Rylan Clark-Neal
Babushka logo
ITV: 1 – 26 May 2017
STV Productions
STV Group

Babuska was a game show based on the matryoshka doll.


There were 10 dolls: Angelina, Anastasia, Katya, Natalya, Nushka, Olya, Sonya, Svetlana, Tatiana and Viktoriya. The team of two had to choose eight out of the ten dolls to open in turn. Two were completely empty, two contained £500, two contained £1,000, two more went to £2,000, one went all the way to £5,000 and the top babushka contained £10,000. Before they could open each doll, they were presented with a true or false question. Should they get this correct, they would have the chance to open the doll in play, gambling whether to keep opening the successive smaller dolls inside—for example the £10,000 doll would contain smaller dolls worth £500, £1,000, £2,000, £5,000 and £10,000. Other dolls didn't contain all of these. If they pushed their luck too far and revealed nothing inside the current doll, they would lose any money banked. They could, at any time, stop opening the doll, bank what was currently showing and proceed to the next question. If they answer their question incorrectly, the players would lose all their banked money.

To help, the contestants had two lifelines and a third, conditional lifeline: Switch, Peek, and X-ray, respectively. Switch allowed the contestants to swap their question and answer a different one. Peek allowed them to look at one hidden level of a doll. The X-ray lifeline allowed the team to view everything inside one doll, however this was only attained by having banked at least £5,000 by the end of their fourth doll. Lifelines could be used at any point, but only the X-ray could be used on the final doll. If any money was won at the end of the game, the team was offered the choice of taking their money or gambling it all for a chance to double their winnings by selecting the matryoshka doll containing a gold centre. There were two dolls on the table at this stage—one black and one white. The players would go home empty-handed if they picked the empty doll.

After a single game had finished, the dolls were randomised for the next two contestants to play in the next game.

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