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Distraction (game show)

Distraction is a game show that aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom from 31 October 2003 to 11 June 2004. Presented by comedian Jimmy Carr, the show involved contestants answering questions while being distracted in various bizarre, painful and humiliating ways.

Carr was aided by "distractors", who as the name suggests, attempted to distract the contestants painfully or emotionally. Examples include losing contestants, nudists, creepy carny guys, tattoo/piercing experts, wrestlers, midgets, Roller Derby girls, professional athletes, paintball players, and a large bouncer-type male nicknamed "Tiny". Occasionally, a number of female assistants helped with some of the distractions; depending on the stunt being played, they could be referred to as "Jimmy's interns", "farmer girls", "schoolgirls" or "ammo ladies."

A quiz book, featuring most of the distractions seen on the show, was released by Carlton Books in late 2004.


At the start of the show, there are four contestants, usually two women and two men. Before the first round, they "get to know each other", finding out about each other's embarrassing moments, unique hobbies, strange talents, or previous unflattering occupations.

The first three rounds are usually quizzes involving rather easy questions. However, these rounds feature various distractions to cause pain and/or discomfort while contestants try to answer them. The distractions may be endured throughout the round, activated in order to answer questions, as punishment for incorrect answers, or as a result of getting a question right. On occasion, the contestants inflict an additional distraction on themselves (such as attaching clothespins to their own faces), with bonus points being awarded to the most successful of the four. At the end of each round, the player who has performed worst is eliminated and receives nothing.

Distractions have included being shocked with electricity (such as with electric dog collars), pushing buzzers surrounded by cacti while blindfolded, sticking one's hand in live mousetraps to answer a question, being shot with paintballs, urinating in a specially designed toilet to activate one's buzzer, drinking shots of hot sauce or their own urine, and being hung upside down and tickled on the soles of the feet.

In the fourth and final round, instead of answering questions to win prizes, the prizes are given to the winner upfront; however, the contestant must then answer several further questions to prevent these prizes from being damaged and/or destroyed. For example, if the prize is a car, getting a particular question wrong could result in the losing contestants getting to spray paint graffiti on the side of it, smash the windscreen, or key-scratch the door(s) of the car. If a set of smaller prizes is at stake, each incorrectly answered question will result in a prize being destroyed outright (say, by being blown up or hit with a wrecking ball) or disastrously modified in some way (for example, a stereo being cut apart to make a bookshelf). If cash is at stake, the player must answer questions quickly enough to prevent its destruction (such as being burned in a toaster or thrown into a cement mixer).

There is also debate on the legality of burning money at the end of some shows. While it is illegal in some countries, the programme was originally produced in the United Kingdom, in which burning money is legal .


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 31 October 2003 19 December 2003 8
2 16 April 2004 11 June 2004 8

International versions

Country Name Host Channel Premiere Finale
Distração Fatal
Rodrigo Faro
TV Record
20 December 2008
 Canada French
Pierre-Yves Lord
2 September 2009
Elias Psinakis & Elena Graveza
Alpha TV
16 May 2006
 Czech Republic
Pekelná výzva
Iva Pazderková
Prima COOL
14 February 2013
V Distraction
Rithvik Dhanjani
Channel V
February 2015
Ido Rozenbloom
Bip (channel)
Teo Mammucari
Enrico Papi
Italia 1
Rat van Fortuin
Ruben Nicolai
Nederland 3
15 September 2006
31 December 2007
Álvaro Mora
4 February 2009
Dragan Marinković
RTV Pink
21 February 2010
Distracción fatal
Anabel Alonso
Antena 3
Orlando Petinatti
Saeta TV
 United States
Jimmy Carr
Comedy Central
18 January 2005
11 April 2006

External links

  • program description @ Fremantlemedia (via Internet Archive)Distraction
  • Official (U.S.) website (via Internet Archive)Distraction
  • Official (Israelian) websiteBehafraa
  • Official (Italian) website (via Internet Archive)Distraction
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