Ninja Warrior UK
Ninja Warrior UK is the British version of the Japanese
assault course game show Sasuke
Broadcast – Saturday nights at 7pm
Repeated on other ITV channels, including CITV; also shown
on Challenge TV
Made by Potato production company in Manchester for ITV
• One at a time, contenders get from one end of the course to the other, without falling off.
Those who get furthest and in the fastest time advance to the semi-finals, and then to the
final. Failure at any time is likely to see the player end up in water.
• Six obstacles comprise the course in the heats. "Quintuple Steps" and "Dancing Stones" (two
tests of agility) appeared for all players. The course ended with the "Warped Wall", an inclined
wall that curves back on itself.
• Three obstacles changed from week to week. Upper-body strength was tested by holding on
to a moving object (a telegraph pole, or a door) and leaping off as it stopped. A later obstacle
tested endurance and technique by crossing a chasm by climbing on curtains or hanging from
ropes. There was also a jump onto a cargo net, aided by a rope or a swing.
• Each episode allowed the ten best performances to progress to the next phase, this ensured
that players wouldn't be unduly disadvantaged by a hard event. Further places were given to
high-scoring losers, effectively ensuring that everyone who finished would come back.
• The main commentary came from Ben Shepherd and Chris Kamara on the gantry above the
warped wall, with Rochelle Humes on the floor to talk to contestants before the event or
those who failed to complete the course.
• Ninja Warrior UK had something for all the family. Young children enjoyed watching grown-
ups fall into the water, the one joke on Total Wipeout that never got old. Slightly older viewers
thought they might aspire to be that good. For the adults, there was athletic ability to
appreciate in all its forms, and the tension of a contest to qualify.
• The challengers are billed as a mix of "have-a-go-heroes
and seasoned athletes" both of which have the potential
to be good for a laugh and get the audience rooting for
them, whether they do well or just fail epically.
• The 10 contestants, from each of the 5 qualifying rounds,
who make it the furthest the fastest, qualify for the semi-
finals, where there are nine obstacles. The top 10
contestants qualify for the final, which is split into four
parts. The first part features nine obstacles and is timed;
the second part features five obstacles with a strict time
limit to create tension, and the third part features three
untimed obstacles. Lastly, contestants must climb
"Mount Midoriyama" with a 70 feet (21 m) rope.
• Average 3.80 million viewers a week
• Eight shows per series: five heats; two semi-finals and
• Aerial tracking shot – moves quickly around set – UK flag designs
• Large aircraft hangar type building – course in the middle and
audience at the sides. Hosts at the front in front of scaffolding and
next to screens. UK flags behind them “This is Ninja Warrior UK”
• Spotlights roam across set; dominant lighting colours are red and
• Dramatic music to create excitement – though not during actual
• Lights flash red and horn sounds when a contestant fails
• Hosts in long shot then cut to audience – cheering with banners
• Cut to medium shot – relaxed hosts introduce themselves. Ben Shepherd (Good Morning Britain
host; has hosted game shows such as The Krypton Factor and Tipping Point); Chris Kamara (ex-
footballer and SKY football commentator and known for being highly excitable; also worked for ITV
on Give a Pet a Home) and Rochelle Humes (singer and TV presenter; also worked on ITV’s The Next
Great Magician, Good Morning, The Xtra Factor etc)
• Synergy – hosts recognisable from other ITV shows so audience might be tempted to watch other
things they do on ITV - so hosts well known across TV channels to a wide audience – will make
audience feel comfortable; casually dressed – sleeves rolled up; hands in pockets
• Representation – two Black presenters; one woman – though note it’s the white presenter who
speaks first and the woman who speaks last.
• Self-effacing – put audience at ease and makes them more engaging and creates upbeat
atmosphere; mock themselves and each other – though also laugh at the contestants, especially
when they fail
• Relaxed with each other
• Hyperbolic – “Course takes no prisoners”
• Voice – over male and energetic and hyperbolic – “toughest
obstacle course on television”
• Long, high swooping shots of set intercut with dramatic moments
of contestants taking part and failing – shows how ‘dangerous’ and
funny it is
• Fast zooms with non-diegetic ‘swish’ sound to underline the speed
• Voice-over talks about new contestants “They have come from all
corners of the United Kingdom” – they could be you – helps the
audience relate so they’ll be more likely to watch the show.
• Screen shows slightly desaturated images of the contestants
practising in gyms, outside etc; some brief interviews bragging to
the camera “I’m 100% ready to do this…”
• Some edits are flashes; some not
• “This is where ordinary people become extraordinary.”
• Hosts introduce show with clips of epic fails – for
comedy and thrills
• Contestants line up and are shot (some in fancy
costumes) in – low angle to make them look like
• Tasks introduced by clip of the ninja figure going over
the course in front of an audience
• Cuts to audience – close-ups/medium close-ups of
audience laughing at commentators
• During games, camera dollies back and cuts to various
angles – moving all the time to create excitement –
often long shots to show the nature of the task
• Replays from various angles to highlight the success or
failure of the contestants and give the hosts a chance
to make fun of them.
• Studio audience – important part of the show – cheer on contestants;
laugh; shout their names - – sometimes boo!
• Frequent cuts to audience to show their reactions
• Diegetic sound of audience – important in creating atmosphere and
feeling of enjoyment for the home audience
• Contestants introduce themselves by encouraging the audience to shout
and then stand in front of a screen. Sometimes see film of them at work
with a voice over talking about themselves.
• Cut away to contestants’ family to see their reactions.
• Hyperbolic voice-overs and replays, Hosts laugh –
encourage audience laughter.
• Humes interviews contestants on the ‘floor’ and there’s
another replay as they talk about it.
• The other two comment from the gallery
• Tasks become more difficult
• Exciting music while hosts read through scoreboard –
adds tension ‘One more contestant to beat…’
• Split screens used to compare contestants’ times to
Audience at home
• Chance to win a prize – courtesy of Warner Brothers
to promote Batman v Superman – illustrated with
clips, pictures of money with graphics – £40,000,
holiday, car, screening – split screen effect to show
prizes - competition recapped at the end.
• Tension – “Still to come…” before ad break – with
clips and dramatic music. Triumphant music when
Synergy – promoting
other ITV programmes
Links to other episodes
Official YouTube Channel. Includes full episodes,
compilations, ‘Funny Fails’ etc