'Squid Game' contest offers multi-million-pound jackpot: 6 other huge TV show prizes

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·5 min read
Squid Game red light green light scene
Squid Game offers the biggest ever TV prize. (Netflix)

There was much excitement when Netflix announced its breakout South Korean hit Squid Game was to get its very own reality contest.

Squid Game: The Challenge will have both the largest cast and largest lump sum cash prize in reality TV history, as 456 players from across the globe compete in games inspired by the show to win an enormous $4.56million (£3.72million).

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Potential contestants will be relieved to hear that losing a game doesn't come with the violent deaths the TV drama was known for, but they will need to use their skill, alliances and character just like the characters in the show.

Take a look at these other TV reality and game shows that offered jaw-dropping jackpots.

1. Survivor

Charlotte Hobrough, the former beauty queen from south Wales, tonight scooped the  1 million prize as she was named the winner of ITV's Survivor gameshow.   * The 25-year-old married policewoman from Rhoose near Cardiff beat off the challenge of fellow contestant Jackie Carey, 31, from Woking, Surrey, to take the top prize.   (Photo by Michael Stephens - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hobrough was the first ever winner of Survivor UK. (PA Images via Getty Images)

One of the first reality shows of its kind, the UK version of Survivor was based on the Swedish series Expedition Robinson and the US Survivor.

Contestants were marooned in a remote location as castaways and left to provide food, water and shelter for themselves as they were gradually eliminated by their co-stars.

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It was a tough ask compared to reality shows offering cushy living environments, but most definitely worth it for the winner who picked up £1million.

Survivor only ran for two series in the UK - based in Malaysia in 2001 and Panama in 2002 - but continues to offer huge prizes to US contestants who are now into 40-odd series and counting.

2. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Who Wants to Be A Millionaire winner Judith Keppel (right) receiving a kiss from Chris Tarrant at a photo call at Elstree studios in London. She has become the first contestant to scoop the  1million jackpot on the hit quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?  *... Viewers have already seen Mrs Keppel - who is a relative of Camilla Parker Bowles, the partner of the Prince of Wales - win  16,000. But later, a show insider confirmed, the garden designer, who used up her Ask The Audience lifeline when she was stumped by the question asking her in which country was Prime Minister Tony Blair born, will go all the way to  1 million.   (Photo by Peter Jordan - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Judith Keppel scooped the £1million prize. (PA Images via Getty Images)

The gameshow originally hosted by Chris Tarrant made a big splash when it launched in 1998 with its potential £1million jackpot.

It sparked a frenzy of viewers trying to make it onto the ITV quiz, but the first top prize winner was Judith Keppel in 2000.

Keppel's winnings from the show haven't ended with the cash prize as she has since carved out a successful TV quizzing career as one of the Eggheads.

Another equally famous but less celebrated winner was Charles Ingram, who didn't get to bank his £1million in 2001 as it emerged he had cheated by getting his wife in the audience and another waiting contestant to cough signifying the correct answers.

3. I'd Do Anything

Jodie Prenger in the role of Nancy (L) performs during a rehearsal of Lionel Bart's musical adaptation of 'Oliver' at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on January 12, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Jodie Prenger won the role of Nancy. (Getty Images)

Although BBC One's I'd Do Anything might not have offered a cash prize, the stakes were still just as high for its contestants who were competing for the money-can't-buy prize of landing a lead role in a West End musical.

The main aim of the show was to be cast in the role of Nancy for the musical Oliver!, although there were also three child winners sharing the role of Oliver Twist.

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A judging panel that included Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen and Barry Humphries chose Jodie Prenger as the champion of the 2008 series.

It launched her successful West End career and she has also recently achieved a lifelong dream by being cast in Coronation Street.

Other similar series included Any Dream Will Do, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and Over the Rainbow.

4. Boom!

This Spanish gameshow challenges contestants with a mix of quiz questions and games of skill to build up a (hopefully) huge cash prize.

In 2019, a team of four men playing under the name Los Lobos were in for a huge payday when they landed a whopping jackpot of 4.13million Euros (£3.54million).

Boom! and Los Lobos hold two Guinness World Records - one for the largest TV gameshow prize (set to be overtaken by the Squid Game winner) and another for the most consecutive TV gameshow wins at 300.

5. Red or Black?

(left to right) Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (otherwise known as Ant and Dec), stand with Simon Cowell, during the launch of a new game show, Red or Black, at the May Fair Hotel, central London.
Ant and Dec teamed up with Simon Cowell for the quiz with a hefty prize. (PA)

Ant and Dec's gameshow conceived by Simon Cowell saw the UK's biggest ever TV prize scooped in 2012, with the record still standing today.

The game involved contestants betting on red or black as the winner for each round and being eliminated if their guesses were wrong, with the prize rolling over if nobody won.

Graham Fletcher was the big winner, taking home £1.5million - more than anyone has ever won on a UK gameshow before or since.

However, the show was also hit by controversy as a previous £1million winner, Nathan Hageman, was discovered to have previously spent two-and-a-half years in prison for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and was allowed to keep his winnings.

6. Space Hero

In this handout photo provided by NASA, (L-R) ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthais Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX Shannon recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2022 off the coast of Tampa, Florida. Maurer, Marshburn, Chari, and Barron are returning after 177 days in space as part of Expeditions 66 and 67 aboard the International Space Station. (Photo by Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images)
You could win a flight with a SpaceX crew. (NASA via Getty Images)

This reality show hasn't actually launched yet, but we're looking forward to its lift-off almost as much as Squid Game.

Again, there's no cash prize here - the jackpot is something even better than money.

Space Hero's winner will secure a seat on a SpaceX flight headed to the International Space Station in 2023 alongside a team of astronauts.

They'll spend 10 days on the ISS orbiting Earth 16 times a day and the show will end with their re-entry to Earth.

Contestants are being recruited from across the globe to go through rigorous astronaut training, with viewers around the world voting for the winner.

It's touted as being the biggest prize ever offered on TV and is certainly one you couldn't begin to attach a price tag to.

Watch: Fans point out twisted irony of Squid Game reality competition

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