The Traitors on BBC One: How does the Claudia Winkleman game show work, who are the contestants, and how many episodes are there?

It's a psychological game where nobody can be trusted

Amos, Maddy, Fay, Ivan, John, Theo, Kieran, Andrea, Wilfred, Meryl, Alyssa, Tom, Claudia Winkleman, Aisha, Imran, Alex, Claire, Nicky, Matt, Amanda, Rayan, Hannah, Aaron on The Traitors
(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz/Future)

The BBC is bringing a brand new game show full of lies and deception, but what exactly do the contestants have to do to be crowned the winner? We have the lowdown on everything about the brand new reality show.

BBC One is launching a brand new game show on Tuesday, November 29, curiously entitled The Traitors. Hosted by Claudia Winkleman, the show takes place in the Scottish Highlands and promises psychological thrills, careful strategising, and many twists and turns.  With physical missions thrown into the mix, the contestants certainly seem set to  work hard to win the £120,000 cash prize. However, the participants can trust nobody in this game of lies and deception, which will present even more complications on the stressful road to victory. Read on to find out exactly how the unusual new game show works, who the contestants are, along with other key details about it before it lands on our screens.

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How does the Traitors work?

The Traitors will see contestants move into a castle in the Scottish Highlands where 3 will be secretly selected to becomes "traitors", and the rest collectively known as the Faithful". The Traitors work to deceive the Faithful and have them eliminated, in the hope of winning the cash prize. 

None of the Faithful will know who The Traitors are, and contestants will be eliminated by two different methods. The first will see The Traitors meet secretly to decide which of the Faithful will be "murdered". The following morning when the contestants meet for breakfast, the murdered participant will not be present. Later the same day, all contestants meet at the ‘Round Table’ to ‘banish’ a player they believe to be a Traitor. The person they select must reveal whether they are indeed a Traitor or a Faithful.  

When the game comes to an end, if the remaining players are all part of the Faithful, they will share the £120,000 prize between them. However, if a Traitor remains among them among them, they will take all the prize money for themselves. Prize money will be added to the pot throughout the show, with the participants completing dramatic missions to top it up. The Faithful are up against the clock, to be successful in completing tasks for extra prize money, and unveiling Traitors before its too late.

To sum up the premise of the series, Claudia Winkleman told What To Watch (opens in new tab) "The Traitors is in essence a psychological reality show where players must decide who they can trust. They bond, make friends, and spend their days working together as a team to complete spectacular physical and mental missions to add money to a prize pot. But all is not as it seems, because hidden among the group are some Traitors - players I secretly selected at the start of the game, which the viewers will see for themselves. Everyone else is known as the ‘Faithful’, and none of the Faithful know who the Traitors are."

The Traitors castle in Scotland

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

How many episodes of The Traitors are there?

There will be 12 episodes of The Traitors in total. The show is based on a Dutch version entitled De Verraders - Dutch for The Traitors - which aired in 2021. 

Claudia Winkleman spoke about watching the Dutch version of the series, when deciding to be part of the UK take on it. She said "Very sweetly, Kate [Phillips, the BBC’s Director of Unscripted content] asked me to do it, and I said, ‘thank you so much, but no.’ She said, ‘why don’t you just watch the Dutch version and then decide’, so I did - and nobody got fed, I didn’t brush my teeth, I was so obsessed that I phoned Kate and said ‘I’ve booked a train, I’m going to Scotland now! It’s a game of smarts - not as in ‘I’ve got four degrees’, a game of wit. I’ve never seen anything like it. The missions are good, the people are nice, and I’m dressing like Princess Anne mixed with Ronnie Corbett!" 

Claudia Winkleman presenting The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Llara Plaza)

The Traitors: Meet The Contestants

Nicky

Contestant Nicky in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 45
Job title: Accounts Supervisor
From: South Croydon
Nicky says: "I love a challenge. I'm always up for doing something, I'm quite fearless like that. I thought ‘why not?’... in for a penny in for a pound."

