Ant & Dec
Red or Black? Logo
ITV: 3 September 2011 – 29 September 2012
Syco Entertainment
ITV Studios

Red or Black? was a highly expensive game show where contestants could win big by choosing one of those two colours.

Series 1Edit


Each episode of series 1 of Red or Black? consisted of 10 rounds; in each round, the player had to choose either red or black, with those who choose incorrectly being eliminated. The rounds were split into three stages. The first was an arena stage, which was recorded at Wembley Arena. The winning contestants advanced to the location stage, where the numbers were eventually reduced down to the final eight. Those eight then advanced to the live studio final, where they were reduced down to the final competitor, who had a chance to play for the £1,000,000 prize. The first series was broadcast over seven nights in September 2011, running over the course of a week, except for the Tuesday night, from Saturday to the following Saturday. Over 100,000 people applied to compete in the show.

In the penultimate round, "Duel", a video wall displayed a disc split into eight sections, numbered 1 to 8. Before the round started, an independent adjudicator randomised which sections were coloured red or black, with each colour having four sections; this choice was hidden to the contestants. A random player chose their colour, while the other player took the remaining colour. Each player then took it in turns to choose a number, with the corresponding section being revealed to the players and the audience. The first player to have all four of their sections revealed progressed to the final round.

The final game was a giant modified roulette wheel split into 36 alternately coloured sections (18 red and 18 black), awarding a £1,000,000 prize if the player chose the correct colour. Red or Black? made its first millionaire in the first show, with bricklayer Nathan Hageman, from Reading, winning on red. The following night the second millionaire was made, with carer Kevin Cartwright also winning on red. Two further millionaires, Darren Thompson and Gary Brocklesby, were made during the series.


Rounds included golfers Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, who were attempting to hit a gong in the middle of a lake from a distance of 100 yards (91 m) near Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire; Jedward being launched in zorbing balls from JCBs; and boxers Amir Khan and David Haye competing in a round called "Shadowboxing". Location filming took place on the set of Coronation Street, where there was an issue with a round called "Fit to Burst" featuring actresses Michelle Keegan and Samia Smith who were spinning a wheel in order to burst balloons on a spike. Keegan won the round for her colour, but was subsequently disqualified for taking her hand off the wheel's handle, resulting in Smith winning for black. and Battersea Power Station, where David Hasselhoff was fired into the air on a reverse bungee.


The coloured backgrounds denote the result of each of the shows:

Gold indicates the contestant won the whole show and chose the right colour in the final round and won £1,000,000.
This colour indicates the contestant won the whole show but chose the wrong colour in the final round.
Episode Date Winner


Runner-up Special guests Guest performance Location Overnight ratings (millions) Official ratings (millions)
1 3 September 2011 Nathan Hageman (Red) Angel McKenzie David Hasselhoff and Louis Walsh Leona Lewis – "Collide" Battersea Power Station (Part 1) 6.41
(Part 2) 6.93
(Part 1) 6.71
(Part 2) 7.08
2 4 September 2011 Kevin Cartwright (Red) Rory McIlroy]], Lee Westwood, David Haye and Amir Khan Pixie Lott – "All About Tonight Eastnor Castle (Part 1) 4.47
(Part 2) 5.55
(Part 1) 4.52
(Part 2) 5.45
3 5 September 2011 Ian Murphy (Red) Sheree Lee Cesc Fàbregas, Robin van Persie, Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Il Divo Il Divo Taffs Well quarry (Part 1) 5.02
(Part 2) 4.99
(Part 1) 5.07
(Part 2) 4.92
4 7 September 2011 Andy Morton (Black) Jackie Harvey Leo Houlding and Fighting Gravity JLS – "She Makes Me Wanna" Thorpe Park (Part 1) 4.65
(Part 2) 4.46
(Part 1) 4.51
(Part 2) 4.32
5 8 September 2011 Darren Thompson (Black) Hannah Shead Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Diversity Diversity Alnwick Castle (Part 1) 3.81
(Part 2) 3.86
(Part 1) 3.83
(Part 2) 3.88
6 9 September 2011 Gary Brocklesby (Red) Dave Hall Professor Splash and Jessie J Jessie J – "Who's Laughing Now" Roundhay Park (Part 1) 3.80
(Part 2) 3.90
(Part 1) 3.81
(Part 2) 3.95
7 10 September 2011 Gary Upton (Red) Vikki Guy Jedward, Michelle Keegan, Samia Smith and One Direction One Direction – "What Makes You Beautiful" Coronation Street
(rounds 3 and 6), Manchester
(rounds 4 and 5).
(Part 1) 4.43
(Part 2) 5.67
(Part 1) 4.52
(Part 2) 5.61

Series 2Edit


In series 2, the format consisted of six rounds with eight contestants. This time, they didn't have to choose their colour prior to the start of a round and could hold their nerve. In each of the first three rounds, the eight contestants watched a series of stunts, sporting challenges or performances. They would then use their judgement to predict the outcome, or have their powers of observation tested. Either way, the contestants had to strike their buzzer and pick either red or black.

The first game took place in the Red or Black? arena and subsequent games were held in the studio. After the first three rounds, the four players with the highest scores advanced to Part 2. If a tie occurred, those players would play a tiebreaker round, "Power Bar", to decide who would advance to the second show.

