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Series / Now Get Out Of That

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Build a Grappling-Hook Pistol out of this roll of dental floss, this brick, this milk bottle, and anything you happen to have on you.

U.S. Contestant: [while climbing down a bedsheet rope from a window] Hey, it's like Cinderella!
Bernard Falk: Or Rapunzel, if you will.

Now Get Out of That! was a short-lived (four five-episode seasons) competitive reality show running on BBC2 from 1981 to 1984. Based originally on an annual competition between Cambridge and Oxford, the first two seasons followed the competition between the two universities. The third and fourth seasons followed a team from the United States vs. a UK team.

An early precursor to Survivor-style Reality Television and an early example of Reality Television in general, the show followed two teams as they went through a series of obstacles themed around a top secret mission.

Each challenge was designed to challenge a team's critical thinking, problem solving, physical abilities, and ability to use technicalities in the challenge's phrasing to solve the problem.

The show was hosted by Bernard Falk, BBC newscaster, who provided a colorful running commentary on the show.


This show provides examples of:

  • British Brevity: Twenty episodes over four seasons.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bernard Falk's running commentary helps keep viewers entertained while the teams spend time trying various ideas for a challenge.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Challenges such as finding a way to "set off an explosive"note  while nobody is inside the indicated "blast radius", if failed, resulted in a five-minute penalty added to the team's time, and nothing else, even if within the context of the scenario, half the team would be dead.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: One season rewarded contestants with a piece of a map after each challenge was completed. By the time they had the whole map, they were already done with every challenge.
  • Empty Room Psych: The mission: Raid the castle full of guards. Do not set off the booby trap, or you'll set off an alarm and the guards will find you. There were no guards. At all.
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  • Escort Mission: The final challenge of Season 4. To make it even more of a challenge, the scientist "accidentally" falls off the wall and "breaks" his ankle, forcing the team to build a makeshift stretcher as quickly as possible.
  • Loophole Abuse: Get the keys to a Land Rover out of a milk churn buried in the mud. You cannot walk past this white line. Crawling, running, or any other means of locomotion besides walking, however, are fine.
  • MacGyvering: A number of challenges and solutions attempted in the show involve putting together items conveniently right by the challenge itself or picked up over the course of previous challenges.
  • Spy Fiction: Particularly in seasons 2-4:
    • Season 2: Recover a top secret isotope from a crashed spacecraft.
    • Season 3: Destroy a communications cable.
    • Season 4: Find and rescue a defecting scientist.
  • Timed Mission: Sometimes literally, but also overall. The winning team was the one that took less time to complete the course.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Each team went through the exact same course on different weekends. The footage was then edited together with Falk commenting, "Meanwhile, the <team name> team..."


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