The premise of Cheat is refreshingly simple - four contestants take part in each episode, answering general knowledge questions to win money. If a player doesn’t know an answer, they can press their cheat button, which will reveal the correct answer, and it’s up to them to pretend that they knew it themselves.
In the first round, other players can call each other out if they think they have cheated, but they won’t know until the end of the round if they were right. Money gained through cheated answers is then removed from the prize pot. The person who made the most correct calls in the first round picks another player to eliminate, and will regain all of the money from that player’s cheated answers.
In the second round, the remaining three players continue to answer questions, but when they call each other for cheating they find out straight away if they were right. At the end of this round, the best cheat finder chooses a player to eliminate.
In the final round it’s head to head, and the first person to be correctly called out for cheating, or to incorrectly call out a cheat loses. The winner takes home all of the money gained through the first two rounds.
It’s very easy to pick up, and because it’s a quiz show you can play along at home - although the speed of the show (answers are given within seconds) doesn’t give you a lot of breathing room.
The show takes a fresh twist to the well-trodden ground of question and answer quizzes. Although billed as the only game show that welcomes cheating, that’s only within the very rigid parameters of pressing a big cheat button. And because that’s pretty much the entire game, it doesn’t really feel like cheating.
Show hosts Ellie Taylor and Danny Dyer have a surprising amount of chemistry - more than Dyer’s EastEnders character Mick Carter did with, well any of his Albert Square co-stars. Dyer looks to be having fun on the show, although I can’t imagine many people will have fun watching him.
After almost every question he has some cheeky wordplay jokette ready to throw out - in reply to the answer ‘Gavin and Stacey’ he asks ‘is he Gavin’ us on’ - this gets very tired very quickly. Especially when he grins and looks around the studio for approval. Every time.
Taylor is considerably more palatable, she takes on the role of question master and keeps the show on track, leaving Danny to play the berk.
On balance, Cheat is a passable gameshow, it’s a nice antidote to the super-serious intense quizzes like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and it really doesn’t take itself seriously - which is good because it really can’t afford to.
I’m not quite sure why the series is being released on Netflix in three instalments of four episodes each when it’s exactly the kind of thing that you would binge watch because you can’t muster enough energy to change to another title. The likelihood that viewers will return to this series twice seems low.