Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1970s Krypton Factor, The

Krypton Factor, The

1 9 7 7 – 1 9 9 5 (UK)

Belfast-born Gordon Burns hosted The Krypton Factor – essentially a contest to find the cleverest, fittest, and most dexterous Briton – which involved completing oversized jigsaws, playing an adult version of I-spy and hurtling across an army assault course.

Four contenders took part in each heat, progressing to semi-finals and then to the Grand Final, in which The Krypton Factor champion was declared.


They were subjected to tests of mental agility, intelligence, general knowledge and observation (using film clips and, for many years, an identity parade). An army assault course was used to assess physical strength and fitness (age and sex handicaps levelled the playing field) and a flight simulator was employed to gauge ‘response’.

Each contestant’s final score was known as his or her Krypton Factor.

The show – taking its name from Superman’s home planet – ran for a staggering 18 years and was the first British game show idea to be sold to American TV – but it didn’t last long over there.

The series was also sold to Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

A number of celebrity specials were produced over the years, as well as a few international challenge editions. Ross King also hosted a short-lived junior version, Young Krypton in 1988.