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.

The heat is on, the time is r... oh, balls.

Eventually, it's time to bowl. Though the lanes are of different lengths, each ends with the same series of cash zones and the titular Edge. The cash zones start at £1, followed by £10, £50, and all the increments of £50 up to £950, while the Edge is worth £1000. The lanes are separated by rails, so that balls cannot stray into neighbouring lanes. They can, however, still roll off the Edge - in which case no money is earned.

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

The four contestants bowl one ball each. Though they've chosen their lanes, the order in which they bowl is in increasing length of lane, with the contestant on the shortest lane going first. The contestant with the first choice of lane, therefore, may pick a longer lane so they know the target they're aiming for.

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

Whoever bowls the least amount of money is off the show with nothing. If there's a tie, there's a one-ball bowl-off, closest to the Edge without going over wins. Afterwards, the shortest lane is closed off for the remainder of the game.

Teetering and teetering.

The three remaining contestants face another round of buzzer questions. This time, each question has a two-part answer, with both parts required to move your ball up (stop tittering). Again, first to four correct gets the first choice of lane, the other contestants' podiums are reset, and the whole process is repeated.

Second time at the lanes, each contestant bowls two balls, again in order of increasing length of lane. The cash zones remain the same, but the Edge is now worth £2000. The first contestant to qualify gets a standard lane, but the second contestant must face one randomly-assigned "danger zone" - which replaces one of the cash zones with £1 - and the third contestant must face two "danger zones". Whoever bowls the lowest combined amount leaves the show empty-handed (regardless of what they bowled in the first round), and the second-shortest lane is closed off.

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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