Monday to Friday at 4pm, The 100K Drop is a regular feature of the Channel 4 daytime schedule, with host Davina McCall challenging pairs of contestants to put their money where their mouth is, betting chunks (or all) of a £100,000 stake on answers to general knowledge questions.
The prize is whatever cash remains at the end of eight rounds – but one wrong move sees the money drop down a chute to be lost forever.
But it’s not just about the quiz questions, we have questions of our own about how it all works behind the scenes – and executive producer Richard Hague was kind enough to answer them for us…
Is the money in The 100K Drop real?
Yes, those plastic-wrapped wedges of ten pound notes are the genuine article – the contestants really are playing with £100,000 in cold, hard cash.
Is there special security to keep it safe?
Back when the show was primetime and the prize money was a cool £1 million, much was made of the security around the cash. Footage showed “£1 million pound in used banknotes” being picked up from “a secret location” and transported to the studio in an armoured vehicle. Meanwhile, audience members were screened and searched before being allowed in.
So with a reduction in the size of the prize, is security still a big issue? According to Richard, absolutely.
“The money is kept secure at all times and always accompanied by security,” he says. “But for reasons of security I can’t go into any more detail…”
Also for security reasons, the couples don’t leave with the money on the day but are contacted later to have their prize transferred to them.
How much money has been won this series?
At the time of writing, the current series is only half way through and Richard wasn’t able to give us a precise number but he was confident in saying it totalled “hundreds of thousands of pounds”.
What’s the best strategy for winning The 100K Drop?
You might think that if you haven’t a clue which of the answers is correct, you’d be best spreading your cash evenly but Richard points out that this can potentially lead to a low return on your investment.
“The best strategy is to put your money on the correct answer,” he says. “But if you aren’t sure of the correct answer don’t spread the cash too wide otherwise you will run out of money by the end.”
How can I apply to be a contestant on the show?
At the time of writing, the show was midway through a series so was not recruiting new contestants. But if that changes you should be able to apply here, or you can keep an eye on the 100K Drop Twitter feed.
What kind of people are they looking for?
A good relationship with your chosen partner, good general knowledge – and good luck – will all increase your chances of being selected for the show and doing well when your turn comes.
“The best criteria is a strong relationship where the contestants are able to talk through the options and be logical,” says Richard. “It helps if you have a broad general knowledge. But we have had people who weren’t that widely knowledgeable but just happen to know the correct answers and were not talked out of their decision by their partner.”
Are contestants sworn to secrecy about how well they’ve done?
Yes. Back in the days of the Million Pound Drop, the show was live but now that’s it’s recorded months in advance, contestants are bound by an agreement not to discuss how their game went or whether they won any money until after their episode has aired.
Can I be in the audience of The 100K Drop?
You might expect contestants’ friends and family to be in the audience to offer moral support but in fact the show’s rules don’t allow that in order to avoid potential accusations of cheating.
That leaves more room for the rest of us, with about 150 seats available for each round of filming, during which audiences will see on average two shows recorded before the next group comes in.
Places are usually booked a few weeks before filming starts on a new series and there’s not currently one in production – but you can pre-register here to be contacted as soon as there is.
How many episodes of The 100K Drop are filmed in a day?
“We film approximately four shows in a standard day,” says Richard. “One session in the afternoon. One in the evening. We record in games (ie a pair of players) so it varies so much depending how far they get. But we have a quick reset and start filming the next pair.”
Davina McCall on The 100K Drop (Channel 4)
And while contestants and audiences come and go, it’s a long day for host Davina McCall. “We start filming midday until mid afternoon,” says Richard. “Then early evening until 9/10pm. So Davina is on her feet for a long time.”
Where is the 100k Drop filmed?
The series is filmed at Dock 10 at the heart of Manchester’s MediaCityUK, on a set that takes four days to construct. The studio used for The 100K Drop also plays host to A Question of Sport, Mastermind, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Naked Attraction, among others.