Cruel Summer



Sarah Cawood (Cruel Summer/Winter)

Jayne Sharp (Cruel Summer 2)

Hayley Evetts (Cruel Holiday)



Taskmaster for Cruel Summer 1 unknown

Freddie Mills (Cruel Summer 2, Cruel Holiday)

Andrew 'Scrutz' Scruton (Cruel Winter)

Richard Nauyokas - regular stand-in taskmaster


Brighter Pictures for Trouble, 31 July 2001 to 2003


This was Trouble's first big foray into reality television and rather good it was too. But then when you've got people who have worked on Big Brother and The Mole on the team, this shouldn't come as too much surprise. The show is made by Brighter Pictures, subsidiary of Endemol, and we suspect the reason there was no Cruel Summer 4 is because Big Brother 5 went down a similar route.

In each competition, five male and five female young adults as voted for by Trouble viewers (ages 18-21, invariably students) converge upon a site in the hope of pleasing the taskmaster, pleasing the viewers and outplaying each other to go home with the £10,000 top prize. Every week the viewers text in their favourites to receive "more punishment" and the male and female who receive the least votes are turfed out. For the final week, viewers vote on a winner.

In addition, each contestant is given £1,000 "Cruel Cash" and whatever of this they have left when they get evicted they can keep. They can win more cash by playing and winning games and tasks. They can lose cash for just about anything -mainly losing and refusing to perform nasty tasks, but the Taskmaster can and will just fine them cash for annoying him generally. Fair? No. Funny? Yes.

File:Cruel school1.jpgCruel School contestants help one of their number indulge in a little beautification

Each episode would normally feature two or three group tasks (cleaning filthy windows with the t-shirts they're wearing, racing to create trifle and sandwiches using only their mouths, that sort of thing), one individual task partaken by everybody (usually involving something bought in by the show's animal wrangler, sucking cheese spread from a beard), a Cruel Vote (where the viewers are told what the punishment is and then vote on who should have to endure it on the website) and one person is normally selected by the production team to complete a task based on an aspect of their person (like having to get over their fear of clowns, or hunting for their cuddly toy in a box of maggots, or the loudest one being told to be silent for the day or face fines).

File:Cruel school2.jpgBathtime at Cruel School

Regular tasks that would normally appear in each series include a boot camp day led by Corporal Nauoykas from Lad's Army under various assumed names, a challenge where one contestant is taken aside for and asked to throw for all the money everyone else would lose (or lose the total cost themselves) - and then have the conversation played out to everyone else at an inopportune moment and being offered increasing amounts of money to destroy something valued by somebody else (only for it not to be that thing really and that person gets it back when they leave).

The hosts (Cawood/Sharpe/Evetts) were only really there for eviction days and conduct interviews. The real star is whoever gets the role of task master. From what we saw of the first series, this seemed to be whichever researcher was on duty that day. For Cruel Winter, they employed The Taskmaster. He was quite good and did a nice line in sarcasm. The show really hit it's stride in Cruel Summer 2 and Cruel Holiday, both headed by a marvellous Welsh actor named Freddie Mills (no, not the elderly film star) playing the Classmaster and Campmaster respectively, and brilliantly treaded the line marked "nasty, but very funny with it". We particularly enjoyed it when he tried putting people off when the contestants got their weekly ten minute phone call home by throwing bits of paper at them, or correcting their grammar. And reading out the messages left to them in text-speak by Trouble viewers in a literal manner.


Each series was set in a different place:

Cruel Summer: Cruel Castle
Cruel Winter: The Cruel Compound
Cruel Summer 2: Cruel School
Cruel Holiday: A summer holiday camp.

Cruel Winter winner Kirsty Duffy went on to host Quizmania.

Cruel Summer 2 contestant Keri Hassett would later be seen travelling into space (allegedly) as a contestant on Space Cadets.


File:Cruel winter off1.jpgCruel Winter presenter Sarah Cawood
File:Cruel winter off2.jpgCruel Winter camp
File:Cruel_winter_group.jpgThe Cruel Winter line-up
File:Cruel summer two jaynesharp.jpgCruel Summer 2 presenter Jayne Sharp


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