Teleprompt: Fort Boyard

It's set for CITV as a kids' show, but what's the programme all about?

Hey, have you heard? Fort Boyard’s rumoured to be coming back!


Isn’t that the programme where Richard O’Brien runs about the place in a leopard-print trench coat, talking about ‘Mumsie’ and playing harmonica?

No, you’re thinking of The Crystal Maze.

Oh yeah. Isn’t it basically the same programme, though?

Sort of. In fact, the guy who created Fort Boyard, Jacques Antoine, pretty much plagiarised his own successful French TV format and dreamt up The Crystal Maze, too. Think of Fort Boyard as The Crystal Maze on…


…Alcatraz. It’s a physical game show set on an offshore French fortress built by Napoleon, where contestants have to do a lot of tests of strength and agility to win keys, clues and access to the fort’s treasure room where the prize money is kept. It used to be on Channel 5.

Used to be?

Yeah, apparently it’s being revived on CITV as a kids’ show. It’s been exported all over the world but this is the first time it’s been adapted for de yoot.

But didn’t they used to throw contestants into snake-pits and make them walk tightropes? Sounds a bit risky for kids…

The format will probably need a tweak here and there. Maybe throw the nippers into rooms full of gerbils instead…

D’you know if Dirty Den and Melinda Messenger will be coming back to present again?

Nope, not a clue. Mind you, they didn’t come back when Challenge briefly reopened the fort in 2003.

Or the Professor?

You mean the crazy scientist from the Channel 5 days? Again, he didn’t make the cut in the early noughties reboot – although Tom Baker did, slumming it as a mad sea captain.

Oh well, hopefully the dwarves will still be on board.

Indeed. After all, it wouldn’t be Fort Boyard without a few eccentric characters knocking about the place, hamming up their lines and making mad eyes at team after team of PE teachers from Sunderland.

Presumably there’ll be less emphasis on bouncing and jiggling in the running-between-challenges montages this time around, though?

You’re showing your age there. Anyway, as it’s going to be a kids’ show, I’d say you’re probably right.

Any idea when it’ll be back?

Alas, not yet. The whole deal’s in a pretty embryonic form at the moment but the producers are hunting around for contestants as we speak. Apparently they’re hoping to film it over the summer.

Well, bienvenue à nouveau Fort Boyard, I guess.


Welcome back Fort Boyard, indeed. You’re not the only one who can use Google Translate, you know…