The Finish Line

The Finish Line



Roman Kemp


Sarah Greene


Potato in partnership with Nice One Productions for BBC One, 21 August 2023 to present


Five players race down the studio in quiz chariots. The last player in each race is eliminated, and the show winner can win £5000.

We meet our players in turn as they play the qualifier round. The players will be shown pictures, and asked to identify what's in the shot. A subject's given to help focus the mind. The player needs to get five right as quickly as possible, because the fastest player will start the first race in pole position.

The race is on!

In the race, our players will be asked questions down the line, starting with the fastest to get their five answers. A right answer will start your podium moving; but if your are wrong or can't answer in time, your podium stops. While the other players are answering, you keep moving – and so do they. Last player to cross the finish line is out, and it takes about a minute of movement to get from start to finish.

There's another qualifier, this time a word puzzle: we're given a category, the length of a word or short phrase, and the first and last letters. Fill in the blanks. Again, five right to stop the clock, fastest player goes first in the next race. It feels an awfully long time before the next race, but it does arrive eventually.

And then another qualifier. We'll see a category, and three possible pairs of answers. Only one of the pairs is correct: identify the real answers and ignore the fake ones. It's a wide-ranging quiz: one round can go from royal siblings to Haribo to an eighties pop duo. After this, we have another race.

Head-to-head in progress.

Two remain for the head-to-head, and almost inevitably, it's a chess clock. Give a right answer, your podium starts moving, your opponent's stops. Get it wrong, and your podium stops, and theirs starts. All questions are on the buzzer, and if neither player buzzes in, both podia stop. First to the finish line wins. It's basically a first to nine shootout, but with the presentation much more appealing.

The Finish Line offers a £5000 prize every day, but rarely gives it away. The finalist starts ahead of a danger line, and must stay ahead of it until they reach the finish line. After the first question, the danger line will move forward relentlessly; the contestant's podium moves forward at the same speed, no faster and no slower. Get caught, and our player leaves with nothing. It's an all-or-nothing prize, no consolation, no chance to get a bigger headstart for a smaller prize.

Roman Kemp and Sarah Greene.

It's a fun show, there's a lot of chemistry between Roman and Sarah, and the questions pack entertainment into crisp and concise sentences. And there are a lot of questions - typically about 175 per programme, the same rate as we find on intense quiz shows like Mastermind. However, as a favour to us, please lose the trash talk ahead of the Head To Head round. It was bad enough on The Tournament but it's just cringeworthy here!


"Answer them fast, don't come last."

I've got one piece of advice for you...don't look back!

The increasingly terrible puns from Sarah before a contestant leaves the show - seriously, stop it!

Theme music

Medina Sound


One contestant turned up with an emotional support dog. She was allowed to stay for the qualifiers but was not visible during the races.

Aired in the 4.30pm slot before Pointless, the thirteenth episode of the second series did not air as BBC One had been hijacked by Rishi Sunak announcing a general election; that episode was made available to view on iPlayer.

Web links

BBC programme page

See also

Weaver's Week review


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