Written by Shona Smith on Jan 24, 2020. Posted in On Location / Production News

Bristol filmed game show The Crystal Maze makes US debut

The ten part US version, debuting on Nickelodeon, filmed at existing sets at the Bottleyard Studios, Bristol.

A new family format created for the US market will see comedian/writer Adam Conover (College Humour, BoJack Horseman) take on the role of Maze Master. The US version is made by Fizz, part of Bristol-based RDF Television. The Crystal Maze is co-produced by Bunim/Murray Productions (The Real World, The Challenge, Born This Way) and RDF Television (Secret Life of 4 Year Olds, Wife Swap, Shipwrecked) under parent company Banijay Grop.

Each week, a family will take on the maze in a series of escape room challenges fo a chance to win up to US25,000. Filming took place in the original purpose-built set at The Bottle Yard Studios, which spans 30,000 square feet. Ten families from Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia and Illinois travelled to Bristol for filming at the studio. The US format uses four of the set’s existing zones: the Aztec, Eastern, Futuristic and Industrial housed in Bristol.

The cult British gameshow originally aired from 1990-1995 in the UK, returning to Channel 4 in 2016 for a charity special which gained a consolidated audience of 4.3 million. Channel 4 subsequently brought the series back, building a purpose-built maze was built in the Spring 2017. Housed in a previously un-used areas of the Bottle Yard Studios maze designer James Dillon and art director Alex Robertson incorporated the Studios’ existing structure, such as the pillars, into the maze. The set features 16,000 square feet of scenic backdrop, eighteen tonnes of sand in the Aztec Zone, over two hundred plants, forty LED panels, a Crystal Dome with intelligent LED lighting frame and wheelchair access, a Future Zone with a rotating Floor and 5,600 gallons of water in the waterfall and water rooms.

The Bottle Yard Studios routinely accommodate extensive set builds, such as the building of an 1820’s outdoor regency era street for ITV’s Sandition, as well as a period-correct replica of the House of Commons for Poldark.

Image Credit: ©2019 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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