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Monique, the tiger's head if you please. / Félindra, tête de tigre !

A Game Show, originating in France in 1990 and, so far, running for 22 seasons in the French version, but several foreign versions have been made. As of 2011, the French, Swedish, German and South Korean versions remain in production, along with a new joint venture between the United States and the UK featuring teenagers.

All the shows take place on Fort Boyard, a Napoleonic fort off the west coast of France.

Depending on the version, four to six contestants take part in physical and mental challenges under time limits to firstly acquire keys to a treasure room and then to acquire clues to a password that, inside the treasure room, will release a load of coins. All against some sort of countdown clock. Some versions have contestants playing to win actual money, but the more recent French versions feature teams of celebrities playing for charity.

In the UK version, these challenges were set by Boyard, master of the fort (played by Leslie Grantham in the first UK version). Whether or not he's evil seems to vary according to the version.

In the current French version, the challenges are set by the Père Fouras, an old, bald intellectual.

When Channel 4 wanted to make a UK version, the filming schedule of the French original meant they couldn't use the fort, so they went and built The Crystal Maze instead. Many years later there was indeed a British series of Fort Boyard, but by that time it was viewed as a poor man's Crystal Maze.


This show contains examples of:

  • Face Your Fears - A contestant doesn't like heights? Chances are good that said contestant will find themselves walking a tightrope or performing another challenge at a high altitude. Also present in several challenges and ordeals involving mice, snakes, spiders, insects...
  • Lock and Key Puzzle - Literally, keys are required to open the treasure room, clues to retrieve the gold. Also, some challenges and ordeals fall under this category, with keys or other items required to retrieve the prize... or, in one notable case, to exit the cell in which the challenge takes place.
  • Lost Forever - All the challenges and ordeals are one-shot only. In addition, in the latest French version, failing one of the challenges to recover keys or imprisoned team members will result in the person being lost for the remainder of the game.
  • Mud Wrestling - One challenge in particular involves a female contestant fighting a strongwoman in a pit of mud.
  • Only Smart People May Pass - Many of the challenges. In some cases, degenerating to "Only the dumb may not pass".
  • Race Against the Clock - Each challenge, ordeal, or puzzle is like this, with varying consequences for running out of time ranging from being locked in the challenge cell to watching a clue word burn up to losing all the money earned in the Treasure Room.
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