Tipping Point (game show)

Tipping Point
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 8 (regular)
4 (lucky stars)
No. of episodes 625 (regular; as of 10 November 2017)
36 (lucky stars; as of 29 October 2017)
Executive producer(s) Hugh Rycroft
Peter Usher
Producer(s) Sara Doyle
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. Four 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 has a chance to take home any money; the others leave with nothing except any non-cash prizes they may have won during the game.


The coin pusher machine consists of two shelves filled with flat circular counters; the upper shelf slowly extends and retracts, while the lower one is stationary. The rear face of the machine is divided into four "drop zones," each of which contains a pachinko-like pegboard. Contestants answer questions to win counters, then choose a drop zone and press their buzzer to release the counters into that zone. The goal is to have the counters land flat on the upper shelf so that its retraction will cause them to push other counters over its front edge, leading them in turn to push still others off the lower shelf and into a collection trough referred to as the "win zone." Contestants win £50 for each counter that drops into the win zone during their turn. Any counters that enter this zone when the machine is not in play, excluding the final round, are "ambient drops" and are removed from the machine with no effect on scoring. Counters that bounce out of the machine and onto the floor are treated as if they had landed in the win zone.

Three "mystery counters" were added in series 2, coloured black and bearing a question mark; at the start of the game, two are on the upper shelf and one is on the lower. If a mystery counter enters the win zone, the contestant in control of the machine wins a prize (picnic concert tickets, weekend holiday, etc.). Two counters marked "×2" were added in series 5, one each on the upper and lower shelves, which double the value of the counters that land in the win zone on that same drop. Any counters of either type that fall into the win zone as an ambient drop are replaced in the machine, at the position they occupied before falling. If a contestant wins a mystery prize, it is theirs to keep regardless of the outcome of the game.

A "ghost drop" occurs when a counter drifts forward as it falls through a drop zone, until its face makes contact with the clear plastic sheet covering the front of the zone. The resulting friction can greatly slow the counter or even stop its descent altogether for a very short period of time. Ghost drops, mistimed drops, and unexpected bounces can lead to a counter landing on the upper shelf so that it partially overlaps or "rides" on others; such plays rarely trigger falls into the win zone, adversely affecting the contestant's turn.

At the end of each round, the lowest-scoring contestant is eliminated from the game and forfeits all their money. In the event of a tie for low score, or if all contestants are tied, a sudden-death toss-up is used to break the tie. A correct buzz-in answer allows the contestant to advance, while a miss eliminates them.

Round 1

The four contestants are each given three counters at the start of this round. A series of toss-up questions is asked, and the first contestant to buzz in may answer. A correct response allows the contestant to either play one of their own counters or force an opponent to play one instead, based on their judgment of how likely the machine is to pay out on that turn. Once a contestant runs out of counters, they may not answer any more questions.

A contestant who buzzes-in with an incorrect answer loses one counter, which is placed into a penalty pot. If the pot contains any counters at the end of the round, they are all put at stake on one final toss-up open to all contestants. An incorrect buzz-in answer on this question freezes the contestant out, and a new question is asked to the others. If the pot remains empty after all contestants have used their counters, the round ends at that point.

Round 2

Each contestant answers 30 seconds of rapid-fire general knowledge questions and receives a counter for each correct answer, then uses these counters in an attempt to win more money. The leader at the end of Round 1 decides who will play first; after the chosen contestant has finished their turn, the higher-scoring of the other two decides who will play next. In case of a tie at any point, the first tied contestant who gave a correct answer in Round 1 has priority.

Round 3

In Round 3, the two remaining contestants are asked six questions alternately, three to each contestant, and the leader at the end of Round 2 decides who will start. After hearing a question, the contestant in control may either answer or pass to the opponent. One counter is awarded for each correct answer, while a miss awards it to the opponent. Each counter is used as soon as it is earned. If the contestants are tied going into this round, the one who had a higher score at the beginning of Round 2 decides who will start.

Final round

The contestant is given a jackpot counter, larger than the others used in the game and coloured gold with a red star, and chooses a zone from which to drop it into the machine. The goal of this round is to win a £10,000 jackpot by getting the counter into the win zone. The contestant is given a list of six categories and must answer one multiple-choice question from each, in any order; all questions have three answer options. For each category, the contestant chooses whether to play for one (easy), two (medium), or three counters (difficult). A correct answer awards the selected number of counters, which the contestant immediately plays in the machine.

Counters that drop into the win zone during this round are worth £50 apiece, and the mystery and double counters are still in effect. Ambient drops are not voided in this round, but are added to the contestant's winnings. If the jackpot counter enters the win zone, the contestant's cash total is augmented to £10,000. As of Series 8, the jackpot is doubled to £20,000 if a double counter falls on the same drop in which it is won.

If the contestant fails to recover the jackpot counter after using up all six categories, they may either end the game at this point and keep all winnings, or trade the accumulated money for three more counters. In the former case, if the jackpot counter is on the bottom shelf, the contestant is offered a chance to play the three counters and see if they would have been able to win the jackpot. In the latter case, all counters except the one for the jackpot become worthless, and the contestant forfeits all their money if it remains in the machine.

Tipping Point: Lucky Stars

A series of 12 celebrity episodes under the title Tipping Point: Lucky Stars aired on ITV, beginning on 9 June 2013. The programme was shown in a primetime slot. Three further series have since aired, in the summer of 2014, the autumn of 2016 and the autumn of 2017.

The celebrity episodes feature some changes to the ordinary format:

  1. There are only three contestants rather than four.
  2. Each contestant plays on behalf of a selected charity.
  3. All cash values are doubled: £100 for normal and mystery counters, and £20,000 for recovering the jackpot counter.
  4. Double counters are not present in the machine.
  5. Mystery counters award either a small joke prize, a cash bonus (not counted in the scoring), or a question about the playing contestant that allows them to play another counter by giving a correct answer.
  6. All three contestants play the first two rounds.
  7. The losing contestants after rounds 2 and 3 still take home the money they have accumulated for their chosen charities. If a contestant is eliminated with a total of zero, an undisclosed donation is made to his or her charity.
  8. In the final round, if the contestant trades the money in but loses, his or her charity still receives £1,000.
  9. Episodes are recorded before a live audience, instead of using canned applause as in the regular series.


Regular series

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodesNotes
12 July 201227 July 201220[1]Aired as a 5:00pm summer replacement slot for The Chase, the other being Don't Blow the Inheritance.
22 January 201326 February 201340
320 May 201320 November 201370[2]Series 3 took breaks from 1 July–6 September, 28 October–1 November and 11–19 November 2013
417 February 201429 August 201470[3]Series 4 took breaks from 28 April–6 June and 10 June–1 August 2014
55 January 20154 December 2015125[4]Series 5 took breaks from 16–27 March, 4 May–4 September, 23–24 September, 1, 7, 16 October and 9–20 November 2015
67 December 201521 October 2016150[5][6]Series 6 took breaks from 21 December 2015 – 1 January 2016 and 23 May – 26 August
72 January 201710 November 2017150[5]Series 7 took breaks on 20 January, 14–17 March, 22 March, 6–7 April and 31 May – 1 September.
88 January 20182018150Series 8 took breaks on 12–16 March, 9–13 April, 23 April and 28 May-present. The episode on 23 April was cancelled due to an ITV News Special, aired to cover the birth of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's third child. This move was met with outrage from fans of the show.

Lucky Stars

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
19 June 201325 August 201312
25 July 201423 August 20148
315 October 20163 December 20168
43 September 201729 October 20178


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.[7] An electronic board game based on the show was released in 2015 by John Adams under its Ideal Games brand.[8][9]


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