Paul O’Grady is hosting a brand new show, Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line, which shows celebrities in a whole new light.
Who was the naughtiest at school? Who would cope best in a crisis? And who do you think is the richest? are just some of the blunt questions celebrities are asked by popular presenter and host, Paul, in his new show.
Not only must the celebrities answer his questions and regale Paul and the studio audience with anecdotes, but they must also line up in the order that they think the public has placed them in.
Here, in an exclusive interview, Paul reveals what’s in store, tells us which celebrity guests shocked him and why it’s the most raucous show he’s ever worked on….
Tell us how the format works?
“Each week we have four celebrity guests and they’re asked questions like, ‘Who’s most likely to make a fool of themselves at a showbiz party?’ or ‘Who’s the cleverest?’’ They have to line up in the order they think the public will have put them in and they score points if they get it right. For our first show we’ve got Judge Rinder, Mica Paris, Joanna Paige and Jack Dee and there were questions like ‘Who’s the richest’ The taxman could be watching so they’re not going to put themselves in the number one position for that one! “
There’s a chat show element because the celebrities all have anecdotes for the questions don’t they?
“Yes, the difference on this show is the celebrities are not there to plug anything. So I’m not saying ‘Tell us about your new film, album, book or slimming DVD’ There’s none of that which makes a pleasant change. Everyone was so relaxed and they all came out with great stories. Sometimes when they have to put themselves in order there’s a bit of ‘Why am I in that spot? That’s not fair!’ But they were all such good sports.”
Did you have any input into the format?
“No, I had no input at all! Two years ago we did a pilot. Emma Bunton was on it and so was Julian Clary. It was the most raucous show ever and I thought, ‘This will never get commissioned, not unless it’s got an X-rated certificate and it’s shown at 4am.’ And, lo and behold, here we are. There are some very racy stories because it’s after the watershed. Rob Rinder was a revelation. I’m no prude and I’ve been around the block twice but I sat there open mouthed! It’s obviously true what they say about judges!”
Which other famous faces can we expect to see later in the series?
“We have Boy George, Jo Brand and Joan Collins is on the Christmas special. What’s nice is that I’ve known most of them for years, so basically it was like sitting in a pub without a drink. Johnny Vegas and Danny from McFly, I remember when they were babies. And we had Bill Bailey on too. What an intelligent man he is. He’s frightening, you name it, he knows about it!”
One of the questions in the opening show is ‘Who was the naughtiest at school?’ So what were you like at school Paul?
“I was ok until I hit puberty and then all hell let loose. I was a prefect but only for a week. They caught me smoking behind the gym so I lost my badge. I was always in trouble. I remember my mum had to go up to school to see one of the Christian brothers and he said, ‘Mrs O’Grady, your son is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards,’ and I’ve never forgotten that. I was good at Biology, English and Art, subjects I was interested in. But maths? Forget it! I’m atrocious.”
What Saturday night shows did you grow up watching?
“I was a devotee of The Avengers with Honor Blackman and I still am. If it pops up on ITV4 I’ll sit and watch it for old times’ sake. I also loved The Golden Shot where contestants had to fire a real crossbow – you’d never get away with that now! And as a kid I loved shows like Crackerjack and Magpie and of course Blue Peter. I was a paperboy and the first thing I used to do was whip TV Times out of my bag and see what was on the telly.”
How are all your animals doing and how did you find lockdown?
“Well I started having ukulele lessons online. That went well. I can only play three songs. Infact I got out the ukulele yesterday and started playing Hard Hearted Hannah. Gave it full belt! I lost one of the pigs during lockdown. Rosie the sow died, she had cancer and last year I lost a dog too, Boycie, he was severely epileptic so I was lucky to have him for so long. But I got my little puppy Nancy, from Battersea. She’s full on Nancy, but lovely. She’s a Jack Russell, pug, dachshund cross.”
So who’s in your animal menagerie now?
“I’ve got four dogs now, three goats, four barn owls, a load of chickens, pigs, a load of ducks, a load of ducklings and sheep as well. We had two lambs born this year. We didn’t know we were expecting lambs. The ram got in!”
What else have you got coming up?
“I’m back at Battersea next month to finish off series ten of For the Love of Dogs. I mean, we’ve been working on series ten for the last two years because of the pandemic! But I’m not doing panto this year. Apparently, with the restrictions you can’t talk to anyone or leave your dressing room except to go on stage. Where’s the fun in that?”
And we hear you’ve written a children’s book too?
“Yes. I wrote that in lockdown. To be honest I think everyone wrote a kids book in lockdown. It’s for about age 8 upwards and it’s called Albert And The Amazing Animal Gang about a boy and his pets who goes to stay in Amsterdam. I wrote it to see if I could write one and didn’t expect it to go to publication. Now I’ve got to write three of them. The first draft I enjoyed but draft number 68 I wasn’t so keen on.”
Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line-Up begins on Saturday 11 September at 9.35pm on ITV