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Make Money

Best TV game shows to win cash prizes

Ever fancied appearing on your favourite TV game show? From The Chase to Pointless, we'll show you how to apply and how easy it is to win big money.

TV game shows The Chase Pointless

Credit: Kagai19927 (background), Featureflash Photo Agency (foreground) – Shutterstock

Find yourself sitting at home coming up with pointless answers or beating the chaser? Turn your knowledge into serious cash by appearing on a show yourself – it's not as difficult as you'd think!

TV channels are always on the lookout for fresh faces to appear on game shows, and since you're bound to have a bit more free time when you're at university, you're in the perfect position to attend auditions and filming!

In most cases, you simply fill in an online application to get the ball rolling, and you could be on your way to winning tens of thousands of pounds tax-free!

How to apply to be on UK game shows

Joey Friends on game show

Credit: Warner Bros

Each game show will have its own individual application process, which could involve an application form, video submission and audition.

At each stage of the process, the casting team will be looking for people with big personalities who will stand out on screen, but also people who are ultimately 'normal' and that the audience will relate to.

Your best bet is to just be yourself – don't be shy and don't hold back, but don't try to be someone you're not (they'll see right through you).

Having a strong personal story to bring to the table will also help – they're bound to ask you what you would do with the money, so think carefully about this and don't just say "a holiday" or "a shopping spree".

Perhaps you want to treat a family member who has supported you through the tough times. Or maybe you want to buy something really wacky and weird. Or how about spending the money on something really important (a degree, perhaps?).

In most cases, the only eligibility criteria for contestants are that you need to be aged 18 or over and a legal resident of the UK. But always read the small print, as you don't want to waste your time filling in an application form for a game show you're not eligible for.

Game show application forms

Jim Carrey Bruce Almighty typing fast

Credit: Universal Pictures

These can be quite lengthy but there's no point in rushing through them. Take the time to make sure your personality comes across and provide detailed, thorough answers to each question – there's no point otherwise.

Application forms will vary but there are few questions and topics which will commonly come up. To get an idea of your knowledge of certain subjects they will likely ask you about your qualifications, and any hobbies and interests you have.

Also, be honest about any other quiz show appearances you've made! It doesn't rule you out from being on another show, but you can't keep popping up on screens too frequently – and if you lie, the producers are bound to find out.

Expect to be asked about your competitiveness, too. Obviously, they're looking for people with a competitive streak who are really going to care about the show and strive to win – but don't take it too far and come across like a terrible person!

You'll be given space to describe yourself – say something different and try to stand out. Finally, you'll probably also be asked to rank your strength in a range of subjects.

Quiz show auditions

audition clapper board filming

Credit: pui_bunny – Shutterstock

If the team like your application form, they'll invite you to an audition! This is a chance for them to meet you face-to-face and see how well you perform on camera.

Make sure to dress smart but remember it's not a job interview, so don't go too formal. Don't wear anything too garish either; you want the focus to be on your personality, not your outfit.

Again, auditions vary – but the team will probably explain the show to you, including how it works, before getting you to talk in front of the camera. They might do a practice quiz to test your general knowledge or simply ask you some questions like an interview.

The main things to remember are to always smile and look engaged, even if there is a lot of waiting around. Ask questions, be friendly and try to stand out but don't go too over the top – just be yourself!

Be aware that in most cases, you will probably have to pay for your own transport to and from the audition – we've got tips on cheap train and coach travel to help you out!

Best UK game shows to win money 2019

If you'd like to win a big cash prize, these are your best game shows to apply for in the UK:

  1. Pointless (BBC)

    Pointless TV game show

    Credit: BBC

    Pointless is all about finding the most obscure answers to questions. You compete on Pointless in teams of two – so whether it's your best mate, girlfriend, brother, dad or nan, you'll need to find someone willing to brave the show with you (and preferably someone with different knowledge and interests to you so you can cover more bases).

    Prior to the show, each question is posed to 100 random people in a survey – for instance, 100 people are asked to name as many Christmas number ones as they can in 100 seconds.

    Your aim to come up with an answer that no one else in that 100 did. The number of points you get corresponds to the number of people in that 100 who also got that answer, and the aim is to get the fewest points possible.

    In the final round, you must get at least one 'pointless' answer (an answer that no one in the 100 got) to win the jackpot.

    How easy is it to win money?

    In the final round, you are offered five topics to choose from. You're then given three sub-categories related to your chosen topic and must provide three answers within 60 seconds – these can be for all sub-categories or just one or two.

