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BrainTeaser (Game Show)

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BrainTeaser (Game Show)
The show just teases itself. All you need is a phone - only £0.00 an hour!
Genre: Game show
Running Time: 60 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: August 5, 2002 - March 7, 2007
Distributed by: Endemol
Starring: Alex Lovell (2002–2007)
Rachel Pierman (2005-2006)
Craig Stevens (2002–2005 as a regular presenter, 2005-2007 as a stand in)
Jonny Gould (2004-2005)
Episodes: 1122

BrainTeaser is a British Game Show produced by Endemol UK Productions (later Endemol West and Cheetah Television West) that aired on Channel 5 from August 5, 2002, until March 7, 2007.


BrainTeaser was a game show which, like with most of Endemol's other game show formats, was based on a Dutch game show titled "Puzzeltijd" ("Puzzle Time"). The show featured many different puzzle-based games that focused on brainpower. There was also a phone-in game played where a caller could call in and try and win money.

Why It will Tease Your Brain

  1. The entire show was produced on a shoestring budget and it shows:
    • The show's set was extremely tiny and dated, looking like something that was made in the 1980's.
      • In fact, the set was even smaller than fellow Channel 5 Game show 100%, itself was infamous for its low-budget production values.
    • The entire program was entirely financed through its phone-in segments. Channel 5 took no share of the winnings whatsoever and only had to pay a minimum of £0 per hour for the hour slot BrainTeaser aired on.
      • The phone-in segments feel like they're shoehorned in, and they take up more of the show than the actual physical game show part at times. If one were to cut out every phone-in game in an average episode, the show would only be about 29 minutes long without ads.
    • There is no audience whatsoever, but that's to be expected with a majority of British daytime game shows, and the fact that almost nobody could fit into the tiny set.
    • Although the prize for beating the final game Pyramid is a somewhat decent (but mere) £3,000 (about $4,250 in US dollars) (or £100 if a contestant doesn't beat the final game in later versions), the game itself pegged with artificial difficulty for this very reason, making it quite hard to win.
      • On an awkward and confusing note, there have been times when a contestant can win on Pyramid but not win any money at all.
  2. It had very little purpose for being broadcast live other than the phone-in segments. In fact, this has caused some problems:
    • In one episode, a contestant's mobile phone goes off during the middle of the show, to which the contestant ends up giving it to the presenter that day (Craig Stevens) who answers it, leading to total embarrassment.
  3. In fact, the reason the show gained notoriety was due to the 2007 British premium-rate phone-in scandal, after it was revealed that the show's production team at Cheetah Television West (ie Endemol UK Productions) would at any point fake winners in some of the phone-in segments (especially during "Quickfire") whenever there were no real winners.
    • A major example of this happened one time when no callers won when "Quickfire" was the phone-in game that day. Rather than admitting there were no winners, Endemol instead used the name of one of the show's production team members as a "Winner." This kind of movement in a game show is borderline Illegal in most countries.
    • This move was enough for the show to be axed permanently and Channel 5 to be fined £300,000 by Ofcom after the channel denied that they knew about the scam before they admitted irresponsibility.
  4. Although the show is an hour-long, it feels very padded and boring. This is, once again, due to the phone-in portion being obligatory and the fact that only two out of four contestants could play at a time (In the pre-2006 format).
  5. The puzzle games could easily be summoned up as "cliched" and "forgettable", pretty much the kind that can easily be played elsewhere in puzzle books or on websites.
    • "Crossfire" is just a crossword puzzle, nothing more to say there.
    • One of them - "Clued Up" is merely a pop-culture round that has very little to do with the show's premise at all.
  6. The soundtrack and sound effects mostly consist of really loud and annoying hums, beeps, buzzes, and pings.
  7. The presenters tended to be quite annoying and tend to talk forever about things that have no relation to the game.
    • Craig Stevens was easily the most annoying of the four and has a very obnoxious and cheesy feel, which at least one previous contestant mentioned on a YouTube upload of an episode.
    • Alex Lovell was passable but was severely overused within the end of the series' run, as she became the only presenter for the series.
    • In fact, they would sometimes forget rules or lines (even with their cue cards) as well, which is inexcusable for a live show.
      • According to when they reviewed one of the first few first episodes back in 2002, the presenter that day would constantly miss the cue for how long a word could be in one of the games, ending up with an accidental wrong answer.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. A game show where a different presenter presents every week is very interesting and gives the show some good personality (Until Alex Lovell became more prominent).
  2. The show's popularity allowed Endemol to open up a UK-based studio in Bristol and to bring their more popular formats like Deal Or No Deal and 1 vs. 100 to the United Kingdom.
  3. Some of the phone-in games did offer a reasonable top prize of £1,000.
  4. The set did increase in size by 2005, allowing for extra space.
  5. The Late-2006 revamp improved the show a bit, allowing for all four contestants to play at the same time and allowing for each of the games to be played in every episode.


  • Unlike most long-running British game shows, BrainTeaser has never been re-aired again after its cancellation, very likely due to the controversy. The only way to view episodes is through YouTube.
  • Since the show aired on weekdays with over 1122 episodes being produced for over 5 and a half years, a majority of the episodes are lost media.


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