Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit

Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit is a British comedy panel game show, hosted by comedian Dara Ó Briain, co-starring video game journalist Ellie Gibson, and premiered on Dave on 5 September 2016. The show's format is themed around two teams – English comedians Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon as team captains, along with a guest member for each team – competing in a series of rounds against each other for points through various video games. Games featured in the programme ranged from past classic, modern releases and indie games, as well as a specially designed round themed on a particular game. The winner of each episode is the team to secure the most points after five rounds, with the number of points determined by an audience vote.

Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit
GenreComedy Panel game
Created by
Written byDominic English (Series 1)
James Menzies (Series 2 & 3)
Directed bySteve Smith (Series 1, Various Series 2 & 3)
Jan Genesis (Various Series 2 & 3)
Presented byDara Ó Briain
StarringTeam Captains
Steve McNeil
Sam Pamphilon
Gaming Expert
Ellie Gibson
Theme music composerLiam Tate
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series3
No. of episodes27 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Donald Taffner, Jr.
Michaela Hennessy-Vass (Series 2–3)
John Bartlett (Best Of)
Iain Coyle (UKTV)
Simon Lupton (UKTV – Ep. 1)
Producer(s)Darren Sole (Series Producer)
Rohan Acharya (Series 1, Best Of)
Ross Murray (Series 2–3)
Production location(s)Fountain Studios (Series 1)
BBC Elstree (Series 2–3)
Editor(s)Jason Boxall (Series 1)
Fergus March (Series 1, Best Of)
Luke Crockett (Series 2)
James Curry (Series 2 & 3)
Jon Ellis (Series 2 & 3)
Duncan Hart (Series 2 & 3)
Tom McPhee (Series 2 & 3)
Michael Pearce (Series 2 & 3)
Running time60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s)DLT Entertainment UK LTD
DistributorDLT Entertainment LTD
Original networkDave
Picture format16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original release5 September 2016 (2016-09-05) 
16 April 2018 (2018-04-16)
External links
Official website

The show was originally conceived by McNeil and Pamphilon for the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before it was later pitched for television in 2016. After the first series, UKTV commissioned two more series of the programme,[1] allowing viewers to watch a new episode via their on-demand service UKTV Play, a week before it would be broadcast on Dave. The show spawned a spin-off show, entitled Go 8 Bit DLC and presented by Gibson, McNeil and Pamphilon, that was aired alongside each episode of the second series,[2] and also featured a one-hour special, entitled The Best of Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit and aired on 5 February 2018, featuring the best bits of series 1 and 2.[3]

On 28 September 2018, following the conclusion of the third series, UKTV cancelled production on Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit,[4] though at present it has not ruled out a return of the programme.[5]


In 2013, McNeil and Pamphilon began work to devise a show they would perform for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that year. The comedians had very little on ideas for what they would create, but eventually settled on the idea of using video games to create humour.[6] Their concept, entitled McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!, focused on them leading teams that competed against each other via playing video games, with the loser having to take a forfeit.[7] Examples of forfeits that occurred included McNeil being punched, and Pamphilon eating a whole jar of jalapeño peppers.[8][9] When interviewed by The Guardian about the concept they created, McNeil explained the reasoning behind their idea:[6]

"We'd had the idea of doing a late night show on Friday and Saturday nights, just for fun, where we'd get comedians drunk and then encourage them to abuse each other while they played retro games – purely for shenanigans. Somewhat tediously, it was more successful than anything else we'd done up to that point. So we kept doing it."

While the show's popularity led to it featuring on the Fringe the following year,[10] the concept was seen to have potential. The television rights were optioned by production company DLT Entertainment UK Limited, who assigned producer Rohan Acharya to develop its format for television. The basic development of the programme established a budget that allowed six episodes to be produced as a sales tool, with a presentation of the televised concept performed at The Tabernacle in 2014. After watching the presentation, Dave gave the green light to supporting the show and taking on its six episodes, a decision that was further assisted by Dara Ó Briain agreeing to become the show's host; his attachment to it led to the show's name changing to become Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit. To assist in its development on Dave, Darren Sole was brought on as Series Producer.[11] When the show was given a live performance in a London pub, Ellie Gibson became immediately interested in what she saw and auditioned for a role on the programme as a gaming expert, which she subsequently secured.[6]


The show focuses on comedians McNeil and Pamphilon as the captain of their own team, with each episode seeing them joined by a guest teammate. The goal for both teams is to secure the most points after five rounds of competitive gaming. The rules for each round vary, depending on the game being played and the mode of gameplay used – for example, the rules could state that the teams have to maintain the highest score when the allotted playing time is up, while in another game, the rules could stipulate that it is the best of five matches to determine the winner and team members switch controllers after each match. While Gibson provides overall information on each game that is played by the teams, in a humorous style, along with the rules for winning each round, both she and Ó Briain also provide commentary when a game is underway.

