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Rylan Clarke-Neal: I bunked off school just to watch Supermarket Sweep

Expect new games, self-checkouts, bags for life and reality television stars aplenty as the cult show makes a mad trolley dash into the 21st century. New host Rylan Clark-Neal tells all to Gemma Dunn

Star shoppers: Rylan Clark-Neal
Star shoppers: Rylan Clark-Neal

Prepare to go wild in the aisles as Supermarket Sweep makes a welcome return to our screens. Last on air in 2007, the iconic gameshow - famously fronted by the late Dale Winton - will return to ITV2 with a prime-time week night show that, while paying homage to the original, will also introduce new games, challenges and a new host in the shape of Rylan Clark-Neal.

"I've always been a fan of Supermarket Sweep - I remember bunking off school just so that I could watch it," says Clark-Neal (30), who rose to fame on the ninth series of The X Factor.

"I've been so privileged to host shows like Xtra Factor, Big Brother and I'm joining Strictly.

"I've been so lucky with the gifts of institutions that I have been able to join and either make my own or put my stamp on it.

"To be able to do it all again from scratch has been amazing."

So what else can he tell us?

Aim of the game

From building up the clocks to the iconic jumpers and the super sweep finale (the high-speed trolley dash), many of the show's iconic elements will remain intact.

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"It's the Supermarket Sweep you know and love," promises Clark-Neal.

"I know it's a new era and this time the show is an hour long, so we have lots of time to fill, but I was adamant that we couldn't lose the warmth and fun of the original series.

"We're keeping those format beats like the mini sweep and the round robin, which we now call supermarket swap, but we are introducing new games as well as some of the old favourites.

"We also have some new games for the modern age, so you might see a self-checkout."

As for the cash prize, he adds: "In the big sweep you want to get the highest value of products in your trolley to be in with a chance of getting to the final round, the super sweep.

"That's where you can win £3,000 cash by finding hidden marked products and solving clues to find them."

Going green

While Clark-Neal is yet to take to the aisles in a competitive sense, rest assured he is taking his store manager role very seriously.

"Rather than running around, I am actually taking the mickey," he says of the 20-episode run.

"Like, if I get a bit peckish, then I'll just walk down one of the aisles and pick up a packet of crisps or raid the pick 'n' mix.

"The store is real and the products are real, so there's everything there that I could possibly want.

"But what's lovely about the show is that none of the food is going to waste.

"Instead of chucking it out, we've been sending all the food to a local food bank and shelters.

"I really love the fact we are making sure there is absolutely no food wastage. We've even got bags for life and that becomes a big thing within the show.

"I'm really proud of the fact that when the cameras stop rolling we are making a difference in people's lives. How amazing is it that we can do that?

"So, I don't feel quite as bad when I rob the odd chocolate bar."

Celebrity shoppers

As well as the series' regular contestants - "there's been arguments, there's been game playing, loads of controversy" - expect a sprinkling of celebrity stardust too.

Firstly, Coronation Street actress and comedian Jennie McAlpine will showcase her vocal chords on the shop's public address system.

Back in the aisles, national treasures Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes will be popping by for a fun-filled ride, as will The Only Way is Essex's Pete Wicks and Bobby Norris, Love Island's Maura Higgins and Tommy Fury, Celebs Go Dating's Tom Read Wilson and Made in Chelsea's Georgia Toffolo.

"I do have celebrities coming through my doors quite a lot with the supermarket," Clark-Neal says.

"They trust me so they tend to do their shopping here, but what they don't realise is when they shop in my supermarket my CCTV recognises their faces, so it tracks everything they do. That might play a bit of a part in one of the games.

"You should see some of the celebrity shopping habits - I mean Eamonn and Ruth are filthy."

This is in addition to the announced Love Island Special - "it was utter chaos" - when the likes of Anton and Belle, Chris and Harley and Ovie and India vie for the win.

Dream role

While Clark-Neal's career has catapulted in recent years, suffice to say this presenting gig remains a dream come true for the Essex native.

"Who would've thought it back in the day?" he asks.

"I'm really proud of what I've achieved in my career. With all due respect, I am an X Factor reject, but I worked hard afterwards.

"I've been very lucky - there's been a lot of luck involved - but you've still got to work very hard.

"People ask me why I think I'm still doing what I do when others haven't made it.

"I think it's just because I treat everyone the same and I'm not a diva.

"Telly in the olden days was different. People could get away with being a diva.

"But now there are millions of us doing this job and people trust me. I'm good at what I do and I enjoy hosting shows and I do it well."

Supermarket Sweep returns on ITV2 on Monday

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