After weeks of blocking, catfishing and plenty of awkward social media messaging, Channel 4’s The Circle has revealed this year’s winner – Paddy Smyth, who walks away with the £70,000 prize money. Tim Wilson, meanwhile, wins £30,000 for topping the public vote.
In the Circle, players create social media profiles that can reflect their true selves, a heightened version of themselves or be someone else entirely, with regular votes held where contestants (or “players”) rank the others living in the building from their favourite to least favourite, with regular blockings (and removals from the game) for unpopular accounts.
In last night’s grand final, however, finalists Georgina, Paddy, Sammie/James, Tim and Woody instead rated who they thought most deserved to win, with Paddy – who had played as himself since arriving in episode 10 – eventually announced by host Emma Willis as the winner.
When he initially arrived in the Circle Paddy had kept secret his cerebral palsy condition, later confiding in fellow player Georgina and then announcing the truth to the rest of the players in a group chat, and winning over many viewers in the process.
“I’m in complete shock,” Paddy said of his win. “I never even thought I’d make it past the first blocking.
“To come in as a late player and to come in with such insecurities about myself and to know that The Circle accepted me… It’s just insane.”
But of course he wasn’t the only winner, with university academic Tim – whose eccentric dress sense and unusual background had appealed to viewers from an early stage – topping the Viewers’ Champion vote from The Circle app.
Tim was one of the original players and lived in The Circle apartment block with his Persian Cat Bey, and when told of the prize money coming his way simply commented: “That’s very nice!”
“I’m flabbergasted. Thank you so much – cheers! It’s been an absolute blast. I’ve been living in a little paradise, a little bubble – it’s just wonderful.”
The Circle series 2 ran for three and a half weeks featuring 15 players in total, six of which were fake or “catfish” profiles. The most significant of these came from TV presenter Richard Madeley, who played the game for a limited time to great popularity from viewers.