Do you remember The National Lottery Big Ticket? It featured Anthea Turner and Patrick Kielty offering members of the public lots of money if their celeb/charity worker teams succeeded at various games of physical and mental ability. Quite large and well built games in fact, a pity the bits that weren’t playing games were so rubbish really.
However, the ideas for the games had been used elsewhere. Endemol in the mid-90s had many large money large studio Saturday night games across the continent. The original was probably Dutch, but the German version of the idea lasted a good seven years. We present that idea to you now.
The show begins with an atmospheric piece, scanning through an an industrially lit obstacle course.
The camera pans across the contestants: four couples.
Our audience in the main studio gets ready to cheer them on.
It’s time for the titles, involving a giant coin and images of our host getting ready.
And before we get going, it’s time to meet the “100,000 Mark Frau” herself Ulla Kock am Brink coming out of a safe holding the 100,000 DM in a perspex briefcase. Very snazzy.
100,000 DM would have been worth roughly £35,000 at the time, by the way, which certainly would have been a very large amount of cash to give away in Britain at the time.
After a countdown, the contestants are off to the tune of The Final Countdown by Europe. Only three teams can make it through to the show proper so the last team to finish are eliminated.
To begin, one member goes through the course.
This involves climbing up a rope net and then traversing a wire bridge on two planks of wood, then clmabering through the wire mesh maze (pictured), followed by running up a travelator. At the end of the travelator they jump down and sprint towards some mobile scaffold. They drag it back to the end of the travelator and hit a button.
Their partner now also traverses the course, but at the end of the travelator they step onto the mobile scaffold. The person beneath then pushes it back to the other side and then has to traverse a steel bar maze, made possible by the person on top pulling up bars. They can then hit their button.
It doesn’t seem particularly long or steep, but it’s enough to finish the green team off.
They’re given a commemorative medal, before being cut off from the studio by the falling cargo bay door.
Not much to see here, round one is a Mr and Mrs style affair. One partner is asked five questions, the other has to predict how they responded. Each correct answer is worth 200DM.
To give the contestants a chance to change clothes and prepare for the next game, it’s time for the viewers competition. To win a holiday, all you have to do is phone up and guess which cylinder holds the correct combination.
You see, the winning team will eventually get to choose a cylinder, type the code into a pad and hope to open the safe. As there are ten cylinders and therefore ten codes there, the odds are against them. However, they will be given a chance to eliminate fake cylinders later on.
Round two. The men are strapped to a wheel, the females work a crank behind it. On the video wall is a picture split up into five strips and rearranged. The men have to input the correct order into the device and then hit ther buzzer. The women have to crank them up as fast as they can so they can reach the device.
A correct answer earns the team 600DM, but a wrong answer credits 200DM to each of the other teams.
Our contestants’ podiums. They earnt 400DM from the first round (the bottom figure) and 400DM from the last game – that will melt into the bottom figure giving 800DM total.
The next round is a physical. The men have to get the sticks as high up the ramps as possible…
…however, the women are on exercise bikes. And that’s because the faster they pedal, the straighter the grips on the wall become – if they pedal too slowly, the grips will flatten and the men and the poles will slide down the wall.
The grips at the top stay permanently locked vertically though, and it is these that are used to judge who has won.
The winners receive 2,000 DM, second place 1,000 and third just 500. Given the time, the way these scores are updated seems very bizarre, almost typed out rather than with a smooth animation.
This is the final round before the team with the lowest amount of cash gets eliminated. It’s some tough mental arithmetic on the buzzers. 1,000DM for a correct answer, 500DM free to the other teams for a wrong one.
This is actually less interesting than it used to be. We remember that in previous years, the buzzer was at the end of something physical (the top of a travelator, or one of those test your strength fairground things, for example).
The losers are eliminated, but not before being given the chance to earn a bonus on the pentagon.
We must confess to our understanding of how this works is a little shaky.
Our broken German suggests that inside each of the five weights is a cash prize worth between 1,000DM and 10,000DM. The contestants have up to five questions. Every time they get one right they can pick a weight to pull up. However, if whilst pulling up the weights the metally bits touch the side of the hole then they have to drop it.
They can opt to keep the money and leave at any time. I suspect if they find a low prize, discard it but then fail to win another prize then they only go home with what they won during the games.
The next round is the poker round. Today set in Italy.
This game changes every week and is invariably sporting in nature. The teams are given a task and must bid down the time they think it will take to do the task. The bids fly back and forth (in five second intervals) and when one team wants to go no lower, the other team must attempt the task.
There is 2000DM riding on this game, if you make your bid you win the cash, if you fail then your opponents do.
This task is simple in nature.
The two contestants are attached by bungee ropes to two poles. One contestant must run to the pizzaman, who gives them a pizza and tells them what number door to deliver it to.
She takes the pizza and runs to give it to her partner who rings the relevant doorbell, waits for it to open and gives it to the person inside. They must deliver a pizza to each house within the time limit to succeed.
They make it, and there’s a hilarious pioece of German slapstick.
