Touch the Truck

Touch the Truck was a British Channel 5 endurance gameshow which aired in March 2001. It was hosted by Dale Winton[1] and involved a group of 20 contestants holding onto a stationary truck. The last person left touching the truck won it.

Touch the Truck
GenreGame show
Created byGlenn Barden
Dave Hills
Directed bySue McMahon
Presented byDale Winton
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes5
Executive producer(s)Sharon Ali
Production location(s)Lakeside Shopping Centre
Production company(s)Vascha Productions
Original networkChannel 5
Original release11 March (2001-03-11) 
15 March 2001 (2001-03-15)

The show was filmed at the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock, Essex.

Jerry Middleton, 39, from Winchester, Hampshire, was the winner who managed to stay awake touching the vehicle for 81 hours 43 minutes and 31 seconds. He stated that he was going to sell the vehicle to fund a political party.[2] Middleton stood at the 2001 General Election in the Kingston and Surbiton constituency, but gained only 54 votes of a turnout of 49,093.[3]


According to the rules[1] of the competition, disqualification occurred when:

  • a contestant overran breaks which were 10 minutes every two hours, and 15 minutes every six hours,
  • a contestant removed both hands from the truck, or
  • a contestant fell asleep.

Contestants could also be drug tested to ensure fairness.

The format

The format was devised by Glenn Barden and Dave Hills and is owned by Vashca. It has been subsequently licensed to the Philippines, Indonesia, Portugal and Turkey.[4]

Similar events

The 1969 Sydney Pollack movie They Shoot Horses, Don't They? starring Jane Fonda features a marathon dance where the eventually desperate participants must stay awake to win a prize. The film is based on a 1935 novel by the same name written by Horace McCoy with the dance marathon taking place during the Great Depression.

The documentary Hands on a Hardbody tells the story of a nearly identical 1995 endurance contest in Longview, Texas. The contest was once an annual fixture in Longview, and the British newspaper The Sunday Times reported on the record-breaking 125-hour event held in September 2000.[5]

A 1998 Boy Meets World episode called "The Eskimo" features a similar contest that the main characters participate in to win tickets to the Super Bowl.

The 2001 movie, The Safety of Objects, recounts what seems to be exactly a "Touch the Truck" show – which even relates to the plot. The film chronicles a mother's mental voyage from the losing of his firstborn son to coma till the detachment from him ending in his mercy killing. And the show connects to this as the sleep withdrawn, delirious mother realises that she'd still have her son if they hadn't had a car – and abruptly leaves hold of the truck.

A 2001 fourth season episode of the TV show That '70s Show, "Hyde Gets the Girl", featured a radio contest that Kelso, Bob and a ringer named Daniel (guest star French Stewart) entered, where they have to keep one hand on a van until the last person left touching it won.

An episode of a 2001 claymation series, Gary & Mike, "The Furry Duffel", featured a contest held in the fictional town of Wenville, Texas, where Mike and a ringer named Dennis “Double D” Dennison entered and had to keep one hand on the Hotrod until the last person left touching it won.

A 2005 episode of the TV show My Name is Earl, Randy, Catalina and Earl take part in a contest for a local radio station where they have to keep touching a car until the last person left touching wins it.

A 2005 episode of Naturally, Sadie, "Survival of the Stupidest" featured Sadie and Hal entering a contest where they must keep their hand on a Jeep Grand Cherokee in which the last one touching it wins.

A 2006 episode of the TV show Malcolm in the Middle, features Hal and Lois entering a contest to keep their hand on a truck, in which the last one touching it wins the truck.[6]

A version of the contest was also featured in the Season 5 episode of the TV Show Las Vegas in 2007. The owner and security of Montecito casino stumble upon a pair twin girls who try to game the system by switching during the break so as to maximise their chances.

Such competitions have occurred as a way of raising money for charity. In 2007, University of Bristol did a similar competition as part of charitable RAG week (Raise and Give) where the winner gained an old BMW, and in 2009 Leeds University held a similar event for RAG where the winner won an old Ford Fiesta.[7]

Also in 2007, an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia shows the gang nearly losing the bar after Charlie accidentally puts Paddy's Pub up for 1st prize in a marathon dance competition, Frank makes the gang participate in the contest.[8]

A 2007 episode of Zoey 101 features characters trying to win a prize in the episode "Hands on a Blix Van"[9]

In episode eight of the fourth season of the TV show Psych, Henry enters a contest for a new pick-up truck. Shawn helps him assess the competition while they attempt to keep their hands on the truck. The last one touching the truck gets to keep it.

The 2010 episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, "Hands on a Hamburger", features a contest in which Frylock, Shake, and Meatwad compete to keep their hands on a massive hamburger, with the last person touching the burger getting to keep it.


  2. "ENTERTAINMENT | Channel 5's Truck won". BBC News. 15 March 2001. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  3. "VOTE 2001 | RESULTS & CONSTITUENCIES | Kingston & Surbiton". BBC News. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  4. "Bespoke Television Productions". Vashca. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  5. Tony Barrell (12 November 2000). "Stand By Your Van". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  7. "England | Touch and go for Bristol students". BBC News. 3 March 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
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