Pressure Pad



John Barrowman


12 Yard and BBC Scotland for BBC One/Two, 4 November 2013 to 3 October 2014 (40 episodes in 2 series)

(Transferred to BBC Two for last 10 episodes - see Trivia below)

as Celebrity Pressure Pad: BBC One, 1 to 5 September 2014 (5 episodes in 1 series)


Two teams of five - friends, work colleagues, schoolmates - play against each other for £2000 and an increasing jackpot.

There's a team captain, and they'll play in the final round. Before then, team-mates face off in four head-to-head games. In the first series, these were:

  • Borderline - find a location on a map of the British Isles
  • Connection - link two parts of an answer from options given
  • Deadline - answer general knowledge questions faster than the opponent
  • Divider - choose the correct number from three options
  • One Direction - order four things
  • Orbit - answer questions in four categories faster than the opponent
  • Radar - give correct answers from a list
  • Right On - stand on a correct answer
  • Selector - pick an option and answer a question about it
  • Time Out - categorise items faster than the opponent

All games take place on the Pressure Pad, a large display unit in the centre of the studio. In some of the games, players are required to move across the Pad to stand on their answer; in others, it's used as a glorified display board or a giant clock.

Each head-to-head is the best of three, and losers are banished from the studio. The captain is allowed to consult what's left of their team in the final round, a series of multiple-choice questions. When the captain gives an incorrect answer, play passes to the other side. If they play again, the same question remains but with one less wrong answer.

The day's winning captain has £2000 to split between the team. They're offered a captain's jackpot and see six options. The captain doesn't have to take the question, because an incorrect answer sees the team leave with nothing. A correct answer scoops the jackpot, which starts at £1000 and increases by a grand every day.


"When you've lost two lives, you're outta the game."

"If you can't stand the pressure, stay off the pad."

"...and many more" (concluding every list)


Liz Gaskell, Josephine Brassey and Stefan Iriarte

Theme music

Will Slater


Despite the name, the Pressure Pad was not actually pressure-sensitive, so occasionally an adjudication on whether a contestant answered in time was delayed while somebody offscreen watched a playback.

The first series aired on BBC One at 3pm while the celebrity series and the first ten episodes of the second series aired on BBC One at 2.15pm. The last ten episodes of the second series were placed for a more exposed slot of 4.30pm on BBC Two. It became the first new entertainment programme on BBC Two's daytime schedule since the end of 2012, when BBC One stopped broadcasting CBBC programming.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

Bother's Bar report from the pilot, filmed in March 2013.

See also

Weaver's Week review


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