Nick Knowles
Break The Safe
BBC One: 27 July 2013 – 30 August 2014
Thames Scotland
BBC Scotland

Break the Safe was a National Lottery game show where three teams compete to answer questions and potentially take home £100,000.


Three teams of two contestants competed in this show. Once they were introduced, Knowles locked a safe with six locks; four of them were released during the game, while the last two were released by the winning couple at the end of the show. A 35-minute countdown then started.

Round 1Edit

In this round, the team members on the left of each contestant podium were pushed back by pneumatics. Nick then asked twelve questions each worth £1,000 on the buzzer, and each question had two correct answers. When a team buzzed in, the team member in front had to give an answer and their team-mate had to provide the second answer. If they were incorrect, the question was thrown open to the other two teams. If they were incorrect, the question was declared dead.

After twelve questions had been asked, the positions of the contestants were swapped (whoever was in front was now in back) and twelve more questions were asked, each now being worth £2,000. At the end of the round, the couple with the least amount of money was eliminated, and the winnings of the remaining couples are put into the safe.

Round 2Edit

In this round, the two remaining couples had to decide which of them would be pushed back. Starting with the couple that brought through the most money (or if there was a tie, the couple who had the least money after twelve questions), Nick asked them a question. The team member in front could choose to answer the question themselves for £2,000 or hand it to their team-mate for £4,000 without being able to tell if their team-mate actually knew the answer. This was repeated for the other couple.

After both couples had answered a question, their positions were swapped and were asked another question each, worth £4,000 if the team member in front answered or £8,000 if the team member in back answered. Each couple was then asked if they wanted to stay as they were or swap positions one more time, with the questions worth £6,000 if the team member in front answered or £12,000 if the team member in back answered. The couple with the least money was eliminated and the winning couple's accumulated money was added to the safe.

After this round, the Thunderball draw was shown.

Final RoundEdit

In this round, the winning couple was asked 4 questions; however each team member could only answer two questions each. A cryptic clue was shown to give an idea of what the question could be about. A correct answer meant that the couple could either add an extra £10,000 to their winnings or add an extra second to their window of opportunity to open the safe. They were given one second to start off with, so after the four questions had been asked, there was a potential maximum of a five-second window to open the safe.

After the round was finished, there were generally 2–3 minutes left on the countdown clock. Nick then explained how the final round worked. Each team member was presented with an activation button. When the countdown clock reached 30 seconds, the clock would disappear. The couple then had to continue counting down the 30 seconds in their heads. Once they thought the clock had reached zero, they had as many seconds as they earned in the previous round to press their activation buttons to open the safe. For the second series, people watching at home could play along with this section of the game. The 30-second clock remained on the screen and when the safe was able to be opened, a green 'Safe Open' icon appeared.

After the couple had pressed their deactivation buttons, the National Lottery draw was shown. After the draw concluded, Nick revealed how the contestants had performed. In the first series, there were coloured blocks on each side of the safe, representing the seconds the couple had to open the safe, but for the second series, this was scrapped and the 2 remaining locks showed if the couple opened the safe or not. Nick would ask if the first team member opened the safe on the first available second, and the coloured block/lock would light red if they did not open the safe at that point or light green if they did. This was repeated for each individual second for both team members until either both had opened the safe, or all available seconds had been used up. If one team member managed to open the safe, they won half of the accumulated prize fund; however, they would win all of it if both managed to open the safe. But if all their seconds were a red light they both went home with nothing.

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