Impossible (game show)

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Impossible titles.jpg
Genre Quiz show
Presented by Rick Edwards
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4 (regular)
1 (celebrity)
No. of episodes 100
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Mighty Productions
Original network BBC One
Original release 2 January 2017 (2017-01-02) – present

Impossible (stylized as !mpossible) is a British television game show created by Hugh Rycroft and produced by Mighty Productions for BBC One. Hosted by Rick Edwards, the show pits several contestants against each other in a unique quiz format to secure a place in the final, and the chance to win a large cash prize, by answering a variety of questions in which some of the alternative answers are actually impossible – they do not match the subject of the question being asked.

The show first aired on 2 January 2017 at an early afternoon time slot. Due to ratings success during its first three series, the show moved to a teatime slot in the summer of 2018.[1] On 20 February 2018, it was announced that Impossible Celebrities, featuring 18 celebrities, would air in primetime on BBC One.[2]


The general format of questions is multiple choice, with answers containing at least a correct answer, a wrong answer, and an impossible answer. For example, if the question is about naming the pop singer of a song that had been number one for that year, then the answers would consist of the song's true singer (the correct answer), a singer from the same genre but not the song's creator (wrong answer), and a singer from a different genre (e.g. Rock) who could not have possibly sung it (the impossible answer). Each round functions on a different set of rules, though focus on eliminating contestants until just one is left with the chance to win the programme's cash prize, or a daily cash pot prize built up during the first round. Each episode features a group of contestants; anyone who does not make it through the first round, either by being knocked out, or failing to secure a place in the next round, return on the next episode of the show, unless it is the final episode for its respective series.

During the first three series, a player leaving the show was replaced by another. Starting with the fourth series in July 2018, the leaving player was not replaced and remained an empty seat, so each subsequent show had one fewer contestant. The number of episodes the contestant pool participates in was also reduced from ten episodes to five, to allow for a 25-episode series over five weeks. The first series consisted of 30 players competing across all of its 15 shows. From the second series onwards, this was reduced to 24 players.

Round 1[edit]

In this round, the group of contestants compete against each other, in order to secure one of three places in the next round. For each place, the process is split into two halves:

1) In the first half, the contestants are given five questions, each of which has three answers to chose from. Contestants focus on avoiding choosing an impossible answer, as doing so knocks them out from that day's episode. Each correct answer given scores the contestant a point, and at the end of these questions, the contestant with the highest score moves on to the next half and the chance to secure a place in the next round; in the event of a tie in the scores, then the winner is determined by who was quickest to submit their answers.

2) In the second half, the winner of the first half tackles a single question, chosen from one of four categories. The question consists of nine answers to chose from, of which five are impossible answers. To begin with, the contestant is given five attempts to find the impossible answers, after being given the first half of the question – correctly finding one adds £100 to the daily prize pot. After the five attempts, the contestant is given the second half of the question and now must find the correct answer to secure their place. If they chose an impossible answer (if any remain), they are eliminated from that day's episode, otherwise an incorrect answer will allow the contestant who placed second in the first half gets a chance to steal – however, if they chose an incorrect answer, they automatically give their opponent the place in the next round.

Round 2[edit]

In this round, the three contestants who made it to this stage take part in a head-to-head round against each other. Each contestant is given ten lives, with the aim being to be the last one standing. Questions are on the buzzer. If a contestant buzzes in and gives a correct answer, their opponents each lose a life, but they lose a life of their own if they give an incorrect answer or take too long to answer. However, some of the questions asked are impossible to answer, as they have no such answer to that question. (e.g. ‘In which decade of the 20th century was Pablo Picasso born?’ The answer is impossible as he was born in the 19th century.) If a contestant buzzes in and identifies it as "impossible", their opponents lose two lives, but they lose two lives of their own if they give an answer to an impossible question or say "impossible" to a question that is possible and so has a correct answer.

The Final[edit]

The finalist who makes it to this round now faces a question, based on a random category, in which they have ten seconds to pick three answers for that question, out of nine. If the contestant pick the three answers that are correct, they win the jackpot of £10,000. If the contestant picks at least one wrong answer, they win the daily prize pot created for that episode. If, however, the contestant picks an impossible answer or runs out of time before picking three answers, they lose the daily prize pot and leave with nothing. Only the first three responses will be accepted.

During the first series, contestants were allowed to tackle a second question to secure the jackpot, but this format was dropped at the start of the second series, meaning contestants only get one attempt to win the jackpot.

The format would alter slightly again in series 4 in that the leaving contestant would not be replaced, leaving 23 contestants in the second show, 22 in the third and so forth. The batch of contestants would also stay for a week instead of two like previous series.

Impossible Celebrities[edit]

In February 2018 it was announced that Impossible would be receiving its own primetime celebrity series. The show would each have eighteen contestants and the format would be similar to the regular series with each impossible answer knocking them out. It will start airing on Saturday 18 August and there will be six episodes.

In a slight change to the format, during the £10,000 question if the celebrity gives an impossible answer then the daily prize pot will be halved for their charity.


Regular series[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 2 January 2017[3] 20 January 2017[4] 15[4]
2 22 May 2017[5] 30 June 2017[6] 30[6]
3 16 October 2017[7] 27 July 2018[8] 30[8]
4 30 July 2018[9] 31 August 2018 25

Celebrity series[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 18 August 2018[10] TBA 6


External links[edit]