Real life Squid Game: what is Netflix reality series spin off - have contestants been injured in challenges?

Netflix reality series Squid Game: The Challenge, based on the 2021 thriller series, is being filmed in Bedfordshire now

A reality series based on the horror/thriller show Squid Game is coming to Netflix later this year and being filmed now in the UK. Some contestants reported suffering in the freezing conditions during filming, but fought against ill-health in pursuit of a large cash prize.

The 2021 series Squid Game, is a South Korean thriller series about hundreds of desperate contestants in a deadly game show who compete in a series of brutal challenges in the hopes of winning a life changing amount of money.

The contestants are killed off in scores, gunned down by a terrifying animatronic doll, pulled over a precipice in a high stakes game of tug of war, and executed by the showrunners after losing a game of marbles. The reality series will obviously be much tamer than all that, but some contestants are reportedly struggling with the conditions.

What is the real life Squid Game?

Heavily inspired by the thriller series, the reality show, currently billed as Squid Game: The Challenge, will also feature 456 contestants competing for their share of a huge cash prize. They will take part in physical and mental challenges, and form alliances with other contestants as they attempt to make it to the final round.

The series will be made up of 10 episodes, with contestants being eliminated in droves in each episode. Although, unlike in the thriller show, the worst that contestants can expect is to go back home without any winnings.

456 contestants will take part in Squid Game: The Challenge

Brandon Riegg, Netflix VP of Unscripted and Documentary Series said: "Squid Game took the world by storm with Director Hwang’s captivating story and iconic imagery. We’re grateful for his support as we turn the fictional world into reality in this massive competition and social experiment.

"Fans of the drama series are in for a fascinating and unpredictable journey as our 456 real world contestants navigate the biggest competition series ever, full of tension and twists, with the biggest ever cash prize at the end."

The top prize is £3.7 million - believed to be the largest cash prize offered on a UK game show. This is still considerably less than the prize offered in the scripted series which stood at ₩45.6 billion (£28 million), but then contestants did face a very high risk of fatal injury on their way to claim that prize.

Squid Game: The Challenge is filmed at Cardington Airfield

Where is the real life Squid Game filmed?

Netflix has been filming a reality series based on the smash-hit South Korean show Squid Game which landed on the platform in 2021. The gorey thriller series had more than 1.65 billion hours (equivalent to 188,000 years) viewed within the first 28 days of its release, setting a record for Netflix.

The reality series spin off is being filmed at Cardington Studios, a former RAF base in Bedfordshire. Some of those taking part in the show had travelled thousands of miles, coming from the US and Australia.

Other projects filmed at Cardington include the blockbuster films The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception. Fantastic Beasts and How To Find Them, and Star Wars: The Return of Skywalker. Sky series Revolution and Fox show Man v Robot were also filmed there.

Have contestants been injured filming the real life Squid Game?

According to The Sun, some competitors complained of injuries during filming, with one being carried on a stretcher.

A contestant told The Sun: “Even if hypothermia kicked in then people were willing to stay for as long as possible because a lot of money was on the line. Too many were determined not to move so they stood there for far too long.

“There were people arriving thinking they were going to be millionaires but they left in tears. It was like a warzone. People were getting carried out by medics but we couldn’t say anything. If you talk then you’re out.

“Some people couldn’t move their feet because it was so cold. You could hear someone yell ‘medic’ and the crew would rush on. We ended up standing there for 30 minutes between takes. Some were crawling by the end. One was carried out on a stretcher.”