Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge is a CITV game show that premiered on 1 January 2012 in the United Kingdom. The first two series were a co-production with Disney XD, airing from October 17, 2011 to March 23, 2012 in the United States.
The show is a challenge game where six teams of teenagers battle-to-the-finish to win the Ultimate Challenge and become "Conquerors of The Fort". The show is a revived version of the original Fort Boyard and was presented by Geno Segers and Laura Hamilton in the first two series. In May 2012, Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge was renewed for a third series. It was also revealed that Andy Akinwolere would be the new co-host, replacing Segers. Hamilton and Akinwolere both returned to present series 4 and 5.
In the UK, the third series began on 8 December 2012 and was simulcast on the ITV network. The fourth series began airing on 20 October 2013 and the fifth (and final) series on 15 October 2014. The series was also rolled-out globally (excluding France and the Nordic countries) on the Disney network.
Six teams compete against each other in a tournament. Each episode, two teams face each other in a battle to see who is the strongest and toughest team. The challenges are based on toughness, fear and speed. In each season, the teams play three times each; with the two teams which have the most gold coins returning for the final round of the tournament at the series' finale.
Every level, the teams fight to get a key which helps them in the final level of the game in the Treasure Chamber. If they get three (five from series 3) keys or more at the end of the game, they get the maximum amount of time in the Treasure Chamber (3:00); but if they get two (four from series 3) keys or less, a time penalty will be dealt out (see below). If a team wins a 4th key (6th or more from series 3), they receive an extra 150 bonus coins per key which are added to their final total.
Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge uses the same games as the original show; but with different names, no lock-ins and may also be slightly adapted in order to suit the show. For example, in Boiler Room the contestant is not hancuffed to the pipe; instead must move a chain with the key on through the maze and out to the exit within the time limit, and The Searching Head, where the two contestants sit in a seat and there is no conveyor belt; instead, there is a plastic glass on the sides.
Each solo team challenge is against the water clock (a clepsdyre) usually set at either 1:30, 2:00 or 2:30 minutes. Some games (such as Tightrope and nearly all duels) require a code to open the box containing the key, which is outside the room or nearby the other team members. Games involving members of both teams are not against the water clock and are known as "duels".For more detailed information, see Phase One and Phase Two sections of the main Fort Boyard article.
In order of first appearance:
Before the teams go to the Treasure Chamber, the final challenge in each episode is a non-timed duel in the Council 'hallway' (an open area on the second floor close to where "Cold Room" is located) between both teams.
Tests usually involve a level of skill and speed; such as building a tower with shaped blocks, using chopsticks to write the word "Boyard" on a pole or hammering nails into a piece of wood. The whole team(s) take part in the duel and the winners receive the final key of the day. Games played so far include:
In order of first appearance:
- Surface Tension
- Tipping Point
- Tower Build
- Balance of Forces
- Letter Pick
- Hammer Time
- Hang Nail
- Floating Towers
- Shape Stack
- Roach Race
- Rock, Paper, Scissors, Well
The Treasure Chamber is the climax to each episode of Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge. The gold is stored here, which is guarded by the Fort's tigers (in series 4 and 5).
Before they enter the chamber, each team is handed a scroll with a plan of the board (a giant alphabet chessboard), which is composed of Georgian letters and the word "Fort Boyard" is also written out on it. On this chessboard, they must place four circular plates of color, as shown in the plan. These plates are hidden in the decorative elements of the chamber (a treasure chest, barrel or underneath ropes). They must therefore find where they are hidden. Boxes are suspended in the fountain and the key for the coins is on top of a vertical rod above and on either side of the Fountain.
Once a team has found and placed their four plates in the right place, the captain returns his/her hand to a tiger's head located nearby the entrance. If correct, the key is released to open their chest containing the coins. Once the chest is opened, coins fall into the fountain below. The team members must collect as many of these coins as possible and put them into a Plexiglas box near the entrance.
At 0:20 seconds from the end of the 3 minutes, a bell rings and the gate of the Treasure Chamber begins to descend and the 8 candidates must get out before it closes.
Then it's time to weigh the coins; two candidates from each team take turns placing their container on the scales to set the number of points scored by the team. At the end of the show, the ranking of teams is updated compared to previous results
Keys for the Treasure Chamber
Several changes were made to the Treasure Chamber in this series, including a new time structure and layout. For example, the crests are not hidden.
Keys for the Treasure Chamber
Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge is set and filmed on the Fort Boyard fortress, on the west coast of France.
From a broadcasting perspective, Fort Boyard itself was refurbished during 1988–89 to become, essentially, a large outdoor television studio. The Fort has its own doctor, catering facilities, as well as production gallery and veterinary centre. The Fort is equipped with 10 portable television cameras, one camera crane for overhead shots, one under-water camera as well as a number of smaller cameras which specifically cover individual games and challenges around the Fort.
Filming took place between 9–15 July 2011; consisting of two seasons of 10 episodes each. A third season was filmed from 7–14 July 2012, with a further 10 episodes made. The fourth was filmed from 18–25 June 2013 and the fifth from 22–27 June 2014.
In series 1 and 2, there were 24 participants (48 in total) from 13 to 19 years of age, divided into 6 teams (12 teams in total) of 4 members with two British and two American members in each team. However, in series 3 (2012), contestants were from 14 to 18 years of age and were all British. In Series 4, they were 12-to 18-year-olds. In addition, each team has a captain. In the School Version, there are 3 British members and one Australian member in a team. Teams in this series now are aged from 11 to 18-year-olds. And, the old colors and animals were bought back.
Series 5 in 2014 saw an overhaul in team colors and animals; a new set of six team names were introduced to replace the original names: (Grey) Rhinos, (Orange) Tigers, (Green) Crocodiles, (Black) Tarantulas, (Yellow) Eagles and (Purple) Cobras.
In the first two series the teams consisted of three boys and a girl; from the third series, there are two boys and two girls per team. In the School Version, There is one team with three girls and one boy and vice versa.
Each team has a color and a symbol of animal:Conquerors of The Fort: Yellow Scorpions
Conquerors of The Fort: Silver Dragons
Conquerors of The Fort: Green Jaguars
Note: episodes 7–10 were not simulcast on both UK channels as usual; the airdates are for ITV1 only. CITV will air these at a later date, due to schedule changes and in order to celebrate its 30th birthday.Conquerors of The Fort: Green Jaguars
Conquerors of The Fort: Black Tarantulas