Puzzling: release date, trailer, how to play and everything we know about the new quiz show

Lucy Worsley hosts new Channel 5 quiz show Puzzling.
Lucy Worsley hosts new Channel 5 quiz show Puzzling. (Image credit: Channel 5)

Lucy Worsley is a stalwart of historical documentaries, having presented films and series on Henry VIII’s wives, Queen Victoria, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie and many more. 

Now, she’s turning quizmaster for Channel 5’s new prime-time entertainment show, Puzzling, which aims to seek out Britain’s best puzzler by testing players’ problem-solving abilities. 

Here, Lucy talks us through the show and how it’s adding another string to her bow…

Puzzling release date

Puzzling airs on Channel 5 at 8 pm, on Thursday, June 22. The series is made up of thirteen episodes and will air in the same slot each week. 

Lucy Worsley on how to play Puzzling

Six contestants are split into two teams of three to play five rounds: ‘In Other Words’ (language), ‘Pressure Points’ (calculation), ‘Rule Breakers’ (lateral thinking), ‘Picture This’ (visual intelligence) and ‘Memory Bank’ (memory).

Then, the winning team turns on each other to be named the ‘Best of the Best’ and earn a place in the series Grand Final, where the ultimate puzzler will be crowned.

“It’s a test of mental agility in all different dimensions,” says Lucy. “It’s not a quiz that’s about general knowledge; it tests different areas of your brain. What I like about it is that everyone can join in, because everybody’s good at one of those things. What is really challenging is to be good at all of them.”  

Lucy Worsley puts contestants to the test in Puzzling.

Lucy Worsley puts contestants to the test in Puzzling. (Image credit: Channel 5)

Lucy Worsley on why she’s turning quizmaster

Lucy is a curator, author, documentary and podcast presenter, but her reasons for wanting to add quiz show host to the mix boils down to a long-held wish to be in a studio. 

“There’s a funny backstory to this,” Lucy smiles. “When I got married, my husband [architect Mark Hines] made me sign a short prenuptial agreement, which only had one clause – that I would never appear on Strictly Come Dancing. He was worried I’d run off with my partner and felt my love of sequins ought to be discouraged, but he knew I hankered after a studio show. So, when Channel 5 unexpectedly asked me to do this, I said, ‘Yes!’”

Lucy Worsley on her favourite game shows

Only Connect is one of my favourites, and I think our show is in the same neck of the woods,” says Lucy. “But it’s not technically a quiz; it’s more of a holistic, inclusive puzzle show. It’s for people who, like me, sometimes feel a bit stupid when they watch University Challenge

“I’ve also been a contestant on BBC One’s The Wheel with Michael McIntyre [in 2022] and I loved it.” Lucy continues. “That gave me a taste for the whole business and how different it was from making history documentaries. I came second to Reverend Richard Coles, which I felt was respectable as he’s a very brainy chap!”  

Lucy Worsley in period costume for 2015 series Lucy Worsley in period costume for 2015 series A Very British Romance..

Lucy Worsley in period costume for 2015 series A Very British Romance. (Image credit: BBC)

Lucy Worsley on feeling out of her comfort zone

Reading-born Lucy studied at New College, Oxford, before beginning her career as a historic house curator, working for Kensington Palace, the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace to name a few.

Following her TV debut with Inside the Body of Henry VIII in 2009, Worsley has fronted umpteen documentaries, including The First Georgians (2014), A Very British Romance (2015), Mozart’s London Odyssey (2016) and the BAFTA-winning Suffragettes (2018). 

She’s also penned books on Agatha Christie and Jane Austen, and hosts the historical true-crime podcast Lady Killers. But hosting a show like Puzzling is a "whole new world", she admits. 

“I’m very much out of my comfort zone here,” says Lucy. “It’s a whole new world and it's intense. But I think I’ve always liked showing off in some way. I’ve got a secret pantomime dame hidden within me.” 

Lucy Worsley on channelling Miss Marple 

As far as quiz/game show hosts go, Lucy does have a couple of favourites. But there’s really only one role model in her life, whom she’s channelling during Puzzling.  

“I do look up to Claudia Winkleman, and when I grow up, I want to be Victoria Coren Mitchell,” she says. “But really, I like to channel Miss Marple because she’s got a bit of a twinkle, yet there's steel underneath. 

“I’ve been channelling her while filming,” she adds. “I think Miss Marple is, in many ways, my best self, and someone I aspire to be in life. Somebody who may not look very ferocious or intimidating or scary, but at the core of herself, she has an idea of what’s going on.”

Puzzling — is there a trailer?

Yes, in the trailer below you can see some of the questions each team will be asked in the new gameshow... but how many can you get right?! 

Senior Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week, What's On TV and whattowatch.com

Rebecca has more than 20 years' experience in journalism and is now writing about all things telly-related for TV Times, TV&Satellite Week, What’s On TV and whattowatch.com.

She’s interviewed all sorts of big-name stars, including Al Pacino, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Winona Ryder, Benedict Cumberbatch and more. She’s also been known to step in front of the camera, dressing up as a 1920s flapper to star in ITV’s Mr Selfridge and co-hosting ITV News at Ten with Mark Austin – all in the line of duty! 

When she’s not quizzing actors, directors and producers, you’ll find her bingeing US dramas and anything horror/sci-fi/zombie-themed. But her greatest love will always be Game of Thrones… just don’t mention the ending!