Craig Charles


Youngest North for Channel 4, 8 November 2021 to present


Channel 4's press office said,

Ten contestants join host Craig for their chance to win a life-changing cash prize. Every week, there’s an incredible £1 million up for grabs, including a £100K bag. In each show, players are hoping that they’ll be randomly selected to take their place in front of the money belt for one of the three head-to-head battles. Whoever banks the most cash in each round will compete in the ‘triple-header’, a tense three-way battle in which whoever grabs – or steals – the most cash will play to win it all in the Moneybags final. There’s mega money at stake, but who will grab it? And more importantly, can they hold onto it?
The star of the show, with Craig Charles.

Do we need to expand on the format? Very well.

Two players are picked out at random, and take their places. Our players see a category, for instance "Things that happened in the 1970s". The Sindy doll, did that first go on sale in the 1970s? If Michelle in "pole" position thinks it did, she's to pick up the bag. If not, she is to leave it, and Gaz in "hole" position can make his decision. Should neither player pick up the bag, it'll carry on down the belt to Craig Charles, and he'll reveal whether it's right or wrong.

Michelle has left this bag for Gaz to collect.

Beneath the sticky label on the front of the bag is the answer, and the amount the bag's worth. Get it right, and the player keeps the money in the bag, and advances to "pole". Get it wrong, the player is relegated to "hole" and cannot pick up the next bag. Of course, if the bag's gone all the way down to Craig, neither of these things happens, and Craig just reveals the result of that answer.

Repeat this until five correct answers – and some incorrect answers – have come down the conveyor. They'll swap to a new category after two or three right answers. Whoever's got the more money wins the head-to-head, and goes through to the three-way final later in the show.

The other players applaud at the end of the round.

The Triple-Header final has the same rules as before, five right answers and some wrong ones. Still played across two categories. By now, we're used to how a right answer puts you on "pole", and a wrong answer pushes you to the end. And how a wrong answer can wipe out your entire bank from across the show, and how a single Steal can swing the game.

Troy (yes, that Troy) has just collected a wrong answer and cannot pick up the next bag.

Ah yes, complications from special instructions. On a right answer, "Steal" allows a player to take the highest-value bag held by their opponent, and add it to their own bank. From an error, "Giveaway" is the converse, forcing the player to give their highest-value bag to their opponent. "Bankrupt" is another consequence of an error, which removes all bags from a player's account. There are a few more special bags than we'd like, it threatens to turn the show from a test of knowledge into a test of luck.

The final round is perhaps the one area where Moneybags could use a little work. The player has brought a large amount of money through to the final. The show has talked about many thousands of pounds – and now we're going to work in a few grand. Rather than the £70,000 the player might have brought through, their first question is for just £7000.

Questions in the final are slightly different. The category is still named, but now two different answers appear. One is correct and worth some of the prize pot, one is incorrect and will bankrupt the player. First right answer is for 10% of the prize total, second right answer doubles it to 20%. Third right answer takes the prize to 50%, and a fourth correct answer for all the money won. The winner can choose to leave both bags, and stick with what they've got. About half the shows end with some money won, rarely more than about £15,000. The first series gave away an average of just over £6,200 per episode.

How they split the money across a week.

A million pounds comes down the conveyor belt, across the course of a week. Can a million quid be won each week? No, there are so many "bankrupts" and other ways to lose money that they might play for £300,000 if they're lucky. That's still a lot of money, especially for a 3pm programme.

Players remain on Moneybags for a full week, daily winners aren't invited to play again. It gives time for us to know them, and to get to know Craig Charles.

Craig is an excellent host for this show. He's got the sparkling wit of a comedian, the improvisation skills of an actor, and the down-to-earth humour that's been a hallmark of his career. He's a natural entertainer, and turns a complex set of rules into something easy to follow.

Moneybags turns out to be compelling television, easy to play along with, and with questions just the right side of tricky. At times, we can't help but shout out "Yes! Grab it! Grab it!. Don't ... oh. It's wrong?!" Sadly, compelling telly didn't translate into popular telly, and Moneybags didn't lift itself above other Channel 4 performers in the 3pm hour (The Answer Trap, The Great House Giveaway, A Place in the Sun). But it was enough to secure a second series, which we look forward to.

Key moments

The satisfying 'pfumpf' whenever a bag is picked up.

Theme music

Dobs Vye composed a full score.


Recorded at Dock10 studios in Salford.

Episode 20, scheduled for Friday 3 December 2021, did not air that day due to a technical failure at Channel 4. It was eventually put out at 2.35pm on Sunday 19 December, two days after episode 30.

Voted the Best New Show in this site's Poll of 2021.

For some reason, when they repeated the series in the twilight hour, they left week two until last, then swapped weeks three and one around. We know that week one was second to be recorded, so perhaps that was the order recorded?

Web links

Channel 4 site

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review

Episode guide


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