You wouldn't have thought a reality show would have the pulling power to draw sell-out crowds to pubs and cinemas across the country like it's a World Cup Final. But that was until The Traitors.
From panto villainy to Jazatha Christie, high camp funerals to heart-breaking betrayals: most shows can only hope to have one, maybe two moments of the year, but series two served up several.
Here's our top ten.
1. "Paul just couldn't be my son... But Ross is"
The pregnant pause that birthed an icon. The 63-year-old retired school teacher Diane was already winning us over with her bossy auburn bob and even bossier deal. But her pitch-perfect, melodramatic delivery of the bombshell plot twist that Ross was her own flesh-and-blood cemented her status as 'mother'. — HB
2. "I amn’t"
Ridicule Brian all you want, he is all of us if we were sat at that torturous Round Table. His reputation hanging by a thread and Claudia about to call a vote, Brian made an anxious last-minute plea for mercy that only served to sign his own death warrant. "Is there anyone else here that thinks that I am or I amn't?", he asked, bewildering the room and proving that the Round Table is so stressful that it will make you forget the basic laws of grammar. — HB
3. Paul’s crocodile tears
Fair play to Paul, he went in to play the panto villain and by the end he had the nation bellowing "he's behind you!" Unlike Harry, though, he seemingly never understood that the game is about more than strategy: you have to meet the Faithfuls on their emotional level too. I suspect the obvious crocodile tears when his dungeon masterplan faltered at the first stage were one of several nails in his coffin; you could hear the cogs grinding in the waterworks. — HB
4. "Do you reckon there's two Traitors going at each other?"
Let the Traitors battle commence! ⚔️
— BBC iPlayer (@BBCiPlayer) January 17, 2024
One of the things that made Harry such an excellent Traitor was that he could adapt his gameplan at the drop of a hat—or a fellow Traitor. When Miles and Paul turned on one other at the Round Table, the "baby-faced assassin" quietly turned to Zack to plant the seeds of both their downfalls. — HB
5. Every single one of Claudia Winkleman’s outfits
Within hours of episode nine airing, the knitwear brand Mr Mittens reportedly sold out of their red balloon-sleeved jumpers in every size. That would be the Claudia Winkleman effect, the presenter's gothic-countrycore wardrobe changes, styled by Sinead McKeefry, hooking the nation as much as all the murder afoot. Among her many accolades, she can now count the fact that she single-handedly brought the kilt back. — HB
6. Paul giving the game away to Jaz
Not confident enough to question the as-yet-impervious Paul at the round table discussion, Jaz decided he was better off telling his fellow Faithfuls that if he gets murdered, "it's Paul."
Unfortunately, one of the ‘Faithfuls’ he confided in was the ever-so-‘Traitorish’ Harry, who immediately reported back to his leader. This led to a very tense discussion, in which Paul revealed his sources, half-outing both himself and Harry as Traitors. — ECS
7. Miles walking into breakfast and seeing Diane still alive
— alice may dear (@According2Al) January 17, 2024
After ruthlessly serving Diane a glass of fizzy rosé in the poisoned chalice, the Traitors were very surprised to see her sitting at breakfast the next morning. Although Paul and Harry managed to keep their cool, Miles went through a range of emotions on his entrance: pure slack-jawed horror, before vaguely managing to reign it back in to pull a smile. — ECS
8. Ross throwing a rose into Diane’s coffin
The absolute height of gothic campiness. Claudia Winkleman was cast as a celebrant-turned-undertaker, with her famous fringe adorned with a black veil.
In The Supremes’ final show (the mother-son duo, Diane and Ross, was so nicknamed due to their namesake, Diana Ross), Ross was forced to throw a rose into the coffin of his mother, before she was ‘buried alive’.
Luckily, Diane managed to mouth a final goodbye to her son before the coffin lid was shut with a swift slam by Winkleman. — ECS
9. The absolute scenes of Paul’s banishment
Paul’s downfall was Shakespearian. After successfully priming his Faithfuls to kick out not one but two of his fellow Traitors, his hubris caught up with him as his disguise began to drop. For his grand exit, Paul went from Iago to full panto villain and did a bow to make any dame proud, before making like Captain Hook and walking the plank. — ECS
10. The ultimate betrayal
— BBC iPlayer (@BBCiPlayer) January 26, 2024
After a long series of stringent loyalty to her ‘bestie’ Harry, Mollie showed signs of wavering after our ‘Jazatha Christie’ went for one final takedown at the firepit.
The editors teased us by showing Mollie’s chalkboard with the letter H written on it, and then kept us guessing as she appeared to scrub something out and write something else. Cue her running out of the room crying, once she realised her allegiance to Harry had cost her the best part of £100,000. — ECS