Channel 4 has commissioned 12 episodes of The Crystal Maze for a second series.
“The return of The Crystal Maze has been a huge success on 4, thanks in no small part to the brilliance of Richard Ayoade as the Maze Master and the inspired production team at Fizz. I’m particularly pleased by the number of young viewers who loved the show – and it’s nice to have finally made a programme I can watch with my children” – Tom Beck, Commissioning Editor
The hour long episodes will once again see Richard Ayoade guide the intrepid explorers through four challenging zones as they collect crystals to exchange for time in the iconic Crystal Dome. Applications open today (Tuesday 23rd January) for teams of five contestants hoping to take a journey through the fiendish maze in new episodes to be filmed in Spring 2018. The order of 12 episodes also includes six celebrity specials in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.
The Crystal Maze will once again be shot at the purpose-built set spanning over 30,000 square feet at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios.
Fans won’t have long to wait to see more adventures from The Crystal Maze, as more new episodes filmed in 2017 will air later this year. The upcoming batch of programmes feature seven more teams of everyday adventurers hoping to “crack the crystal”, including a posse of midwives, a group who met on jury service, a team who became friends at deaf school and an AC/DC tribute band from Newcastle.
The series first aired on Channel 4 in 1990 with Rocky Horror star, and co-creator of the cult musical and movie, Richard O’Brien as host – the iconic Crystal Dome can be seen on the roof of Frank ‘N ‘Furter’s castle in the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie; who would have believed in 1975 a later version of the glass dome would be filled with contestants jumping around chasing bits of sliver and gold coloured foil?
The series was originally intended to be filmed on an old fortress on the west coast of France, Fort Boyard, created by Jacques Antoine for French television, got as far as UK pilot episode recorded with Richard O’Brien, however with time running out towards a transmission date it became clear to producer Malcolm Heyworth the structure wouldn’t be fully operational in time for the UK version to air. Instead the team devised the maze series based on the basic premise of Fort Boyard, which would eventually have a UK version produced for Channel 5 some years later.
After four hugely successful series Richard handed the batton over to singer Ed Tudor-Pole, and a further two runs of The Crystal Maze aired, but as Channel 4’s schedules, and possibly budgets, changed the Crystal Maze was confined for twenty years to repeats only on satellite television, most recently on Challenge TV. The format was revived in October 2016 for a Stand Up To Cancer celebrity special and proved a hit with loyal fans and newcomers alike, winning a consolidated audience of 4.3 million viewers. The one-off was hosted by Stephen Merchant who took the look of original host O’Brien, with Richard appearing in a cameo role in the special via a computer screen.
The next series is the second in the rebooted run, it is however the eighth in the history of the show.
“It was a huge privilege bringing this show back and it’s been wonderful seeing young audiences engage with the new series and our magnificent Maze Master. We can’t wait to get back to creating more crystal collecting chaos. Can we possibly top Rob stuck on a spinning planet?” – Neale Simpson, Executive Producer