios or individually. They are judged by Sam and Mark on their behaviour as a superhero.

Episode # Description Air date Left the show
1 Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes travel to Los Angeles to meet comic book genius and multi-superhero creator, Stan Lee. The duo gain advice on creating superheroes, their powers, traits and other tips from Lee. Meanwhile, hundreds of children from around the UK apply for the series and regional auditions are held. The team meet 30 children in Glasgow, 30 children in Cardiff, 30 children in London and 30 children in Manchester. From the 120 children, 30 are recalled to London to take part in their first mission and for Sam and Mark to find the final 13 superheroes to live in the Superhero Lair. 3 January 2009 No one (Auditions)
2 The superheroes move into the Superhero Lair in London. They all move into the lair and they all fall in love with it instantly. The superheroes also get given bedrooms. In each room are three bunkbeds but as there are 7 boys, there's also a camp bed. H2O Man decides to have the camp bed and the others take the bunks. Then Sam and Mark give the hero's supersuits, and told them the prize: starring in their own comic book and meeting Stan Lee to receive it. The 13 individually complete a race, the first challenge to change into their costumes without being spotted by the public. The second part of the race would test the heroes to see if they would stop and help a lost tourist trying to find the "moon" (which turns out to be the Moon Cafe) and an elderly woman who dropped her shopping bags. Only Steel Soldier and Mega Might Man help both of them, others only helped the old lady and several didn't help either of them. At the powerdown, Sam and Mark decided who should be in the bottom three: Dolphin Girl for not helping either of the two in need, Gold Starlet for laughing at both of them, and SGW for avoiding the old lady so he could get a quick time. However, Sam and Mark decided that none of the bottom three should be eliminated. 10 January 2009 No one
3 The superheroes suffer at the hands of trickery, when an unidentified person changes the numbers on the building where they are to meet Sam and Mark. The 13 heroes are trapped on the roof of building 16 (as opposed to 19) and have to cross an 18-meter-high, narrow plank between building 16 and 19 to meet Sam and Mark. All superheroes complete the challenge, however, SGW and Princess Paw in particular conquer their fears. Following the successful mission, back at The Lair, the superheroes are divided into pairs (and one trio) and are set the challenge of getting to know each other better. Individually they have to then present facts about their partners to the rest of the superheroes, testing their listening skills. Mizz Dungarees is asked to talk about H2O Man and she (for a joke) calls him an idiot. In the Power Down Sam and mark chosen Mizz Dungarees, Dolphin Girl and Mega Might Man. They chose Mizz Dungaress for calling H2O man an idiot(as well as trying to take charge during the roof mission), Mega Might Man for his lack of question about 9-Lives, and Dolphin Girl for mucking about on the bridge. They decided to eliminate Mizz Dungarees, causing her to cry. 17 January 2009 Mizz Dungarees (Emma)
4 The 12 remaining superheroes had to solve a crime and to work out who stole a red hat box from Dani Harmer’s hotel suit. They wait in the hotel lobby, witnessing some suspicious behaviour, and then individually enter Dani’s hotel room, looking for clues (such as muddy footprints, crowbar and a broken window handle). Before entering Dani’s room, Dolphin Girl suffers a broken tooth and couldn't take part in the challenge or powerdown. Back at the lair, a line-up of suspects is formed for the superheroes (this time in pairs and one trio) to identify. Three suspects were at the scene of the crime, two looked similar to those at the scene and one individual was random. In the powerdown they chosen Steel soldier, mega might man, and Flying Feather. They talking to Steel soldier cause he was the only person to find no clues, then talked to mega might man about interrogating the suspect and Flying Feather for stating that she was ashamed of the suspects, despite being told they were innocent until proven guilty. They chosen Mega might man because of his interrogation of the suspects. 24 January 2009 Mega-Might Man (Sam)
5 Sinister forces are at work again and this time Doctor Dark has trapped and tied up a pet shop owner in his own shop. The 11 remaining superheroes have to individually negotiate a shop with fallen shelves and snakes crawling everywhere. Santh & Pink Puffle Girl struggle to face their fears and don’t complete the challenge. The owner offers them all £1 as a reward, Steel Soldier is the first to turn down the money and the others follow his example, except Dolphin Girl. Following the event the press turn up outside the shop requesting interviews for the heroes, which take place individually back at The Lair. Some superheroes give away too many details. They chosen Dolphin Girl, 9 Lives and Pink Puffle Girl. They choose Pink Puffle Girl for revealing her real name and home town, 9 Lives for performing in front o the press, then Dolphin girl because of giving too much information and keeping the reward from the pet shop owner. In the end, they eliminated Dolphin Girl. 31 January 2009 Dolphin Girl (Beth)
6 The first part of the episode saw the final 10 heroes working in pairs to try to save the world — 'the world’ being a huge globe in a cage. Despite the room being laden with props and a ‘don’t touch’ button, the answer to saving the world was hidden in an envelope above the door. All of the pairs failed to save the world (and many individuals pressed the ‘do not touch’ button). The final 10 were given an opportunity to save the world as a team with 9 Lives finding the hidden envelope, for which he received immunity in the powerdown. Then in the second part Doctor Dark and two of his mutated pig henchmen hid 10 radio-active canisters in a rubbish skip for the superheroes to find and dispose of safely within a limited time. Working as a team only three canisters were disposed of safely and the heroes incurred their first mission fail. Many of the heroes blamed the failure of the task on 9 Lives because they thought he wasted their time in the skip challenge. No superhero was powered-down as Sam & Mark couldn’t find enough reason for any individual to go, despite calling three heroes forward. 7 February 2009 No one
7 Doctor Dark took over the nations TV’s and airwaves with his own satellite signal. The remaining nine superheroes had to climb a wall in London to collect items which would knock out his signal, in two teams. The heroes completed the mission as a group in contrast to last week's skip challenge. They also took exams. Santh, H2O Man and Flying Feather looked at the answers on the back of the paper. Steel Soldier almost looked at the answers but refrained from doing so. In the powerdown they chose Flying Feather, H2O Man and Steel Soldier: H2O Man for turning over the paper despite being told not to, Flying Feather for looking at the back of the paper six times, and Steel Solder for copying Princess Paw's answers. They chose to eliminate Flying Feather for cheating on the exam. 14 February 2009 Flying Feather (Bromwyn)
8 The Superheroes secret identity files were stolen by Doctor Dark’s pig mutated henchman. The heroes had to disguise themselves in civilian clothing and go undercover to reclaim their files. They worked in pairs, with one trio. All the heroes recovered their secret files for the café, with the exception of Gold Starlet and 9 Lives. Three faced the powerdown – Gold-Starlet, 9 Lives, and Princess Paw. Gold Starlet was up for giving up the mission too quickly, 9 Lives was up for laughing in the cafe whilst attempting this mission and Princess Paw was up because of her lack of action in the cafe, and her reluctance to get involved with the mission. 9 Lives was chosen to be eliminated. 21 February 2009 9 Lives (Jake)
9 Eight superheroes remain in the lair. Stan Lee has received important new information: the exact location of Dr Dark's secret hideout.

