Come with us into our time machine now back to 1990 and the very first series of Fort Boyard (Les Cles de Fort Boyard as it was called back then). The one and only time, as far as we know, that anyone ever got caught in the treasure room. The show worked a little differently back then, so here’s some background detail as well.

Here’s co-host Sophie Davant interviewing and briefing the team on the boat.

And here’s Pere Fouras, the custodian of the fort, awaiting the team from the diving platform.

The man, the legend, the hair. Here’s Patrice Laffont, who went on to be Master of the Fort for ten years. His costume for next year was far less camp.

Right, we’re going to jump to the end now. The teams have one hour to collect as many keys as possible – there are no clues. Every other game that fails to yield a key gives Pere Fouras a chance to ask a riddle to the team’s intellectual. If he gets it wrong, the key is thrown to be swum for.

Towards the end of the hour, the team are given the chance to release any prisoners (at the cost of a key per prisoner) which Passe-Partout goes and does. Meanwhile, the rest of the team get ready to access the underground tunnels…

The plug is very heavy and they use a system of ropes and pulleys to move it up and out. In more recent years of course, they just used a big metal bar and pulled.

Before they get into the underwater caves, they must all strip to a repectful minimum. Once down in the tunnels, the all the team but one must wait. The other member must swim round the chambers until they get round to the other side of the door which they can undo and let the rest of the team through.

They can then go up the ladder to the old oubliette tunnel. If you ever wanted to know what it’s like down there – well now you know!

Time is up! And so Passe-Partout strikes the gong. Michael puts the tigers away, meanwhile a two minute clock has begun.

The tigers are away so they can push aside the bars and come out!

And here’s the treasure room as it was back then. There are eighteen boxes each with differing amounts of Boyards in (there’s one with quite a bit more than all of the others). Each key is numbered and fits one specific box.

The major difference is that the teams can’t go in and out of the treasure room. They must gather as much as they can and gather as much as they can.

The tigers move round the cages at the back of the treasure room.

But the gate has started to shut and they’ve left it a bit late…

He’s not going to fit under there… Oh no…

Whilst that guy ponders getting eaten by tigers, Laffont spins the gate round so the team are released back into the main bit of the fort. But what about that guy?


Oh hang on. He’s coming back the way he came in…

… And now the tigers are released. What a swizz eh, viewers?

It turns out they’ve scored 51,800 francs, about £6,000 in today’s money. Seeing as it’s out of 400,000 though, that’s not a great score. The fact that the guy who wasn’t eaten by tigers had to swim back and not carry the gold won’t have helped.

One of the team will go on to do a bungee jump for an additional 35,000 francs.

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