The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze
The Crystal Maze
Crystal Maze Series 1.jpg
Crystal Maze Series 3.jpg
Series 1–2 logo (top)
Series 3–6 logo (bottom)
Genre Adventure game show
Created by Jacques Antoine
Directed by David G. Croft
Presented by
Starring Sandra Caron
Theme music composer Zack Lawrence
Opening theme "Force Field"
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 6 (inc. 5 Christmas specials)
No. of episodes 83
Location(s) Lee International Studios
Shepperton Studios
Aces High Studio, North Weald
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Chatsworth Television
Original channel Channel 4
Picture format PAL (576i)
Audio format Stereophonic
Original run 15 February 1990 (1990-02-15) – 10 August 1995 (1995-08-10)
Related shows Interceptor
Fort Boyard

The Crystal Maze was a British game show, produced by Chatsworth Television and shown on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom between 15 February 1990 and 10 August 1995. There was one series per year, with the first four series presented by Richard O'Brien and the final two by Ed Tudor-Pole, who made his debut in the 1993 Christmas special. Each show was one hour long, including commercial breaks.

The show was originally intended to be a British remake of the French programme Fort Boyard, devised by Jacques Antoine. However, the unavailability of the French show's set (a real fort in the middle of the sea), led Antoine to reinvent the show using themed zones as a means to keep the show visually fresh. Channel 5 later bought the rights to Fort Boyard and made their own version, using the original set, running from 1998 to 2001.

The series is set in "The Crystal Maze", which is set within four different "zones" set in various periods of time and space. A team of six contestants take part in a selection of challenges in order to win "time crystals". Each crystal gives the team five seconds of time inside "The Crystal Dome", the heart of the maze where the contestants take part in their final challenge.

The Crystal Maze was one of the ambitious and most popular programmes produced by Channel 4. The maze cost £250,000 to build and was the size of two football pitches. The show was at the time the most watched on Channel 4, attracting up to 6 million viewers at its height and The Crystal Maze is considered by some to be, "a highly-ambitious, high-risk show that paid off handsomely."[1]



Originally, Chatsworth Television intended to make a British version of the French show Fort Boyard, but when it became clear that the fort would not be available at the time of the pilot show, Fort Boyard's creator Jacques Antoine was consulted about developing an alternative format that could be shot elsewhere. As a result, the show ended up using a concept similar to Fort Boyard, but was substantially different in presentation and style. It was filmed on a very large set, originally at H Stage in Shepperton Studios, but in later series at an adapted aircraft hangar named Aces High Studios, at North Weald Airfield in Essex. A UK version of Fort Boyard was eventually made by Channel 5, long after Channel 4 ended The Crystal Maze.

The set was divided into four 'Zones' set in different periods of time and space. For the first three series, the zones were Aztec (set in a small village in 1518, the year before Hernán Cortés destroyed the Aztec empire), Futuristic (on board a space station far away from Earth in 2494, abandoned after the Second Galactic War of 2245), Medieval (set in a castle where the host lived in 1302) and Industrial (set in an industrial chemical plant and claimed to be where the games were made). From series four onwards Industrial was replaced by Ocean (set on the S.S. Atlantis, a sunken ship trapped in an air bubble on the edge of an abyss in the Pacific Ocean. According to Tudor-Pole, in 1947 the captain got drunk and the ship hit a mine. There is gold in the cargo, but it cannot be removed as it is responsible for balancing the ship over an abyss[2] The band was the last group of people to leave, since they didn't know the ship was sinking, and one left behind his banjo). In the show, O'Brien claimed he found Ocean zone when he was unblocking a drain in Medieval. He said that it was located underneath Industrial and that he was trying to restore the ship. At the centre of the maze was the Crystal Dome, a giant geometric acrylic glass 'crystal' where the teams play their final challenge after playing games in each of the four Zones.