For their next mission, the superheroes are sent to Dr Dark's lair to rescue the animals he stole from a pet shop. There's a sleeping pig henchman inside, and the animals have to be lifted to safety by hand, with cockroaches, locusts, maggots, a rat and a lizard being among the animals that needed rescuing. They able to rescue the animals without waking the henchman. However, Santh and Pink Puffle Girl succumb to their fear of insects and are unable to complete the mission. Back at the lair, Stan announces a surprise treat for the superheroes: a meal at a restaurant with two celebrities - but there are only six seats in the taxi. Santh stays behind with Pink Puffle Girl, arguing that they don't deserve to go because they failed the mission. At the restaurant, the superheroes met Michael and Rani - the hosts of Best of Friends - but some of the heroes break the rules by revealing where they live and letting the two celebrities try on parts of their costumes. Near the end of the meal, a food fight erupts. The superheroes chosen for the Power Down are Santh, who expected a reward for staying behind; Deflector, for taking part in the food fight and almost pouring a drink on Michael's head; and Pink Puffle Girl, for getting and confrontational when trying to convince the other heroes that she should stay behind. Heroes shouldn't expect rewards for their actions and Santh falls victim to the Power Down.

28 February 2009 Santh (Elliot)
10 Dr Dark gets dangerously close to the superheroes. The evil Supervillain captures Sam and Mark and locks them up in the control room. The only way for the superheroes to save them is by answering Dr Dark's riddles to get the secret code to unlock the control room door. If they failed to do it in time or inputted the correct code three times, Dr Dark's mega laser beam would reach Sam and Mark and erase their memories. The superheroes manage to save them, but many voiced their concerns that Deflector didn't take an active role during the rescue. The superheroes then head off to the Newsround studios to warn the nation about their nemesis. When receiving their name tags, Gold Starlet, Princess Paw, and Deflector all reveal their real names. Hidden cameras in the makeup room reveal what the superheroes talk about when they think no one is watching. During the interviews, some of the heroes get side-tracked from the topic and show off their powers.

Three Superheroes faced the Power Down: Gold Starlet, for revealing her real name and then later revealing her home town in the dressing rooml Princess Paw, for acting slightly rude to the presenter when she tried to get to the topic of Dr. Dark; and Deflector, for not taking an active role in Sam and Mark's rescue and for being quiet in the dressing room. In the end, Deflector is eliminated.

