The Biggest Loser UK



Vicki Butler-Henderson (2005-6)

Kate Garraway (2009)

Davina McCall (2011-2)


Fitness trainers:
Mark Bailey (2005-6)
Angie Dowds (2005-11)
Richard Callender (2009-12)
Charlotte Ord (2012)
Rob Edmond (2012)


Shine for LIVINGtv, 6 October 2005 to 27 December 2006 (23 episodes in 2 series)

Shine for ITV1, 27 April 2009 to 13 March 2012 (57 episodes in 3 series)


Overweight contestants live together, cut-off from the outside world, as they are put through a strenuous exercise regime. During their stay, contestants must complete weekly tasks, cook all of their own meals, and stare temptation in the face as they are offered unhealthy treats.

A Digital Beginning

The original format saw twelve individuals split into two teams of six and they will be trained by a fitness trainer. The red team is trained by the no nonsense Angie Dowds and the blue team is trained by the kind nurturing Mark Bailey. Both teams have two goals to achieve, lose weight as much as possible and succeed in a challenge to gain immunity from elimination. For the team that lost a challenge, they would have to face elimination in the weigh in and the person who has lost the least amount of weight is eliminated from the competition. This carries on until there are three contestants left where they can now free to go back to the outside world, but the competition is not over for them as they have a number of weeks to lose weight as there is a cash prize of £25,000 for the one that's lost the most. There's also a prize for the eliminated contestant who's lost the most weight since their elimination, which is a Caribbean trip.

The show came at a time where viewers were starting to get sick of reality shows and to have a programme where the contestants journey is losing weight didn't really help fix the problem and wasn't really anything ground-breaking. LIVINGtv, a channel aimed at a female audience, saw promise in the show and commissioned an eleven week run for the Autumn, which is quite a ballsy move for such a small digital channel. A risky bumper commission for the first series did pay off as it was quite well received and a second series was commissioned but was less successful than the first. LIVINGtv's owner Flextech was going through a rebrand to Virgin Media Television shortly after the end of the second series and with changes in the business a third series of The Biggest Loser UK wasn't commissioned.

A Terrestrial Return

A couple of years after its run on a digital channel, terrestrial channel ITV gave the show another chance during the spring of 2009, where it became simply, The Biggest Loser, dropping the 'UK' part from its title. This time, it was a couples format where in the first few weeks, eights couples would take part and the amount of weight they've lost will be combined and the two couples that did the worst would have to go through an elimination process where the safe couples would vote on who should be eliminated from the competition. Oh, and there were also challenges as well where the winning couple would be immune from elimination. After the first few weeks, the couples are split up into two teams just like the first two series where the black team is trained once again by Angie Dowds and the blue team is trained by a new trainer named Richard Callender. The rest of the series is the same except the cash prize for the winner has been lowered to £10,000, although the cash prize wasn't the show's aim in the first place, it's was about the journey of losing weight.

And if you thought LIVINGtv's bumper commission of eleven episodes was a risky move, ITV looked positively rash with their decision to commission 40 episodes for the new series stripped across the Monday to Friday daytime slot of 4pm, going head to head with Deal or No Deal on Channel 4. And rash it was, with The Biggest Loser utterly failing to dent Deal's dominance in the daytime ratings.

Sensibly, ITV learned their lesson and decided to commission another series, but this time as an eight week run in a primetime slot of 9pm on Mondays at the start of the year during the winter months. The cash prize was reverted back to £25,000 as well as a Caribbean trip for the eliminated contestant that lost the most weight after elimination. Halfway through the run, controversy arose when trainer Angie Dowds was removed from the programme for telling the contestants to crash diet rather than eating healthily while losing weight through exercise. Eventually she apologised the following week and was invited back to the final. An average of four million viewers tuned in to watch the fourth series, which is a massive improvement over the disastrous daytime series and a fifth series was commissioned the next year.

The fifth series that aired again at the start of the year during the winter months again in a primetime slot of 9pm, but this time in the dreaded Tuesday night slot. Charlotte Ord and Rob Edmond joined the returning Richard Callender as trainers. The first episode bore a dedication to Angie Dowd following her suicide a month earlier.

Sadly, the average viewing figures for the fifth series were almost halved from the fourth, and in September 2012 axed the show.


2005 Aaron Howlett
2006 Jodie Prenger
2009 Kevin Sage
2011 Wil Graham
2012 Kevin McLernon


Based on a US format.


Jodie Prenger who won the second series in 2006 would later go on to win the part of Nancy on I'd Do Anything in 2008.

Web links

Wikipedia entry


Angie shouting at the contestants in the gym. There's a lot of this.
Richard shouting at the contestants in the gym. Ditto.
Angie and Richard looking all mean. Yeah, loads of this as well.
Weigh-in time.
The teams' total weight loss this week.
And in the boardroom, one of you is gonna get fired. OK, different show, but same principle.

See also

Bigger Than...


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