In each episode, a team consisting of three men and three women (including a team captain and vice-captain) would enter the 'maze,' starting from a pre-determined Zone, and play three or four games of various types in each zone before entering the Crystal Dome. The teams were put together by Chatsworth from individual applicants, only meeting each other for the first time on the day before filming their episode, unlike the UK version of Fort Boyard which was made some years later, in which teams applied and played as teams.

The objective of the show was to amass as many 'time crystals' (golf ball-sized Swarovski glass crystals) as possible by playing the games in each zone. When the team reached the Crystal Dome, they had to collect as many gold 'tokens' as possible in order to win a prize. Each crystal that the team won earlier would allow them five seconds of time in the Dome.

Before each game in a zone, the team captain (or vice captain should the team captain be locked in) would choose which contestant would play and which type of challenge the game would involve. Games were classed as "Physical" (tests of speed and strength), "Mental" (tests of brainpower often involving Maths or word association), "Skill" (tests of dexterity and accuracy) or "Mystery" (tests of logic and cunning). The chosen team member would be sent into a chamber to play a game, and their team-mates could advise them from outside (except in specific mental games where the team would be instructed not to confer, although general encouragement could still be shouted in). Successfully solving the puzzle would release a crystal. In the early series, the captain's choice of game and contestant was genuine; in later series, it was not a free choice and was 'imposed' on the team by the production team.

Each game had a time limit of two, two-and-a-half, or three minutes. If the contestant failed to exit the chamber in time, they would be 'locked in.' In some games, known as 'automatic lock-in' games, the contestant could also be locked in by committing a foul, for example by touching the floor if this was forbidden for that game, or by setting off an 'alarm' three times. If the contestant breached the penalty rules in an 'automatic lock-in' game, they would be locked in straight away, irrespective of whether or not they had won the crystal, and regardless of how much time they had left. A small number of games didn't allow contestants to exit without winning the crystal, usually achieved by having the crystal freely accessible but requiring a puzzle to be solved to get out. For example, one game in the Medieval zone had a crystal that was easy to collect, but upon picking it up would lower down a portcullis and trap the contestant in the room. The contestant would then have to build a mechanism to raise the portcullis and escape. Contestants who were 'locked in' were unable to play further, unless the team captain chose to buy a contestant's freedom at the cost of a previously-earned crystal, which could be done at any time after the lock-in.

Buying out a 'locked-in' contestant required a team member to physically take a crystal to the chamber where the contestant was locked in, leaving the crystal there in exchange for their 'bought-out' team-mate. As this was sometimes a lengthy trip, it effectively took a second contestant out of action for several games, so the timing was important. If the contestants did not rejoin the team in time, they would both be excluded from the Crystal Dome finalé: a danger that was stated in several episodes, though this never actually happened. If both the captain and vice-captain were locked in, a new captain would be elected on the spot, although again, this never actually happened.

After competing in all four Zones, the remaining contestants entered the Crystal Dome, a 16-foot-high (4.9 m) replica of the 'time crystals' surrounded by a seven-foot circular moat and entered by a 3-foot-wide (0.91 m) 'drawbridge' which was hydraulically retracted once the team were inside. Similarly, one of the Dome's triangular panels was hydraulically opened and closed to let the team enter, then lock them inside. Inside the Dome, gold and silver banknote-sized 'tokens' made of foil were blown around from beneath the wire mesh floor by six huge fans mounted on a slowly rotating giant turntable, leading to O'Brien's catchphrase, occasionally delivered in a cod American accent: "Will you start the fans, please!" or Tudor-Pole's various elaborate intros, for example "Let the mighty winds blow!"

After much experimentation with samples of dozens of different foils, the production team found only one which worked properly in the Dome without either falling to the floor and staying there, blowing straight to the top of the Dome and staying there, or 'sticking' to the wall panels. Unfortunately, this foil-like material was only manufactured in silver, so the gold tokens were actually silver ones which were sprayed with gold paint by the production crew.

