Jet Set



Eamonn Holmes


Alan Dedicoat (voiceover)


BBC One, 20 January 2001 to 8 August 2007 (116 episodes in 8 series, 2007 as Jet Set 2012)

Co-produced by BBC Scotland, 2007

Jet Set Departure Lounge: 5 December 2001 to 8 May 2002 (23 episodes in 1 series)


As well as being fans of game shows, we here at also have formats of our own in various stages of development. Something that one of us offered as an aside once was "If the BBC don't have £1 million to give away, why can't someone live the life of a millionaire?"

As chance would have it, evidently someone in the Concrete Doughnut was having the same thought. So we had more than a passing interest to see how they would implement this idea in practice.

"Captain" Eamonn Holmes

This is the kind of show the BBC should do very well. The BBC name opens more doors than most, since someone ringing up and saying "Hello, this is Border Television here - can you fix us up a hotel room cheap, like?" doesn't endear the hearts of PR men and women quite as much.

First, nice title sequence, a jet plane flying all over the globe but all 3D rendered in lovely gold. Nice modern font. Good music on a kind of groovy/twangy vibe. Promising signs so far. Mein host for this vehicle is Eamonn Holmes, hosting in the way that only he knows how. That will obviously mean different things to different people.

The not-very-plain plane title sequence.

The Jet Set World Tour takes place across 14 cities around the world. The winners who win get to live the life of Reilly for one whole week and during the show we'll get a sneak video-diary of everything really cool they've been doing. It is actually a superb prize. Staying in five-star hotels with 12 room suites and getting your own private boxes at events does, it has be said, sound like a great way to spend a few weeks of your life. We think you could probably get addicted to it too.

The week's winners check out their accommodation

And here's the thing: you could continue travelling like this for the whole series. Provided, that is, you win the show because six studio contestants want to take that life of luxury for themselves. The rotters! The six contestants battle it out between themselves in the studio and the winner gets to take on our Millionaire-wannabe head to head. So, what of the rounds?

Round 1: In the Red - This reduces our six players down to two via four rounds that are a cross between The Weakest Link and the final round from Going for Gold and Chicken. Each round lasts approximately sixty seconds represented by a decreasing bar running through the screen. Each player is given a category in turn followed by the option to play or pass a question. Go for a question and get it right and you're safe. Get it wrong or take too long then you go... In The Red. This is a Bad Thing.

Laura's in the red, while Brenda is next to play or pass

If you pass the question onto somebody if they get it wrong then they go In The Red but if they get it right then the original person goes In The Red. You can nominate someone who's In The Red to answer a question but the doomed player never gets the chance themselves. Only one player can be In The Red at any one time, it passing between the failing players until time runs out in which case the person currently in the red is out. A question that's started does get finished. Continue three more times.

It's not, it has to be said, very interesting given that generally the only question that matters in any round is going to be the last one. More to the point, the theme of going "in the red" is more appropriate to, say, a money game than a show with a travel prize.

The Jet Set set. If you see what I mean.

Round 2: Again, this uses the same Play or Pass principle, except this time the first one to four points wins. To begin with the players get a buzzer question about the place our Champion is in this week. This is the only token effort to link the game with the location of our reigning champ, which we think is something of a missed opportunity. Anyway, whoever gets the opener right gets control of the first category and control alternates between the two. Basically get a question correct: get a point. Get it wrong: point goes to opponent with the winner being the first to four.

The famous Round 2 in progress

And then it's the Lotto Draw.

You know how this works: 6 balls from 49 are selected at random, if the viewer can match three or more then they win a prize, bigger prizes going for more matches. It's just like Blankety Blank! Except totally different. Then there's Lotto Extra but we don't need to know about that. The main lottery draw is important because it's integral to the Final where the studio champion takes on the Travelling Champion by satellite for a week of luxury.

And it works a bit like Play Your Cards Right. They could call it Play Your Balls Right or something [Maybe not - Ed]. Our players have been wearing blindfolds and headphones during the draw and the studio champion gets the advantage of going first.

The temptation to just walk off and leave the contestants must be overwhelming

The order of the lottery balls is important here. The first one drawn is flashed up. The studio player is the first to decide whether the one after it was higher or lower than the preceding one. If they are correct they get to choose a question from one of six categories. If they are wrong then the other person gets to pick the category for them. Players alternate in this way first to three points wins with wrong answers giving the point to the opponent. If the Travelling player wins then good for them. As a consolation though, the studio player gets to come back next week and try again which is a nice touch.

We bet they're really 3 miles south of Bolton

All in all, the show has a really good prize and some very nice production values, but these are somewhat spoilt by a game that comes from the School of Unoriginal Quizzes. Choosing categories of questions, answering against the clock and playing-and-passing are just about as uninspiring as quiz mechanics come. Is this because the format's not up to much, or because the Saturday night audience wouldn't understand anything more challenging? That's for you to decide.

Either way, this programme definitely falls in the upper quartile of the range of National Lottery tie-in shows to date. And the prize is so nice we're going to go and phone up the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? line a few hundred times after we've written up this review and do it for real. Cool, eh?

The winners celebrate. Hooray.

Key moments

Eamonn Holmes: There are three states of matter: solid, liquid and what?
Contestant: Jelly.

There was an amusing gaffe Eamonn made once when the blindfold bit was going on: "It is on with the blindfolds, it is on with the headphones... as we cut them off from the balls!"


Devised by David Young.

Theme music

Myers Maggs Music


Series 2 had a Wednesday night quickfire lottery filler called Departure Lounge where nine contestants lined up to answer questions on the buzzer. First to buzz in and answer correctly got a point and the chance to choose the next category from the six on the board. The first six people to get three correct answers went through to play for the Jet Set on Saturday proper. It's a little bit like the first bit of Going for Gold. We also did a Weaver's Week review on it.

Ironically, the plane in the title sequence has no visible engines (jet or otherwise).

On 20 May 2006, the programme was invaded by protestors from Fathers 4 Justice.

Originally filmed in Studio 4 at BBC Television Centre, the show relocated to Glasgow for its final series in 2007. It became the last programme to be produced from Studio One at BBC Scotland's Queen Margaret Drive studios, the corporation moving to new headquarters in Pacific Quay shortly afterwards. In the wake of London's successful Olympic bid, the show was retitled Jet Set 2012, with all the destinations being previous Olympic locations.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

National Lottery shows


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