Bank Balance



Gordon Ramsay


Studio Ramsay for BBC One, 24 February 2021 to present


Television's lairiest chef hangs up his apron and takes on a primetime big money show.

The press release tells us:

Devised by Gordon Ramsay's production company, Bank Balance sees contestants trying to stack gold bars on different zones of a pivoting, pyramid-shaped structure in a quest to win up to £100,000. The zones are selected at random and players will need luck, poise and precision to 'balance' the bank – too much weight on one side could see the fortune they’ve built come crashing down!

Played by pairs of contestants, the aim is to stack the "gold bars" on a four-way balance thing, with various zones on each arm. If it tips too far in any direction, the blocks fall and the team have lost the game. Should our team place their blocks without any falling off, they win a cash prize of up to £100,000.

The players draw one of the zones at random, and then choose from 12 categories. They also choose how many answers they want to give - 3-bar pyramids are worth £9000, 4-bars for £16,000, and the 5-bar pyramid is £25,000. One-bar and two-bar stacks have no value.

Our team get a list question and a minute. Each correct answer allows them to place a bar on the zone of the balance thing. If they give all the answers and stack all the bars in time, they keep the money. Give a wrong answer or run out of time, the whole stack becomes worthless and they have to place an additional penalty block on top.

There are lifelines available - "pick again" to draw a different zone, and "bank" to be assured of the value currently on the board.

It's a high-concept show, and quite complex. Some listings magazines intimated it was too complex for mainstream television, but then the same mags give Only Connect a sympathetic write-up every week.

According to reports, Gordon Ramsay is not as brusque - or as foul-mouthed - as on Gordon Ramsay Effs and Blinds at Amateur Cooks, but he's not as soft and cuddly as he is on Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch. The syndicated press blurb for Bank Balance concentrated on Gordon Ramsay's pottymouth, he apparently uses a scatalogical expletive less than one minute into the show.


Fernando De Jesus, Tom Day, Sam Smaïl, and Bronson Payne.


Nine episodes were filmed without an audience in late 2020 and early 2021. The finished episodes were shown to an online audience, their reactions were recorded and added into a mix.

Bank Balance was aired three times a week, episodes went out at 9pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. We cannot recall BBC1 stripping a primetime game show in this manner before.


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