In the Dome, and after the fans and turntable were up to speed with all the tokens swirling around, the team's aim was to grab the tokens from the air and post them into a roughly house brick sized clear plastic container mounted at waist height on the outside of one of the dome's panels. Tudor-Pole called it The Cosmic Pyramid, while O'Brien termed it The Letterbox. The container had a pneumatically-operated door on the inside, marked with a red saltire-shaped cross, which opened when the collection time started and closed when time was up. The team had to collect at least 100 gold tokens to win, but each silver token gathered would cancel out a gold token. Hence, the team actually had to collect 100 more gold tokens than silver ones. In series two, a gold and silver gauge would appear on-screen whilst the team played in the Dome so viewers could watch how many gold and silver tokens the contestants had collected. This was scrapped from series three onward.

The Crystal that was given to contestants at the end of the show.

The ratio of silver to gold tokens within the Dome was five to four (625 silver and 500 gold), and the gold tokens were very difficult to tell from silver ones when blowing around inside the Dome, especially since the paint on the 'gold' tokens tended to flake off, although neither of these details were obvious to the viewer. The shape and size of the Dome meant that every sound within it (including a contestant's own voice) appeared to come from a single point roughly ten feet above the Dome's mesh floor, and directly above its centre. This could be disorientating to the contestants.

In the first series, a final balance of 50–99 gold tokens entitled team members to a 'runner-up' prize, but this was dropped in later series. Originally, it was also planned to offer a 'double-or-nothing' Gamble Game to teams winning 50–99 gold tokens. This consisted of a small 'wire-frame' model of the Crystal Dome with some pieces removed, which the team (if they accepted the Gamble) would have to re-assemble within a time limit. However, the Gamble Game idea was dropped shortly before the first series was filmed. In the case of the Christmas specials, done with a team of children, they were awarded the prize regardless of their performance in the dome.

Originally, prizes consisted individual adventure days out, such as a flight in a Tiger Moth or a day spent mud-plugging, and contestants chose their own gold and silver grade prizes off set, just in advance of filming the Crystal Dome part of the show. From series four onwards, the contestants would choose a single prize (usually once-in-a-lifetime adventure holidays) shared by the whole team. Winning teams were few and far between; a testament to how much of a challenge the show actually was. All players that participated won a commemorative crystal saying "I Cracked the Crystal Maze, 1990–5," despite the fact that the vast majority failed.

The Zones

The four Zones featured in the maze varied in terms of both games and setting —

  • Aztec (Series 1–6) Set in the past. The Zone housed 22 tons of sand, and over half the plants were real. After Series 1, the move of studios meant that Aztec had more 'breathing space' and the zone could expand giving it more open space and the painted 'rainforest' diorama more distance from the main set. It was also accompanied by the Forest River (not shown on the map — see 'Entering the Maze').
  • Industrial (Series 1–3) Set in the 20th/21st century. The majority of the set was constructed from corrugated iron/aluminium and gave cameramen much more freedom compared to other zones, as a slip with a camera could result in seeing the roof of the hangar in other zones, yet in Industrial it didn't matter, and fitted in with the theme of the zone. The sweeping camera jib was also greatly used in this zone, predominantly for the scenes of running upstairs (to or from Medieval Zone). The zone changed slightly from Series 1 to Series 2 with the greater 'spread', due to more available space, and the painted skyline Diorama, and also Industrial was, at the time, the only zone to have two proper floors.
  • Ocean (Series 4–6) Set also in the 20th century and apparently sunken. Replaced Industrial from Series 4 onwards, the Zone had three mini-zones within itself, the Boiler Room section (usually the reused materials from Industrial zone), the Main Saloon (brand new Bird's Eye Maple interior with fishtanks behind porthole windows) and the Front of the Ship section (with the Cave game, and an extra set of stairs on the outside of the maze). In Series 5, the illuminated chandeliers were scrapped to make the ship look more abandoned, however it seemed to make the Saloon appear much more dull.
  • Medieval (Series 1–6) Also set in the past. The Zone is notable in that it was the place of residence for both O'Brien and Tudor-Pole. It went through many slight changes through the six series, including the addition of O'Brien's dining table. One episode included fictitious portraits of the O'Brien family, 'Daddy's' armour also featured, as a way of releasing the crystal from the Excalibur game. A live bird of prey was introduced for Tudor-Pole's time in the maze and the entrance to the maze was also changed greatly, with the addition of gravestones, statues and a rarely seen painted diorama, glimpsed in a few episodes of Series 3.
  • Futuristic (Series 1–6) Set in the future, after the events of 2245. Despite having a seemingly poor entrance (see 'Entering the Maze') the zone was quite exciting and very well laid out, with two sections, the main Computer Room, and then the longer Observatory corridor at the back end of the zone; both were originally connected by one corridor and then during Series 2 and 3 a secondary corridor was introduced from the Aztec Lift back to the Computer Room (however this was not shown until the map was renewed in Series 4). The zone had few changes, other than the bright blue floor in the Console Room in Series 3, and the loss of 'half of planet Earth' as a section of the painted diorama was removed from the outer wall (often showing up badly in many episodes after Series 2).