    This means that there is quite a lot of scope to get a question that you're knowledgable on, and you're free to confer with your partner for the duration of that 60 seconds. However, the catch is that you don't just need a correct answer, you need a pointless one. In many cases this can be down to luck as much as your own knowledge – it might be a really strong answer, but if even one person also got it, the money's gone.

    The good thing, though, is that if you don't make it into the final round on your first go, you get to appear on the show a second time to have another stab at it!

    How much can you win on Pointless?

    The jackpot is initially set at £1,000, but £250 is added to it whenever a team provides a 'pointless' answer throughout the show.

    If the jackpot isn't won by the team in the final round, the money rolls over to the next game and increased by an extra £1,000.

    The largest jackpot to date was £24,750 in 2013, so there is a chance of winning some serious cash here if you're lucky. Once the money is won, the jackpot resets to £1,000 – so how much you're competing for will vary depending on how recently someone else won!

    How to apply to be on Pointless

    Once you've found someone happy to appear in a pair with you, you just need to apply via the application form on the BBC website.

    Apply for Pointless »

  2. The Chase (ITV)

    the chase TV game show

    Credit: ITV

    Hosted by Bradley Walsh, The Chase is an ITV quiz show where you compete against professional quizzers (known as chasers) to win a cash prize. Four people appear each episode and they take it in turns to answer questions and amass money for the overall prize fund.

    You have one minute to answer as many questions as you can, with each correct answer worth £1,000. To bank that money you have to beat the chaser by advancing the money along a board, answering questions correctly to stop the chaser from catching up with you. If they do, you're eliminated.

    Once all four contestants have had their go, those who made it back then have to beat the chaser by giving more correct answers than they do. If they do, the prize money is split equally between the contestants.

    How easy is it to win money?

    It's fairly common for people to win on the show, but the chasers are professional quizzers and you'll need to have your general knowledge wits about you.

    How much can you win on The Chase?

    The biggest solo win on the show was a whopping £70,000 – three contestants were wiped out in their individual chase but Judith scooped her haul of money in a nail-biting final chase.

    In another episode, all four contestants survived their individual chase and secured £100,000 (£25k each!) by beating the chaser in the final round.

    There are lots of variabilities on this show – for instance, you can increase or decrease your prize money by choosing to give yourself a bigger or smaller head start from the chaser – but the chance to win big money is there.

    How to apply to be on The Chase

    If you think you've got what it takes to beat the chasers, hit the button below to apply.

    Apply for The Chase »

  3. Catchphrase (ITV)

    catchphrase TV show Stephen Mulhern

    Credit: ITV

    This classic game show from the 80s made a revival in 2013 and is now hosted by Stephen Mulhern. For our money, this is the best show to go for if you're not a huge general knowledge whizz.

    The aim of the game is being able to guess catchphrases (which include things like song titles and film names) based on pictures and animations on the screen – say what you see, basically.

    How easy is it win money?

    Actually pretty easy! Three contestants start the game, and all you have to do is not come last in the first round to make it into the game and start winning money. From that point onwards you'll win money for every answer you get right, and even if you don't make it to the final, you'll take it with you when you're eliminated.

    Plus, spot prizes like holidays, festival tickets and experience days are awarded throughout.

    How much can you win on Catchphrase?

    There's no set jackpot because your total is based on how many answers you get right throughout. In the first round, you win £100 for every catchphrase you guess, plus an extra £500 if you guess the bonus catchphrase.

    In round two everything doubles, so each catchphrase is worth £200, and the bonus is worth £1,000. In round three, every answer is worth £500.

    If you make it to the final round there is the chance to win a total jackpot of £50,000, but this has only been achieved five times. That said, you win anything between £2,500 and £50,000 depending on how far you get, so that's still some serious cash!

    How to apply to be on Catchphrase

    Head to ITV's 'Be on TV' page using the link below to see whether Catchphrase is currently accepting applications.

    Apply for Catchphrase »

  4. Tipping Point (ITV)

    the chase TV game show

    Credit: ITV

    Remember those two penny arcade machines where you'd tactically try to stack up coins in front of a moving shelf, praying that a bunch (along with a prize) would eventually be pushed off? Well, Tipping Point is a whole game show based around that.

    The rules are quite complicated, with each round working differently. In short, you basically have to answer questions correctly to win counters that get dropped into the coin pusher machine. Any coins that get pushed out of the machine into the 'win zone' as a result are worth £50 each.

    How easy is it to win money?

    Tipping Point is arguably one of the hardest shows on which to win money. At the end of each round, one of the four contestants who started the show is eliminated, so you have to beat everyone else to make it to the final round and actually win the money.

    Plus, as is the nature of arcade machines, how much you win is largely based on luck – how a bit of plastic lands after it's dropped determines whether you win or lose, and no amount of general knowledge will change that.

