Sell Me the Answer
Mike Toolan (radio version)
Keith Chegwin (unaired TV pilot)
Key 103 (Manchester local radio), 2007 to 30 March 2009
Thumbs Up for Sky1, 9 November 2009 to 29 January 2010 (50 episodes in 1 series)
Gethin Jones hosts as contestants try to win £25,000, by answering ten questions, each worth progressively more money. Should they not know an answer, then help is at hand, as rather than a conventional audience, the studio is filled with 60 traders. It is from these traders that the contestant can buy answers - for a price. When they feel they need the help of the traders, the contestant can shout 'Sell Me the Answer!" (and it does appear they are told to shout it rather than just say it). At this point any trader who wants to play stands up, and waves a Strictly Come Dancing-style golden paddle with their number on it, whilst shouting 'Pick me!', pointing at themselves, and generally trying to attract the contestants attention. The contestant must pick two traders, each of whom are then given ten seconds to convince the contestant why they are best suited to answering the question. Once the contestant has picked which trader they want, the trader comes down and stands across the table from the contestant.
At this point, and before their answer is revealed, the contestant must barter with the trader over how much the answer is worth, baring in mind the contestant can only use money they have currently won to barter with, and obviously wants to get the answer as cheaply as possible, while the trader will want as much as possible. Once a deal is agreed, the trader pockets the agreed upon amount no matter what happens. At this point, the trader then reveals their answer, or in some cases no answer at all, as some traders have been known to say they know the answer, merely to get their hands on some money. Regardless of what answer the trader provides (if any), the contestant is not obliged to play that answer, and can play one of their own if they prefer.
Contestants must play through all ten questions, and may only opt to take the money they have won if they successfully answer all ten. Alternatively they can choose to answer a final question for the jackpot. However if at any point the contestant provides a wrong answer - whether from themselves or bought from a trader - they leave with nothing.
Format credited to "Sell Me the Answer Ltd." Which doesn't really tell you anything, does it? It was created by Sean Gibson and Mike Toolan and originally introduced as a feature on Toolan's show on Manchester radio station Key 103, where it won a Sony Award for the best competition.
The concept of buying answers from traders or brokers was also used on ITV1's The Vault.