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Ore Oduba: 'It’s really funny when celebrities make a meal of it on And They’re Off!'

Ore Oduba: ‘It’s really funny when celebrities make a meal of it on And They’re Off!’
(Image credit: BBC / STV / Sandy Young)

Ore Oduba on putting celebrities through a tricky obstacle course in And They’re Off for Sport Relief 2018

If you happened to tune into BBC1 around 6pm on Saturday evening, chances are you caught sight of some household names up to their knees in mud and mayhem as they attempted to win wacky races for tense contestants safely tucked away in a studio.

What you were witnessing was And They’re Off, a new six-part family game show for Sports Relief 2018 (opens in new tab). This Saturday the fun continues with celebrity contestants Steve Backshall, Helen Glover, Stacey Solomon, Yasmin Evans and Casualty's Charles Venn (opens in new tab).

Casualty star Charles Venn is among the celebrity contestants on And They're Off

Casualty star Charles Venn is among the celebrity contestants on And They're Off (Image credit: BBC / Electric Robin / STV)

We caught up with host, Ore Oduba - winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 – who explained why And They’re Off is perfect Saturday night, family viewing…

How do you begin to describe this chaotic new game show?

“What we have is a show that’s high energy and fun but with real competition. We’ve roped in celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment to take part in some crazy, energetic races. Contestants in the studio choose which celebrity they think will win, but in this game we learn you can’t judge a book by its cover!”

What’s the obstacle course like?

“The obstacle course is tricky and slippery with mud, water slides, and some mind-spinning tasks. It’s daunting for non-sporting celebrities such as Penny Lancaster, Stacey Solomon, Saira Khan and Russell Kane to be up against some of the best sporting talent the country has ever produced like Olympians Helen Glover and Sam Quek, rugby player Mike Tindall, Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan and footballer Michael Owen.”

Surely the sportspeople are at a natural advantage?

“That’s what you’d think but in our obstacle course things are not always as they seem! We have a real leveller of a playing field. Once they hit that mud - good luck because there are surprises!”

There's no time to look before you leap on And They're Off

There's no time to look before you leap on And They're Off (Image credit: BBC / Sport Relief / STV)

Tell us about the prizes up for grabs by the studio contestant who picks the ultimate winner?

“As well as trying to raise money for Sports Relief and promoting health and activity, the contestants have an opportunity to win prizes that have been gifted to us. Prizes include special experiences, trips away or amazing things they can do with their family.”

Can you tell us more about the Sport Relief element of the show?

“Through the show we’re promoting activity and health but most importantly we’re trying to raise money for Sport Relief (opens in new tab). Within the show there are filmed stories about people whose lives have been changed for the better by Sport Relief money, through British people getting behind this campaign. Some of the projects are UK based and some are from around the world. They are heart-breaking but we find out the difference we can make.

How do you hope viewers respond when watching?

“I hope people will be shouting and laughing at the screen when watching this. It’s really funny when celebrities make a meal of the course! It’s fun, active, slapstick stuff. When people see the grimaces and faces Russell Kane pulls they’re going to be on the floor. You will lose calories just by watching it! We’re having a really great time and hopefully through that people will find themselves even more willing to donate to Sport Relief.”

Ore Oduba presents And They’re Off for Sport Relief on Saturdays on BBC One at 6pm

Elaine Reilly
Elaine Reilly

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.