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