The Crystal Maze

Channel 4 (ended 1995)



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The Crystal Maze

Show Summary

Welcome to The Crystal Maze guide at TV Tome. This highly popular Channel 4 game show saw a team of six contestants (three male, three female) led around four time zones by the host Richard O'Brien, playing games and winning crystals as prizes. The Crystal Maze wasn't really a maze at all. It can be better described as: a circuit of four inter-connecting play areas or "time zones" with the crystal dome in the centre. The Zones Aztec: Based on Aztec culture. This zone had a sand covered floor and a totem pole in the middle. Medieval: A 15th century castle with a banquet table in the middle. Futuristic: A space station filled with electronics and neon lights. Industrial: A factory with dirty metal doors, disused oil barrels and security fences. Ocean: Replaced Industrial in series 4-6. A sunken ship called the SS Atlantis, which was based on the Titanic. The Games The team played three or four games in each zone. There were four types of games: Physical – Emphasis on being agile, strong and flexible. Mental – Basically, word-association and mathematical puzzles. Skill – Testing dexterity and marksmanship. Mystery – Anything at all! One nominated team member would enter a cell containing a game. The others would remain outside, shouting encouragement and giving suggestions. Completing a game correctly caused a contraption of some variety to release a time crystal. Each game lasted between 2 and 3 minutes. If a contestant failed to get out of the cell before the time ran out (whether they won the crystal or not), they would be locked in. They could be released but only if the other team members decided to sacrifice one of the already won crystals. This could be decided on the spot or during the game before it was time to go to the Crystal Dome. Sometimes, games were "automatic lock-ins". For example, a player would be locked in if any part of their body touched the floor. If the team captain gets locked in, then the vice captain takes over. If the vice captain gets locked in (and it did happen once or twice), a replacement captain is decided on the spot. Interesting Facts Each zone had a different timer for the games: Aztec: water timer. Futuristic: digital clock. Medieval: sand timer. Industrial/Ocean: oversized analogue/stop clock on the wall. The Crystal Dome Once all the zones had been visited, the team members (minus ones who had been locked in and had been decided not to be bought out), travelled to the Crystal Dome. Each of the crystals won during the game were converted into 5 seconds. The team members went in the dome and once time began, fans would blow hundreds of gold and silver tokens which the players had to collect and post through a "magical letterbox". Once time was up, they had to stop collecting the tokens. One gold token was worth 1 point and one silver token was worth minus 1 point. The result was decided by gold minus silver. If the total came to 100 or more gold, then the team won a grand holiday somewhere i.e. an activity holiday and a crystal as a memento. If the total was 50 or more gold, it was a not-so-grand-holiday i.e. a day trip and a crystal. This 50 or more gold was eliminated in later series. If you didn't win a prize, all you got was a crystal. Although the team members were adults, four children's specials were made, as 40% of the audience watching the show were 16 or less. These specials transmitted at Christmas, gave previews of what the games would be in the next series e.g. the 1991 special showed viewers what the 1992 series games would be like and the 1992 special introduced the Ocean zone for the 1993 series. Entering the Maze When a team started the game, they had to overcome an obstacle to enter their first zone. Aztec: row across the river in canoes. Industrial: climb over or open a metal gate. Medieval: raise a portcullis or go over it. Ocean: remove a metal grill and climb down a net ladder. Futuristic: answer a question set by the computer. Travelling from Zone-to-Zone When it was time to leave a zone and go to another, the team had to overcome an obstacle to get to the next zone. These were: Aztec to Ocean/Industrial: crawl through a tunnel. Ocean/Industrial to Medieval: go up a ladder, crawl through a hatch and go down stairs. Medieval to Futuristic: cross a log over a swamp. Futuristic to Aztec: go up in a lift and climb down a steep wall. After Series 4, Richard O'Brien left and Ed Tudor-Pole took over, but wasn't as well-received by the audience. He presented the show for two more series before Channel 4 and Chatsworth TV called it a day.moreless
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  • An A-maze-ing show!

