Appearing on one of Britain’s much-loved TV quiz and game shows is probably the easiest way to make a lot of money, if you play your cards right. You don’t have to be a mastermind to win big - and the process of applying and getting picked for a show is actually easier than you might think.
It may take a bit of your time, from the application process through to filming, but by the end you’ll have had an incredible experience and might even be a millionaire. In this article, find out all the tips you need to make yourself more likely to appear on a show and increase the chance of a big win.
I love applying for and appearing on TV quiz shows. I watch The Chase every day without fail and am always looking for ways to test my general knowledge. Which is why I’ve sent off lots of application forms in the past few years.
All in all, I’ve been to an in-person interview for The Chase, Tipping Point, Cash Trapped & about 3 other brand new shows. I’ve had phone calls from Beat The Chasers and Impossible - and I managed to appear on 2 different shows. Both of them you probably haven’t heard of as they were brand new shows which only lasted for one season each.
The first was Pick Me hosted by Stephen Mulhurn, and the second was Head Hunters hosted by Rob Beckett, which I filmed a whopping 30 episodes of!
In total, I took home £1,000 from Pick Me, and £1,450 from Head Hunters, so my total winnings are £2,450 - and I have a 100% win rate for quiz shows that I’ve appeared on!
From years of experience, I understand what the casting people want to see, which I’m now sharing with you here.
How Easy Is It To Get On A TV Game Show?
I’m sure you’ve seen calls for contestants at the end of episodes where they say “come and have a go if you think you’re clever enough”. They really do mean that. Some of the biggest shows record a lot of episodes in a series and therefore need a lot of people, and a pool of standbys ready to film.
Take a look at The Chase for example. For each episode there are 4 contestants and each season has around 200 episodes. That’s 800 different people (and standbys) they need to look for. Take into account the fact that most people won’t be brave enough to test their skills in front of the nation and suddenly you have a much better chance of getting on than you might think.
There are also examples of shows (such as 1 vs 100) where they need 100+ people on each show. You perhaps don’t have as good a chance of winning, but you can also slink into the background if you don’t do as well as you hoped. Because of the huge pool of contestants they are looking for, you’re at least very likely to get a call back to see if you’re suitable for the show.
Probably the easiest shows to get on, however, are brand new ones. The likes of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire get a lot of applications for the limited number of spaces available while the shows that nobody has heard of get overlooked. Usually, people apply for shows because they know what they’re getting themselves into. With shows that haven’t even aired an episode yet, people are put off from applying through fear of the unknown plus these shows won't have a loyal viewership of people who want to give it a try. This increases your chances of getting on.
Finding & Applying For TV Game Shows
As always, you have to start at the beginning. You can’t get on a TV game show without first applying for it. You can quite easily find which TV shows are looking for contestants by checking the TV castings pages on each channel. Keep BBC’s Take Part, ITV’s Be On TV and Channel 4’s Take Part pages bookmarked and keep checking back every now and then for new shows. There are more than just game shows here too, if you want to find a date on Naked Attraction you can find the application forms here.
The application process is a fairly standard procedure for every show. They want to know things about you like "what you would do with the money if you win?", "how competitive are you?" and "what is something we’d be surprised to learn about you?".
This is your chance to show off your personality. They receive hundreds of these application forms - so this is your chance to shine and get noticed. If you just put "I want to spend the money on a holiday", "you’d be surprised to know I rode a camel once" - they’d probably be bored to tears, as that’s all they get.
Someone I was in an audition with for The Chase said they’d like to spend the money on a new bum. Another in an audition for Cash Trapped said she wanted to buy a monster truck (and that girl actually got on and managed to win £30,000). Those kinds of answers are interesting and funny to watch when broadcast, so producers are always looking for things like this.
When I apply for shows, instead of saying “I want to go on holiday” - I instead say “I am obsessed with the Pitch Perfect movies so I want to go on a trip to an A Capella summer camp in Ohio”. That’s already so much more interesting and it’s material that the host can ask more questions around. I come up with creative responses like this, as well as the interesting facts to sell myself so I get at least a call back from the majority of the shows I apply for.
Another tip, most application forms have a lot of the same questions so if you’re going to apply for a few, copy and paste your answers in the application form into a Word document so you can reuse it.
Getting The Casting Call
If you’ve successfully managed to wow the casting directors with your extraordinary tales you may at any time receive a casting phone call. Most of the time, they just go over what you wrote about in your application form to confirm what you were saying and get to know more about you.
It’s very relaxed and the casting directors are always friendly. There is no Simon Cowell at the end of the phone judging you. Try to be bubbly and chatty over the phone. I know it can be a scary moment, but the more energy they hear from you the more likely they are to pick you!
If it’s a quiz show, they may give you an on the spot general knowledge quiz. Usually, these are 15 questions long and they ask you questions over the phone. They don’t normally give you your score at the end. At the end of the call they’ll tell you whether or not they want to continue with casting you on the show or not and then follow up with emails about either going in for an audition (or at the moment, having one via Skype).
If you do get a face to face or virtual audition it’s not that scary. They want you to be yourself and have your personality come across. Have fun, joke with other contestants if they’re there and just enjoy the experience. If you’re having fun they’ll notice that. Then all that’s left to do is wait! It can take a while before you hear whether you’ll appear on a show or not but this is the time to start brushing up on your general knowledge and skills for the show that you might appear on.
Do Your Research
If you hear back from them with a date for filming it can be so exciting. This could be your chance to win a lot of money. So if you do get selected probably the most important tip of all is to practice, practice, practice.
If you’re going on a show that’s already established, look through the archives and rewatch some old episodes to test yourself & learn more about how the game works. If you’re going on a quiz show that requires speed - buy a quiz buzzer from Amazon or download a buzzer app on your phone. If you’re able to interrupt questions when you know the answer be sure to practice this, as milliseconds could be the difference between winning or losing.
For more quiz show preparation go and watch some factual YouTube videos. I managed to learn all of the Kings & Queens of England from William The Conquerer through to Queen Elizabeth II in order, just by watching a Horrible Histories song 100 times.
Do everything you can and get your family and friends to help you. While you might not be able to control what happens on the day of filming, you can make sure you are as prepared as possible for whatever is thrown your way.
This is it, you’re finally there. You’ve gone through the applications and auditions and you’re about to record your episode (or episodes). Depending on the show, your likely filming locations are London, Manchester or Glasgow. If you don’t live nearby, you’ll usually get your travel expenses and hotels paid for by the company (which is a nice bonus).
Everything will be planned and sorted for you. From make-up to microphones, there are plenty of runners to help you with everything you need. You’ll be fed and watered when you’re not filming, maybe even several meals if it’s a long day. And whenever there is a break you can use the bathroom if you need it.
You can have your phones with you while you’re in the dressing rooms so if you want to do any last-minute revision you can. You’ll have to surrender it before you go onto the set.
The celebrity hosts are all very friendly and they want you to win too. Do your best and that’s all they can ask for. I know you could be playing for big money but take some time and a moment to step back and enjoy it. Filming days for quiz shows I’ve been on have been some of the most fun I’ve had especially when it’s a show that you always watch.
You could win £1,000s by appearing on a TV game show, but the experience of getting on one is something that not everyone can have. If you think you’ve got what it takes, there is always a show looking for contestants. If the stars align and everything goes your way, this could be the most profitable blog post you’ve ever read.
P.S: I will happily accept a 10% tip on any TV show winnings you get.