Teams began their game in one of the Zones and progressed either clockwise or anti-clockwise around the maze; this meant that a team would alternate between the past and modern zones.

The Crystal Maze Map

A computerised diagram of the Crystal Maze was produced and displayed as the team travelled around the maze. The diagram was a copy of the actual production design and floor plan of the set. Two versions were created, one for series 1–3 and one for series 4–6: the change being required for the new Ocean Zone. In both cases, the map zoomed in for each Zone.

Map used during series 1–3

Series 1–3: The diagram consisted of a black background with Zones formed from coloured lines:

The current location of the team in the maze was shown by a single red dot, which could be positioned in numerous places on the map, including different areas in the Zones, the obstacles between the Zones or even outside the map once or twice in the case of the Aztec Zone. Occasionally, no dot at all was shown for the Aztec Zone. The Crystal Dome had no dot and just zoomed in after a few seconds. Also, the map could sometimes be shown twice for the same Zone, the first showing the obstacle and the second the Zone. The map could zoom in at any time however.

Map used during series 4–6

Series 4–6: The Diagram consisted of a multi-coloured background with Zones formed from filled coloured areas:

The location of the team around the maze was shown by a radar-like positioning system. Unlike the series 1–3 map, the locator had fixed positions in the Zones and did not venture into the obstacles. The Crystal Dome also had this type of locator.

In both cases, the map zoomed in on each individual Zone and the Dome. The angle used to zoom in on each Zone was different: some just panned down, others did a full 180 degree angled sweep to show the Zone from the back. Whenever the map zoomed in, all other Zones and the Dome drifted away so that the individual cells and obstacles could be seen more clearly. The Dome was different. Its zoom showed it from the very front, a very steep pan down being required for this.

In series 6 and the 1992 Kids Christmas Special, the zoom in on Zones included a sound effect. In addition, the 1992 Special used the second map for the first time, so different zooming angles were used, and the Ocean Zone was also seen for the first time.

Entering the maze

When a team started the "Crystal Maze", they had to overcome an obstacle to enter their first Zone. These were:

  • Aztec: Row across a river in two canoes, The captain and vice captain went in separate boats, in case one of the boats 'sank', and Richard/Ed followed usually in the boat with the Vice Captain.
  • Medieval: Open or climb over a portcullis. Regularly after Series 1 and 2 they climbed. It was unknown whether the portcullis had broken or if the Producer had made a decision to leave the chains as a red herring.
  • Futuristic: Answer a question set by the computer
  • Industrial (series 1–3): Climb over oil barrels and wire mesh into a gap above a door, and/or open the gates or door with a key
  • Ocean (replacing Industrial from series 4–6): Tie up (or in later series, remove) a metal grille and climb down a net ladder

Each episode of series 1–4 started with Richard O'Brien blowing his whistle. In series 5–6, Ed Tudor Pole used a different whistle, but the episode would sometimes start with a distinct sound; he would ring a bell in Medieval, blow a conch in Aztec, set off an alarm in Futuristic (after the question was answered), and sound a foghorn in Ocean.

