The Tournament

Series 1 2021
Series 2 2022

On Screen Graphics
Production Company: QITV

In the ultimate knockout quiz, eight players do battle on the Tournament Run in a series of exciting tug-of-war quiz matches as they attempt to knock their opponents out of the game and steal their cash. Only one player will be left standing at the end, but can they make it all the way to the Golden Run to double their money? Hosted by Alex Scott and – most importantly – on-screen graphics by me.

Behind the Scenes

As much of a logistics job as a design job, creating the on-screen graphics for all x55 of The Tournament’s episodes was a challenge that I really enjoyed getting stuck into.

After Effects Automation

All good gameshows have at their core a killer format – and The Tournament was no different. With the same rounds and sequences occurring across all episodes, it was ripe for a spot of automation to help get those graphics out at a pace fast enough to keep the BBC One schedulers satiated. 

Using a great AE script called CompsFromSpreadsheets  it was possible to massively reduce the amount of episode to episode graphics work; instead front-loading much of the work and allowing automation to largely take it from there. 

CompsFromSpreadsheets truly is a very clever bit of kit; essentially allowing you to ingest data from a spreadsheet and have it channeled into After Effects compositions in a particular way that you’ve specified. In the case of The Tournament, that meant inputting the results of each round of the game into a rather large spreadsheet, using various variables that specify how After Effects should interpret these once imported. For example, giving a value of ‘kopos1‘ into the KO1 column meant that player one had just achieved a ‘knockout’ round. In turn, this causes an extra £500 to be added to their score and the Knockout graphic to pop up on screen!

Automation is rarely an exact science – and typically where things went wrong here was incorrect data entry. It wasn’t an entirely automatic process – but vastly speedier than creating all 1760 graphics assets for x55 episodes manually. 

Pesky Nametags

To ensure maximum viewer comfort at home – every contestant was packaged up with a large gleaming name tag. These looked great during the bulk of the show – but when it came to creating my Head to Head graphics having extra text on screen in the form of those nametags made me feel slightly nauseous in the way that clunky design so often does. 

I therefore had no choice but to meticulously paint out each and every nametag. Sometimes this was easy; especially when a Tournament contestant was wearing a nice plain colour top. But other times, when they had decided to wear their finest bespoke shirt featuring the devil playing a guitar – my job became much harder. But, like the graphics special forces operative I am, I soldiered on and before I knew it every nametag had been successfully obliterated – almost seamlessly!

The Tournament

On Screen Graphics

A short clip showing the range of graphics produced for both seasons one and two of BBC One’s The Tournament.

Watch The Tournament

As of publishing this page it looks like there aren’t any episodes actually available on iPlayer. Click on the button to the right of this text to go to the page and see for yourself – you might have more luck than me.