Prized Apart



Emma Willis and Reggie Yates


Electric Ray for BBC One, 13 June to 25 July 2015 (6 episodes in 1 series)


Couples play this game, one adventurer and one studio player. The winning couple will win a "life-changing" prize, £100,000.

The adventurers are flown to Morocco, where they join host, tormentor, and genial guide Reggie Yates. He has some challenges for the adventurers. The best performers will be safe; those remaining may be eliminated from the contest.

Blister'd be thy tongue.

Shows are split into four parts; we begin with a reward element, something fun so we can remind ourselves who the players are. Then comes the team task, where players are split into teams and the best performers are safe from elimination.

The footage from Morocco is interrupted by events in an aircraft hangar at Farnborough Airport. Emma Willis has this glamorous assignment, she talks with the studio players about their son / wife / mother / husband. This both expands on the emotional investment, and destroys any narrative we had from the story.

The best team is safe; the others face a survival plummet. These tend to be the highlight of the show, hanging from a trapeze in a waterfall, or taking a bungee jump into a canyon. All of the challenges seem to end with players falling from a great height.

Worst three in this survival challenge are flown back to the UK, where they're at the mercy of their studio players. The studio players take a general knowledge quiz, initially on broad topics, later on matters related to Morocco or the adventures. The last player left will not board the plane back to Morocco.

On sand, you can never be sure of anything.

Prized Apart plays to the emotions, it makes much of the way they split adventurers and studio players.

It plays somewhat less to fans of adventure: tasks such as "make a raft using this equipment" and "gather some items from a market" feel like a corporate team-building exercise. Successful adventure challenges need to be "this looks cool" or "this looks horrific". These were "this looks dull". The whole programme is shot in a lifeless manner, without any urgency. No clocks for the timed challenges, no tick-off list for the shopping challenge.

The press and commentators gave Prized Apart savage reviews. Game show theorists stroked their beards and saw a debt to Jacques Antoines' oeuvre. Viewers voted with their remotes, and turned it all off.


Kennedy and Julia Taylor, daughter and mother from Manchester


According to the credits, "Based on an idea developed by BBC Entertainment. Format developed by Electric Ray."

Electric Ray was set up by Karl Warner, the former head of light entertainment at the BBC. While in this role, the BBC had developed the Prized Apart format. There was some adverse press comment when it appeared Mr. Warner had taken the show with him, and the BBC changed practices to prevent this from happening again.

Theme music

Ty Unwin, credited as "Composer".


Though shown "as-live" on consecutive Saturday nights, the series was shot in February and March. This explains why contestants walked out into a dark night at 8pm.

The series was interrupted on 4 July 2015 when Andy Murray played a long match at Wimbledon. Rather than keep up the pretence that the series was happening in real time, the series was bumped back a week.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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