The main stage used for the show, where the host, expert and teams are situated on, features a special mechanism which allows it to move 90 degrees clockwise and anticlockwise between two positions – the "Play" position, which faces the teams towards a large screen used for the majority of rounds to play video games on, except for the final round, in which they face a special stage to play a unique game on it; and the "Rest" position, used between rounds. Both teams each sit at a couch for the duration of the show, except the final round, with each having a desk space set in front of them that is laden with various console controllers and a keyboard and mouse, depending on the choice of games being used. In some cases where the teams are playing an arcade video game, an arcade machine of the game is set up on the stage.

Each episode consists of five rounds that are played as follows:

  • Round 1 – A classic video game played by both teams. In this round, members of both team switch play when the current player is "KOed" during gameplay.
  • Round 2 & 3 – The favourite game of each guest. The guest that is playing, competes against the opposing team's captain.
  • Round 4 – A modern indie game or a big hit game, played by both teams.
  • Round 5 – A humorous take on a game, done up with life-size controller scheme, and played in a special stage area behind the screen. The game usually involves the guests playing this.

The team that wins a round receives a set number of points that are determined before it begins via an audience vote. Prior to each episode, the audience are given log-in details to a voting app they can use on their phone. When a round is set to commence, the audience are asked to vote on the team they believe will win it, with voting ended upon the stage set to the Play position. The highest percentage value from the vote tally, becomes the points that are on offer for the winning team – for example, if the vote ends with team A getting 36% of the vote, and team B getting 64% of the vote, then the winner of the round will receive 64 points. For the final round, the number of points on offer is doubled. In the event of a tie, both teams receive points based on the number for the round.


Series Overview

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
15 September 201610 October 20166
215 May 201717 July 201710[1]
312 February 201816 April 201810
5 February 2018The Best of...

The coloured backgrounds denote the result of each of the shows:

     – indicates Steve's team won
     – indicates Sam's team won

Series 1 (2016)

EpisodeFirst broadcastSteve's guestSam's guestScoresGames Played
15 September 2016Susan CalmanDavid James257–126Tetris Party, Chuckie Egg, Tekken 2, Star Wars Battlefront, Makey Makey
212 September 2016Marcus BrigstockeGina Yashere266–154Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Portal 2, Snake, LittleBigPlanet 3, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
319 September 2016Bob MortimerHolly Walsh307–127Galaxian, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Flick Kick Football Legends, Rocket League, Storm Rider
426 September 2016Rachel RileyRussell Howard133–246Street Fighter II′ Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Temple Run, Sensible Soccer, Nidhogg, Track & Field
53 October 2016Dave GormanJosie Long125–253Pac-Man, Toybox Turbos, Frogger, Gang Beasts, Pong
610 October 2016Jason ManfordEd Byrne198–235Asteroids, FIFA 16, Big Buck Hunter Pro, Trials Fusion, Kororinpa

Series 2 (2017)

EpisodeFirst broadcastSteve's guestSam's guestScoresGames Played
115 May 2017Sara PascoeRichard Osman129–244Galaga, Doodle Jump, Micro Machines, Human: Fall Flat, Block Block
222 May 2017Rob BeckettZoe Lyons225–231Gran Turismo, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Horace Goes Skiing, Goat Simulator, Whac-a-Mole
329 May 2017Sara CoxDaniel Sloss155–302Wipeout, Crossy Road, FIFA 17, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Kwik Snax
45 June 2017Ellie TaylorJon Richardson194–197Crash Team Racing, Aztec Challenge, DuckTales, SpeedRunners, Combat
512 June 2017Vernon KayBec Hill274–152Tapper, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Grand Prix Simulator, What the Box?, Driveclub
619 June 2017Gemma CairneyRobert Webb391–581942, Jetpac, Angry Birds, Overcooked, Tilt Brush
726 June 2017Russell KaneLolly Adefope414–61Ghosts 'n Goblins, Lemmings, Tricky Towers, Sportsfriends, VR The Diner Duo
83 July 2017Edith BowmanElis James215–123Mega Man 2, Snowboard Party, Street Fighter V, Lance a Lot, Fruit Ninja VR
910 July 2017Jamali MaddixLiza Tarbuck210–213Crash Bandicoot, Far Cry 3, Bomb Jack, Golf With Your Friends, Area 51
1017 July 2017Kerry HowardOre Oduba150–247Tony Hawk's Skateboarding, Tomb Raider, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball, Alex Kidd in Miracle World

