The Traitors is a new nail-biting reality psychological game

The Traitors (BBC One, 9.30pm)

Game show De Verraders, which brings together contestants for a psychological adventure of treachery and deceit, has been a massive hit in its native Netherlands.

And its success hasn’t gone unnoticed in America and Britain, with broadcasters NBC and BBC each spending big bucks to secure rights to the format.

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De Verraders is similar to the social deduction party game Mafia, aka Werewolf – in that contestants team up to complete various missions to win a prize.

Among the group, there is an uninformed majority and informed minority, with the latter attempting to deceive and manipulate their way to the prize instead of sharing it with the group.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Claudia Winkleman is the host of BBC’s version which, again is unscripted series built on strategy and suspicion, and has been filmed in a castle in the Scottish Highlands.

Winkleman, who turned 50 in January and has also hosted The Great British Sewing Bee, Britain’s Best Home Cook and most recently general knowledge quiz show One Question for Channel 4, couldn’t wait to work on The Traitors.

In particular, she enjoyed spending time in Scotland.

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“I’m obsessed by psychological games and I couldn’t stop watching the Dutch version of the show,” she says.

“The fact that the BBC version is set in a castle in Scotland and the producers want me to wear tweed meant I was all in.”

So how does The Traitors work? In each episode, 22 people arrive to complete physical and mental tasks.

If they are successful, they add money to a prize pot, which can be worth up to £120,000.

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But to win the prize pot, players must survive to the end of the game – they have to avoid being ‘murdered’ or ‘banished’.

At the start of the game, three players are secretly selected by Claudia to be The Traitors.

The rest of the players are known as The Faithful and none of them know who The Traitors are.

Players are eliminated in one of two ways.

Claudia WinklemanClaudia Winkleman
Claudia Winkleman

Each night, as alliances form and suspicions surface, The Traitors meet in secret and decide to ‘murder’ one of The Faithful, and next morning when the group meet for breakfast, the ‘murdered’ player doesn’t appear.

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Then, later in the day, all the players meet at the Round Table and decide to banish a player they suspect of being a Traitor.

Whomever they pick will then reveal if they are a Traitor or a Faithful.

At the end of the game, the few remaining players will share the prize pot if they are all Faithful, but if there is still a Traitor among them, then they will take all the prize money.

Speaking about series, Mike Cotton, deputy creative director of Studio Lambert who have made the show, says: “The series is a nail-biting psychological adventure game and Claudia is a huge fan of the format and is the perfect puppet master to oversee this dramatic game set in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.”

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Big things are expected of this new show – so much so that a second series is already being planned before it tonight’s first edition has even gone out.