Ore Oduba


Youngest Media for BBC One, 14 May to 8 June 2018 (20 episodes in 1 series)


A quick-fire daytime quiz, where the only aim is to stay ahead of the Hardball.

Hardball When the ball catches up, it's game over.

Six contestants play in each show, drawn at random into two groups of three. In turn, each will take part in the solo round. Quick-fire questions, £50 and a space on the board for each correct answer. Errors only waste your time.

Once the first question's been asked, the Hardball is released. It'll take some time to climb up the side of the machine, and a longer time to roll along each row. But once it starts, the Hardball does not stop. And once the Hardball passes you - reaches the front edge of the video wall screen you're on - the round ends.

In each group of three, the worst-scoring player is eliminated at once. The other two have a head-to-head shootout. Get the answer right, and you move down the track, but get it wrong and your opponent advances. Here, the Hardball is released once one player reaches the second row of the track.

Hardball Jay is four clear of Hannah, and his next right answer will start the ball.

So we have a winner from the first group of three. The other group plays out in exactly the same way, and the two group winners go head-to-head in the daily final. The prize is for everyone's money from their solo rounds - typically around £3000.

The daily final is a categories quiz, the finalist chooses the order to play their hand. Because the first category includes the climb up the side of the machine, you'll want to play your best category first.

Three "boosts" are available, they'll push you one step down the track, but at a cost of half your prize find. Use all three boosts, and your prize will be around £400.

Hardball The ball in motion.

Hardball looks good on screen, a yellow-and-blue palette is bright and attractive. Ore Oduba asks questions clearly and concisely, and the questions are well-written and clear.

And, sadly, the show felt dull. The elimination rounds were either a foregone conclusion or a one-question shootout. There was no real tension, there's no visible enemy. The machine on Tipping Point is fickle and unpredictable; the ball on Hardball just keeps rolling at its sedate pace.


Devised by Stuart Shawcross.

Title music

Roger Johnson and Marc Sylvan, credited for Music.


Steve Webster is credited as "Ball Machine Designer".

The series aired at 4.30. Viewing figures rocketed at 4.55, once Tipping Point had reached a conclusion - and just as Hardball finished its solo rounds.

Web links

BBC programme page

See also

Weaver's Week review


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