Beat the Internet



John Robins


Fact-master: Sunil Patel


Vice Studios for UKTV, shown on Dave, 15 November 2018 to 17 January 2019 (20 episodes in 1 series)


A combination of quiz, comedy, topical elements, and the internet.

Beat the Internet challenges five players to think like a search engine. When asked "How to throw a...", what will they suggest to complete the search? A dart, a party, a cuddly toy...

Beat the Internet These people want to beat the internet. But can they?

Later rounds look for the link between sets of pictures, and ask the contestants to work out the search term that led to this list of responses.

The worst player leaves after each round, leaving two for the final. They'll try to associate famous people with the same first name - ten famous Debbies from sharp clues like "Paul Daniels' wife".

Much of Beat the Internet is looking at a plain white screen, so the host has his work cut out to make the show entertaining. The good news: John Robins is swift-witted, able to make a wisecrack from almost any answer. Visuals and sound appeal to those who remember the internet from the 1990s, and are functional for younger viewers.

John Robins, the friendly face.

There are recurring jokes, most of them embodied by Sunil Patel's character. The "know-it-all" sidekick knows very little, and might never have heard of the internet before he entered this studio. His "fun facts" are facts, though not "fun".

There's plenty of play-at-home potential, we can't watch the show without shouting an answer at the screen. For all that, Beat the Internet is a light and airy show, perhaps not suited for Dave at 8pm on Thursday, and certainly isn't at its best with two shows airing back-to-back. We'd have stripped the show around 6pm for some weeks.

The high-tech isolation booth in full effect.

Key moments

The disclaimer, transcribed for posterity:

All of our questions are collected from complete searches from a variety of single search engines and all searches were accurate at the time this program was recorded. For anyone playing along at home your results may differ based on the time you do the search, the search engine you use and the settings on your computer. If you find any fault with our questions don't hesitate to get in touch; here at Beat the Internet we operate a robust complaints procedure.

… which is usually set to Sunil violating a written letter of complaint.


Dan Louw

Title music

Nicholas Shelton, credited for "Music".


Graphics and gameplay systems were by Earth London.

Web links

U programme page

British Comedy Guide entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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