Fear Factor



Ed Sanders


Endemol for Sky One, 3 September 2002 to 11 December 2003 (26 episodes in 2 series)

as Celebrity Fear Factor, 18 July to 22 August 2004 (6 episodes in 1 series)


Two teams of three people take part in three scary - or just plain disgusting - stunts, for a possible top prize of £20,000.

The first and third stunts in each show tend to involve either being very high up, being underwater, or driving very fast. The second stunt is invariably the "gross-out" stunt - generally either eating, or being covered with, various unpleasant animals or bits thereof. In theory there's the added bonus of picturesque locations - the first series was filmed in Capetown, the second in Buenos Aires - but given the requirements of the show, all we really learn is that carparks and abandoned warehouses look pretty much the same the world over.

Sky One commissioned this series after the US version of Fear Factor proved a big hit for them, but the format has been tweaked a little for British contestants. The US version has six contestants all out only for themselves, there is a fixed prize and the first two rounds are elimination stunts. The British version goes for a team format and the first two rounds are for "banking" prize money. The first round gives £3000 for each of the best four individual performances, which with three people on each team means a team can bank up to £9000. In the second round, two people from each team take part (selected by the other team), it's a straight pass-or-fail round, and each success is worth another £3000 in the kitty. The team that wins the final stunt takes home what they've banked plus five grand on top, for a conveniently round figure of £20k. The upshot of this is that it's possible for a team to go into the final round having banked nothing at all, but still go home the winners, albeit with only the minimum five grand to share between them.

It ran for two series and a mini-series of celebrity specials, which was about its lot, really - there's only so many ways you can contrive to cover someone in creepy-crawlies before deja vu sets in.


Adapted from the US version, which was adapted from the Dutch format Now or Neverland.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

Complete Series 1 episodes on YouTube

Complete Series 2 episodes on YouTube


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