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Michael McIntyre on The Wheel: 'This might be the best thing I've done!'

Michael McIntyre hosts The Wheel
(Image credit: BBC)

Michael McIntyre is back with more stars, big laughs and exciting spins this week as the game show with the catchiest theme tune on TV, The Wheel, returns to BBC1.

Funnyman Michael will once again be giving three members of the public the chance to win big money by answering questions on a series of subjects with the help of seven celebrity experts sitting around the outside of the giant spinning wheel.

First up to offer their "expert" guidance are Michael Ball on musicals, Tom Allen on housekeeping, Lulu on the 1960s, Joe Marler on rugby, Maisie Smith on EastEnders, Anita Rani on countryside and Raj Bisram on art. But, as we all know, once a category has been chosen, the rotating wheel could land on ANY celebrity. Tom Allen on rugby, perhaps?

Here Michael McIntyre, 45, talks about the joys of being a game show host — and how he settled on THAT theme tune… 

We LOVE The Wheel. What can you tell us about the new series?

"High drama and hilarity is the best way I can describe the new series of The Wheel."

Which celebrity experts are taking part?

"There are lots of new famous faces spinning around on the new series with fun categories — Richard E Grant on movies, Bill Bailey on birds, John Bercow on parliament, Claudia Winkleman on art and Michael Ball on musicals. Penny Lancaster on Rod Stewart is a fun one, and we have some returning guests like Dermot O'Leary on Jaws and Carol Vorderman on maths. Reverend Richard Coles didn’t get spun in to answer a question on the first series, came back and didn't get spun in again!"

Michael McIntyre Tom Allen The Wheel

How will Tom Allen fare in his specialist subject, housekeeping? (Image credit: BBC)

Did any of the celebrities surprise you with their knowledge or lack of knowledge in their subjects?

"Big Narstie came on the show with his expert subject being ‘Dogs' — all I can say is what he lacked in knowledge he more than made up for with humour. Peter Andre had a similarly disappointing but hilarious time on The Wheel. And Melvin Odoom who came bottom of the celebrity rankings in the first series had obviously been revising ever since!"

EastEnders Maisie Smith The Wheel

Maisie Smith is on hand for all things 'EastEnders', of course! (Image credit: BBC)

If you were one of the experts sitting on 'The Wheel', what would your specialist subject be and why?

"I genuinely seem to have no particular area of expertise. I am useless at trivia and never know the answer to any of the questions on The Wheel. Even when I watch the shows back with my family, when they’re on TV, I forget what the answer was."

Michael McIntyre contestant Joshua

Can our celebrity experts help win contestant Joshua big money? (Image credit: BBC)

Where you surprised at the reaction to the first series?

"We made the first series in the pre-vaccine time of the pandemic when things were even more uncertain than they are now. It was so exciting to be working again with a semblance of normality. I loved the show from the very first recording and am so pleased that it was not only an instant success but continues to grow in popularity as viewers see how many exciting variations in gameplay there can be."

Lulu takes to The Wheel

Will singer Lulu be expert in her specialist subject, the 1960s? (Image credit: BBC)

Do you enjoy hosting a game show?

"Before the pandemic I had no plans to ever host a game show. Unique circumstances lead to the creation and hosting of this show and, totally unexpectedly, I think this might end up being the best vehicle for me. There is so much for me to play with comedically on The Wheel; the celebs, their subjects, the contestants, the questions. I also get to dance. What's not to like?"

'The Wheel' has the catchiest theme tune of any game show… 

"I remember being sent all the options for the theme tune and being very apprehensive about listening to them as, not only is it very hard to like any music until you’ve heard it a few times, I also expected the suggestions to be so cheesy I wouldn't like any of them. I actually ignored the email for a while but then played the would-be theme tunes in the car with my whole family to listen to on the way to a staycation."

So the theme tune was a family decision?

"Predictably we were all cringing and laughing throughout the embarrassing options, but as soon as we all heard this one the car went silent and my wife said: "That's actually brilliant". We then all spent the whole holiday singing “The Wheel” to each other. It's everything a theme tune should be."

Michael Ball The Wheel

Michael Ball's specialist subject is Musicals — but what does he make of 'The Wheel' theme tune? (Image credit: BBC)

Some of the contestants have said that watching 'The Wheel' helped them during lockdown. How did this make you feel?

"Lockdown was such a bizarre time for so many. Whether it be families with young children trying to get through the day or people living alone; it was a difficult and scary time especially when watching the news on TV. So to have something new on TV that was a distraction was much needed. I've had lots of people approach me saying they found salvation watching The Wheel or my stand-up and that has been amazing to hear."

What do you hope viewers will take away from the show?

"For me, the Holy Grail of great TV is to make viewers laugh AND cry, the full spectrum of emotion. That's what I tried to do on The Big Show and it can be the same on The Wheel, as there's lots of laughs as well as highly dramatic gameplay."  

Finally, can you describe 'The Wheel' in three words?

"Spinning, Laughs, Drama."

Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel returns on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 8pm on BBC1 — see our TV Guide for full listings.