15 minutes of fame. A lot of people want theirs, and for many of them a TV game show is the answer.
The reality is that the majority of people aren’t going to become famous for going on one of the many TV shows that frequent our screens, but there have been a few people who have, and it’s changed their lives forever. Programs such as Big Brother, Love Island, MasterChef, and the Great British Bake Off can lead to the “showbiz” lifestyle for a select few, and open a lot of doors for them.
What many people aren’t aware of is the relative ease with which people can get onto these shows. It’s not something that is often talked about and most wouldn’t know where to start, but the power of the internet makes the process easier than ever.
Where to Start?
The first thing to do is to work out what sort of game show you want to take part in.
Are you a dab hand in the kitchen? If so, shows like MasterChef and the Great British Bake Off would be ideal. Have you conquered the local pub quiz more times than you can remember? Then shows like Mastermind and The Chase would be good options for you. Do you crave to be the next Alan Sugar? Then The Apprentice could well get you off the starting blocks.
Once you have narrowed down what sort of TV show you want to take part in, you can then start to look at what is needed for each role. It’s worth noting that a lot of TV companies will keep your file on record and contact you if a space becomes available for other shows that might fit your brief too.
What’s the Process?
The next step is to start researching who you need to contact for each show. This is going to depend on the show that you are looking tojoin.
The biggest TV companies will often host their own programs and the application process will be on their website. ITV produces TV shows such as The Voice, The Chase, Love Island, Long Lost Family, Ninja Warrior UK, Judge Rinder, and Saturday Night Takeaway, so you could expect to find application details for those shows on the ITV website. However, not all TV programs are guaranteed to be cast via their website.
For new programs, the TV channel might advertise for participants via external casting platforms such as Lost In TV and Star Now, to name just a couple. These are websites that list auditions and opportunities for a number of different shows and channels all in one place, and you can apply directly through the site. The people working on the specific shows will then choose who to audition and use.
This is also a good way to find out about smaller company’s shows that are still being developed. They might be making a single ‘pilot’ episode of a program in order to pitch it to bigger channels like ITV, in the hope that they will buy it from them.
Above you will see a typical advert for a new show that is being run by Lost In TV, where they are looking for people to come on the show and go through their finances. As you can see, not even the name of the show is mentioned and there will be few other details online yet; this is what is known as the “pre-production stage”. There are no guarantees that the show will air even if you get on it, although most of them do once adverts for participants go public.
The application process is very simple. You will be asked to fill in an application form for each show, then the producers of the show will select certain people who fit the mould for that show. Take Love Island as an example; you’re going to need to look right, be of a certain age, and also be single. It may sound pretty vain, but this is the type of people that they cast on that particular show.
It’s the same sort of deal for shows like The Voice. There is a whole application and audition process before any of the contestants get in front of the famous judges. Unlike on The X Factor, you need to be a decent singer to get on The Voice.
The application form should highlight the type of people that they are looking for, and whilst most are fairly broad and vague at the start, if it’s an ongoing program then you should be able to see if you fit the bill by looking at the former contestants.
Above we have an excerpt from the Love Island application form, and as you can see they aren’t asking for too much at this point, assuming that most who apply will have seen the show and know what it’s about.
Aside from that, you will be asked to provide a little bit of info about you. You may even be asked to send in a few photos of yourself and a bit about why you think you might be a good fit for the show. The process is likely going to be a long and arduous one and you will up against thousands of other applicants, so you need to stand out from the crowd.
How to Find the Shows
We’ve spoken already about there being a host of online platforms where you can apply for roles in these TV shows. Here are some of the most popular:
The BBC is one of the biggest broadcasting companies in the world and they host a huge range of shows on their platform. Their initial process is one of the longest and most thorough that we have seen, and they take a lot of information from the outset.
For example, one of the shows that you can apply to be on is The Repair Shop. This show allows members of the public to get their old or broken objects repaired by some of the best crafters and upcyclers in the industry.