Moving from One Zone to Another

When a team finished their games in a Zone, they had to overcome an obstacle to travel to their next Zone. The transition was only shown in full during the second Zone change in each episode, with a few adverts being taken during other Zone changes. During Zone transitions, the underscore mix of the main theme music was heard to make the transitions more lively. However this wasn't always so, at the start of Series One, not all Zone changes were accompanied by music. Most notably, on the first episode, the underscore was not played for the first 2 zone changes. Later in Series 1, the music was sometimes not the normal zone change music, this happened because the zone change music was accidentally replaced by the Theme Music, most notably in Episode 3 where the Theme music was used for 2 zone changes!

The transitions were:

  • Aztec to/from Industrial:
Crawl through a long and winding Z shaped tunnel.

Note: Contestants often took a long time getting from one end to the other. Also, the tunnel forked into two at one point, with the other fork leading to a dead end, which occasionally caught the contestants out. The Tunnel was also blocked off at ground level in some parts so short arched segments were made so contestants would have to climb up then slide back down.

  • Aztec to Ocean:
Walk across Stepping Stones, up a cave tunnel, down a short ladder into what seemed to be a room full of SS Atlantis equipment, crawl through a tunnel then push out grille.
  • Industrial to Medieval:
Climb up a ladder or ascend stairs then
Series 1:- Walk across a chasm (either over a thin 'plank' or the rolling log famously seen in Aztec Zone games)
Series 2–3:- Swing across a chasm over which was a netted floor, which sometime contestants would walk across.
then descend stairs.
  • Ocean to Medieval:
Climb a ladder, crawl through a small hatch then through a tunnel, then descend stairs
  • Medieval to/from Futuristic:
Series 1:- Cross a bubbling swamp
Series 2:- Walk across a spider web type bridge
Series 3–4:- Walk along a balance beam
Series 5–6:- Walk along a rope(cable) while balancing by holding on to a second parallel cable above head height
  • Futuristic to Aztec:
Go up in a scissor lift, (once a ladder in one episode, as the lift was not functioning) then
Series 1:- Climb down a stepped wall
Series 2–6:- Climb down a stepped wall using vines (obviously thanks to the greater amount of space after the change from Shepperton to Aces High studios)

Contestants could only move clockwise or anti-clockwise to one of the two Zones either side of their current location. They could not venture diagonally across the map because the Crystal Dome was in the centre (see map).

Moving from the final Zone to the Dome

Although the team's transition from the final Zone to the Crystal Dome was never shown in full on screen, the team would always leave a given Zone by a specific route, despite these routes having little or no geographical proximity to the Dome (in most cases, they actually led off the edge of the map.) In earlier series of the show, the exit to the dome wasn't specific and varied depending on what zone the team were in. However in later series, the exit usually remained the same.

  • Aztec: The team would exit by running past the column and towards the river which was used to enter the Crystal Maze from the Aztec Zone.
  • Industrial: In Series 1, the team would exit by going up the stairs towards the Medieval Zone. In Series 2 & 3, the team would exit past the tunnel portal leading to the Aztec Zone and out. This is the only time the night sky (in reality, a painted cyclorama backdrop on the wall of the stage) could be seen from the Industrial Zone.
  • Ocean: In Series 4 & 5, the route the team exited to the dome varied. Sometimes it was by using the stairs in the boiler room and at other times it was by going up the stairs in the main saloon. In Series 6, the team would exit via a panel in the boiler room, near the cylindrical cell. Again, this door had bright light and fog coming from behind it. This route was one of the two which could in theory have geographically led to anywhere near the Dome.
  • Medieval: During Series 1–4, the team would exit in most cases by the Medieval Zone entrance and only on some occasions would they leave by the door near to the Futuristic Zone, behind which was fog and bright lights. In Series 5 & 6, the team would always exit through the door.
  • Futuristic: In series 1–4, the team would leave through the door which teams enter the zone. In Series 5–6, the team left through a door placed in the new corridor built on the other side of the lift. The new corridor first appeared in series 3. The team exited into bright light and fog.


