Series: The Krypton Factor

"Welcome to The Krypton Factor, television's toughest quiz!"
Gordon Burns

British Game Show, launched in 1977 and run until 1995, then revived in 2009. Known for its comprehensive approach to testing its contestants, through its varied rounds testing Mental Agility, Response, Observation, Physical Ability, Intelligence and General Knowledge. Conveniently, these were the names of its six rounds for the bulk of the series' run.

The rounds are scored with 10 points for a win, 6 points for second and 4 & 2 for third and fourth respectively, with the exception of General Knowledge, where two points are awarded for geting a question right, and one is deducted for getting it wrong.

The format was re-sold to the United States and New Zealand.

This series provides examples of:

  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": It isn't 32 points, it's a Krypton Factor of 32.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • From Gordon Burns: "Are you all ready, contestants? The test starts... now." and "That's it - the end of the round, the end of the contest..." (or "That's it - the end of the round, but not the end of the contest!" if two or more contestants were level at the end of General Knowledge).
    • From Ben Shephard: "Activate the Kube!"
  • Colour Coded Armies: Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue for the four contestants.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Multiple examples:
    • The first series featured a Personality round in place of Mental Agility.
    • The Response round wasn't added until 1986, and even then, the airplane test wasn't used for all episodes until 1988.
    • Until 1986, when specially made clips began to be used, the Observation round used a clip from an ITV drama series or recent movie. In addition, the round ended with an "Identity Parade", in which the contestants had to identify an actor from the clip out of a lineup of nine.
    • Staggered starts were used in the Assault Course, as opposed to simply giving a head start to female contestants.
    • General Knowledge, in addition to the standard Speed Round, opened with three questions to each contestant from a specific category for two points each.
  • Golden Snitch:
    • Even if you come last in all the prior rounds, if you can play a blinder in General Knowledge, you can score enough points win the game- increasingly so as the series seems to be shedding rounds.
    • The Super Round in the 1995 retool. Instead of deciding the winner, the points gained are used to buy "advantages". You can bomb on all the rounds including General Knowledge and come out the winner by getting to the top of Mt. Krypton first.
  • Hidden Object Game: Observation.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Burns would often crack one after the end of Intelligence.
  • Long Runners: The Burns version was on from 1977 to 1995. Averted for the Shephard version — it only lasted two series.
  • Lovely Assistant: Penny Smith in the 1995 retool.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: The 1989 Observation sketches starred a then-unknown Steve Coogan and played to his strengths as an impressionist. His roles included Michael Caine, Dustin Hoffman, Sylvester Stallone, Bob Geldof, arts critic Melvyn Bragg, film critic Barry Norman, Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, and, in a single sketch, Question Time moderator Sir Robin Day and his four guests (MPs David Steel, David Owen, Norman Tebbit, and Roy Hattersley), resulting in a lot of Talking to Himself.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: When the Observation round switched to specially made comedy sketches, some of their punchlines involved this trope.
    • "Bob-a-Job" from the 1988 series starts out as a game show, with banter between the host and the contestant, a tense round of questions, and presentation of the prize... and then the "host" and "contestant" are revealed to be a manager and his employee, and the prize is her weekly paycheque. Her last line ("Do we have to go through this every Friday?") suggests he has been applying Making Mundanity Awesome to handing over her paycheque for some time.
    • One of the 1989 sketches featured Michael Caine (as played by Steve Coogan) co-ordinating a team of special agents, closing in on a part of the city that has been "a playground for criminals for too long". In the final scene, his team having bailed out and left him to deal with the situation alone, Caine is in a literal playground, the big operation being simply to keep order among a large crowd of children at the end of the school day.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Intelligence round. What was shown was edited for time — some puzzles took hours!
  • No Fair Cheating: In the 1995 version, a contestant broke the rules of the "Response Revolve" in the Super Round and got DQ'd immediately after "finishing" it. Related to...
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: In the 1995 Super Round, all tasks must be completed before moving on to the next. Otherwise it's a DQ.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Skip to 1:15 of this video for the first round of the 2009 revival. The old version was harder.
  • Parody Assistance: The first Observation sketch from 1989 featured a spoof of Treasure Hunt UK in which Anneka Rice (appearing as herself) seems to keep finding new ways to get distracted or annoy the locals while trying to follow directions from Kenneth Kendall (appearing as himself).
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Almost. The most well-known theme song is a rearrangement of the Art of Noise's "Beatbox".
  • Revival: On hold because host Ben Shepard is working at Sky Sports.
  • The Runner Up Takes It All: In the semifinals, the fourth contestant is always the highest-scoring runner up. It's also possible in series without a Group D since the fourth player in the Grand Final would then be the highest-scoring runner up from the semifinal level. One of the most notable examples was 1990 series contestant Duncan Heryett, who finished second in his heat and second in his semi-final, and had to compete in an offscreen playoff with the joint highest-scoring runner up to advance to the Grand Final. Heryett was visibly gobsmacked when Gordon Burns announced him as the Grand Final winner.
  • Shout-Out: The show's title is a reference to Superman's home planet.
  • Show The Folks At Home: During the "Two Takes" and "Continuity Differences" versions of the Observation Round, Gordon would point out the answers to the home audience while the contestants were handing in their answers.
  • Sound Proof Booth: Only headphones were used in Burns' run, it is replaced by a booth known as the Kube in the Ben Shephard version.
  • Speed Round: The General Knowledge round. Depending on the series, the round lasted for between 60 and 100 seconds.
  • Trans Atlantic Equivalent: Two versions in the US (an adults version hosted by Dick Clark that Burns called "more akin to Its A Knockout", and a kids version that teetered close to being In Name Only), and a more faithful version in New Zealand.