THE Cube is back – and the creators are ratcheting up the pressure.
The game show became famous for making contestants perform minor challenges under extremely stressful conditions.
Now, after an absence of five years, the creators are rebooting the ITV favourite and introducing a million pound jackpot.
Phillip Schofield will still be hosting, but for the first time the new five-part series also introduces two-player games involving pairs of contestants from the same household.
A TV insider said: “The last time The Cube aired was in 2015, so there was no way ITV would bring it back without making some radical changes to refresh the show.
“The former jackpot was £250,000, and since the show is also about coping with tension, they felt having a seven-figure sum at stake would increase that even further.
“But the simple format at the heart of the show remains largely unchanged — it’s still about contestants desperately trying to keep their cool.”
The Cube first aired on our screens in 2009 and ran for nine successful series, becoming a staple of Sunday night telly in the UK.
Different versions were sold around the world.
The competition sees contestants enter a four-metre square cube where they have to complete seven tasks testing their ability to judge distance, time, memory and balance.
They are given nine lives, but with every game they complete the atmosphere inside the claustrophobic space becomes increasingly tense.
But with more money at stake in the new series, even the initial games are going to feel more pressured — particularly if a contestant completes the two-player tasks with a husband or wife.
I’m not sure I’d be game for that . . .
Nando's chicken wing-er
Chelsea and Manchester United may be fighting over football ace Jadon Sancho.
But Nando’s has jumped in first and signed him up as its new ambassador.
The highly-rated Borussia Dortmund winger was filmed shooting a TV advert for the chicken chain in East London this week.
A source said: “Jadon is one of the hottest prospects in English football and has a growing following on social media, so he fits the brand perfectly.
“He’s a big fan of the chain too so he couldn’t turn them down.”
Sadly, Jadon won’t be able to enjoy any free chicken in Germany, where he is currently playing, as there are no branches there.
The England international joins Little Mix star Perrie Edwards on Nando’s books.
I revealed last month how Perrie will appear in a series of adverts for the chain, which is known for its peri peri sauce.
Nando’s has also signed up Roman Kemp and Anthony Joshua , which must cost an absolute fortune.
Good thing it charges eye-watering prices for what is essentially just chicken and chips then, eh?
Rory's facing the past
At a time when stars are expressing regret over blackface, impersonator Rory Bremner has defended his impersonations.
They include takes on Ainsley Harriott and Sir Trevor McDonald.
Speaking on the Making An Impression podcast, the Channel 4 star said: “It wasn’t sending up Trevor as a black man so I could have a laugh at his race, or Ainsley Harriott.
"A couple of little things have started to turn up on Twitter.
They’re saying: ‘Ooh, When are they gonna ask Rory about his Ainsley impression? Are they gonna ask Rory about his Trevor McDonald impression?’
“I’m thinking: ‘Well, I treated them with the same respect or lack of respect as all the other characters.’
“We’re not talking The Black & White Minstrel Show here, we’re talking a show which has high and quite expensive make-up and production values and it’s about looking like the character.”
I think Rory’s missing the point . . .
Lucie's a step ahead
Here is a rare image of Lucie Donlan wearing something other than swimwear.
Though, that would be an odd choice of clothing for a fire- escape photoshoot.
The former Love Island star has recently coupled up again, this time with fellow reality star Luke Mabbott.
The model, from Cornwall, confirmed their romance with a series of loved-up photos and revealed she is teaching him to surf.
Better get that bikini out again then . . .
Hollyoaks returned to filming on Monday as new episodes of the Channel 4 drama stop airing.
Fans can watch the last of what was recorded before lockdown next Tuesday and will have to wait until September for new instalments.
Paul up for pup
Being banned by his husband from getting any more pooches doesn’t seem to have stopped Paul O’Grady adding another tiny pup to their family.
The host of ITV’s For The Love Of Dogs: Back In Business paid a visit to Battersea Dogs And Cats Home to see how staff have coped with the pandemic for a special episode tonight.
And when little Dinky, who he has since renamed Nancy, climbed inside his coat for a nap, Paul fell in love – and had to decide whether to keep her.
I’m surprised it’s the first time in eight years of the show he’s taken one home.
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