The Cash Machine



Lorraine Kelly


STV, 1 September to 6 October 2019 (6 episodes in 1 series)


Contestants answer a series of questions to work out the PIN and access "the world's most generous ATM".

Announcing the show, STV's press release said, "The Cash Machine appealed to us because of its innovative question style and fast-paced game play. Presenter Lorraine Kelly is hugely popular and we hope viewers will be hooked as they play along with contestants."

Cheque it out

So, what happens on the show? We briefly meet four pairs of players – as the first round progresses, we'll spend more time with each team. There's a buzzer question, done in an unusual style – one player buzzes in and gives one correct answer, their partner is to give the other correct answer. Break the Safe did not bore us to no effect.

The first team to answer correctly gets to play first. We'll hear a little more from them, about themselves, what they'll do with the money if they win it. This pair gets first look at the categories board, where they're playing for a nominal £1000.

The team sees ten answers to do with that category. The answers are arranged from 1 to 0, like on a cash machine's pin pad. Lorraine asks a question, which fits only one of these answers. The team's aim is simple: find the right answer from these ten options.

While they're thinking about it, the money is falling, at something like £15 per second. An incorrect answer means the clock will re-start and more money gets lost. Four mistakes end the turn and mean that the team score £0.

All four teams on the star-studded set.

After this, the first team sits back, and the others play a buzzer question for control, and their go. Whichever team has the lowest score at the end of round 1 is out. If there's a tie, a sudden-death tiebreaker question chooses which team is eliminated.

Would you credit it?

Round 2 is again played by each team individually, and again involves ten options. Again, order is determined by buzzer questions, and again the first teams get a choice of categories.

This time, the aim to find the right four answers and put them in order. Like on the peg game Mastermind, teams are told if their nominations are right, totally wrong, or in the code somewhere else. Four guesses to get the answer, or be forever locked out, and the money crashes down at twice the speed.

Lowest score in round 2 is out – the money from round 1 is not used as a tie-break.

Lorraine Kelly hosts the show.

Round 3 is to find a single code, four answers from the choice of ten. The two remaining teams buzz in for control of the game. Same rules as round 2: we're told if answers are right, wrong, or in the wrong place. Whichever team gets the right answer goes to the final, and banks whatever money is left.

While the theoretical maximum is £6000, no-one's ever going to win the complete jackpot. A typical team is going to take something over £4000 into the final.

Cashing out

For the final round, our players are split, and they need to provide two answers each, taking it in turns. Lorraine poses lots of questions. The answers are all one-digit numbers, and they're all the same number. Will our players know it? Can they guess it from the accumulated clues? And can they think about all this while their prize money is counting down?

The prize pops up.

Traveller's cheques

In their press releases for The Cash Machine, STV mentioned how this was a show they'd like to export, and how they owned all the format rights. When viewed from this angle, it's very interesting: the PIN pad is a universal concept, there's a risk of forgetting it, and there's always a clear reward for remembering your number. While the prize is small for primetime (£6000 maximum, about £2000 on the average show), it's decent for daytime.

Lorraine Kelly's hosting is relatively dry, with just enough fun to raise a smile. Overseas broadcasters could slot in a host who will appeal to their audiences. Lorraine's performance doesn't overpower the rest of the format - compare with Anne Robinson on The Weakest Link.

The winners with wodges of cash.


Shown on Sunday nights at 7pm, while ITV in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland put out 5 Gold Rings.

See also

Weaver's Week review


To correct something on this page or post an addition, please complete this form and press "Send":
If you are asking us a question, please read our contact us page and FAQ first.

Name: E-mail:   
A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in