Sean Fletcher


Thames for ITV, 17 August 2015 to 11 November 2016 (30 episodes in 2 series)


Quizzing, pursued by a bar.

Sean Fletcher makes his game show debut - he's the sports presenter on ITV breakfast show Good Morning Britain. Six players join him in the studio, lining up along one edge of a massive LCD display.

The central conceit is the "rebound bar", a stripe moving across that massive LCD display on the studio floor. The back wall towers above Sean and the players, and it stretches some distance out on the floor. At each end, the edges are hidden by desks, concealing buttons.

Sean and the scintillating six.

All play at once in the first round, Fast cash. Three general knowledge questions are asked, with four possible answers. Sean asks the questions while the bar is heading away from the players, and the answers appear while it's rebounding back to them.

Whoever can select the right answer will win money: the amount depends on how long it takes to answer the question. A potential £1000 is possible for an answer in zero seconds, but the money falls to nothing in just ten seconds. With timing done to the hundredth of a second, players can win precise amounts of money – £641 is a reasonable result for one question. Just three questions in this round, so it's over before we get the chance to be bored.

Whoever's got the most money from the first round plays first in the "Head to Head" round. They're also able to pick their opponent, and the first of two categories – for instance, "European flags" or "World landmarks". Something will be shown to each player in turn, and their job is to identify it. The "something" might be a picture of a famous landmark. It might be an anagram of a fruit, or an author's name with a word missing, or some basic maths.

A bridge too far?

The players stand at opposite ends of the video floor, and bat the bar between them. The first player to make an error, or who fails to respond in time, will lose that category. Whoever loses three categories also loses their place in the game, and hands over all their money to their opponent.

There's an added complication: the players are only allowed to respond when the bar is in their half of the floor. This is a very short time – perhaps five seconds when the round starts, little more than two seconds later on. But the questions get harder as the round goes on.

After a winner's been found from the first pair, that player stands behind the other desk, to the right of the set. The loser is dismissed into shadow with a curt "you've been beaten by the bar".

The highest-scoring player remaining from Fast Cash picks their opponent, and the next pair perform, and the final pair are also reduced to a single player.

Three players remain in the game. A second round of Fast Cash allows the players to add more money to their banks – this time, five questions are asked, again with four answers. The player with most money takes an advantage into Stop the Bar.

This fourth round is a three-way time game. The player in the lead gets the full length of the bar – about 30 seconds. Whoever's in second place has a three-second penalty, and the player in third gets a six-second handicap.

In each question, the contestants see three options, and their bar starts as soon as they see the clue. Only one of the options meets the clue, and the players are asked to find that option. Their personal bar will stop as soon as they lock in, but an incorrect answer will cost two seconds from their clock. Players are out as soon as their bar rebounds to them, and the last player standing wins.

Don't let your mind go blanc.

The daily winner takes on Beat the Bar for the cash everyone has won. Here, the winner picks a category from six options, and is then asked some questions. A correct answer allows them to advance along the floor. After five correct answers, the player will stop. So will the bar, which started at the opposite end and has been advancing towards them at a constant rate.

The player chooses a second category for the next round, and the questioning resumes. So does the bar. After five correct answers, player and bar stop, and a third category is picked. Eventually, the bar will reach the end, and will rebound towards the player, hoping to catch them from behind. Can the player outrun the bar? Will they give fifteen correct answers and reach safety, or will the bar crush them from behind?

This is an outstanding final game, tense and swift, victory and defeat are always in the player's grasp. A pursuit to remain alive is familiar from The Chase, except here the player actually moves along a real playing surface. There's plenty of show in this game show, and it ends with a fabulous final round.

Five questions in, and it's looking good...

There were some slight quibbles with the show - "Stop the Bar" tended to be an anticlimax, and Sean's scripted line didn't gel with his cheery and breezy personality. The host has to give right answers after the final, which saps the emotional climax. But these were tweaks that could be polished up in a second series.


"You've been beaten by the bar."

For you, it's Lights Out!


Devised by: Danny Moody, Ryan Davies, Joe Evans, Jamie Fisher, Matt Floyd

Title music

Rage Music


Inspired by the bleep test used by athletes, apparently.

The first series aired at 5pm, as summer replacement for The Chase alongside Freeze Out in August 2015 to test out new quiz formats. It was recommissioned for a second series and aired at 3pm, going head to head with the final batch of Deal or No Deal episodes.

Future Chaser Darragh Ennis was a contestant on the show.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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