7 March 2009 Deflector (James)
11 Sam and Mark continue their search to find the world's next great superhero. Six superheroes remain in the lair. The superheroes are called into action when Dr Dark attempts to contaminate the city's water supply. The evil supervillain has released five barrels of toxic waste into the Thames and the superheroes need to get them back to dry land before they leak and before Dr Dark's pig-faced henchman returns. The superheroes brave the icy water as they race to retrieve the barrels, but Princess Paw struggles in the mission and becomes reluctant to go back and help H2O Man. Back at the lair, Sam and Mark put the superheroes' super senses to the test. Will they be able to identify pickled egg and chocolate ants by taste alone? And how will they cope when faced with the unknown during the touch test? Wearing blacked-out goggles, the superheroes are presented with a fake spider and a rubber snake. They are given the option to use the code-word "Uncle" should they become too afraid. Princess Paw is the only one to use the code-word. The superheroes chosen for the Power Down are Princess Paw, for her poor performance in the water challenge and her reluctance to face her fears; Pink Puffle Girl for not untying the weight off the barrel and slowing down her progress; and SGW for scoring the lowest in the sensory challenge. Princess Paw was the superhero chosen to be eliminated. 14 March 2009 Princess Paw (Charlie)
12 (Quarter Final) The Superhero lair is a mess. Sam and Mark asked the Superheroes to do a spot of cleaning. Barney Harwood paid the superheroes a visit, intended as a distraction for them, but also to see which Superheroes would remember their manners, and make Barney feel welcome. Steel Soldier spent most of his time talking to Barney, but failed to help with the cleaning. Pink Puffle Girl asked Barney to leave, and come back in an hour, when Sam and Mark would be returning. The remaining Superheroes - SGW, H2O Man, and Gold Starlett, carried on with the cleaning, but H2O Man was unusually quiet and never even introduced himself, and seemed to be ignoring Barney. Next,the Superheroes were given an observation quiz by Sam and Mark. The purpose of this was to see which superhero thought about their answer, before putting a hand up. H2O man scored the lowest score with -3, and Steel Soldier scored the highest with 4. The Superheroes were also required to work as a team in creating an antidote to administer to Dr Dark's giant spider, which was crawling all over the Houses of Parliament, Canary Wharf, and other famous London locations. Steel Soldier spent a lot of his time watching the sleeping henchmen in Dr Dark's lair, thus removing himself from the active teamwork in creating the antidote. The team was also given the chance to retrieve Gold Starlett's secret identity file and they succeeded. Three Superheroes faced the Power Down: Gold Starlett, for her reluctance to get her file by herself; Steel Soldier, for his laid back and cautious approach in Dr Dark's lair; and H2O Man, for being too eager in the observation mission, causing his score to suffer. Steel Soldier was ultimately chosen for the Power Down. 21 March 2009 Steel Soldier (Tobe)
13 (Semi final) The remaining superheroes are told they need to see off Dr Dark's evil henchmen for the last time. They arrive at Dr Dark's lair and are instructed to place earplugs in the henchmen's ears so they don't wake up. H2O Man listened to Sam and Mark's advice and let others do the work. SGW and Gold Starlet successfully placed the earplugs in the henchmen. Pink Puffle Girl asked H2O Man for help. Next, they had to get the key to get the antidote so the henchmen would turn back into piglets. They realised that one of them had to stay out of the cage in case they get locked in. Gold Starlett did this. Because they sounded the alarm too many times, they ended up getting locked in. Gold Starlett got the key for the cage and they were able to get the antidote. They placed the antidote in the henchmen's tea and they drank it, which resulted in all of them reverting to piglets. The superheroes next mission was to present their superhero character to a class of children. SGW started off with a confident presentation about the meaning of his name: "Stop Global Warming". Next was Gold Starlet and whilst her presentation started out good, she got stuck for words near the end. Third was H2O Man who also did a confident presentation, with the children liking him the best. Last was Pink Puffle Girl who focused more on Dr. Dark as opposed to herself, and the children thought she was boring. Everyone faced the powerdown. Pink Puffle Girl was eliminated for getting distracted in the first mission, and ignoring Sam and Mark's advice before the presentations. This left Gold Starlet, SGW and H2O Man are the three finalists. 28 March 2009 Pink Puffle Girl (April)
14 (Final) The three finalists come face to face with Dr Dark on the roof of the Superhero Lair. The trio combine their super powers and defeat their evil nemesis. The three superheroes then travel to a TV studio with Chroma key facilities to see what it is like to fly like real superheroes. At a glamorous central London location Stan Lee reveals H2O Man as the winner. 4 April 2009 Winner:
2nd:
S.G.W (Michael)
3rd:
Gold-Starlet (Ellah) H20 Man (Karl)Winner:
15 This episode sees Sam and Mark take winner, H2O Man, to LA to see Stan Lee and get his comic book self. Stan Lee makes a H2O Man comic book in which he stops the evil fire villain. Sam and Mark are apparently captured and H2O man saves them, but, reveals later that they were just on a L.A. film set. (There was no power down in this episode because it documents BGS's trip to LA.) 11 April 2009 N/A

Controversy[edit]

In early March 2009 UK mid-market newspaper the Daily Mail attempted to link the programme with the issue of child exploitation in reality television. After approaches to the BBC failed to produce sufficient evidence to support their position, the newspaper approached a number of the contestants' families, resulting in complaints that the newspaper was invading the families' privacies, and injunctions to prevent publication of the children's real identities. Furthermore, it is alleged that some of the story's professional sources had been quoted selectively in such a way as to direct what were general observations as if they were specific criticisms of the programme.[1]

There was also some controversy among viewers about the power down of Steel Soldier, who many viewers felt was powered down to even out the number of girls, seeing as his track record had been much better than the two other superheroes up for powerdown, H2O Man and Gold Starlet.

References[edit]

External links[edit]