    How much can you win on Tipping Point?

    In the final round, you're aiming to win a jackpot of £10,000, which can be doubled to £20,000 if you manage to secure the double counter. It can be done, but as we said, this one mainly comes down to luck.

    How to apply to be on Tipping Point

    Check out ITV's Be On TV page using the link below to see whether Tipping Point is currently accepting applications.

    Apply for Tipping Point »

  5. The 100K Drop (Channel 4)

    The 100k drop Davina Mccall TV game show

    Credit: Channel 4

    Hosted by Davina McCall, The £100K Drop sees contestants battle to keep hold of £100,000 worth of cash awarded at the start of the show.

    There are seven multiple-choice questions and contestants must place the £100k cash on top of a series of trapdoors, each corresponding to one of the answers. All of the trapdoors corresponding to incorrect answers will open, and the money placed on top of them will be lost, while the money placed on top of the trapdoor corresponding to the correct answer remains.

    If you're unsure of the correct answer you can split the money over a couple of trapdoors, to increase your chances of keeping at least some of the cash. But place all your eggs in one basket, and you could be left with nothing.

    How easy is it to win money?

    Although the prize money is high in this game, so are the stakes, so quite a lot of people end up going home empty-handed.

    How much can you win on The 100K Drop?

    As the name suggests, the maximum amount up for grabs here is £100,000, although it's basically impossible to win the full amount – the biggest win to date is £75,000.

    You might remember that the show used to be called The Million Pound Drop, but in 2018 the show moved to the afternoon slot and the prize fund substantially reduced – sob.

    How to apply to be on The 100K Drop

    Simply hit the link below to fill out your application form for The 100K Drop and keep your fingers crossed!

    Apply for The £100K Drop »

  6. Impossible (BBC)

    impossible TV game show

    Credit: BBC

    Impossible is slightly less well-known than the other shows in this list, but that should mean you've got a better chance of getting on!

    In the first round, contestants are asked a series of multiple-choice questions, where some of the answers will be correct, wrong or impossible.

    An impossible answer is one that simply doesn't make sense – for instance, "Which of the six main Friends characters has the catchphrase 'How you doin'?" with the choice of Rachel, Joey or Carl. Rachel is incorrect, Joey is correct and Carl is impossible – he isn't a Friends character.

    In the second round, you have to spot impossible questions (that is, questions that don't make sense so can't be answered) and in the final, you have to avoid impossible answers at all costs.

    How easy is it to win money?

    Only one contestant makes it to the final round in each episode, but the other contestants get to keep coming back for a week's worth of episodes to have a few more shots at it. This increases your chances of winning substantially, but it goes without saying you'll need some sharp general knowledge here.

    How much can you win on Impossible?

    In the final round, you're competing for a £10,000 jackpot prize – but you'll only win it if you identify all three correct answers to the question.

    Fortunately, if you fail to get all three correct but still avoid picking any of the impossible answers, you win the daily prize pot (£100 for each impossible answer correctly identified in round one).

    There is a chance to win big here and multiple-choice questions are easier than coming up with your own answers – you just have to be dead on the money to get the full £10,000.

    How to apply for Impossible

    Head to the BBC website using the link below to complete the online application form.

    Apply for Impossible »

While these are some of the most popular and profitable quiz shows to apply for, keep an eye out for more niche or less well-known game shows appearing, as there will be less competition for these.

Keep checking sites like Star Now and Applause Store which maintain up-to-date lists of different opportunities to appear on TV shows.

How to prepare for going on a game show

cat reading strategy book

Credit: Giphy

If you're taking this seriously and you're dead set on winning that cash prize, doing some revision before you appear on the show is essential.

Your first port of call is to watch some previous episodes of the game show to get a feel for what kind of questions they ask – don't spend ages on this as they'll never ask the same questions twice, but note down frequently recurring topics and themes.

Next, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. You'll need to cover all bases, so there's no point in swotting up on music if geography is what you're really rubbish at. Crosswords, online trivia quizzes or pub quizzes and even board games like Trivial Pursuit are all useful ways of boosting your general knowledge across a range of subjects.

If the quiz show is likely to ask questions about current affairs, make sure to read the news extensively in the weeks running up to the show – these are the easiest questions to get right, so don't waste them!

Finally, a good night's sleep and a breakfast full of brain food on the day will help you get your mind in the zone for when the questions start coming.

Think you've got a lucky streak when it comes to winning cash prizes? Check out our guide to making money from competitions for other ways to win big!

If you've got the bug for appearing on TV, you could also try making money as a film or TV extra – no acting experience required!

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