Cash Trapped



Bradley Walsh


Possessed for ITV, 1 August 2016 to 20 December 2019 (65 episodes in 3 series)


Six players answer general knowledge questions. One of the sextet will win, and they'll all come back until someone does win.

Round one features six categories. Bradley asks a question; a correct answer earns £100, and that player "freezes out" someone – they won't buzz again until after the first category question. On an incorrect answer, the player who buzzed in gets frozen out of the category.

We play on, until one player remains. They get to pick one of the six categories, and see six possible answers to a question. Which of the offered answers matches the question? £1000 for a correct answer. A correct answer allows that player to "cash trap" an opponent – they're out of round one entirely, and will not be able to play any of the remaining categories. An error on the question: that player is "cash trapped".

All of the other players who were only "frozen out" come back into play, and we continue. Five face the first question. And so it goes, round and round in a spiral until one player is left for the final category.

If you tune in late, the colours can be confusing.

Round two: similar but faster

Just one buzzer question to find a starting player, then they pick a single opponent, and from six potential categories. Again, six possible answers are shown. This time, the players will alternate guesses from the options until one of them gets the right answer. Whoever picks the correct answer wins £2000 and stays in the round; their opponent is cash trapped.

There's a slight change for the final question: the remaining player has no opponent, so will only win £2000 if they can give the right answer on the first guess. Unlikely, but it does happen.

Round three: build some cash

An individual solo round. 45 seconds of questions against the clock, £500 for each correct answer. They play bottom-to-top, so players can advance up the leaderboard – and we'll see all the totals displayed on Bradley's big screen.

Bradley's big board.

The winner is found after this round - they'll typically have about £7000. That player – and only that player – is able to win money today. They're playing for the money won today, plus anything they brought forward from previous episodes.

Round four: escape or get stuck

To win that money, the player needs to trap all five of their opponents. There's 60 seconds of buzzer questions, and the winner needs to give five correct answers, or have the opponents each get a question wrong, or some combination.

Usually, the player fails to trap all their opponents, and loses the final round. That player loses all the money in their bank – everything from that victorious day, and anything they'd built up from previous days when they didn't win. The other players add that day's total to their bank. And they all come back tomorrow to do it again.

Cash or trash?

It's a fast-moving quiz, we'll get through enough questions to satisfy the trivia nuts. Bradley Walsh knows what he's doing, and the show set looks gorgeous. Pace is not a problem, the show gets faster each round.

As an entertainment, there are a few things to improve.

The main shot is of the players in their boxes. In this wide shot, the players look desperately small: greater emphasis is on the money totals and on the coloured backgrounds. They ameliorate this problem with plenty of close-up cuts.

Es has caught two players. How long does he have?

Visual information is missing from some shots. Bradley's board is the only place where we'll see the options in category questions, or the remaining time in the final. Could these appear in the edges of the screen?

Ultimately, Cash Trapped relies on big personalities, and the producers found the sort of people we could see day after day. But they only had to cast contestants for two weeks, and there might not be the same sort of mix in a longer run.

Cash Trapped Ever After

The series was renewed for a five-week run in summer 2017. A handful of changes were made for the second series. The rounds gained formal names ("Last Man Standing", "Head to Head", "Catch Up", "The Escape"). The £100 for getting a buzzer question right was removed, causing many more ties before the solo round.

One unexpected wrinkle emerged during the second series: the Catch Up round rarely altered the day's outcome. Peggy might be £3000 ahead of all rivals, and is certain to play the escape. The others can only build their banks, hope to take Peggy down today, and come back tomorrow. Such long-term strategy was rarely mentioned on the show.

We were pleased to see some of the little wrinkles addressed. The options available to the players and time remaining are shown where relevant, though the wide shot still makes the player look tiny. We found the casting remained good - big characters, always someone we can root for or against.

Two more changes for the third series: the £100 for getting a buzzer question right was reinstated, with £250 in the second round, and the first round was called "Last One Standing". We approve.

Key moments

Contestant Will thumping the set in frustration over not being able to buzz quick enough.


A Possessed format, based on an idea by Bradley Walsh

Title music

Francis Macdonald


Recorded at the London Studios in 2016, then Elstree in 2017.

Aired as a 2016 summer replacement for The Chase in the 5pm slot, along with Alphabetical. The following summer, it occupied the entire summer break.

The largest amount won by any player was £43,500, by contestant Jill in the 2017 series. The largest amount lost by any player was £44,650 by Mairead in the 2019 series which, like Jill's £43,500, took ten days to accumulate. The largest single day's takings was £13,000, by Rob in series two, episode fifteen. The longest any set of players were Cash Trapped for was twelve episodes, which included Phil, Mairead, Mike, Andy and Nariece; so long were they there, in fact, that on day eight Paula became the first contestant to walk, to be replaced by contestant Mel.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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