Maddy

Contestant Maddy in The traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 29
Occupation: Receptionist
From: Kent
Maddy says: "I absolutely love crime dramas so when I heard about this show I was really interested and thought oh my god, I could definitely give it a bash. A lot of people think I'm quite ditsy and silly. I want to show people I'm more with it and not to judge me straight away."

Tom

Contestant Tom in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 24
Job title: Magician
From: Buckinghamshire
Tom says: "I’m a magician and I love fooling and tricking people. I get great satisfaction out of spending hours upon hours building up anticipation for this one moment. When it came to this show I loved the idea that I'd possibly build up a fake character of myself to try and deceive people just for that payoff of knowing that I could deceive them. I liked the challenge of it all, making my magic tricks real almost. I want to make a load of new friends if anything, and I'm all for taking a challenge and I love having a go at the unknown. My motivation is mainly because I love to be challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone, and this is beyond my comfort zone. I'm going to give it my best shot and do it with a smile on my face."

Imran

Contestant Imran on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Imran
Age: 23
Job title: Scientist
From: Cambridge
Imran says: "When looking at the concept of the show, the idea that you have Traitors existing simultaneously with Faithfuls and how to discern the difference between the two, fundamentally is a social science question. I come from a background where I do a lot of academically strong sciences. There are certain academic principles that I've practiced in my profession, and I wanted to see if that could be applied in a very social science setting, which is the main reason for me being on the show."

Rayan

Contestant Rayan on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 25
Job title: Trainee Lawyer
From: North London
Rayan says: "It sounds like a really exciting new show that involves a lot of strategy and drama, and that's the sort of stuff I was looking for. I’m a bit of a drama queen really and I love getting all up in everybody else's affairs. Being a drama queen, a gameplayer and an agent of chaos I thought this was a perfect game for me. I'm excited by the prospect of getting a license to backstab everyone! I’ve done my research. It all sounds insane and that’s exactly the kind of chaos I'm looking for."

Meryl

Contestant Meryl in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 25
Occupation: Call Centre Agent
From: Edinburgh
Meryl says: "The fact that it's brand new interested me the most. The fact that it's the first time it will be filmed in the UK, there is nothing that people can compare it to and I can make my mark on it. It sounds like a really good experience, especially up in the Scottish Highlands as I live in Scotland. I really like the idea of Traitors, the fact that you have to suss out who's lying. I thought it'd be a really, really good experience and something new to try and that’s why I'm going to go for it. I’ll bring a different insight because I see the world differently. I have dwarfism. So, in that sense, my different view of situations and a different perspective. And, I can bring my personality!"

Claire

Contestant Claire on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 43
Occupation: Ex-Police Officer and entrepreneur
From: Hull
Claire says: "In my working life, my ex-career being policing and my new career founding my own business, I'm used to reading people quite well. Sometimes without them even speaking I've already read them and usually nine times out of ten, I'm right. I've been a mum since I was quite young so predominantly, I've never had the time to do anything just for me. This was a brilliant opportunity and a show I'd be really good at, a chance for me to test and challenge myself. To see how far I can push myself when I'm not being a mum, when I'm not working, when I'm not doing all of the Cinderella things that come with being a parent and a brand builder, and all of those things."

Fay

Contestant Fay on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 59
Job title: Head of School Welfare
From: Suffolk
Fay says: "The concept was obviously very appealing. I'm also coming to the end of my long and wonderful career in education. I've been at the same establishment for 29 years. I worked myself through the steps, I started on the ground floor and every five years my job evolved, where now I'm at the top of my game, I'm on the senior leader team. It's taken me a while to get there, however, I've always said that I'm going to retire at 60 and I'm 60 next February...people are shocked when I tell them that."

