The BBC aired a version of The Traitors 20 years ago with Tony Livesey as the host – but axed it after one series because no one tuned in
Although the Claudia Winkleman-led hit is widely thought to come from the Dutch ‘De Verraders’ series, a version of the show was on British television in 2004.
The early 00’s show was called Traitor and featured a group of nine people who try to figure out which of them has betrayed the others.
Hosted by Tony Livesey, each contestant took a turn to vote out the suspected traitor to try and prevent them from winning the £5,000 cash prize.
However, instead of taking place in an atmospheric Scottish castle, the show had the participants sit around a table in a TV studio.
Those in the 2004 show also wore similar name badges and held up cards as they tried to determine the game’s villain.
The BBC aired a version of hit TV show The Traitors 20 years ago – but scrapped it after just one series because no one watched it
Host Tony Livesey told The Sun that the concept of the show was too unusual 20 years ago
Hosted by Tony Livesey, each contestant took a turn to vote out the suspected traitor to try and prevent them from winning the £5,000 cash prize
The early 00’s show was called Traitor and featured a group of nine people who try to figure out which of them has betrayed the others
The series peaked boosting an average 5.5million – making in the most watched programme in – as Harry Clark emerged victorious
But the 2004 show – which even featured Luther star Ruth Wilson as a contestant when she was 22 (pictured on the show) – wasn’t subject to the same popularity and wasn’t recommissioned
De Verraders, which is thought to be the inspiration for the today’s hit show, first aired in 2021.
Spin-off shows cropped up in many countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
But the 2004 show – which even featured Luther star Ruth Wilson as a contestant – wasn’t subject to the same popularity and wasn’t recommissioned after its debut series.
IMDb describes it as: ‘A psychological elimination game show in which nine contestants must work out which of them has turned traitor in order to win £5,000. All claim to be telling the truth, but two are lying.’
Although the series seemed to have been forgotten over the years, eagle-eyed fans spotted the similarities.
An episode of Traitor was uploaded to YouTube channel LostTV under the title ‘The BBC’s forgotten first-try at The Traitors’, where it racked up more than 40,000 views.
Host Tony Livesey told The Sun that the concept of the show was too unusual 20 years ago.
He told the newspaper: ‘The concept was so new then, and I think that was its downfall. Plus it replaced The Simpsons.
‘But it’s the same show and I’ve been saying for ages, “I’m the original host of The Traitors”.’
The show took the 6pm slot on BBC Two which was previously filled by The Simpsons.
The modern rendition has soared in popularity, dominating the night’s programming as more and more viewers tuned in every week.
Ahead of the final, the hit show raked in a staggering amount of viewers – 6.5million.
Visualised podcast The Traitors Uncloaked, which aired afterwards at 10pm on BBC Two, also pulled in more fans than ever before, with an average of 913,530 viewers.
In comparison, Love Island All Stars managed an average of just 715,700 viewers, with a share of just 4.77 percent.
While it failed to pull in as many viewers, the programme aired a dramatic exit of its own as Jake Cornish quit the show after just two days.
The Traitors ‘ final made history as it became the most watched episode ever in the UK
Pictured are the five contestants that made it to the final: Evie, Harry, Andrew, Shaz and Mollie
The low ratings will come as a blow to ITV who were no doubt hoping to continue the success of the launch night show, which pulled in the most viewers since summer 2022.
1.9 million viewers watched the debut episode on ITV1 and ITV2 with the show getting a 44% share of 16-34 year olds watching TV at the time.
When ITVX figures are included, the episode had a combined peak audience of 2.1million and an average of 1.7million across all devices.
In comparison, The Traitors season two launch show pulled in a peak of 3.1 million viewers, not including those who watched on iPlayer.
The finale became the most watched episode ever, with 6.9million tuning in.
The series peaked an average 5.5million and a 33.5 per cent share – making in the most watched programme in the last week – as Harry Clark emerged victorious.
Harry took home the £95,150 cash prize after outsmarting his fellow players in the nail-biting final.
The 23-year-old British Army Corporal fought off competition from 20 other contestants all vying to win up to £100,000 in the famous castle as part of the intense psychological game.