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Series / 1000 Heartbeats

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1000 Heartbeats is a British Game Show which debuted on ITV on February 23, 2015. It features a solo contestant playing various minigames in an effort to climb up a money tree towards a top prize of £25,000.

Of course, there's a twist, and that is that their time limit is set by their own heart rate. That's right, the contestant is hooked up to a heart monitor and has to complete as many games as possible and successfully cash out by correctly answering five true-or-false statements in a row within 1,000 of their own heartbeats in order to win their money. Along the way, any wrong answers carry a penalty (25 beats in the first two series, later 50). Also there to ramp up the tension is a live string quartet, who plays music at a tempo to match the contestant's heart rate.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • All or Nothing: If you use up all 1,000 heartbeats before you successfully cash out, you lose the money.
  • Bonus Round: Of sorts. You have to play a final "cash-out" game in order to take home the money you've banked. It works like this: you have to get five consecutive correct answers to a series of true-or-false questions within your remaining heartbeats. A wrong answer resets the count on top of the normal penalty off the heartbeat counter.
  • Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: Any player who successfully cashes out at the £10,000 level gets a chance to play Recall (the Round 7 game; memorize and repeat an 11-character sequence), using the remaining heartbeats on the counter, to see if they could have won the whole £25,000.
  • Lifelines: Just one: the player can step off the pad (effectively passing on the rest of the question). Unlike most examples of this trope, this carries a penalty (50 heartbeats in Series 1, and 100 in Series 2). However, the contestant's progress carries over to the new question.
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  • Losing Horns: The time buzzer when you run out of heartbeats. It's a type A. Best way to describe it is a long "zap" sound like a machine powering down, underscored by a heart monitor flatlining.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Dilly Barlow, who introduces the games and reads the questions, not unlike the robotic voice lady on Minute to Win It.
    • Game Show Host: Vernon Kay.
    • Lovely Assistant: The string quartet (The site lists their names as Sarah Chapman, Catriona Parker, Hayley Pomfrett, and Llinos Richards). They are conducted by Paul Farrer (who composed the music and also created the show).
  • Think Music: Provided by the aforementioned string quartet. The music speeds up and slows down to match the contestant's heart rate.


This show provides examples of:

  • Christmas Episode: One was recorded for Series 2 in 2015, in which two celebrities (Tess Daly, Vernon's wife, and Leigh Francis as his signature character Keith Lemon) played for charity. Everyone appearing on stage wore a Homemade Sweater from Hell.
  • Creator Cameo: Not so much a cameo, since it's a really important role, but that's series creator Paul Farrer conducting the quartet; he also wrote all the music for the show.
  • Downer Ending: Any time the contestant goes for the cash-out and fails. Particularly painful if the contestant keeps pulling off four correct answers in a row, then blowing the next one (the five right answers in the final game must be given consecutively).
  • Flat Line: Run out of heartbeats, and you'll be able to hear a flatline under the losing noise.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: Warning variant; if the quartet is playing fast, that means your heart's going fast, which in turn means the clock runs fast.
  • Timed Mission: And the clock is your own heart!


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