Amanda

Contestant Amanda on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 54
Job title: Estate Agent
From: Swansea
Amanda says: "I've always liked watching reality TV, but they're always geared towards the younger generation. When I was 20, or 25, there weren't that many reality TV shows out there. That was something that appealed to me, as well as the logic behind the game, the secrecy. I think I can read people very well, so I really fancied having a go. I've been an estate agent for many, many years. I think I can bring good personality and I think I'd be a good ambassador for 50-plus-year-old women to get out there and show that we can still be active and get into reality TV shows. I like to call myself a Glam Ma, rather than a Grandma. Plus, I've met thousands of people through my career and I'm pretty good at reading between the lines of people. I do have a game plan. I'm going to think of it as a sales venture so I'm not going to get over friendly with anybody and think of this as a work challenge. I've always brought my children up to do 100 percent. If you really try 100 percent in anything, whether it be physical or mental and you don't win, then you know you've done your best. You're not letting yourself down."

Hannah

Contestant Hannah in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 32
Occupation: Comedian
From: London
Hannah says: "I’m a complete excitement seeker for sure, but particularly this show because my friends and I used to play a board game that’s quite similar. I’m not really a games person, I get quite bored with them but secretly that’s a game I really loved. Also, I liked the idea of spending all this time outside of your normal world with no phone or communication, just focusing on this. I think it's one of those opportunities that you're not going to get ever again."

John

Contestant John in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 49
Occupation: Spa Therapist
From: Edinburgh
John says: "I was scrolling on social media one day in between my day job and the advertisement came out, the title really grabbed me. When I read the article, I thought it sounded like a really interesting experience, something that's never been done before and I liked the fact that they were doing it in Scotland. I sent a little video and thought nothing else of it, it was a bit of a whirlwind. The location being Scotland is what drew me to it as well, being a Scotsman, I've lived in London for a long time and I'd moved back just 18 months ago and if I was lucky enough to be the winner, winning something in my homeland, I'd be the king of the castle, the King of Scotland."

Kieran

Contestant Kieran in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 42
Occupation: Solutions Consultant
From: Hertfordshire
Kieran says: "I first heard about it on Instagram, and the way the show was described to me caught my interest. I've never done anything like this before ever, some TV shows would not be of interest to me whatsoever. However, this had a pretty cool twist and stood out for quite a few reasons. Firstly, the BBC are doing it and secondly, the format is new. My first initial reaction was... it sounds intriguing. The prize is obviously in the background but for me, I've always wanted to do something with TV and sometimes fate deals you unusual cards, and here we are today. It’s something that’s always appealed to me, I've been around the block a bit. I've done sales for quite a long time and I used to run event management and so I'm used to dealing with people from all walks of life and characters on many different levels. I'm good at reading people, spotting situations, good at judging and also not judging. Nine times out of ten your gut gives you an intuition and I think my skill set in regards to reading people, gives me a strong mindset for the game."

Aaron

Contestant Aaron in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 24
Job title: Property Agent
From: Portsmouth
Aaron says: "When I first heard about the show, the main things that interested me were the fact I was going to come to Scotland and meet new people, then that developed further down the line, and I wanted to do the challenges more. Since hearing what the challenges are about, that's the biggest thing that's excited me. I've got a background in sales, so I'll be able to read people quite well. Body language, personality, that aspect. I’m also quite a happy chappy so I reckon I won't be too intense. I’ll bring quite a lot of energy to the game."

Amos

Contestant Amos in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 30
Occupation: Doctor
From: North London
Amos says: "When I heard the concept, I thought it sounded pretty cool. The fact that it was quite psychological and involved some thinking and strategy, interested me. Also, to explore how good I am at reading people and making judgments about their character and intentions based on very little information, I wanted to test that. I’d worked as a doctor for three years through the pandemic on the frontline and wanted to do something that was slightly different, something for myself."

Contestant Aisha on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 23
Occupation: Masters Graduate
From: Manchester
Aisha says: "When I was at university and in lockdown, my friends always said, ‘we think you'd be good on reality TV.’ Also, I've gone to university, I've got a Masters degree, but I do come out with some silly things at times. I wanted to go on one of these shows to prove that I can do it and remind people not to underestimate me, that was one of my motivations. I'm really going to be myself and have fun with it. I'm a talker, I'll talk a lot and I'll be very honest. I'm a big oversharer and I don't really have a filter for things. That's why people underestimate me, because I'll say things that other people wouldn't say, no filter, I don't care. So, because of that, I think people will think ‘there's no way this girl's a Traitor, she would have given it away by now."