The four remaining contestants participated in the next round, which involved celebrities (often singers). Then, the final two players would advance to the "Duel", played as it was during the first series, with the exception that the randomisation of each segment's colours was now shown briefly before being covered; and the game board now consisted of 10 segments instead of 8. The competing pair would have to memorise the position of the jumbled up segments, then take it in turns to find their colour. The first to have all five of their colour revealed was the winner and advanced to the new final round, "The Vortex".

The Vortex was "a true test of skill, nerve and judgment". It consisted of a "mini velodrome" which flashed between red and black at a constant rate. The aim was to watch the sequence and adjust the power of the launcher, which would fire a ball into The Vortex. If the balls landed in the End Zone in the contestant's chosen colour, they won the jackpot (starting at £500,000), or else it would increase by £500,000 for the next show.


Episode Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5 Game 6
1 Breakthrough Wild Card Cover Drive performance Spell Check Duel The Vortex
2 Strike Out Hands Down Roses Little Mix performance
3 Pole to Pole Sharp Shooters Ashleigh and Pudsey performance Spin-off
4 Kick Start Caught Out Head Trip Ronan Keating performance
5 High Wire Speed Darts Flawless and The English National Ballet Nelly Furtado performance
6 Flyball Breakout Jonathan & Charlotte featuring Only Boys Aloud performance Long Shot
7 Lights Out Rapid Fire The Overtones performance Shadow Boxing


  • 'Spell Check' featured Jonathan Ross and Carol Vorderman as participants
  • 'Roses' featured a dance performance by Derek Hough and Peta Murgatroyd
  • 'Spin-off' featured Rizzle Kicks' performance of "Down with the Trumpets"
  • 'Speed Darts' was played by Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor


The coloured backgrounds denote the result of each of the shows:

Gold indicates the contestant won the whole show, chose the right colour in the final round and won the Jackpot.
This colour indicates the contestant won the whole show but chose the wrong colour in the final round.
Red indicates a decision was reversed regarding the final round.
Episode Date Winner and colour Runner-up Special guests Guest performance Jackpot Overnight ratings (millions) Official ratings (millions)
1 18 August 2012 Sophie Shaw (Red) Jeannette Newton Jonathan Ross, Carol Vorderman, Reuben de Jong, Mike O'Hearn, Javier Jarquin and Rick Smith, Jr. Cover Drive – "Twilight" & "Explode" £500,000 (Part 1) 3.25
(Part 2) 3.59
(Part 1) 3.22
(Part 2) 3.69
2 25 August 2012 [1]Chris Fryer (Black)* Jemma Bobby Zamora, Darren Bent, Derek Hough, Peta Murgatroyd, Milos, Sally Miller and Lisa Whitmore Little Mix – "Wings" £500,000 (Part 1) 3.42
(Part 2) 3.70
(Part 1) 3.33
(Part 2) 3.74
3 1 September 2012 Beth Andrew (Red)[2] Howard Ashleigh and Pudsey, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Anthony Hughes, David Mott, Lukas Brown-John with Darren Brown & Brian Bartow with Sammy Bisbey Rizzle Kicks – "Down with the Trumpets" £1,000,000 (Part 1) 3.27
(Part 2) 3.06
(Part 1) 3.27
(Part 2) 3.06
4 8 September 2012 Graham Fletcher (Black) Aarron Stafford Kevin Pietersen, Mark Ramprakash, Sun Xi Zhong, Dougie Lampkin and Jack Sheppard Ronan Keating – "Fires" £1,500,000 (Part 1) 3.17
(Part 2) 3.63
(Part 1) 3.09
(Part 2) 3.62
5 15 September 2012 Christine Stalker (Red) Tony Crissholi Flawless, The English National Ballet, Adrian Lewis, Phil Taylor, Harry Cloudfoot and Alun Freem Nelly Furtado – "Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)" £500,000 (Part 1) 3.29
(Part 2) 3.35
(Part 1) 2.99
(Part 2) 3.14
6 22 September 2012 Al Sawyer (Black) Barbara McDowall Manu Tuilagi, Sam Warburton, Paul Casey, Melissa Reid, The High Flyers and Live Wires Jonathan & Charlotte featuring Only Boys Aloud – "The Prayer" £500,000 (Part 1) 3.39
(Part 2) 3.23
(Part 1) 3.77
(Part 2) 3.03
7 29 September 2012 Kris Danns (Red) Graeme Barram James DeGale, Carl Froch, Ray De Haan, Stephanie Carey, Zara Python and Silvio Simac The Overtones – "Stop Me", "Are You Lonely for Me" & "Beggin'" £1,000,000 (Part 1) 3.23
(Part 2) 2.84
N/A (Under 3.01)

* Chris's loss on the Vortex was reversed after a review of a smaller camera underneath the Vortex that showed the ball dropping and landing milliseconds before the change in colour to red, thus the money was awarded to him – also note that the rollover still stood.


This is the world's most expensive game show ever produced, with a £15,000,000 budget.


In the week where the first series of Red or Black? aired, ITV gained a much larger audience share than it had in the week directly previous, where it had been beaten by BBC One on six out of seven nights. Despite this, reviews of the first series were universally negative, and additional criticism was leveled at the show when it was discovered that Nathan Hageman, the first winner of the £1 million prize, had a criminal record. The Sun began a campaign calling for Hageman to return the money, but he was eventually allowed to keep it. It did, however, lead to ITV dropping three other contestants from the show, with at least one withdrawn because of their criminal record. This was also a major factor in the pre-recording of series 2.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.