The Vault (game show)

The Vault

Logo from quizshow 'The Vault'.
Starring Davina McCall (2002)
Melanie Sykes (2003-04)
Gabby Logan (2004)
Country of origin Israel
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 31
Producer(s) Carlton Television
Running time 60 minutes
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9
Original release 11 May 2002 (2002-05-11) – 31 August 2004 (2004-08-31)

The Vault is a game show created in Israel (known as HaKassefet, Hebrew: הַכַּסֶפֶת), by Erez Tal. It was later a British hit on ITV, running from 2002 until 2004. It was hosted by Davina McCall (Series 1), Melanie Sykes (Series 2 and 3) and Gabby Logan (Series 3). Logan stepped in for Sykes on 6 July 2004 when she went on maternity leave partway through Series 3 due to her pregnancy.


At the start of each show, the contestants (which numbered seven in series 1, eight in series 2 and nine in series 3) tried to guess the four-digit combination to the Vault, which contained the jackpot money, starting at £100,000 and increasing by a further £100,000 every week it remained unopened.

The four contestants who guessed the closest to the actual Vault combination became players, and the other four became brokers, who could offer answers to questions in return for cash that players earned in the question rounds. In the final round, 10 home brokers were also on hand to offer their answers for similar cash rewards, which they negotiated with the player.

After the first round, which consisted of the four players being given three minutes to answer 10 general knowledge questions correctly, and the two highest scoring players going through to the semi-final, came the final round, which saw the player with the highest amount of money trying to unlock the vault by answering a further ten questions correctly. If they reached the ninth question and answered that correctly, the clock would be stopped and the player would be given three categories for their last question. If they answered that correctly, then they had the knowledge to unlock the Vault and would win the jackpot contained within it.

If the Vault was not opened by the studio contestant at the end of their final two-minute round, then the same Vault jackpot was offered to someone watching at home, selected randomly by the computer from all the people who had registered over the past week. The lucky selected viewer had to answer six questions in 60 seconds, two of which had already been asked in the show. If they succeeded, the viewer would win the jackpot themselves. If they didn't, £100,000 was added to the jackpot for next week's show. In Series 3, the jackpot rolled over for nine weeks consecutively and reached £1 million.

Notable contestants

A notable contestant in Series 2 was a music technology student, Mary Swain, who reached the tenth question with nine seconds remaining, and after choosing 'Language', from 'Language' 'Science' and 'Literature' for her final question, correctly identified that 'arctophiles' collect teddy bears, and in doing so won a huge vault jackpot of £700,000, which had built up because the vault had remained unopened for six weeks.

In Series 1, Kwan Loo, a business/management consultant, was the first ever studio winner, when he scooped £100,000, and £300,000 was won by Leah Nichols after she answered Davina's six questions correctly on the phone. In Series Two, £200,000 went to home viewer Anne Parkinson.

Karen Shand, a home viewer in Series 3, answered the six questions correctly within the time limit and won one million pounds, which earned 'The Vault' a record for being the first quiz show in Britain to give away £1 million live on national television.

Jackpot questions

£100,000 – Of what are phasmophobics afraid? (Answer: ghosts) – won by Kwan Loo, studio player, Series 1

£300,000 – What is the longest river in the United Kingdom? (Answer: River Severn) – won by Leah Nichols, phone winner, Series 1

£100,000 – What nut is used to flavour the drink Amaretto? (Answer: almond) – won by Gemma Connor, phone winner, Series 2

£700,000 – What does an arctophile collect? (Answer: teddy bears) – won by Mary Swain, studio player, Series 2

£1,000,000 – What was the maiden name of the former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy? (Answer: Bouvier) – won by Karen Shand, phone winner, Series 3


Series 1 and Series 2 were both broadcast on Saturday evening primetime slots and were hugely popular. However, Series 3 was broadcast on a Tuesday evening and had a fierce competition from a BBC One drama Holby City. It was revealed shortly after Series 3 ended that ITV intended to halt the production of a fourth series due to declining ratings.

Other versions

Country Name Host Channel Premiere/air dates
(original version)
Erez Tal (2000-2004)
Gabi Gazit (2006-2007)
Channel 2 (Keshet) 2000-2007
 France Le Coffre Nagui France 2 2003-2004
 Hong Kong 群雄奪寶
Kwan Hung Dyut Bou
Jaclyn Chu ATV 2002
 Portugal O Cofre Jorge Gabriel RTP1 2005-2006
 Russia Обратный отсчёт
Obratnyy otschot
Andrey Boltenko TV6 2001
 Thailand The Vault เจาะเซฟ Panadda Wongpoodee itv 2004
 United States The Vault TBA ABC Planned for 2003
but was never produced


"Do you have the knowledge to unlock the Vault?"

Theme music

The theme music used on 'The Vault' was the score from the original Israeli version of the quiz, composed by Tomer Biran Music.


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 11 May 2002 22 June 2002 7
2 28 June 2003 9 August 2003 7
3 11 May 2004 31 August 2004 17
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