What it’s really like to play Supermarket Sweep

The experience felt a bit like a post-pub late-night shop to grab anything greasy or sweet

Name me something more thrilling than running around your room grabbing plastic replicas of Heinz products and velcro-attached fruit and vegetables while pretending to be on Supermarket Sweep?

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Call me a loser, but that was my childhood.

Dale Winton and his camp catchphrases and inflatable prizes provided entertainment galore, so signing up to try out Supermarket Sweep as an adult was as big a no-brainer as heading straight for the frozen turkeys in the trolley dash.

Unfortunately, I’m yet to take part in the show’s penultimate round, but with Rylan Clark-Neal fronting a revamped, neon-lighted version of the beloved show, I was invited down to the studios to attempt to win the grand prize in the Super Sweep.

Well, not quite the £3,000, but a Supermarket Sweep jumper, which frankly is the white truffle of the TV gameshow world.

Spoiler: I won the jumper but with some embarrassingly large hints and nudges from Rylan who screeched “you would be a terrible contestant” as I ran around his makeshift supermarket fumbling for clues.

Rylan and Jennie on Supermarket Sweep (ITV)
Rylan and Jennie on Supermarket Sweep (ITV)

In my defence, I had imagined a Dale Winton in Asda type vibe, not Tesco meets Ministry of Sound. The strobe-esque lighting, and repetitive drum and bass jingles make for a disorientating shop, so any attempt to be crowned queen of the aisles was thwarted.

Rylan is a giant so it all felt very ‘Danny DeVito and Arnie in Twins’ as he told me I had one minute on the clock, before shaking my hand and reading out the first clue: “When it’s time to rest your head and go to sleep, grab a comfy [blank] and start counting sheep.”

Nervous at being abysmally awful and worried about my dress flying open and exposing the mic pack, I stupidly blurted “Drink?” before Rylan whispered “Pillow” and we were off, manically trying to find the clue so hidden even Dora the Explorer would have struggled.

Clue number two: “Wake up in the morning feeling a bit tired. Down a cup of [blank] and you’ll feel wired.”

Coffee, obviously. I said tea.

With 25 seconds to spare and an increasing fear I’d let down Dale Winton, I found the jar of coffee and clue number three.

“For a traditional Sunday dinner grab some fluffy [blank blank] pour on the gravy and you’re in for a winner.”

Clearly not keen to correct my pathetic Super Sweep solving skills, I said “roast potatoes” as Rylan came close to a breakdown and screamed “Yorkshire puddings!”

Eighteen seconds were left on the clock as I went full Usain Bolt in the aisles, then all Tom Daley as I dived in a freezer for the jumper. I’d done it. And with six seconds to spare.

The whole experience felt a bit like a late-night shop to grab anything greasy or sweet after a pub-fuelled evening, so I guess screaming random words and not knowing what I was looking for was surprisingly quite fitting.

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Supermarket Sweep is on ITV2, weeknights at 8pm