Small Fortune



Dermot O'Leary


Brian Blessed (as "Big Voice")


Youngest Media for ITV, 2 February to 9 March 2019 (6 episodes in 1 series)


Teams of three play this game. The objective is quite simple: complete three tasks to qualify for the final, then win the final to take home the money. There's a potential £150,000 to be won.

Each task is a one-shot game: the competitor will either win and keep the money, or will lose and be out of the rest of the show. Lose all the players and your team isn't qualifying for the final; lose the one chance at the final and your team leaves with nothing.

The tasks are little games, done in miniature. Here, for instance, is a model of Marble Arch. Here is a marble. All you've got to do is blow the marble through the arch in Marble Arch.

No delays on the central line.

After deciding who will play the challenge, and a free practice, there's a decision. Play for the full £50,000, or practice. Each practice takes 10% of the prize fund, so the amount of money can quickly go down.

Once our player is confident enough to go for it, or the prize is so low that they may as well go for it, they'll press a button. The studio lights dim, all the gold drains away and we're left with just a cold blue outline. The big voice of Brian Blessed ramps up the tension, and the player takes their one meaningful shot.

The final is set in a model of the studio.

Assuming they qualify for the final, all of the team's remaining players get a free go at the challenge - to lift a ring off a pole without touching the sides. Each extra practice costs 10% of the total prize fund.

Small Fortune does a lot of things well: model makers Karen Britcliffe and Mauricio Elorriaga have made miniature works of art, the sets feel bright and playful. The models make for a sharp contrast with the extreme tension of the challenges - one moment we're looking at a lush model, the next moment we're throwing paper planes for £30,000.

Viewing figures weren't huge - 3.5 million for the opening episode - and viewer reaction indicated there might be something more wanted from the show. Smallest Fortune was bought by NBC for the large North American market, so someone clearly likes it.

For the losers, a small trophy.

Title music

Dobs Vye, credited for "Music".


Voted the Worst New Show in this site's Poll of 2019

See also

Weaver's Week review


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