Winning Combination



Omid Djalili


Potato for ITV, 16 November 2020 to 5 November 2021 (50 episodes in 2 series)


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.

Omid Djalili controls the game.

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 to place their assigned number in the combination: they can choose to represent the thousands, hundreds, tens, or units.

The set has a stagger to fit people in a small space.

Repeat the above two paragraphs a further three times until the combination is locked in. At which point, Omid will dismiss 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 unit 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.

They get about one winning combination each week.

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 and as a replacement in Tenable's 3pm slot.

The second series did away with the buzz-in then pick two from six and replaced it with pick-two-from-at-least-two-correct-answers-out-of-nine on buzzers, revealed one at a time, but didn't bother showing the remaining answers.

Key moments

Omid openly insulting the contestants or viewers or, better still, when addressing the four players who lost the final battle, when he screams the final part of his instruction.

There were several funny answers in episode four; one chap thought Jocky Wilson was a member of the Beach Boys, another thought Chanel was a German city (the correct answer was Cologne) and another thought the jazz musician called Dizzy had the surname Rascal. The following episode had a funny question; Djalili asking "who put pussy in a well" (little Johnny Green). Cue five contestants having absolutely no idea where to look.


(When addressing the four players who lost 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!

Let's have a conversation with the combination.

...and my wife will have the salad. (In series one, Omid said this after reading a list of food-related answers; this made a lot less sense in series two, where it was shoehorned in before the answers were read out.)

If you think you can do better than today's contestants: Take it up with them, I'm not getting involved!


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

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


To correct something on this page or post an addition, please complete this form and press "Send":
If you are asking us a question, please read our contact us page and FAQ first.

Name: E-mail:   
A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in