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'On CBBC, people said I was drunk due to my accent but I was sober'

With Love Island looming, Iain Stirling has a busy summer ahead. But first he's back with series three of CelebAbility

Iain Stirling
Iain Stirling

By Gemma Dunn

CelebAbility is back - and host Iain Stirling is chuffed to say the least. Devised by the makers of Ninja Warrior and The Chase, the chaotic comedy game show will once again invite teams of civilians to go up against a squad of famous faces in a series of hilarious tasks. The aim: to discover more unique skills possessed by celebrities. The prize: a cash sum of up to £5,000.

"Not many things get a third series, so it's quite a nice feeling," quips Stirling (31), of the return of the ITV2 hit. "You need at least one series to get going and then you might need a second series to see if it's working, but the third series? It's a tricky beast and we've managed it. So, yeah, I'm very happy.

"The good thing about having three series of anything is it just gets better and better," Stirling, who also narrates Love Island, adds. "So, hopefully, this is the best one yet."

Joining the Scottish stand-up and his trusted adjudicator, Marek Larwood, will be I'm A Celebrity: Extra Camp presenter Scarlett Moffatt, who will captain the challenger team each week.

So, what else can Stirling tell us ahead of the eight-episode run?

On ... Scarlett Moffatt joining the team

"She's amazing. She's team captain of the members of the public and the great thing with Scarlett is she could talk for Britain, as I'm sure she would say herself. She's an incredibly lovely, talented woman, so it's nice when she's with those who might not have been on television before.

"She's there to push them along, give them a bit of advice, and she just adds value into anything she's in. She's done so many massive shows like (Saturday Night) Takeaway and Gogglebox, so the fact that she actively wanted to do this show is a massive compliment."

On ... this year's celebrity line-up

"We've got Chris Ramsey, who is a fantastic comedian, and Lloyd Griffith from Soccer AM. We've also got some people who you wouldn't expect, like Richard Arnold from Good Morning Britain - I just love the man so much. Samira Mighty - you've got to get a former Love Islander in there, haven't you, it's only fair?

"But it's a lot more diverse this year. We've got Matt Evers, Gemma Collins' partner on Dancing On Ice, Lee Ryan from Blue, people that you wouldn't expect to see on a show like this. But, without fail, they're all fantastic and get involved."

On ... the fun appeal

"Fun, that's basically what you're trying to get at, because that's how you get the celebrities to do silly stuff. At no point are they the butt of the joke, as the whole point is they're meant to be having a stupid laugh.

"You know that whole idea when you get needlessly competitive with somebody over something that doesn't really matter? That's basically the vibe of the show."

On ... his series highlight

"There's a few fun games that we played. We had Scarlett herd ducks through an Ibiza night out. She was with David (Potts), from Ibiza Weekender, so they're used to herding drunk people, but they had to herd these ducks through different nightclubs. It was fun.

"You want the show to have that silly, kick-about feel and the more I laugh and enjoy it, the better it looks on camera, so I am quite fortunate in that regard."

On ... his imminent return to Love Island

"We've done our photo shoots; I look a year older now, so the photos have got to represent that fact. But I love the show.

"Since series one, I've just been obsessed with it. I just think it's a really great, fun show and part of the British summer now. To be part of something like that is really flattering."

On ... a busy, but tiring summer ahead

"Rather than intense, it's more of a marathon. As in it's just long. It's not like some TV shows, where you've got a week to film it, you go in, it's crazy and you go home and you're a bit knackered. This is strenuous; it's six days a week for two months in Spain. It can be a bit hard, but always worth it. It's constant."

On ... making waves across the pond

"Love Island is on Hulu now and I did get a few Americans recognise me in Florida recently, which is crazy. They have to watch with subtitles, because of the accents I imagine. 'What is he saying?' 'What is he wearing?' 'Why are they doing that? I don't understand.'

"On social media, I thought the main strain of attack would be my horrific accent, but it's other things people have found to criticise, instead. When I did kids' TV - I used to do CBBC - we would always get complaints from people saying that I sounded drunk, or that they couldn't understand what I was saying. I was very much sober."

On ... life on tour

"I've got a new tour that I'm writing. My tour last year, Love Island had just kicked off and I'd moved into proper theatres, touring like that, and I hadn't adjusted to that many people coming.

"So, now I'm used to playing these big theatres and how to write that sort of a show. I'm hoping that I can write something that's really great. That's the plan.

"Whether that happens is another question and down to general work ethic and talent. We'll see how it goes."

Iain Stirling's CelebAbility, ITV2, Wednesday, 10pm

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