The Crystal Maze is a British game show devised by Jacques Antoine and shown on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.
The first four series, including three Christmas specials, were presented by Richard O'Brien from 15 February 1990 to 24 June 1993, followed by two series and two specials hosted by Ed Tudor-Pole from 24 December 1993 to 10 August 1995. A one-off celebrity edition, informally known as The Crystal Maze for Stand Up to Cancer, was hosted by Stephen Merchant in 16 October 2016, before a full revival series with Richard Ayoade hosting began broadcasting on 23 June 2017.
The show is set within "The Crystal Maze" - a labyrinth consisting of four different "zones" (Aztec, Futuristic, Medieval, and Industrial (replaced by Ocean)) and its centrepiece called "The Crystal Dome". Each episode has a team of contestants travel across the zones, competing in a range of different challenges, with a "time crystal" won for each challenge successfully completed. Upon reaching the Crystal Dome, a time limit is calculated based on the crystals obtained and the team have to collect as many gold tokens as possible, while avoiding silver tokens, in the allotted time to win the grand prize.
Why It Rocks
- Richard O'Brien, Stephen Merchant, and Richard Ayoade are all brilliant and funny hosts.
- The set designs for the zones are fantastic.
- The puzzles are both challenging and fun.
- The theme tune is great.
- So many quotable lines such as "To the Crystal Dome!" and "Will you start the fans, please!"
- Some of the contestants can be pretty daft, which leads to a good chunk of them getting locked inside the games, and their teammates have to use up crystals to get them out.
- Ed Tudor-Pole was a poor replacement for Richard O'Brien.
- The Industrial Zone was replaced by the Ocean Zone for the final three series of the original show's run, which was OK but not as good. The Industrial Zone was brought back for the 2016 special and the 2017 revival series.
- During the show's original run from 1990 to 1995, the first series was filmed at Shepperton Studios, while the final five series were all filmed at an adapted aircraft hanger, Hangar 6, operated by Aces High Studios at North Weald Airfield in Essex. The 2016 Stand Up To Cancer special was filmed at The Crystal Maze Live Experience in London. For the show's revival from 2017 onward, it was filmed at Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol.