The Edge



Series 1: Mark Benton

Series 2: Gabby Logan


BBC One, 16 March to 13 November 2015 (50 episodes in 2 series)


Quiz show combining general knowledge and bowling.

Series 1 host, Mark Benton.

All the action takes place on a set lit in the BBC daytime colours of black and black. On the floor are four narrow bowling lanes of different lengths, and behind these lanes are four podiums.

The EdgeThe set.

At the start of the game, four contestants stand behind these podiums, each with a ball at the bottom. They're asked simple general knowledge questions on the buzzer, with a correct answer moving that contestant's ball up their podium (no laughing, now). The first contestant to give four correct answers, and thus get their ball to the top of their podium, gets to choose which of the four lanes to bowl on. The other contestant's podiums are then reset, and the whole process is repeated twice more, until the last contestant has only one lane to choose from.

Why couldn't Going for Gold do this?

The lanes are narrow, and protected by rails so balls cannot roll out. Each lane is longer than the next, but each ends in 20 narrow strips, each a few inches wide, about twice the size of the ball. These strips are marked with money, starting at £1, then £10, £50, £100, and rising by £50 to £900, £950, and the titular Edge, initially worth £1000. There's nothing if the ball falls over the edge.

Contestant picks up ball = Cue flash white lights and dramatic tension music.

The quiz continues, but rather than continuing from where we got to, all the scores are reset.

This is not how the army do it.

After this opening round of questions has finally finished, each person gets one ball to bowl. Whoever scores the lowest is eliminated with nothing. Though players pick their lane, the play is always shortest to longest. Round winners may pick a longer lane so they know what they're aiming for. If there's a tie, there's a one-ball bowl-off, closest to the edge without going over wins.

Teetering and teetering.

Whoever bowled off the edge, or scored the least money, is off the show. Another quizz round for the three remaining players, but with a gimmick. Each answer in this round comes in two parts: the two people to have done something, a two-word phrase. Four correct answers gives choice of the lanes, and again the scores reset after one player has won.

Second time at the rink, each player sends two balls up their lane. The first player to qualify has the standard lane. The second will have one "danger zone" assigned at random, replacing the usual value with £1. The last player has two "danger zones" assigned. With the titular Edge worth £2000, and nothing for dropping off the edge, the lowest total score leaves the game.

The EdgeBob Monkhouse called from the grave, he wants his £1 back for his $64,000 Question.

Round three, a bit like round two. Three part answers to the questions, first to four wins pick of the two remaining lanes, and gets to set one "danger zone" for their opponent. Three bowls each, lower total leaves, and the one player remains.

Before the final round, there's a timed round of questions. 75 seconds, four parts to each. Every correct answer extends the titular Edge by one of the cash zones: five right answers and the Edge is now about two feet long. The player's able to choose their risk: get it in one for all the money they've built up in the earlier rounds. Or take two balls for half the cash, or take three for a third of the money.

The EdgeThat's a lot of balls. (snort).

Viewers had a number of problems. The "danger zones" subtracted from the spectacle, and the final used just one of many ways to make the game easier. Mostly, there was too much quiz and not enough bowling. Resetting the scores to zero smacked of padding the programme to fill a slot.


"The game show with brains — and balls!"

"Let's roll!", said before every single bowl.


Jamie Ingley and Mark Espley, developed by Leon Wilde and BBC Entertainment London team

Theme Music

Marc Sylvan is credited for "music".


Before the recording starts, players are allowed some practice rolls, so they can gauge the strength they need to overcome friction in the playing surface.

External links

Official site

Wikipedia entry

Show discussion and recording report from Bother's Bar.

Fifty 50 discussion

See also

Weaver's Week review

Quiz Bowl, a quiz show based on American football.


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