It’s fair to say we relish a good challenge, even if we’re not all lining up to have a go ourselves.
There is something compelling about watching other people, from Joe Bloggs to a world-famous celebrity, clambering and scrambling over obstacles, risking if not life and limb, then certainly their pride, all in the name of glory.
Back in the 1970s, families around the country would be glued to It’s a Knockout, and while our 21st-century selves may be a little shocked at the finger-pointing and mocking commentary, it was an absolute smash hit in its day. It’s a formula that has since been copied again and again and travelled around the world, from the often wince-inducing Takeshi’s Castle to the brawny American Ninja Warrior, with global franchise Total Wipeout bringing up the rear.
Then there are the wild cards, like Floor Is Lava and home-grown show The Cube. They’re all opportunities for us to watch people performing under pressure. Whether they do well or badly is almost irrelevant – we just want to be there to see it. Of course we get behind the plucky underdog, or cheer when the muscle-bound star comes a cropper. It’s all good, clean family fun.
The latest entry in the long-running canon is this thrilling seven-part series that looks set to inject a hefty dose of adrenaline into the Saturday night schedules. The premise is easy: contestants have to get from one side of Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena to the other.
In between, they must put themselves to the test by taking on a wide range of demanding mental and physical challenges, all while navigating the terrifying prospect of falling into The Void – a daunting and unforgiving chasm of 520,000 litres of water stretching across the arena floor.
Unsurprisingly, it is one of the biggest bespoke water tanks ever constructed for a game show, and host Ashley Banjo is clearly eager to see how the contestants get on.
“I cannot wait to get started on this one!” the Britain’s Got Talent and Dancing on Ice judge said. “The concept is so simple… Can you cross ‘The Void’ and reach the prize on the other side? But if the brains behind ‘The Cube‘ have anything to do with it (which of course they do) it will be anything but simple!”
Banjo goes on: “It’s also the first game show I’ve been lucky enough to host and all alongside the amazing Fleur East, which is another thing I’m buzzing about. So all in all, there’s no doubt in my mind this is going to be immense.”
His co-host East is equally enthusiastic, and said: “I am really excited about hosting this show, the concept is epic! Getting to work alongside Ashley is amazing, he’s so talented and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
If it lives up to the shows that have gone before it, then we’re all in for a very entertaining evening indeed. Just don’t let the kids drag the paddling pool into the living room afterward…