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Then vs Now: How the Most Iconic Trophies on British TV Have Evolved

Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing’s instantly recognisable glitter ball trophy has remained largely unchanged since the show’s first series in 2004. After nearly two decades on air, the glitter ball has grown in size and definitely has more of a wow factor than its predecessor, which also featured pink writing instead of the glitzy silver or gold of recent years.

The trophy takes the classic, 70s style disco ball and makes it into a modern symbol of dancing skill and success. We love that they’ve updated the trophy as the show has also grown bigger and better, whilst still allowing every winner to lift the iconic glitter ball trophy!

The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off trophy is one of the most evolved on our entire list, despite the first series only airing 13 years ago. The original trophy, awarded back in 2010, was a classic trophy cup complete with red, white and blue tassels – something reminiscent of a school sports day. This only lasted one season, with season 2 returning with a huge, cake-mixer shaped trophy. In series 3, the show introduced the simple but effective glass cake stand complete with the GBBO logo, and they haven’t looked back since.

The glass cake stand has increased in size since its introduction in 2012, but otherwise stayed the same. We love the idea that this trophy can be used by its winners in the hobby which got them to where they are – baking!

University Challenge

University Challenge is very interesting, as whilst the show first aired in black and white back in 1963, no actual trophies were awarded until the show’s revival in the mid-nineties. This isn’t to say that the show’s early winners left empty-handed, however – instead, each winning team would receive a unique, valuable prize, often relating to literature or art. The first ever winners received first edition copies of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, with winners in the coming years receiving prizes such as a Harold Riley painting (1966), a set of prints by William Hogart (1971), and a pair of silver candlesticks (1975).

The show went off the air in 1987 after falling ratings, but was revived less than a decade later. The Paxman era – and the trophy era – began in 1995.

The first few winners of the revived show received a trophy in the shape of a thick, engraved book. The engravings are a series of symbols from different languages such as Hebrew, Braille and Russian, spelling the words ‘University’ and ‘Challenge’, among others.

Winners were permitted to keep the trophy for a year before passing it onto the next series’ winners, until Magdalen College, Oxford, won for the third time in 2004 and were thus allowed to keep it. Therefore, from 2005, a new trophy was introduced – pictured above.

Dancing On Ice

Dancing On Ice is another trophy which, like GBBO, has changed entirely since series 1. The show first aired in 2006 and the winners were presented with a glass trophy in the shape of an ice skate. The show moved away from this more literal rendition of the trophy, with many shapes and materials experimented with over the years, such as their 2008 – 2010 glass trophy similar to our own Arctic Crystal Clear Award.

The current trophy has been used since 2018 and has completely moved away from the use of glass with metal swirls representing the twists and twirls that competing couples showcase into their routines. 


One of the least changed trophies on our list, Mastermind’s engraved glass bowl trophy has been awarded to winners of the show since the first series in 1972. Every trophy consists of a unique engraving design, designed by Denis Mann and based around the Nine Muses of Greek Mythology who were considered to be a source of inspiration for artists and poets alike.

The beautiful designs are carefully engraved through a traditional process called copper wheel engraving, which allows very delicate shapes to be carved onto the surface of the glass.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year

The trophy given to winners of the main BBC Sports Personality of the Year award has been the exact same one since it was first designed, produced and awarded back in the 1950s. Every winner has their name engraved on a small shield which is then attached to the black, circular plinth which the trophy sits upon. The trophy itself is a silver-plated, four-turret lens camera.

The trophy originally had one plinth, with an extra two being added over the years to accommodate the increasing number of shields. Even though winners don’t get to keep the trophy, the addition of their own engraved shield ensures they’ll always be part of its history.


Masterchef is another show on our list which went off the air for a few years before its revival which still airs today. The original iteration started in 1990, with the trophy an engraved metal version of the show’s logo – pictured on the wall in the picture below. The gold plating and wooden base were ditched in the revival and replaced with the new, ultra-modern metallic logo. 

The trophy has stayed the same since the revival in 2005.


Last on our list is the ‘coveted pointless trophy’ – awarded to those lucky enough to reach the final on a Pointless show. It’s treated as a consolation prize of sorts when the finalists don’t find the all-important pointless answer to win the jackpot – but also represents the fun they’ve had on the show!

The Pointless trophy is a simple, glass rectangle crystal award which features an engraving of the iconic meter which shows the contestants scores during the show. Whilst the studio has changed and the Pointless trophy is now backlit much more brightly, the design itself has remained virtually unchanged. 

Are you looking for an iconic crystal award design?

At Laser Crystal, we create bespoke 3D crystal awards for the most memorable of ceremonies. As the UK’s leading 3D engravers, each crystal art creation is made from flawless optical quality crystal, forming awards and gifts that you are proud to present. From employee recognition awards and long service awards to sports awards and achievement awards, every order can be fully customised to suit your needs. 

Browse our full range or let us know your requirements and we can recommend a selection of shapes and designs.  

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