The Mint (game show)

The Mint (game show)

Infobox British television
show_name = The Mint

caption = The Mint logo
format = Phone-in Quiz show
runtime = Various
starring = Several presenters
network = ITV, ITV2
country = United Kingdom
first_aired = 1 April, 2006
last_aired =
15 February, 2007
num_episodes =
related = "The Mint Extra"

"The Mint" was a live, late night, interactive quiz show with celebrity guests and live studio contestants filmed in a large extravagant set designed to look like the inside of a mansion. The programme, which was dogged by criticism that its questions were ambiguous and arbitraryfact|date=October 2007, aired on ITV and ITV2, Sunday to Wednesday. On 26 February 2007, ITV announced that "The Mint" would return to screens later in 2007, however an announcement on 12 September 2007 confirmed that the show, along with similar late night phone ins, would not be returning. cite web|url=|title= ITV Play programming to be 'phased out'|accessdate=2007-09-12|publisher=Digital Spy]


"The Mint" is produced by leading participation TV specialists, Ludus:ETV ( and is one of the main programmes showing nightly on ITV and ITV2. Viewers are encouraged to phone a premium-rate number in order to provide answers to various quiz questions in an attempt to win money. One of the criticisms levelled against the show's makers ITV, is that the presenters create an illusion that the lines are "open" for calls when in fact the show continues to take vast numbers of calls from so-called contestants.

Cash prizes on offer are usually bigger than other current British phone-in quiz shows and the show gives away large sums of money (usually £10,000-£30,000 for top answers depending on the bonuses they are doing at the time eg. Top money - £10,000 but on quadruple money it would be £40,000).

The programme was first shown early in the morning on Saturday 1 April 2006 (Late Friday night). The show typically lasts anything from 2 hours to 4 hours, depending on ITV scheduling. In order to win money, viewers must either call in at a cost of 75p (previously 60p) from a BT landline, text the word 'MINT' to a special number or enter through the ITV website, and if selected, will be issued a freephone number and PIN valid for one entry. If they are successful they will be placed on hold, then if the computer selects them (at random), they will be transferred live to "The Mint" mansion, where they go on to give their answer to the current question.

The Mint

The titular 'Mint' is a large vault situated at the back of the themed set and inside is a £100,000 prize. £1 is added to the £100,000 jackpot for every minute the show is on air without finding a winner. The chance at the jackpot is given to winners of the regular games whenever a correct answer is given and the jackpot prize is rewarded if players can guess the 4-digit code that opens "The Mint". This code is locked in the computer and only changes when someone has won the prize. No-one in the studio or on the production team knows what the code is. After a number of wrong guesses the producers will reveal the first number and later, the second, leaving viewers having to guess the remaining digits.

On 12th of May 2006, the last two numbers were guessed and over £108,000 was won. "The Mint's" first jackpot winning player was Diane Baylis and she guessed the correct code of '8648'.

On 20th October 2006 at about 2.15am, "The Mint's" second jackpot was given away totalling just over £130,721. The winning code was '7012' and was given via a general knowledge question to caller Keith. The question was given by special guest Nicholas Owen.

The Mint Mansion

"The Mint" Mansion isn't referred to as a 'set' and the presenters play along with the fact that they are all friends who live in "The Mint" mansion. The other presenters who aren't working on a particular night are said to be "upstairs sleeping". Some of the presenters occasionally slip up and call the mansion a set or mention that a certain other presenter isn't in that day; where this occurs they normally correct themselves and try to maintain the illusion. The show has been lambasted for this because there is a good chance it does deceive some viewers.

When the presenters need to refer to the producer/director (and other people who normally reside in the gallery of such TV shows) they call them "people in the Utility Room" or the "Butlers". The camera men are referred to as 'the window cleaner' (due to them looking in on the proceedings).

When celebrity guests are about to appear, a doorbell sound effect is played and when their time on the show is up, a distant car horn sound effect is played (this is supposed to be the guest's cab home).

Segments are linked by canned footage of (supposedly) the mansion and its grounds with Securicor style security guards standing outside the front door.


Champagne bottle

In addition to the clock that all other phone-in game shows use to spur callers on (and get them waiting on the phone lines), The Mint also uses a large animated graphic of a champagne bottle in the lower portion of the screen. This will pop (accompanied by a sound effect and relevant animation) at a random moment signifying when a caller will be plucked from the lines and come through to the studio. Some of the presenters make gags about this bottle "popping its cork" and they often pretend to interact with it, in a variety of ways, this is especially true of Brian Dowling.

Added incentives to play

* Bonus amount of cash for a limited time (e.g. extra £2000, sometimes the top answer increases to £15,000 and even £30,000)
* Turbo Round (Back-to-back calls taking only callers names and answers. The presenters occasionally play their own game of trying to take as many calls as possible in the five allotted minutes. The current record stands at 54 callers)
* Chance at "The Mint" (Chance to guess "The Mint's" 4 digit combination, potentially winning over £100,000)
* Added money each time a wrong answer is received (prize money on offer grows)
* Double money, Triple Money, Quadruple Money, Quintuple Money or Hextuple Money
* Caller gets 2 guesses at the current puzzle
* Occasionally special prizes are offered instead of cash prizes. Prizes so far have included a brand-new Mini and a holiday to Canada.