    Excuse the pun but it's true. This show is indeed an amazing show and probably one of the only decent shows Channel 4 have ever made besides Big Brother, yes Big Brother, call me mad but it's actually not that bad.

    The Crystal Maze focuses on a series of five contestants getting accompied by either Richard O Brien or Edward Tudor Pole (Richard hosted for 4 seasons while Edward hosted for the final two) around four zones - Medieval, Aztec, Futuristic, Ocean and Industrial. (Ocean replaced Industrial in series 4 onwards) Their objective is to collect as many crystals as possible while overcoming the perillous and genious tasks that await them inside the crystal maze. Eventually when they've accumulated 60 minuites of time they will be forced to continue onwards to the crystal dome where they will hopefully have enough time to collect even gold and silver tokens in order to win the "fabaroonie" prize. (Otherwise they go home with nothing but a lump of glass that says "I cracked the crystal maze" which generally was false as most were failiures)

    This show is no longer showing on Challenge but may return some time soon.

    Thanks for reading.moreless
  • A team must collect crystals by solving various puzzles in a strict set of circumstances. The more crystals collected, the more time a team is given to win the final game.moreless

    I saw this while overseas in Japan on the Star network (Star Plus/Star World). I was hooked immediately. Even back then, when gameshows were more intelligent and challenging, this show stood out. Teams had to traverse different puzzles in order to win crystals which were worth 5 seconds of time in the Crystal Dome. But if a team member failed (time limit or breaking a rule of the specific room) they were locked in the room. The team could choose to use a crystal to free them or choose to keep the 5 seconds in the dome. The Crystal Dome consisted of silver and gold tickets that were blown into the air and the team must collect 100 more gold than silver in order to win. The prizes varied, some were "vacations" and some were individual prizes. Few teams succeeded in the dome if only because of the difficulty of solving the puzzles and thereby getting time in the dome. The Crystal Maze is unforgettable because its style is very much like the old Nickelodeon game shows such as GAS, DARE, Double DARE, The Hidden Temple, Finders Keepers, etc. Very few adult gameshows showcases not only mental acuity, but physical prowess and sheer fun as well. Also, O'Brein was such an enigmatic, chaotic host (for the first four seasons) that it was impossible not to watch the show. His antics while puzzles are in progress, successes, and the failures were amazing. This show needs to be aired in the US, put onto DVD, and hell, why not just raise it from the dead and produce new seasons. In this age of scripted reality TV, this show would explode.moreless
  • Full of smugness, madness and charm. Excellent gameshow!

    This was such a terrific show. All about enjoyment. The two presenters, Richard O'Brien first and then Ed Tudor-Pole were both terrific in my opinion. Yes, I know there are people out there who don't like Ed very much. But having seen his episodes for the first time (on Challenge) recently, I actually kind of liked Ed.

    The format for the show was simple - win crystal to gain time in the dome. Even the contestants could be a bit insane at times. I adored Mumsey and her banter with Richard. Great programme!

    Rating: 9/10moreless
  • A good all round show, if you love solving puzzles with your mind watching those fortunate people win stuff, or even shout at the tv because they dont something wrong then SEE THIS!!! READ ME!!!moreless

    One of my favorite shows, though I did not actually see it on channel 4. I saw it on challenge tv. It was exciting to watch because I was a 5 year old boy, and I loved shows like this. It is still on challenge tv now, infact it is broadcasted pretty commonly, even though it is around 11 years old now.

    They should of taken some sort of idea from each zone, and make it look more better, thinkk of new games for our contestants to add the extra hardness in solvong to crystal maze! Well... Even thought that new eps of this may never come, it was always a pleasure to watch and I feel that i should of said that a long time ago...moreless
  • Channel four game show that was ahead of its time

    A fantastic example of great ideas being transfered into an excellent television show. The show was high budget, well made, and sorely missed. An hour flew by watching this show which is more than can be said for virtually any other hour long game shows in the world. It was piched perfectly for a family audience and will go down in history as a cutting edge - face paced - innovative game showmoreless