The Circle 2021 release date: essential guide to season 3

Everything you need to know about the return of the social media-based gameshow.

Emma Willis

Channel 4’s The Celebrity Circle kicks off tomorrow, with The Celebrity Circle 2021 line-up entering the show’s digital playground in the name of charity – but when will the regular series be back?

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Good news for fans of the social media-centred reality show – series three makes its TV premiere immediately after the celebrity version comes to an end, so you’ll have a full month of online ratings, sneaky catfishing and DM slides to keep you entertained throughout lockdown.

There’s £100,000 up for grabs this year, so the incoming nine contestants will be trying their hardest to be the most-liked player on the show’s specially-designed app, which the contestants, who won’t meet face-to-face, have to use to contact one another.

Here’s everything know so far about The Circle 2021, the show’s start date and who’ll be hosting.

When is The Circle back?

The Circle 2021 series begins on Tuesday 16th March at 9.15pm on Channel 4 – the day after The Celebrity Circle for Stand Up to Cancer’s final airs.

From then on, series three will air every day of the week (except Saturdays) at 10pm on Channel 4 for the next three weeks.

How do you play The Circle?

This is a game that makes the most of how easy it is to lie on social media. The contestants move into a block of flats where they live isolated lives – they can bring in pets, or babies, but they won’t make any adult human contact other than via their profiles.

They can choose whether to be honest, or to create an avatar from scratch – e.g. a glamour model can choose to post pictures of a bricklayer and assume that personality. The players spend the series trying to suss out who is real and who is telling lies. Contestants get blocked along the way, allegiances form in private online chats and eventually the most popular person wins.

Tim The Circle (Channel 4)

How to apply for The Circle season 3

Sadly the hunt for contestants is over for The Circle season 3, but keep an eye on their application page for a chance to apply next time around.

Who hosts The Circle?

Emma Willis has hosted the programme since series two. The first series was hosted by Alice Levine and Maya Jama.

Speaking of the new series, Emma said: “The Circle is just brilliant, unmissable television. I loved every minute of being a part of it and I’m delighted to be returning to it for another series where I’ll be right at the centre of all the mischief and drama!”

Actress and comedian Sophie Willan narrates The Circle, and is best known for appearing in CBBC’s Class Dismissed, Still Open All Hours and Click & Collect.

Will season three of The Circle be any different?

Yes, this time around, the whole show will be pre-recorded months in advance. Last time, we were only about a day behind the action, like Big Brother, and Emma Willis hosted shows with a live studio audience, getting reaction to the latest developments. This part of the series has been scrapped this year because of social distancing concerns.

The main game will stay the same, although with every year that goes by the players come in with smarter strategies and clever ways to catfish.

What is the prize on The Circle?

For the The Circle’s upcoming series, there’s a prize pot of £100,000 up for grabs – which will likely be split into a £70,000 jackpot for the show’s winner and £30,000 for the viewers’ champion.

The Circle’s prize pot has varied over the last two series, with the series one winner – Alex Hobern – taking home £50,000 and an extra £25,000 after being voted as the viewers’ champion.

However, series two winner Paddy Smyth received £70,000 from the prize pot, while the viewers’ champion – Tim Wilson – went home with £30,000.

Who is competing in the next series of The Circle?

Channel 4 is yet to reveal which players will be entering The Circle in the upcoming series, however we know the show will begin with nine players – although “one won’t be staying for long…or will they?”.

Is there a celebrity version of The Circle?

The Celebrity Circle airs in March 2021, and will last just a week – but will be packed full of drama.

Emma said of the celebrity version: “I can’t wait to see who’ll be in the line-up and whether they’ll play as themselves or as another celebrity – it’s going to be incredible”.

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The Circle returns to Channel 4 next year. To find out what else is on TV in the mean time, check out our TV Guide.