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The Cube
The Cube logo
Format Game Show
Created by Adam Adler
Starring Philip Schofield
Narrated by Colin McFarlane
Theme music composer Ken Bolam and Nick Foster
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 7
Running time 60mins (inc. adverts)
Original channel ITV
Picture format 16:9
Original run 22 August 2009 – present

The Cube is a British television game show which first aired on ITV on 22 August 2009. Presented by Philip Schofield, it offers contestants the chance to win a top prize of £250,000[1] by completing challenges from within a 4x4x4 metre 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"[2] the show aims to demonstrate the intense anxiety which contestants undergo as they progress through each task. Colin McFarlane provides the evil disembodied voice of The Cube, who explains the rules of the games.

On the 1 October 2009, it was officially announced that the show had been re-commissioned for a second series by ITV.[3]



All of the games take place from inside "The Cube". Contestants are set a task to complete which can range from testing their agility to more simple procedures like stopping a stopwatch after 10 seconds. If they successfully complete the task, they will move up the money ladder and closer to the top prize.

Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Each contestant is given nine lives. Each time a contestant fails a game, one life is lost, and the contestant must repeat the game. Any contestant who runs out of lives while trying to win a game loses all of the money he or she accumulated (which has only happened once in series one). Contestants may stop after any game and take the money they have won, but once a contestant decides to play, he or she cannot back out until after completing that game. Contestants have two helps available, each of which may be used once:

  • Simplify, which can be used at any time, will make the game easier in some way in a manner which the host states is unknown to him. It may be used before any attempt at a game, not just the first.
  • Trial Run, which may only be used from the second game onwards, gives a contestant a chance to try the current game, with no reward for success or penalty for failure, before deciding whether to commit to playing. Contestants who Simplify a game after taking a Trial Run are committed to the game.
    • All of the helps are, if not used, revoked for the £250,000 game.

Before each game, there is a short demonstration by "The Body," a faceless female character described as an expert in all the games. Her demonstrations allow the contestant to see how the game is played and formulate a strategy to succeed. Her face has not been seen; her outfit is a metal plate over her face (not unlike a fencing mask), revealing just shoulder-length hair, and at one time, she revealed her mouth to demonstrate Drift.

From time to time, the host will tell the player statistics about the game they are facing, such as the average number of lives it takes for players to win the game, the percentage of people that completed the game on their first try, whether male or females were better or whether taller people are better at the game than shorter people (or vice versa).

With the exception of one episode, all episodes in series one contained two contestants. One episode featured just one contestant; Johnny, who reached the final level but didn't play it. He had major troubles in the first game (Direction), using three lives and a simplify. The last level was the same game but the path was ten centimeters narrower. He ended up with £100,000. Another notable episode was the first episode, with the only contestant to lose all nine lives on the second game.


According to Adam Adler, the show's creator and executive producer, around 60 games have so far been created to play inside the Cube.[4]

Games featured in the show so far include:


Objective Productions first approached Channel 4 in 2008 with the format. It was made into a non-televised pilot by the channel,[5] and was hosted by Justin Lee Collins. Channel 4 eventually decided not to commission the show because it would have been too expensive.[6] 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. 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 (such as placing the final balls into the container in Multisphere or catching the ball in Gradient) 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 (such as a red haze that appears when the next game is being announced, and the amount of money the player has won after each successfully completed game which appear as giant green numbers above 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.


Here are the audience figures for the show as calculated by BARB[7]:

Week Broadcast date Audience share (in millions)
22 August 2009
29 August 2009
5 September 2009
12 September 2009
19 September 2009
26 September 2009
3 October 2009

The Cube around the world

  • The Cube is also currently being broadcast in Ireland by TV3.
  • The Fox network announced a deal to create an American version of the show to begin in February 2010,[8] but, the deal fell through. In February 2010, a pilot hosted by Neil Patrick Harris was shot for rival network CBS.[9]
  • Saudi Arabian Television will also broadcast their own version. This is to be filmed at the beginning of February 2010 and shown later in the year.
  • Portuguese Public Broadcaster RTP will broadcast its version in 2010.
  • A low-cost-edition called "White Box" was played by the housemates of Germanys Big Brother on RTL II on 1st February 2010.
  • All versions of The Cube, even those that air outside the U.K., are filmed at Fountain Studios in London.

See also


External links



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