It's Not What You Know (1)



Chris Tarrant


Granada in association with CTTV for Challenge, 28 April to 6 June 2008 (30 episodes in 1 series)


Fancy circular set? Check. Contestants perched on stools? Check. Chris Tarrant? Check. No you haven't clicked onto the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? page by accident, this is It's Not What You Know, Challenge's new gameshow where you can win thousands of pounds by correctly guessing which celebrity didn't know the answer to each question.

Joined by Chris Tarrant in the centre of the flashy set, two contestants playing together are given the choice of three games, A, B or C. To help them, one celebrity from each game is revealed as well as their specialist subject. Having picked a game, the other four celebrities and their specialist subjects are also revealed. Each game contains 15 questions, with each question being specific to one of the celebrity's specialist subjects. At no point do we ever actually see more than a photo of the celebrities in question, which is perhaps a missed opportunity for some additional banter and interaction during the game.

Questions and Answers - But not as we know it

The first question is revealed along with four possible answers - at the same time as some fairly pointless and weak-looking lighting changes. After a quick check with the contestants if they know the answer (it doesn't matter whether they do or not), the answer is revealed. The contestants must then guess which celebrity they think got the question wrong, or were 'Stumped'. The specialist celebrity answered the question blind, the other four celebrities were allowed to see the multiple-choice question. In each question, at least one celebrity was stumped.

If the contestants believe one of the four non-specialist celebrities was stumped, and they were, then the contestants win £1,000. However in every game there are at least four instances of the specialist celebrity being stumped. If they believe the specialist celebrity was stumped, and they were, then the contestants move up to the next prize level. This results in them winning £5,000 for each correct response given thereafter. Subsequent instances where the contestants correctly guess that the specialist celebrity for that question answered incorrectly, moves the prize total for each question up to £10,000, then £15,000, and finally up to a maximum of £25,000 per question.

Back to Zero

In the event that the contestants are wrong, and the celebrity they have chosen answered correctly, they lose everything they have accumulated so far. This goes for every question meaning you could lose thousands of pounds on the last question and leave with nothing. If they are wrong they are allowed to continue playing at the current prize level, re-starting their pot from zero. However (and yes, this is getting hard to explain) if they then get a second question in a row wrong - i.e. when there's no cash to lose - they drop down a level. Chris obviously realises that this up a level/down a level business is quite hard for the audience to get their head around and so has to hammer this home with shouting " could've gone UP A LEVEL!" with appropriate hand gestures.

If at any point they are uncertain, they can safeguard their winnings so far by passing on a question, however they can only pass once, and cannot pass on Question 15. The game continues in the same fashion until they reach Question 15, after which they take any money they may have at that point home with them. You can't just take home what you've earnt at Question 14, but you get offered somewhere between 20% and 50% of what you could have if you got Question 15 right, seemingly a higher percentage the lower the amount will be.

The game isn't bad, and moves along at a good pace. A minor niggle is providing the four non-specialist celebrities with four possible answers, which seems a little unfair as they have a 25% chance of answering correctly by virtue of a lucky guess, when in theory they should have been 'stumped'. Overall though it's a decent show, that adds an interesting twist to the standard question and answer format.


Kevin Ball, credited as "format creator"; he was also one of the executive producers.

Theme music

Paul Thomson


Recorded at BBC Television Centre.

The questions were verified by future Egghead Olav Bjortomt and future Chaser Jenny Ryan.

See also

Weaver's Week review


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