Tipping Point (game show)

Tipping Point
Also known as Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (celebrity editions)
Genre Quiz show
Created by Hugh Rycroft
Matthew Boulby
Directed by Ollie Bartlett
Nick Harris
Richard Van't Riet
Presented by Ben Shephard
Composer(s) Marc Sylvan
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 6 (regular)
3 (celebrity)
No. of episodes 475 (regular; as of 21 October 2016)
28 (celebrity)
Executive producer(s) Hugh Rycroft
Peter Usher
Producer(s) Sara Doyle
Location(s) Regular series
The London Studios (2012)
BBC Television Centre (2013)
Wimbledon Studios (2013–14)
Twickenham Studios (2015–16)
Fountain Studios (2016–17)
Celebrity series
Wimbledon Studios (2013)
The London Studios (2014)
Fountain Studios (2016)
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) RDF Television
Distributor Zodiak Media
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9 (HDTV) 1080i
Original release 2 July 2012 (2012-07-02) – present
Related shows Spin Star
External links
Production website

Tipping Point is a British television game show which began airing on ITV on 2 July 2012, and is presented by Ben Shephard. Contestants answer general knowledge questions to win counters which they use on a large coin pusher arcade-style machine. Only the winner at the end takes home their accumulated money—the rest go home with nothing (except for any "mystery" non-cash prizes that they may have won).

On 18 June 2015, Tipping Point was renewed until 2017.[1]


Contestants answer questions to win counters to drop into the coin pusher machine. Counters are worth £50 each, and the contestant can drop them into their choice of four drop zones, hoping to push piles of other counters off a pair of shelves. The upper shelf moves back and forth over the lower one. The more coins that are subsequently pushed onto a lower red zone (referred to by Shephard as the "win zone"), the more he or she collects and the greater the eventual prize fund. The contestant who accumulates the least amount of money in each round is eliminated until only one contestant remains to play for a jackpot of £10,000. If any counters enter the win zone when not in play (excluding the final round), they are removed from the machine (referred to as an "ambient drop").

Additional "mystery counters" were added in series 2, coloured black and bearing a question mark. Three are present in the machine—two on the upper shelf, and one on the lower—at the start of the game. If any of these counters enter the win zone, the contestant in control of the machine wins a mystery prize (e.g., cases of wine, short holidays, etc.). Two counters marked "×2" were added in series 5, which double the value of the counters that drop into the win zone. Rather than being removed from the machine, if any of these special counters enter the win zone when not in play they are put back into the machine.

A "ghost drop" occurs when the counter placed into the machine slides close enough to the guide that the sliding action wrings the air out from between the counter and guide causing it to stick and stop moving for a very short period of time. As the drop time is critical to the game, a ghost drop can adversely affect the luck and skill of the player. While the contestant aims to get the inserted counter down and flat onto the top shelf (where it will push the other counters further towards the shelf edge), a mis-timed drop or one affected by a ghost drop may land in such a way as it ends up 'riding' on top of a counter already on the shelf. Such a rider rarely pushes any of the counters very far at all such that none drop into the win zone.

Round 1

In Round 1, the four contestants are each given three counters. Questions are then asked and the first to sound their buzzer may answer. In the event of an incorrect answer, one of the contestant's counters goes into a penalty pot. If the contestant answers correctly, they must choose either to play one of their own counters if they feel the machine will pay out or, if they feel the machine won't, may instead nominate an opponent, forcing them to use one of their own counters. In either case, the relevant contestant chooses which of the four drop zones they want to drop a counter down and then presses their buzzer to release the counter into the machine.

At the end of the round, all the counters in the penalty pot are put up for grabs on a final question. If there are no counters in the penalty pot at the end of the round, the round automatically ends. If any contestants are tied for last place or all contestants are tied for the lead, a sudden death question is asked, with no counters at stake. If a contestant answers correctly, they move on to the next round, but if they answer incorrectly, they are eliminated.

Round 2

In Round 2, whoever is in the lead of the three remaining contestants (or if there is a tie, whoever was first to give a correct answer) decides the order of play. In turn, each contestant is given 30 seconds of rapid-fire general knowledge questions, with each correct answer earning one counter. When the time is up, the contestants use their accumulated counters to try to win more money in the machine by moving counters over the Tipping Point. As before, If any contestants are tied for last place or all contestants are tied for the lead, a sudden death question is asked to determine which contestant is eliminated.

Round 3

In Round 3, the two remaining contestants are asked six questions alternately, three to each contestant. A contestant can opt to answer the question themselves or, if they feel they don't know the answer, can pass it to their opponent. A correct answer gives control of the counter to the contestant, while a wrong answer hands control to their opponent. Whoever is in the lead at the end of the game wins. If the contestants are tied, a sudden death question is asked to determine a winner.

Final round

In the final round, the winning contestant is given a jackpot counter (a larger gold-coloured counter with a red star), which is dropped into the machine. The aim is to get the counter back out of the machine in order to win £10,000. The contestant is given six categories of questions and can answer the questions in any order. Prior to being asked the question, the contestant elects how many counters to play for and the difficulty of the question. An easy question is worth one counter, a medium question worth two or a hard question worth three. A correct answer gives the contestant the number of counters they nominated.

