The Caretaker (Simon Greenall)


The Voice
Series 1: Eve Karpf
Series 2-4: Faith Brown

Wiley Sneak (Olly Pike)


BBC One, 28 September to 21 December 2007 (13 episodes in 1 series)

CBBC, 10 July 2008 to 4 November 2010 (39 episodes in 3 series, 2010 as Trapped: Ever After)


The Geordie off I'm Alan Partridge wears enough facial creosote to pass as some kind of goblin in this very odd and surprisingly complex game from the CBBC stable.

Set in a gothic fairytale, a group of six children called "the Unfortunates" are winched up in a not-terribly-convincing CGI cage to the sixth floor of a tower looked over by Greenall's Caretaker character. He's looking after the gaff on behalf of the omnipresent being known only as the Voice.

On each floor, the children are challenged to complete a game except that one of them is instructed by the Voice to sabotage the game. The saboteur is nominated at random by the Voice, and fed this information plus hints on how to mess up the game via a weird shell-like earpiece (is this where "a word in your shell, like?" comes from?) We see a child known as Wiley Sneak demonstrating the games before they're played. The games range from ingenious to half-baked, and many are too imbalanced one way or the other, i.e. for or against the saboteur.

If the task is won, the saboteur is knocked out and must remain trapped on this level. If the task is lost, everyone votes on who they thought the saboteur was and the person with the most votes is trapped instead - which may or may not be the real saboteur. (A vote is taken even if the task is won, for interest's sake only, but it's rather an eggy moment.) The dynamics here are complex but not entirely balanced: the non-saboteurs can guarantee a route into the next round by winning the task, but the saboteur must make the task fail and without suspicion of the others. The players, minus the loser, make their way down a hole in the floor to the next level.

When two players remain on the second floor, they have to answer straightforward observation questions against the clock based on their journey through the tower to date. The one who answers the most correctly wins the Big Gold Key O'Freedom (TM) and leaves the tower. This appears to be the only prize, for shame.

Not satified with putting kids in jail, locking kids in a tower is probably guaranteed to raise at least a complaint or two from parents of timid 7-year-olds. However, Greenall's character is genuinely funny, if a little bit overchatty in places, which soothes over the worst of the nastiness and backstabbing.

It's a brave show, possibly a bit too brave in adding in one too many elements, but rather too brave than too meek. We'd rather watch this over Eggheads any day.

Key moments

Any episode where The Voice told the Freaky Factory saboteur to come out from their booth, apparently not realising that this would divulge them to the rest of their team.

The episode where the trapped saboteur told The Voice to get lost.

Caretaker's references to Stu Francis. Yeah, like any kid's going to get those in 2007.

The Voice becoming noticeably louder and scarier when Faith Brown took on the role in series 2. Perhaps a bit too overt for our liking.


"Every floor, we trap one more."

The Voice: "Poor unfortunate [name], you're... trapped! (ever after!)"

The Voice: "You have failed mis-er-a-bly."

Theme music

By Dobs Vye

This is not a fairy tale, Come and play the game!
If you want to take The Tower on you have to say his name.
It's Wiley Sneak, Wiley Sneak, Wiley Sneak.
Now it's off to The Tower, you'll be up against each other.
Sabotage the game my friend but do not blow your cover.
I am waiting for you kiddies! Who will take the rap?
'Cause only one will escape and the rest (evil laughs) you're trapped!


In case you were wondering, the first Voice (Eve Karpf) is a veteran voiceover artiste of many TV shows and commericals, including the "Mum" on those Davina McCall hair colouring adverts.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

Opening titles from the BBC Motion Graphics Archive

See also

Weaver's Week review


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