Playing it Straight



June Sarpong (2005)

Jameela Jamil (2012)


Voiceover: Alan Cumming (2005)

Voiceover: Alan Carr (2012)

Gaydar the Chihuahua, and Brian the Troubadour (2005)


Lion TV for Channel 4, 8 April to 13 May 2005 (6 episodes in 1 series)

Lion TV for E4, 9 January to 27 February 2012 (8 episodes in 1 series)


Reality game show that throws down what it calls the Gaydar Gauntlet - personally, we thought that was the name of one of those novelty student pubs. Anyway, there's £100,000 at stake for the man who can "play it straight".

Zoe from Kent (you know her, surely?) finds herself transported to a Mexican hacienda and presented with ten men all with the aim of winning her heart. But some of them are straight and some of them are gay. If Zoe picks a straight man at the end, the happy couple will split £100,000 prize money between them. If a gay guy can play it straight, he'll win the whole £100,000 for himself.

Zoe, bless her, has to eliminatate guys after each episode and hope to end up with a Jim Morrison, not a Morrissey.

Almost seven years (seven years!) after the first series, this show returned to British screens in early 2012. There was a new host, a voiceover by Channel 4's resident camp interviewer, a new female contender (Cara), and somewhat less of a budget. Mexico was replaced by Spain, and such is the rate of prize inflation that the money was halved to £50,000.


This program had a US debut on FOX in Spring 2004 and bombed, even with a $1,000,000 grand prize. It did so poorly that it was cancelled before the Finale. The entire series was available on internet pay-per-view on the Fox website.

There was a strong contingent from The Mole on this show - in the form of producer Peter Davey, edit producer Glenn Hugill and director Angelo Abela.

It turns out we do know Zoe after all. Zoe Hardman went on to front shows like Playdate and Glitterball.

Series two winner Dean Dibsdall also found some transient fame, appearing in the title role of Dean Dibsdall: Model Farmer on the Horse and Country channel.

Web links

Official site

Bother's Bar review


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