I Literally Just Told You



Jimmy Carr


Onscreen question setters:
Emy Adamson and Maggie Aderin-Pocock (series 1-2)
Gama Gbio (series 2-present)
Woody Bradbury and Jack Ryan (series 2)
Natasha Dillson, Kaamil Shah, and Kit Yates (series 3-present)

Voiceover: uncredited in series one, Judi Love from series two


Expectation and Richard Bacon Media for Channel 4, 16 December 2021 to present


Remember everything! Forget nothing! What could be simpler?!

Four players start the game, they sit on bar stools in a row on the studio floor. We see a short introduction clip about each player, where they're from, what they do, a joke about them. And then the first round of question: every player is asked a question about another player's clip. £250 for a correct answer, a bit of ridicule from Jimmy Carr if you're wrong.

The core conceit of I Literally Just Told You is that the contestants see all the answers before hearing the questions. The "Money Builder" round is a "this, that, or the other" decision. Is a famous person dead, alive, or fictional? Are this couple married, divorced, or never an item? There's often some discussion around the questions, prepared facts and impromptu riffing provide ammunition for the later rounds. £250 for each of five decisions.

What's the name of this show?

Next comes a memory round, based on what we've seen in the show so far. There are questions about the right answers. Questions about the incorrect answers people gave. Questions about random things that happened, like the spontaneous discussion that happened around the questions. Maggie made a throwaway remark about meeting a celeb at an awards ceremony, but it stops being throwaway when we're asked which ceremony. £500 for these three questions, marked with tense lighting and Jimmy walking down the line.

Change the lights. It's almost a catchphrase.

Who writes these memory questions? Two note-takers are in the studio, Emy Adamson and Maggie Aderin-Pocock. Between them, these two write questions about everything that happens on the show. (Yes, it's that Maggie Aderin-Pocock, from The Sky at Night.)

Jimmy also talks with some of the studio crew. Could be someone as famous as the format devisor and executive producer for Richard Bacon Media, Richard Bacon. Or it could be the studio runner Stan whose name was variously given on one episode as Emily, Dave, and Bill. The fourth wall is broken and smashed into a million smithereens.

Maggie and Emy, question-writers.

The lowest-scoring contender is eliminated at this point, and carries their stool with them. Questions cannot be handed over to the others, there are no buzzers at all in this game.

It's now almost twenty minutes into the programme. Jimmy throws to a break, but a caption warns us "This may not be a real ad break". The steadicam operator rushes onto the set, everyone swigs from their water bottle, and Jimmy does an appeal for a charity. And then he breaks the news to the contestants: that wasn't a real ad break. He'll ask them questions about that fake ad break after this real ad break.

Real host delivers semi-scripted patter during fake ad break.

One question each about the fake break, for £750. Then it's another round of "this, that, or the other" questions for £750 each. After another (real) ad break, there's a filmed insert, more fodder for memory questions. Famous people pop up from time to time: we've seen Bez and Shaun from the Happy Mondays, Eamonn Holmes from Playing for Time, Fred Sirieix talking about François Mitterand, and many more.

Another round of memory questions based on anything in the show so far. We're up to £1000 for the first three questions, and £2000 for the final question. At the end of this, the top two scorers go through to the final.

The final: contestants choose three questions from a selection written by Maggie and Emy, and ask them to each other like in a penalty shootout. The winner scoops the cash earned by both players. In theory, there's £25,000 to be won; in practice, the winner tends to be somewhere in the £15,000 to £20,000 range. Very nice.

The studio is richly decorated: it's another source of questions.

I Literally Just Told You is a show to watch carefully. It demands full attention, complete concentration. Someone is going to say something, and it could be vitally important in the next memory round. It could be crucial in the final test. And, for the players, there's a lot to remember – we viewers only see the most important 40 minutes of filming, the players have to remember everything that's happened through a whole day.

Jimmy Carr is the host, and he's a character who provokes strong emotions. Those who love him love the show; others suggest he's punching down at people and belittling them for entertainment. Strong language mean this certainly isn't a show for young viewers, and the host's approach may put others off.

That said, I Literally Just Told You is a great television format. Like Tipping Point, like The Wheel, it's almost impossible to watch the show on without joining in. The show has a voice, it has the same surreal and unpredictable feel as The Big Breakfast at its wildest. Viewer reaction was positive, the trend was upwards, not least because of the episode where everything fell apart.

Key moments

Episode 2 of the first series, the one where it all goes wrong. Memory rounds were marked by a string of incorrect answers, and scores so low that they had to make the questions easier or the jackpot would be about 5p. Channel 4 actually put this episode on All 4 straight after the first one.

Jimmy Carr fell to his knees, praying for relief.


Just before every ad break:
Jimmy: "How do you know that?"
Contestant/Emy/Maggie/whoever: "Because you literally just told me!"

"Change the lights."


Richard Bacon, who also hosted the try-outs.


On one episode, a contestant named Eddy lost out on £18,000 with a question based on the age of pop star Ariana Grande. However, despite talking about her age on the show, her specific age was never stated. Three weeks after the recording of said episode, Jimmy Carr invited Eddy on stage during his gig at the O2 Arena to inform him of this. He was subsequently presented with a cheque for £18,000 in front of the audience!

The celebrities in the first celebrity episode were Lorraine Kelly, Alex Horne, Aisling Bea and Asim Chaudhry, while the second celebrity episode, a football special, used John Barnes, Gabby Logan, Harry Redknapp and Sue Smith. One of the contestants in the first 'civilian' episode of series two was the kickboxer Grace Spicer, which also featured Mike Read, Vicki Michelle, Linda Lusardi and Ritchie Neville in a skit containing a 'pickup'. Further celebrity quartets comprised Clare Balding, Joel Dommett, Roisin Conaty, and Big Narstie, Dermot O'Leary, Judi Love, Kerry Katona, and David Walliams, and AJ Odudu, Ben Shephard, Bill Bailey, and Sarah Millican. A block of episodes calling themselves 'series four' began with an episode containing Jonathan Ross, Josie Gibson, Oti Mabuse, Rylan Clark... and Chico, who was booted off within seconds on the grounds he wasn't famous enough.

Web links

Watch the show via All4 (UK only, free registration required). International viewers: via Youtube

Wikipedia entry

British Comedy Guide entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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