Caller selection

When a caller has been successfully selected (which occurs at random through computer selection), a message is played out to them over the phone saying that the computer will try to connect the call through to the studio. However, not everyone goes immediately through to the studio. Calls are not vetted so when the contestants get through they can say anything (even swearing from time to time and even at one point presenter Brian was called a homophobic name). Some contestants have to wait around 5 minutes (still only charged one flat rate of 75p) waiting to be randomly selected. Due to this, some may hang up the phone believing they were unsuccessful. When the computer eventually selects them, viewers and the presenter(s) may hear a dead tone, to which the presenter either immediately tries for another caller, or counts down from 3 to enable anyone on another line to respond.

2007 British television phone-in scandal

The 2007 British television phone-in scandal involved allegations of phone-in segments of television programmes and quiz channels conning viewers.cite web|url=|title=The phone-in shows under scrutiny|accessdate=2007-03-14|publisher=BBC News]

On 23 April 2007 the long running BBC programme "Panorama" showed a brief clip of "The Mint" where viewers are shown a Word search style 4x4 grid and ask to find a name of an animal. The grid had many animal names in it but only one would win the viewer the prize money. The letters included in the grid were; (Top Row) C, A, T, Y, (Second Row) D, O,G, A, (Third Row) L, V, S, K (Fourth Row) H, E, N, R. After no-one was able to find the prize winning answer, the grid was removed from the screen and the answer was revealed to be tuna. When Panorama, who had recorded the "The Mint" show, looked back at the grid, they discovered that "Tuna" was in fact not present within the wordsearch grid as there was not even a "U" in it. []

The crew was in fact working with the correct answer for the puzzle and it was unfortunate the presenters had the wrong answer envelope with the word 'Tuna' inside which was revealed in the last few seconds of the show and therefore there was no airtime to correct it before the end of the show, the correct answer for the puzzle (which was not guessed) was revealed in the next show with an apology


An excerpt from "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang used to be played whenever a contestant won money.

An excerpt from "Yeh Yeh" by Georgie Fame used to be played whenever a contestant won money.

Associated catchphrases

* "Get Minted!"
* "Get yourself Minted!"
* "You've just been Minted!"
* "The Mint? My arse! Ha ha haaah!" (said by former guest Ricky Tomlinson)
* "The Mint? Where's the money?! Where's the money?! Ho ho hooooo!" (said by former guest Ricky Tomlinson)
* "A warning! You are seriously in danger of being Minted..." (said by upcoming guest Chris Tarrant)
* "Play "The Mint" for "real" money. Look at what ya coulda won.....Jim Bowen, News At Ten, piss off!" (Said by former guest Jim Bowen)
* "You'll be minted in a matter of moments!"

Extra Mint & The Mint Extra

Mr. and Mrs. Mint

Towards the end of November 2006, "The Mint" started a search for Mr. and Mrs. Mint, the presenters asked viewers to submit pictures of themselves via E-mail. On Monday 27 November presenters Beverley French and Mark Rumble unveiled the top 3 females , the night after (28 November), Beverley French and Brian Dowling unveiled the top 3 males.

The 6 finalists were live in the studio on the night of the final (29 November), they were:

Female finalists

*Ria, a former child model.
*Adele, self-proclaimed vegan warrior princess.
*Erin, a barmaid.

Male finalists

*Adam, a railway engineer.
*Andrew, a part-time Latin American singer.
*Jay, just graduated college with a HNC in construction and is currently working in a call centre.

Celebrity judges

On Wednesday 29 November, 3 celebrity judges joined presenters Yiolanda Koppel, Craig Stevens and the 6 finalists in the Mint Mansion to ask the finalists questions and then cast the final vote on who should become Mr. or Mrs. Mint.

*Rob a Fitness Instructor.
*Page 3 model Leilani Dowding.
*Actor Simon Cole who played Jeremy Peterson in British soap opera, Hollyoaks.


After questioning all of the contestants the judges were sent away to make their decision. They were recalled towards the end of the show to give their scores, each judge having to mark the contestant on a scale of 1-10, then the 3 judges scores being added together to give the final result.

The winners were given £5,000 each and the runners up a bottle of champagne.

Final broadcast of the series

The final episode of the series of "The Mint" aired on 15 February 2007. The presenters insisted that the show was 'taking a break' and would return later in the year. An announcement by ITV on 12 September 2007 confirmed that the show, along with similar late night phone ins, would not be returning.cite web|url=|title= ITV Play programming to be 'phased out'|accessdate=2007-09-12|publisher=Digital Spy] .

The Australian version of the series ended on 29 March 2008.


ee also

*ITV Play

External links

*|id=play|title=ITV Play
* [ BBC News: Treasury Reviews TV Quiz Channels 19 Apr 06]

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