The other team in the background don’t look too pleased.
The final and deciding round is the video wall.
The contestants are asked first on the buzzer questions worth 500DM each. The first letter of each answer is put on the wall. The letters can be read round the sqaure to form a word or words. After they’ve answered a question correctly, they can offer an answer to the puzzle if they think they have one.
If you thought the correct answer was “Basketball Ver Ein” (Basketball for One) then congratulations! You’ll have won a 2,500DM bonus, like the bottom team there.
Edit: Actually it’s “Basketball verein” – Basketball Club. Thanks Sam.
Which makes them tonight’s winners!
They’ll get to play for 100,000DM soon, but first our gallant runners up get a chance to win a bonus.
It’s the Autoshow – two cars, four keys. Can you find one that starts a car?
The contestants are asked three questions. If they get one right, the draw in the podium opens and a key drops into it (this is pretty neat actually). At the end, pick a key and pick a car – if it revs up then you’ve won it.
We’re unsure the specifics of how this works – whether they are asked which car they want at the start and the relevant key is left, or whether if the key they pick doesn’t start one car but they get the chance to start the other, or what. We think we’ve seen that latter option happen but can’t be too sure.
And they’ve won! A car and 8,700DM, that’s not bad for a night’s work.
Right, now remember the cylinders from earlier? This is the chance for the evening’s winners to eliminate fake codes that won’t open the safe.
They do this by playing three games. The first one changes each week, and this week is based on looting a castle.
They have three and a half minutes in which to do this, but they ought to do it as quickly as possible because any time left will be added to the next game. Completing this game is also worth two cylinders.
One climbs a ladder to the roof of the castle and drops down the two ropes to his partner waiting down the bottom. She hooks the ropes onto a battering ram. She then joins him up the top of the castle.
They use the battering ram to batter the doors down (two sets as there are two rooms). In each room they must stuff all the treasure from the chests into bags.
Once that’s all done, they chuck the bags out of the window before throwing themselves off onto the inflatable mattress.
Whilst one unloads the treasure onto a cart, the other cuts through a rope with a hand axe, lowering the drawbridge so they can escape.
All that remains is to raise the drawbridge using the crank and pull the cart out. They’ve done it!
And they will take those 23 seconds to add to the 90 they get for this: the wire.
It’s a rather cool giant version of those don’t touch the wire games you get at playgrounds, except here you’re aiming to keep a pole between the wires without touching the sides. Or indeed the massive obstacles.
This one, the rotating money machine, always struck me as being the most difficult.
After each obstacle is a “save point”, if they fail they need only to return to the last save point rather than right to the beginning.
This task is worth three cylinders on completition, but if they get half way round one of the save points turns gold, indicating that they’ve earnt one cylinder if they don’t complete it.
They have to do this whilst riding some sort of forklift truck, one standing on it and the other driving.
And it’s a success!
That’s five cylinders down. They’ve got a one in five chance of winning the jackpot now, and there’s still a game to go.
And it involves drowning.
One player has to hold their breath underwater for as long as possible.
Meanwhile, their partner is fired questions. For every three he gets correct, another cylinder is eliminated. So if he gets’ twelve questions right, they’ve automatically won!
You can see there’s a little timer in the corner timing how long she stays underwater.
She is allowed to come up for air once for fifteen seconds, as represented by the big timer next to the tube. The second time she comes up, it’s game over.
He only managed to eliminate one cylinder by virtue of getting loads of questions wrong (she lasted fifty seconds, incidentally). The wrong questions were ran past her when she left the tank.
You can’t see it in this picture, but after she exits you can clearly see some goldfish swimming around the tank.
Anyway, six of the incorrect cylinders have dropped leaving the correct combination and three incorrect ones. It is time to pick one.
Up comes the keypad, previously embedded on the floor.
And now comes the entry of the code.
This is dragged out and is nailbitingly tense. Ulla asks them to input the number one digit at a time, in the order on the card.
And now… we wait.
The computer flashes various colours and beeps. It really is amazingly tense.
“Das code is…”
And to prove it isn’t a fix, there’s a bloke with the correct information in a sealed envelope.
And it’s money, champagne and security guards all round. Hurrah!
Die 100,000DM Show began in 1993 and ended in 2000, although was bought back in 2008 for two specials (as Die €100,000 Show). If you’d like to see lots more pictures, and if your German is up to standard, we heartily recommend a visit to this unofficial fan page.
That would be Basketballverein, rather than Basketball ver ein… It means Basketball Club.
Brilliant! I thought it was some sort of self help book with a sporting metaphor. I’ll leave it up though for local colour. Thanks!
Now why couldn’t Big Ticket be that good?
Hey! That was a great statement.. I really loved this show =)
I have loved the show an made shure that i would never miss it. It brings back memories from my youth wenn i see this pictures (and I have seen the video on you tube). Reguards from Germany, Dortmund
This show was orginally from the Netherlands and other interesting fact both german and dutch version are produced at same studio. From studio 22, Hilversum , the Netherlands known as media home also the largest studio in europe.