Series 3 (2018)

EpisodeFirst broadcastSteve's guestSam's guestScoresGames Played
112 February 2018Gregg WallaceJodie Kidd427–136Spy Hunter, Total War: Rome II, Battlefield 1, Push Me Pull You, Game & Watch: Chef
219 February 2018Dr. Maggie Aderin-PocockJosh Widdicombe334–71Defender, Love You To Bits, Football Manager 2017, Battlezone VR, Chicken Jump
326 February 2018Jessica KnappettMatt Forde262–132Gauntlet, The Sims, Need for Speed, Headmaster VR, Trog
45 March 2018DevSusan Calman303–146Minecraft, Ark: Survival Evolved, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Balloon Chair Death Match, Toobin'
512 March 2018Suzi RuffellJonathan Ross160–137Final Fight, Aladdin, Titan Fall 2, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, Sparc
619 March 2018Nish KumarAnna Richardson288–122Virtua Fighter, Alien: Isolation, Worms Armageddon, Shovel Knight, Space Invaders
726 March 2018John ThomsonNatalie Cassidy206–218Rampage, Wolfenstein 3-D, Sonic the Hedgehog, B.U.T.T.O.N, Final Furlong
82 April 2018Kevin BridgesNatasia Demetriou216–223Joust, Plants vs. Zombies, Tekken, Can't drive this, Bible Adventures
99 April 2018Katherine RyanPhil Wang131–290Rayman, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Time Crisis 5, BeeBeeQ, Just Dance 2017
1016 April 2018Jayde AdamsSimon Gregson255–133Super Mario Bros., Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Rock Band, Joe Danger 2: The Movie, Job Simulator


Steve Sam
Series wins (1 drawn)
1 1
Show wins (0 drawn)
14 12


Episode viewing figures from BARB.[12]

Series 1

Airdate7 day viewers28 day viewersDave
weekly ranking
15 September 2016600,000619,0001
212 September 2016681,000728,000
319 September 2016699,000730,0002
426 September 2016621,000676,000
53 October 2016572,000642,0003
610 October 2016456,000504,0004

Series 2

Airdate7 day viewers28 day viewersDave
weekly ranking
115 May 2017387,000398,0002
222 May 2017383,000400,000
329 May 2017441,000471,000
45 June 2017355,000375,0004
512 June 2017375,000379,0002
619 June 2017362,000373,000
726 June 2017371,000387,000
83 July 2017490,000495,0001
910 July 2017307,000325,0005
1017 July 2017278,000307,0008

Series 3

Airdate7 day viewers28 day viewersDave
weekly ranking
112 February 2018N/A
219 February 2018267,000275,0003
326 February 2018327,000347,0005
45 March 2018339,000375,0003
512 March 2018291,0005
619 March 2018273,000
726 March 2018320,000
82 April 2018N/A
99 April 2018
1016 April 2018


  1. "Two more series for Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  2. "There's more video game telly coming". Eurogamer. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  3. "The Best of Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit". Digiguide. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  4. Sproull, Patrick (28 September 2018). "Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit: series cancelled". Cult Box. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  5. Ian Dransfield (1 October 2018). "Dara O'Briain's Go 8-Bit won't return for fourth series". mcvuk.com. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  6. Stuart, Keith (6 September 2016). "Dara Ó Briain's Go 8 Bit: how comedy brought video games back to TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  7. "McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  8. Smith, Andy (12 August 2013). "McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!". Broadway Baby. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  9. Mulvihill, S. "FRINGE REVIEW – McNeil and Pamphilon Go 8-Bit". Edinburgh Spotlight. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  10. "McNeil and Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  11. "Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit, Dave". Broadcast. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  12. "Top 10 Programmes". BARB. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
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