How to ‘Play Your Cards Right’ and appear on a TV game show

Do you want to COME ON DOOOOWN and appear on a TV game show? It’s easier than you might think to get picked. Here are the tips and casting calls you need.

Being on a TV game show can be a really fun experience and the chance of winning big prizes or cash is the icing on the cake. So if you’re brave enough to test your knowledge (or physical ability) in front of the nation, read on for my pick of the casting calls currently up for grabs. I’ve applied for a few myself – so we could even be competing against each other if we get through!

Update 23 April 2019: I first wrote a version of this blog back in 2017 but it’s been fully updated with a new list of game shows currently accepting applications.

Popular TV game shows you can apply to be a contestant on

As long as you’re not camera-shy, you can achieve nationwide fame – and sometimes walk away with £1,000s in prizes – by appearing as a contestant on some of the country’s best-loved TV game shows.

Here are the biggies taking applications at the moment:

The Chase – Do you have what it takes to beat the chaser? Face off against ‘The Beast’, ‘The Governess’, ‘The Dark Destroyer’, ‘The Sinnerman’ or ‘The Vixen’ in a head-to-head general knowledge quiz to potentially win £1,000s.

Pointless – Very rare to see this open for applications! Get yourself into a pair to be in with a chance to take home the coveted Pointless trophy and £1,000s.

Come Dine With Me – Hold a dinner party for complete strangers and the highest-scoring host bags £1,000 in cash… and a grilling from narrator Dave Lamb.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire – 15 questions stand between you and £1,000,000. New host Jeremy Clarkson is looking for contestants.

Tipping Point – Could you beat the machine and take home the £10,000 cash prize? Ben Shephard is looking for contestants.

Hunted – Could you outsmart the hunters and avoid capture for 30 days to win a share of £100,000? If you can cope with life on the run, you could win big.

Mastermind – Fancy sitting in that famous black chair and taking home the Mastermind bowl? I think you know what my specialist subject would be…

Countdown – Fancy being a Countdown champion? Find hidden words and solve a few maths problems to take home that famous tea pot. It has to be worth something, right?

Lesser–known shows… your shortcut to stardom?

You can boost your chances of being picked as a contestant by focusing on new shows that’ve never been aired, or that aren’t as widely known. Typically, they won’t get as many applicants – mainly because nobody knows what to expect.

There are often big cash prizes to be won though, so if you fancy diving into the unknown, here are some new shows currently in need of contestants:

Race Across the World – If your team of two can beat the other teams and arrive first, without taking any flights, you’ll win a cash prize of £50,000.

Bargain Hunt – Think you can spot hidden treasure and make a profit on it at auction? Teams of two are needed to scout bargains with an antiques expert. Any profit, you pocket.

Tenable – Hosted by Warwick Davis, teams of five are needed to take on some lists of ‘Top 10s’. The more you get correct, the more money you’ll win.

Britain’s Brightest Family – Could your family beat everyone else to be crowned ‘Britain’s Brightest’? Anne Hegerty is looking for contestants to win a huge cash prize.

TV gameshow inspiration

If you need more motivation than just cash and prizes, I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a lot of fun. The first TV show I ever applied for (not long after I turned 18), I got on and won £1,000 cash for a day’s work. It was on an ITV show called Pick Me hosted by Stephen Mulhern, which was broadcast in November 2015.

It was a new series that was looking for hundreds of contestants, who were all in an audience dressed up in funny clothes trying to get picked to play for prizes. We filmed three episodes on the day and I was picked at the start of the second episode. It took me the whole show (down to the final round) to scoop the £1,000 prize – phew!

I also recently applied for a show called Cash Trapped, and I made it all the way through to the final stage but didn’t get picked to appear on the show. I went to the offices and studios to play a pretend game of Cash Trapped with buzzers included, though – so that was a lot of fun!

Sending off application forms and having telephone interviews isn't that scary – because you are just talking about yourself. If you get picked to appear the experience is amazing. You should be looked after by the crew with food and drinks – and if you live far away from the venue, you may get your hotel and travel paid for. Basically, it’s a fun day out to possibly win some great prizes – and even make a few friends along the way.

If you want more inspiration, I asked on the MSE Forum to hear from MoneySavers who’ve appeared on a TV game show. And it turns out forumite Chrisx2 is a game show veteran:

“I developed the game show bug back in 2003, kicking off with The Weakest Link. I got picked on mercilessly by Anne, but hey-ho… it’s her job! During the following years I appeared on In it to Win It, Who wants to be a Millionaire, Saturday Night Takeaway and PokerFace to name the most popular ones.

“I love everything about it, getting picked up from home, the make-up, VIP treatment and best of all the prizes. My wins are totalling £50,000 plus the odd holiday. Most memorable was a trip to Las Vegas thanks to Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway! My advice… don’t sit and ponder. DO IT!”

Back when I first joined MSE, I wrote a blog with tips on Boosting your chances of appearing on TV game shows – so be sure to have a look to improve your chances.

Have you ever applied for a TV game show? Have you ever won cash or prizes? I’d love to know your stories in the comments below or on Twitter @Jordon_Cox.