Beating hearts, dry mouths, trembling hands. It wasn’t just the contestants, but also the hosts, and I bet millions of viewers had the same symptoms. Unlimited Ant & Dec Victory (IVT) was the most exciting big-budget game show since Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? gripped the nation at the turn of the millennium.
The two-headed hosting hydra has a checkered history when it comes to game shows. MM. McPartlin and Donnelly cut their teeth in prime time on the excellent but forgettable Friends Like These. However, all their subsequent efforts failed. Red or Black, PokerFace or Push the Button, do you like it? I can’t say that I blame you. They even attempted an American quiz called Wanna Bet?. It also bombed.
The duo dabbled in game show segments within their variety shows – cult favorite “Wonkey Donkey” on SM:TV, “Win the Ads” on Saturday Night Takeaway – but true game show success is one of the few shortcomings on the whole – the conquering pair’s entertainment resumes.
They have recently remained faithful to their reassuringly successful formats: Takeaway, Britain’s Got Talent, I’m a Celebrity. Amazingly, in fact, Limitless Win was the duo’s first all-new series in over a decade. On proof of its launch episode, they chose wisely. After years of trial and failure, they may have finally cracked this game show.
The main selling point of the show is the world’s first unlimited jackpot. Contestants could potentially walk away with the biggest cash prize in television history. I hope ITV’s pockets are deep and compensation policies are up to date, as the upper rungs of the monetary ladder have been in the millions.