We talk to executive producer David Flynn, who reveals the surprising details of making Small Fortune’s miniature games
They say the best things in life come in small packages, and that’s the idea behind ITV’s sparkling prime time series.
Billed as ‘the world’s smallest game show’, Small Fortune sees host Dermot O’Leary oversee proceedings as teams of friends or family members take on tiny games in the hope of winning up to £150,000. And when the games are this small, there’s no room for error.
Here Small Fortune’s executive producer David Flynn, who co-created Pointless and The Million Pound Drop, takes TV Times behind the scenes of six of his favourite tiny tournaments…
David Flynn: “We’ve got 23 different tiny games launching over the series. In Little Ben contestants have to throw a hoop over a tiny Big Ben. We really want to delight the audience so have little in-jokes built into the games. In this one there’s a small demonstration in Parliament Square with people holding banners saying ‘size doesn’t matter’. One player totalled a double-decker bus with one of the hoops!”
DF: “In this game contestants must flip a tiddlywink into the paws of a tiny version of the Sphinx of Giza. Next to it there’s a tourist, a little snack bar and also a mummy chasing a mummy and her daughter! Playing these small games for big money makes for a tense, high jeopardy show, but it’s also really good fun. The players loom over these tiny worlds like giants!”
DF: “In this game contestants have to flick the fake news – a copy of The Small Sheet Journal – into a bin in a replica of the Oval Office. The details in this game include a presidential seal on the floor, which is actually a Donald Trump wig. Donald Trump wrote a book called Think Big so we’ve got one called Think Small on the table! Model makers spent about four days building sets and really embraced putting in fun details.”
DF: “Players have two throws of a ball to knock down a tiny version of Stonehenge. It’s a strangely tactical game and a bit like bowling because if you knock out the wrong stones you’ve to make that second ball work. All our games seem simple but they’re tougher than they look, and when you’re up there playing for a life-changing fortune, it’s all or nothing.”
DF: “At our little Rovers Return the player has to slide a pint glass to a certain area of the bar. With such small space to play in there are very small margins for error to get this game right! As with all our games players get to practise once for free. They can then take on the game for real or practise again, but each practise costs £5000 of the prize fund.”
DF: “In our endgame the pressure is dialled up even more with a small version of the studio, complete with a mini Dermot at the centre! It’s our smallest game and to win contestants have to pull a tiny suitcase containing the money up a 10cm electrified pole. If they touch the pole at any point alarms go off and they’ve lost everything! They’re 10 cm away from a massive cash fortune, but can they hold their nerve? It’s proper edge-of-your-seat viewing.”
Small Fortune continues on ITV this Saturday at 7pm
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With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.
As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast.
After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.