The show's heyday was around 1991–93, when word of mouth had spread. It was regularly Channel 4's highest watched programme, mainly seen by children and young adults, reaching a peak of 7 million viewers for the 1993 Christmas special. The Christmas specials were to cater for a younger audience, and often featured teams of children, playing new games which served as a preview of new games for the next series (the Christmas specials were recorded shortly before the main series started recording), or easy puzzles devised and made specifically for those shows (which were not used in the main series).

At the beginning of the 1993 Christmas special (Series 5), a short 1min 30sec minute film was shown which featured O'Brien and his 'mother,' addressed as "Mumsie" (played by Sandra Caron, the younger sister of Fifties singing star Alma Cogan), leaving the maze for a new life with her boyfriend Dwayne (a new-age biker apparently, though he was never seen).[3] Mumsie was the Fortune Teller in the Medieval Zone during series 1–4, fulfilling a similar purpose to Tom Baker's 'Captain' in the UK version of Fort Boyard by asking contestants riddles or puzzles in exchange for a crystal if answered correctly ("Mumsie" was temporarily replaced in Series 3 by "Auntie Sabrina" (also played by Sandra Caron), but "Mumsie" returned the following series). Ed Tudor-Pole from the rock band Tenpole Tudor was then introduced and became the host for the final two series. Coincidentally, Ed once played Riff-Raff in The Rocky Horror Show, which O'Brien wrote. O'Brien himself had also played this role on stage and in the movie adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ed often referred to some companions in the maze, such as Bert the horse and Starbuck the cat, and he flirted with the computer in the Futuristic Zone, which he called Barbara. He and Barbara had been together for 45 years in 2250. Barbara had been a scientist, and as part of her work, her soul was inputted into the computer, hence her presence in it.[4]

When Channel 4's contract with producers Chatsworth TV expired, they didn't renew it and the show ended in 1995. The large set remained up in Aces High hangar until 1999, when it was dismantled. The games got trashed, but many had bits recycled into new games.

Eventually, Challenge (a digital satellite channel, then known as Challenge TV) bought the rights for all six series in 1998 and frequently shown all the episodes throughout the year. The Crystal Maze continues to air on Challenge to this day.

The Crystal Maze was named "Greatest UK Game Show of All Time!" in a 2006 poll by the website and again in 2010.[5][6] Due to its popularity, it was featured in the Channel 4 at 25 celebration season which showed popular shows from Channel 4's 25 year history. It has developed a cult following over the years and many dedicated fans still campaign for its return.

Theme tune

The theme tune for The Crystal Maze was composed by Zack Lawrence and is entitled Force Field. It was used through all 6 series. The original track is 1:05 long, however was shortened to roughly 50 seconds for Opening Titles and varied between 40 and 1:40 seconds for closing credits.

The Crystal Maze (Zone Change) Underscore music was also composed by Zack Lawrence.

Cultural references

In December 1992, video game publishers Codemasters released "Crystal Kingdom Dizzy", one of the last instalments in their successful "Dizzy" series. In the final level of the game, Dizzy had to return the lost treasure to its rightful place, but before he could do that he had to take on an obstacle course of moving platforms beneath water, and collect a crystal and make his way out, in a parody of the programme itself. During this course a Richard O'Brien look-alike says in a caption "Quick!, quick!, get the crystal!", which was one of O'Brien's most well-known phrases on the TV show.

The Crystal Maze was parodied in 1994 in an episode of the children's sitcom Maid Marian and her Merry Men (series 4, episode 1 - Tunnel Vision), with the Robin Hood character acting as the part of O'Brien.[7] It was also referenced in the 2000 movie Dungeons & Dragons, which featured a maze with similar puzzles, with its owner played by O'Brien. The show was lampooned on The Mary Whitehouse Experience when a group of "contestants" completely failed to complete the Making a Cup of Tea game.

