Why Paddy McGuinness' new prime time show is sure to be a right ball
There's nothing quite like good weekend teatime telly, says the Take Me Out star. He speaks to Gemma Dunn about his latest programme, Catchpoint, out on Saturday
The premise of Paddy McGuinness' brand new game show couldn't be simpler: don't drop the ball! Hosted by the Take Me Out star, Catchpoint - the latest addition to BBC One's Saturday night line-up - is the first physical game show where contestants can get their hands on the answer using both their brains and balls.
Brains are required to answer the various questions asked and then players will need to think fast as they try to catch balls of various sizes, which will be dropped from the studio ceiling.
Or more specifically, suspended trap doors that reside within the 'catch zone'.
"It's just answering a question and catching a ball.
"That's the show," McGuinness (45) says.
"It wouldn't suit me doing a show where I stand behind a podium with 10 questions: 'Question one' 'Question two' - it's just not me," he reasons of the round-by-round format, which eventually leads to a finale and potential cash prize.
"I like the freedom of a show like this. I'm moving about on set like I do on Take Me Out, interacting with members of the public, having a bit of fun, having a laugh," he reveals.
"It's not heavily scripted so it plays to my strengths."
It seems his hand-eye co-ordination may need some work, however.
"I thought it was good until I tried to catch the ball on my first day on set and failed miserably," he admits.
"It's a strange thing; it's like any TV show where you watch it and you sit at home going, 'I can't believe they've not caught that'.
"But the pressure of having an audience there and all the lights and the cameras, it affects them," he empathises.
"It's weird how nerves take over, so I try to make the contestants as relaxed as I can.
"You can bet if they'd have been catching that ball in their back garden at home, with no-one around, they'd have caught it 10 out of 10 times!"
As for the quiz element, McGuinness is hopeful audiences will opt to play along at home too.
"It's just fun," he says.
"Sit down with your family, have a laugh and play along. The questions are the kind of questions that when you're sat at home, you can all have a little guess," he adds. "But they're not your traditional quiz show questions," he warns with a laugh.
"We had one yesterday which was like, 'Which of these dogs is the same weight as a shot put?' And another about how far could you throw a dachshund!" he quips.
"That's what you want at teatime on a Saturday night."
He follows: "I grew up watching telly on a Saturday with my mum, and loving it.
"And when people say to me they watch stuff that I do now, I really enjoy that.
"I like having that presence of family shows," confides McGuinness, who has three children - twins Penelope and Leo, and Felicity - with his wife, model Christine Martin.
"Because I do think there's something special about watching telly, especially on a Saturday with your family.
"That should remain," he vows, adding his kids will watch it because "it's a really good, fun, colourful show".
And McGuinness, who landed his big break after starring in friend Peter Kay's hits That Peter Kay Thing, Phoenix Nights and Max And Paddy's Road To Nowhere, certainly knows what goes into making a small-screen hit.
A key player on ITV primetime, the comedian has earned his stripes as a panellist in numerous episodes of Keith Lemon's Through The Keyhole and headed up The Keith And Paddy Picture Show with Lemon, among others.
Next, viewers will see him join forces with Andrew Flintoff and Chris Harris as the refreshed presenting trio of the 27th series of Top Gear; as well as having been recently announced as Fearne Cotton's replacement on the award-winning Celebrity Juice.
But that's not to say he won't return to his best-known gig to date - as the ringmaster of Take Me Out.
Filming the next series as we speak, the host-matchmaker will return with an 11th run of the flirtatious dating show later this year. And he can't wait.
"I'm lucky in a sense that it's been on for so long and people enjoy it," McGuinness confides.
"But it's like putting on your favourite pair of shoes where you're just comfortable," he states. "I know it inside out, the audience knows it, the girls are totally across it, the lads coming in the lift are all up for it, and you can just enjoy it."
Of its longevity, he says: "Dating shows, full stop, hadn't worked since Blind Date.
"None had carried on coming back and we did Take Me Out and it created a big buzz and there was an influx of new dating shows again.
"Now you've got First Dates and Love Island - you can't move for dating shows.
"But we're still there, doing our thing, and I think that's because it's not just a dating show. It's an entertainment show as well. It ticks a lot of boxes."
He concludes: "As long as they keep wheeling me out, I'll keep doing it!"
Catchpoint kicks off on BBC One this Saturday