Andrea

Contestant Andrea on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 72
Job title: Retired
From: Belgium 
Amanda says: "A few months ago, I saw the details about a new programme, The Traitors, and I just thought ‘why the hell not?’ It's as simple as that. What interested me about the concept was doing the missions. I don’t mind eliminating anybody and all the rest of it, but it was the idea of doing the missions and challenges that I liked. I'll bring my age and my experience to the game, which does help. I'm a happy person, so I hope to bring that as well, mixed in with the suspicion. I want to give the game a sense of enjoyment, although this may not be what the game is about at all..."

Alex

Contestant Alex in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 26
Occupation: Presenter and Actor
From: London
Alex says: "When I looked into it, I thought it seemed like a really interesting concept. There hasn't been a reality show like this. Something based on strategy and an adventure in the Scottish Highlands. I thought ‘why not? Let’s see where this goes and see what happens. It's not all about appearances and it focuses on thinking tactically and how you can manoeuvre yourself in sticky situations. Also, I love the physical element, the fact that there are going to be missions and adventures such as potentially abseiling down the side of a cliff in order earn more for the prize pool, or potentially horse riding through the mountains. Something along those lines is right up my street. From what I've determined from the show concept, I think whatever you do you're going to be a suspect and everyone will be suspicious of everybody else. I think my game plan is to keep a low profile, be myself, be friendly, nice and try to be a team player – that's the best approach I can think of."

Alyssa

Contestant Alyssa on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 21
Job title: Business Student
From: Grew up in rural West Cork, now lives in Edinburgh
Alyssa says: "I love to challenge myself, I really like pushing my boundaries and just getting out there. This is something that I would never usually do, I don't have any experience with TV shows, so I wanted to give this a shot. When I started reading up about the show and what to expect I thought ‘Hold on, this is actually something that I think I'd be very good at and have a chance of winning." 

Matt

Contestant Matt on The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 23
Occupation: BMX Athlete
From: Hertfordshire 
Matt says: "The first time I heard about The Traitors I was really hungover on a train. It came up and I thought it sounded like a laugh... and now I'm in Scotland. All my mates say that I'm the idiot of the group and they think I'm a bit stupid. I think I will prove a point to them that I'm not as stupid as I make out sometimes…or maybe I am. I don't know!"

Theo

Contestant Theo in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 26
Occupation: Cheerleading Coach
From: Leeds
Theo says: "I applied to push myself out of my comfort zone. It was the concept for the game that got me interested and the fear of the unknown. I've always liked to push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things. I'm a coach by day so I always like to lead by example and show people that anything's possible when you work hard and push yourself to strive to achieve greatness. My game plan is to be myself and let people fall in love with me. To get people to do their best and to help them believe in themselves. I always like to be that strong character and tell people they can do it and make them believe. I’d definitely like to motivate others to help them succeed, that's my game plan."

Wilfred

Contestant Wilfred in The Traitors

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Associates/Mark Mainz)

Age: 28
Occupation: Senior Fundraiser
From: North London
Wilfred says: "I work within the face-to-face fundraising industry, and I've learnt over the years to be able to positively persuade people to take positive action. So instead of using these skills for positive, this is a chance to be able to use them to manipulate instead. My motivation is many different things. My children and my Fiancée being number one, and I’d also like to see if I can persuade people and slowly manipulate them. Even if I'm not a Traitor. I love tactics, I love playing a game and I love coming up with strategies. Being able to put the strategies that I've come up with into play is my motivation. And also, who doesn't want to win loads of money, right? That's a good motivation."

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Lucy Wigley
TV writer - contributing

Lucy is a multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ experience writing about entertainment, parenting and family life. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and telling you why you should watch them.