On 18 February 2006, a parody of The Crystal Maze (called The Crystal Muck) appeared on Dick and Dom in da Bungalow, featuring a character called Richard O'Muckon. The character played the harmonica at moments where the contestants needed to concentrate the most, a parody of O'Brien's antics.[8]

The online multiplayer game RuneScape features a maze of puzzles, traps and other obstacles known as the Rogues' Den, operated by a character called "Brian O'Richard". When spoken to, Brian O'Richard claims the maze belongs to "mummsie".

Comedy duo Adam and Joe also parodied The Crystal Maze on Channel 4's The Adam and Joe Show using their well known style of using toys. This time, the Crystal Maze was hosted by Yoda. The team was led by Emperor Palpatine and consisted of Jabba the Hutt, Princess Leia, C-3P0 and a drunken Obi-Wan Kenobi. The game culminated in the team only collecting 1 crystal, and the Emperor being so frustrated with his team's terrible performance, destroyed the Crystal Dome with his Force powers and declared "The pony trekking holiday in Ullswater will be mine!".

In "Sex", an episode of the third series of Absolutely Fabulous first broadcast in April 1995, the character Christopher, Edina Monsoon's hairdresser, calls out enthusiastically, "This is just like The Crystal Maze!" as he and others run through university hallways looking for a videotape.

In 2007, the Sony Award nominated pilot for the BBC Radio 7 sketch show A Series of Psychotic Episodes, one sketch featured a traumatised daughter whose father had been locked in the Aztec Zone of The Crystal Maze in 1994 and never being released from the maze.[9]

The 1992 Larry Niven and Steven Barnes book The California Voodoo Game features a Crystal Maze competition which is used to introduce two of the teams competing in the larger game around which the plot is based.

The show was notable for dedicating to the memory of one of its contestants, David MacPherson, who died in a motorcycle accident after the recording of Episode 12 of Series 2. Likewise, the last episode of Series 6 featured a dedication to team captain Jim Alexander, who passed away in between the recording and transmission of the episode. The dedication only appeared on the original broadcast.


Front cover of the Crystal Maze Choose Your Own Adventure style Gamebook, produced to tie-in with the series.

Encounter Zone, a small, indoor theme park found at Wafi Mall in Dubai, has an attraction called "The Crystal Maze", which was inspired by the original television series. Opened with the rest of the theme park, the attraction was built due to the popularity of the television series in the U.A.E. after having been run and re-run several times on the now-defunct, local television Channel 33. Encounter Zone's version of The Crystal Maze has a similar format to the Cyberdrome Crystal Mazes. Encounter Zone's Crystal Maze is a permanent attraction though.

The makers of the children's TV show Jungle Run openly acknowledge The Crystal Maze as an influence, particularly the current host, Michael Underwood, who was a captain in the first Christmas special.[10]


A Choose Your Own Adventure style gamebook based around The Crystal Maze was also produced by Mammoth in 1991, in association with Channel 4 and Chatsworth Television.

Release name UK release date Author Publisher Notes Ref
The Crystal Maze 15 Feb 1990 Peter Arnold
and Gill Brown
Time Warner
1 Oct 1990
Crystal Maze Adventure Gamebook 7 Feb 1991 Dave Morris
and Jamie Thomson
Mammoth New edition [12]
Crystal Maze Challenge! 21 May 1992 Dave Morris
and Jamie Thomson
Mammoth 1st Edition
21 May 1992
The Crystal Thief 15 April 1993 Peter Arnold Mammoth Puzzle Books [12]
Tea at Rick's 15 April 1993 Peter Arnold Mammoth Puzzle Books [12]
The Sacred Necklace 16 Dec 1993 Peter Arnold Mammoth, London Puzzle Book [12]
Phantom in the Tower 16 Dec 1993 Peter Arnold Mammoth, London Puzzle Book [12]
The Crystal Maze 1994 Unknown Mammoth [12]
Crystal Maze Mystery Pack 25 Feb 1994 Peter Arnold Heinemann Library [12]
The Crystal Maze Puzzle Book 13 Jun 1994 Peter Arnold Mammoth [12]
The Crystal Maze Puzzle Book: Bk. 2 30 Oct 1995 Peter Arnold Mammoth Puzzle Book [12]
Crystal Maze A1 Poster 13 Jun 1996 None Mammoth Hardcover [12]

Quiz machines

Chatsworth Television licensed a number of popular SWP gambling machines based on the TV series, originally produced by Barcrest, but now made by JPM. A computer game based on The Crystal Maze was released in 1993 by Sherston Software for RISC OS on the Acorn Archimedes, and subsequently for the PC. A quiz machine based on the show was also produced. A board game was also produced based upon the show, but based on the concept of players competing against each other as opposed to the co-operative style of the TV show[13] .

