Alan Carr talks about presenting a new edition of iconic game show The Price Is Right. He says he jumped at the opportunity to host the show. He also gives us a clue as to some of the sketches coming up in his festive Chatty Man specials.
You're presenting one of the all-time great gameshows on Channel 4 this Christmas, The Price Is Right. Why did you want to bring it back?
Well, I love the way you think I've got all this power. "I want to bring this back!"... and Alan gets what he wants! No, they asked me if I wanted to present it, and I loved the show.
When I was there on the set, it actually felt quite emotional for me, seeing all the games like Plinko, and Cliffhanger. It was funny how much they'd stuck in my head. It was a no-brainer for me, and like I said at the time, it was proper bucket-list stuff. It was something I'd watched as a kid growing up, with Bruce Forsyth and Leslie Crowther. So when they asked if I wanted to do it, I jumped at the chance.
Can you please explain, for the uninitiated, what the concept of the show is?
Explaining The Price Is Right is probably going to make it sound like the most moronic show ever. It's a bit like when you try and explain Deal Or No Deal, isn't it? "Well, there are 15 people, and all of them open a box, and it's got a number inside." Although it sounds very basic, there's a lot of skill involved. It's just a celebration, really.
I invite people out of the audience to guess the price of a series of household objects. It's one of those things we all like to do - guess the price of things - and I think now it's very fitting to do it at Christmas. Everyone will have had rubbish presents from their family and be thinking "How much did they pay for this?" so we'll all be in the right frame of mind.
But I was so nervous doing it, it's been so long since it was on telly, and I worried if there was still an appetite for it. But as soon as I came through those doors, and experienced the genuine excitement of the audience, it was amazing. I got to the 'c' of 'Come on Down!' and they were screaming and shouting. And I loved the fact that everyone in the audience wanted the contestants to win. It was really lovely.
The audience are pretty bonkers, aren't they?
Yeah, I know! It was funny seeing 400 Mancs screaming "£19.99" about a spiraliser that makes courgetti spaghetti. That's one of the joys of filming up in Manchester. You get the best audiences up there - they just throw themselves in! It was great, really good.
How do you think you'd do as a contestant?
Awful! I'm not that good at knowing the price of things. Not because I live in a celebrity bubble, but just because I've always been rubbish at stuff like that.
In the run up to the show, did you watch old episodes? Was there a particular presenter whose style you liked?
Obviously I loved Sir Bruce. But the thing is, I not only watched the English version, the production company sent me the Spanish one, the American one, and the French one. It's funny how they all do it differently. In America it's been on every day for 40 years. So it works, you know it works! It is a classic.
It's not like one of these new shows, where nobody can figure out what's going on. But I definitely think Brucie was the master of it all - his way with people, he'd get people to be willing to have the mick taken out of them. He got the tone just right. He died just after I made the show - I'd have liked him to have seen it, I hope I did him proud.
Do you think part of the attraction of The Price Is Right is that the concept is so simple?
Yeah, that's it! It was part of the golden age of gameshows, along with The Generation Game and Blankety Blank. They work. There's a reason The Price Is Right is on in every country in the world. It's simple, and people want to know the price of things. Plus we give away brilliant prizes.
Do you have all the same games as the old show, or do you have new ones?
There's one new game, and a lot of the old favourites. The American one, they chop and change them every time. You don't get the same games on every show. We went for the classics - Cliffhanger, Plinko and stuff, the ones all the fans will remember.
Are you a fan of game shows in general? What have been your favourites over the years?
I wanted to do Challenge Alan Carr, like Challenge Anneka - I'm in a helicopter, doing clues all over. But I think, budget wise, I'd end up doing it on a Megabus. I know David Walliams did Blankety Blank, and when he did that I was so jealous. I would have loved to have done that. It's sort of my sense of humour.
You've also got a Chatty Man Christmas Special and a New Year Specstacular. What can viewers expect from those?
Well, a lot of festive fun! They're very different shows. The New Year's Specstacular is just party central. We've got music and special guests, madness, mayhem, your favourite celebrities getting trolleyed. People winning prizes, funny sketches, it's just chaos. Basically, we're just doing what people are doing at home - having a house party. I don't really know how to describe the show. It's indescribable.
Is it as much fun to film as it looks?
Well, the thing is, I get a bit of survivor's guilt when I do it, because you're basically stepping over drunk celebrities by the end. But it's a lot of fun; it's all hands on deck. I always end up having a Viennetta smashed in my face. I always treat myself; I always have my first drink in part three. There are eight parts to it. I was a bit of an idiot when I first did it; I was so leathered by the end. But now I've learned to pace myself, because of my age. But it's always a laugh.
Have you filmed any of the skits that you'll be performing?
Yes, I was Theresa May as Blunderwoman, and I filmed that the other day. I was dressed as Wonder Woman, running through a field of wheat. This field next to the M4, getting lots of lorry drivers honking me and shouting abuse.
We did a pastiche of Love Island, where I'm Gemma Collins again, my alter-ego. That's very funny. And also a pastiche of The Handmaid's Tale. So something a little more highbrow if people haven't seen Love Island. But don't worry, I drag it down to my level. Margaret Attwood would be so proud if she was watching.
Did you treat it as an audition for Series 2 of the drama?
Yes! I have instructed my agent to put it on my showreel, so fingers crossed. Nobody would need to know I was in it; I could pull down my bonnet.