The application includes lots of information about the person applying, and needs you to go into huge depth about the product itself, including 6 photos, what’s happened to it, any backstory, the current value, and so on. They also state that you can fast-track your application by sending in a video about yourself and the item, no more than 3-4 minutes long.
Other shows the BBC produce include:
- Eat well for less
- Your home made perfect
- Bargain Hunt
- Escape to the Perfect Town
- Escape to the Country
- The Wall
- Antiques Roadshow
ITV are another of the bigger companies in the industry and what you are going to find here is a lot of tried and tested brands that you can easily research. The application process is a fair bit easier than that of the BBC as your initial application is much shorter, but ITV do state that they keep all applications on file and they will contact people when other shows that might suit become available.
The main thing to note with ITV is that you can’t have worked for the company or be related to anyone within the company to apply for these shows. The majority are over 18’s as well, so bear that in mind. Some of their bigger shows include:
- Back to mine
- Alan Carr’s Epic Game Show
- Dickinson’s Real Deal
- The Voice
- The Chase
- Love your garden with Alan Titchmarsh
- Love Island
- Long Lost Family
- Ninja Warrior
- Judge Rinder
- Saturday Night Takeaway
StarNow are the first of the independent companies that are on offer and you’re going to find that these guys do a lot more than just allow people to apply for game shows. The concept of the site is also to allow different TV shows to pitch to potential actors, extra’s, model, influencers and presenters, as well as a host of other sectors within the entertainment industry.
As far as TV shows and game shows go, they have a dedicated section that includes a wide range of roles. The shows and the roles that are on there are pretty vague, and from what we can see most of them are new shows that haven’t previously been aired before. Having said that, some are a lot more transparent in terms of the jobs that are on offer and who you are working for.
The process with StarNow is that you need to register an account with them and then you apply to whichever jobs you want. Once you’ve an account it will allow you to apply for all jobs from acting, modelling, or game shows, and then you upload some sort of CV. For the game shows, these are more laid back in terms of what’s on offer, and often they are looking for more of a diverse mix of people than any set criteria for the show.
StarNow have and do work with the following companies:
- Endemol Shine Group
Lost in TV is another agency type website and with them you are not only able to book your place on a number of game shows, but also buy tickets to be in the audience for these shows as well.
The site is big for new programs that might not have aired yet. They work with a wide range of companies in order to make sure that they are able to get as wide a range of people as possible and castings can include the likes of parenting, money advice, holidays and families/couples.
Audition & Casting Tips
With all roles, once you are successfully through the initial application stage you will then have to go through a series of auditions and casting sessions in order to make the final cut. Depending on the popularity of the program, this can include hundreds or even thousands of people, so you need to stand out to get in.
The first thing that these shows are going to look for, for the most part anyway, are people who aren’t going to be too controversial. This includes things like swearing and offensive behaviour given that a lot of the shows are either aired before the watershed or broadcast live. For example, if you are trying to get on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and every other word you say is an F-bomb, then it’s unlikely you are going to make the grade.
For series like Love Island or Big Brother, the producers are looking for interesting people that the audience are going to want to tune in to each week and watch. It might be that they are funny, particularly attractive, quirky, links up well with others, or even are a little controversial. While some shows avoid controversy some actively court it.
The key thing to take from this is that you need to gear your auditions and castings towards the show that you are trying to get on. Some arrogance and swagger would probably work well for shows like Love Island where you can leave your integrity at the door, but may not be welcome for something like Mastermind.
It’s important to be yourself for the most part as well. You aren’t a trained actor, this is not your career and you should be able to stay true to who you are. When these shows are cast, consistency is definitely something that the producers will be looking for so you need to be able to keep up whatever sort of ‘performance’ you might give in the casting.
Like most things in life, if you can make the people in the room like you then you stand a much better chance of doing well and thus getting on the telly.