Any counters which drop in the process of trying to get the jackpot counter are worth £50 apiece. This also includes ambient drops, which are no longer voided. If the contestant manages to remove the jackpot counter, their winnings are augmented to £10,000 regardless of the other counters dropping into the machine. However, the double counters are not included with the jackpot, so even if they drop at the same time, the jackpot counter is not doubled.

If the contestant uses all six categories and fails to remove the jackpot counter, they can choose whether to keep the money they have accumulated or gamble on three more counters.

Taking the Money

If the contestant isn't risky and decides to take the accumulated money, (from series 2 onwards) providing the jackpot counter is on the bottom shelf, the three trade counters will still be played to check if it was the right decision. If all three counters are used up and the jackpot counter hasn't dropped, the contestant made the "right decision". If the jackpot counter drops before all three counters are used up, the contestant could have won £10,000.

However, if the counter is still in the top shelf at the end of the round, then there is no need to check if the gamble was the right decision, as most likely the counters wouldn't be enough to push the jackpot counter over the tipping point.

Taking the Trade

If the contestant decides to trade everything that they've earned, they can do so for 3 last counters. Their money is then set to £0 and nothing else in the machine will have any value. If the contestant successfully gets the jackpot counter out of the machine, their win is augmented to £10,000. Failing to do so will leave the contestant going home empty-handed (except for any "mystery" non-cash prizes that they may have won prior to "taking the trade").


Series Start date End date Episodes Notes
1 2 July 2012 27 July 2012 20[2] Aired as a 5:00pm summer replacement slot for The Chase, the other being Don't Blow the Inheritance.
2 2 January 2013 25 February 2013 39 40 episodes were commissioned[3] but one was left unaired.
3 20 May 2013 20 November 2013 70[4] Series 3 took breaks from 1 July–6 September, 28 October–1 November and 11–19 November
4 17 February 2014 29 August 2014 70[5] Series 4 took breaks from 28 April–6 June and 10 June–1 August
5 5 January 2015 4 December 2015 125[6] Series 5 took breaks from 16–27 March, 4 May–4 September, 23–24 September, 1, 7, 16 October and 9–18 November
6 7 December 2015 2017 175[1][7] Series 6 took breaks from 21 December 2015 – 1 January 2016, 23 May – 26 August and 24 October - 2 January.
7 TBC TBC 150[1]

International broadcasts

Tipping Point: Lucky Stars

Tipping Point: Lucky Stars title card

A series of twelve episodes of Tipping Point: Lucky Stars aired on ITV, beginning on 9 June 2013. The programme was shown in the primetime slot rather than the usual 4:00pm daytime slot for the regular programme. A second series aired in the summer of 2014. A third series aired in the Autumn of 2016.

The celebrity episodes feature some changes to the ordinary format:

  1. There are only three contestants rather than four.
  2. Contestants are playing for a nominated charity.
  3. All of the counters (including the Jackpot counter) are worth double their value. Normal and mystery counters doubled from £50 to £100, and the jackpot counter doubled from £10,000 to £20,000.
  4. In the final round, if the contestant takes the trade but loses, he or she still gets £1,000 for their chosen charity.
  5. To compensate for the presence of only three contestants, the person in last place after round 1 continues to play into round 2.
  6. The losing contestants after rounds 2 and 3 still take home the money they have accumulated for their chosen charity.
  7. Mystery counters now give smaller prizes or occasionally give a mystery question about the contestant, giving him or her the chance to drop another counter into the machine.
  8. The double counters do not exist, as all of the counters are already worth double the normal value.


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 9 June 2013 25 August 2013 12
2 5 July 2014 23 August 2014 8
3 15 October 2016 3 December 2016 8

Notable episodes

Other notable celebrity contestants


The official Tipping Point app for iOS was released by Barnstorm Games on 30 March 2014. The Android version was later released on 3 April 2014.[12] An electronic board game based on the show was released in 2015 by John Adams under its Ideal Games brand.[13][14]


  1. 1 2 3 Fletcher, Harry (18 June 2015). "Ben Shephard's Tipping Point gets a whopping 325 new episodes from ITV". Digital Spy. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  2. "NEW QUIZ COMMISSION FOR ITV DAYTIME". RDF Television. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  3. "Tipping Point gets second commission from ITV1". RDF Television. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  4. "ITV Daytime commissions third series of RDF quiz show Tipping Point". RDF Television. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  5. "Tipping Point – Series 4". Zodiak Rights. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  6. "Series 5 – Episode 125 – Tipping Point – The ITV Hub". The ITV Hub. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  7. "Ben Shephard on Twitter". Twitter.
  8. Agnew, Trevor (1 August 2015). "TV Review: Tipping Point". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  9. Bagwell, Matt (4 November 2016). "'The Chase' Meets 'Tipping Point' In The Greatest TV Quiz Mash Up Of All Time". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  10. "Sam Bailey Raises Money For Strongbones On ITV's Tipping Point Lucky Stars". Strongbones. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  11. "Tipping Point: Lucky Stars". ITV. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  12. "Tipping Point app".
  13. "Zodiak Rights strikes deal for Tipping Point board game".
  14. "Ideal Tipping Point".

External links

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