Winning Combination



Omid Djalili


Potato for ITV, 16 November 2020 to present


Comedian Omid Djalili welcomes nine contestants who have each been randomly allocated a number between 1 and 9. Their aim is to become part of a Winning Combination and secure a quarter of the daily jackpot which, as you will discover, changes from show to show.

A control question is asked on the buzzer: an incorrect answer will see the player frozen out of the next question, but a correct answer means the contender is one step closer to qualifying for a Battle Round. To do this, they must select the two answers from a board of six that fall into a particular category (Japanese foods, four-sided shapes, British authors etc). If they successfully do this, their place in the Battle Round is assured. If they can't, they remain in the pack. This continues until 5 of the players have made it through.

In the Battle Rounds, the five contenders are given four points each. They then face two minutes of rapid-fire questions on the buzzer. A correct answer scores a point and the chance to dock a point from an opponent of their choice, whereas an incorrect answer sees them lose a point of their own. Whoever has the most points when time runs out becomes part of the combination. They must then choose where in the combination their assigned number will go: they can choose to represent the thousands, hundreds, tens or units.

Repeat the above two paragraphs a further three times until the combination is locked in. At which point, Omid will bid farewell to the unsuccessful players as only he can...

In the final round, each player must correctly answer the same number of questions as the number they bought into the combination. Omid will start with the contestant in the Units position and move upwards. They will have thirty seconds to do this and every correct answer will add a further five seconds. Once one player has reached their target, the remaining time is passed to the next one in line. If they can all reach their targets before the clock hits zero, they will split the jackpot four ways. Should they fail, however, they will leave empty handed.

So, how is the show? Well, the Battle Rounds seem a little cluttered. Do we really need the 4-point starts when the winning contestant takes their randomly assigned number through to the combination? Also, docking a point from opponents is rather unnecessary and the combined time spent doing that could be used to ask another couple of questions. In Series 1 of The Boss, the opening round saw people answer as many questions as they can with the winner being declared at the end. It worked there, it could work here too if the show gets recommissioned...

Minor quibbles aside, this is a fun afternoon quiz. The questions come thick and fast and are pitched at just about the right level throughout. Omid is a fine host; clear in his question reading, playfully insulting in his frequent chats with the contestants and very engaging. The end game is also excellent; the outcome is never a foregone conclusion and it feels like the contestants have worked for their money. Overall, a very welcome addition to ITV's daytime schedule.

Key moments

Omid openly insulting the contestants or viewers or, better still, where he screams at the top of his voice at the four contestants who failed to make the final battle.


(When addressing the four players who failed to make the final battle): But now, I must say, please, take you and your numbers - AND GET OUT!

Today, you are… a unit.

It's time to battle!


The top prize per contestant is £2,469, one quarter of £9,876.


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