There was also a hand-held version that contained 12 simple levels, each the same but a bit faster and with added killer statues. It was a platform based game that mainly involved jumping on to different levels (out of 4) as they passed by. On the end of each level the player has to jump across three moving platforms and over a wall to obtain the crystal.

In 2009 Cool Games created a 3D video version for the UK SWP market. Remaining true to the original show, using touch screen technology, the game achieved widespread coverage in the UK and remains one of the most popular SWP games launched.

The Cyberdrome Crystal Maze was an attraction usually found in larger bowling alleys and video arcades in the UK. It allowed fans an opportunity to "play" the Crystal Maze for themselves in a computerised format. There were a few differences from the show itself, e.g. there is no player choice of game category, and there is no locking in (instead, failing to quit a game would immediately cost the team a crystal). Five of the first six locations were in Britain, while the sixth was in Japan. All of the Cyberdrome Crystal Mazes have since closed. The last one, at Canaston Bowl, Pembrokeshire, ceased operations in June 2010.[14]

Video Games

Release name UK release date Publisher Platform Notes
The Crystal Maze 2008 Dynamo Games Mobile
The Crystal Maze [15] 2010 Dynamo Games iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
The Best Of Crystal Maze [VHS] 1994.

VHS releases

In 1993, a video cassette, The Best of The Crystal Maze was released by Wienerworld Presentation. The video included three episodes: the 1991 and 1992 Christmas specials, and an episode from Series 4. It also featured the clip of O'Brien and Mumsie leaving the maze.

Release name UK release date Notes
The Best Of Crystal Maze Monday 16 May 1994 No announcements of any future releases.


Original series

Series Start date End date Episodes Recorded Presenter
1 15 February 1990 10 May 1990 13 November – December 1989 Richard O'Brien
2 21 March 1991 13 June 1991 13 November – December 1990 Richard O'Brien
3 23 April 1992 16 July 1992 13 November – December 1991 Richard O'Brien
4 1 April 1993 24 June 1993 13 November – December 1992 Richard O'Brien
5 12 May 1994 4 August 1994 13 November – December 1993 Ed Tudor-Pole
6 18 May 1995 10 August 1995 13 November – December 1994 Ed Tudor-Pole

Christmas specials

Date Recorded Presenter
1 January 1991 September 1990 Richard O'Brien
24 December 1991 September 1991 Richard O'Brien
27 December 1992 September 1992 Richard O'Brien
24 December 1993 September 1993 Ed Tudor-Pole
24 December 1994 September 1994 Ed Tudor-Pole


It has been reported in many news papers that The Crystal Maze will be re-made by ITV and the person who will be hosting it will be Amanda Holden.[16] ITV said they want to keep the shows format based collecting gold tokens whilst being blown around by giant fans the same. [17]


  1. ^ "The Crystal Maze". Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "The Crystal Maze Series 5 Christmas Special (Part 1 of 5)". YouTube. 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "All-time Poll". UKGameshows. 2006-08-27. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Gameshow General Election 2010". UKGameshows. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  7. ^ "Maid Marian: Tunnel Vision". Retrieved 2009-07-24. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Dick & Dom In Da Bungalow — Series 5–18 February 2006". 2006-02-18. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  9. ^ Wolf, Ian. "A Series of Psychotic Episodes — Pilot". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Crystal Maze". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Crystal Maze". Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Crystal Maze". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "Crystal Maze | Board Game | BoardGameGeek". Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links

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