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The Krypton Factor

From Academic Kids

The Krypton Factor was a British game show, hosted by Gordon Burns, which ran from 1977 to 1995 on ITV. Four contestants would compete in several different games, some studio-bound, some not. In early series, each round was introduced by the distinctive K logo, which would morph into a symbol for the round. In later series a series of related symbols flashed around the screen, then the K logo would suddenly appear. Some of the games were changed during the run of the series, but the qualities they purported to test remained the same:

  1. Mental agility - often a memory test.
  2. Response - latterly (and most famously) this consisted of each player taking turns on a flight simulator and being marked by an actual flight instructor. The grand final of the 1992 series required the contestants to land a real plane.
  3. Observation - this involved watching a specially made video clip.
  4. Physical ability - probably the most memorable of the rounds, this involved the contestants racing to complete an army assault course, including cargo nets, rope swings and a rope slide. Unlike the village fête version, however, this finished with a plunge into muddy water.
  5. Intelligence - a 2- or 3-dimensional puzzle where shapes had to be put together to fill a rectangular grid or make a bigger shape.
  6. General knowledge - a quickfire round.

In the first five games, 10 points were awarded to the winner, then 6, 4 and 2 to the remaining contestants. In the final game 2 points were awarded for each correct answer, 1 (later 2) points deducted for a wrong answer.

The show was produced by Granada Television. Since its cancellation, it has been the subject of persistent rumours of a revival on the BBC. In April 2005, it was widely reported that the BBC would be going ahead with a revival. However the source of this story turned out to be a misinterpretation of comments by Wayne Garvie, head of BBC's Entertainment Group (and previously the last producer on The Krypton Factor) naming it as the next "TV gem" that should be revived. The BBC does not at present have any plans to revive the show. [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/4530447.stm)

The show's almost equally well-known theme tune was performed by The Art of Noise.


Two short-lived U.S. versions aired. In 1981, Dick Clark hosted a 6-week summer series on ABC. In 1990, Willie Aames hosted a syndicated version for children. A version in production by Fox TV was never shown to the public. A NZ edition was screened from 1987 to 1991.

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