Phillip Schofield on why his wife Steph loves going head to head with Declan Donnelly and who his all time favourite gameshow hosts are....
This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield is back next week hosting a brand new series of the interactive ITV gameshow Five Gold Rings in which two teams battle it out against the clock and must answer questions by placing gold rings in the correct position on an LED floor.
What's On TV met up with the chirpy host to hear what's in store, who his all-time favourite gameshow hosts are and why his wife Steph loves nothing more than going head to head with Dec Donnelly....
What's On TV talks to Phillip Schofield about Five Gold Rings...
What's On TV: Tell us about the new format for this series…
Phillip Schofield: "Yes, it’s changed slightly, in the first series we had two guys who couldn’t find Paris and it went on and on and so we thought is there a better way of doing this? So now we’ve made it move along faster which is great because it means people at home will be able to play along with more games too. Plus the prize money has gone up from £25,000 to £50,000."
WOTV: Were you surprised by just how popular the first series was?
PS: "As soon as I was shown the bare bones of it and asked if I’d be interested in hosting, I loved the interactive idea of it. I could instantly see that you WILL play this at home. I had a couple of initial tester questions made up which I tried out on my family and they loved it and got straight into it."
WOTV: So who’s the Gold Rings King or Queen in the Schofield household?
PS: "I will let you into a secret, my wife, Steph, plays online with Declan Donnelly! When it’s on air I’m usually tweeting and posting pix, but Dec will Whatsapp Steph and the two of them actually play along using the app and then brag about their scores. They’re pretty evenly matched. Steph’s not that competitive, but she loves a good quiz and she’s very quick with general knowledge."
WOTV: How’s your own general knowledge?
PS: "Not bad. My specialist subject would have to be wine or gin!"
WOTV: Which quizzes did you grow up watching and which quizmasters do you admire for their presenting skills?
PS: "I loved Les Dawson on Blankety Blank and in the early days, Bob Monkhouse on the Golden Shot. He was a really slick gameshow host and Leslie Crowther was another slick one. Brucie obviously, I loved and Michael Barrymore was always a very funny, quick gameshow host."
WOTV: You’ve presented a lot of gameshows including The Cube and Test The Nation, do you think you’ve got the ability to spot a hit?
PS: "No! You can only spot what you think is going to be a hit, there are no guarantees, although my strike rate isn’t bad. I wouldn’t host a quiz show unless a) You could easily play along at home, b) You were very quickly into the game and playing it fast and c) It’s easy to understand the rules.
WOTV: The first series of Gold Rings was filmed in Amsterdam, what was that like?
PS: "I loved doing it and it was really interesting because they have a different way of doing things over there, for example the presenter is very much left to their own devices, but I was keen to get it back here to Britain. We are among the best in the world when it comes to making these kind of shows."
WOTV: Do the studio audience get very excited during filming?
PS: "They do get excited which is great. When we shot in Amsterdam it was infront of an all-Dutch audience. When I first walked out onto the stage they were going absolutely crazy, whooping, cheering and clapping. I thought, ‘This is incredible! What a fantastic warm welcome’ I thought maybe they knew me from some of my UK shows but when I asked infact no-one had a clue who I was. It turned out they actually pay studio audiences in Amsterdam. If you do a whole season you get a bonus and people make a living out of and being enthusiastic audience members!"
WOTV: £50K is a great amount of prize money isn’t it?
PS: "Yes, and it’s an achievable figure. We had a couple in the last series who were in their 50s and they wanted to buy a Harley Davidson and do route 66 across America if they won. I thought ‘That’s a pretty damn good plan, I like that!’ so I was desperate for them to do well, which they did in the end. It’s a nice feeling to be able to give money away."
WOTV: Do you get anxious for contestants and despair if their answers are rubbish?
PS: "Yes, but it’s all got to be inside your head. The amount of times you stand there with your poker face when they're trying to place the ring and think, ‘No, not there! …. put it there!’ Oh God!"
WOTV: Do you sometimes find yourself rooting for one team?
PS: "Yes, quietly in my head…although it's very, very seldom that I take a disliking to anyone. Over all the years in television there may have been one or two contestants where I’ve thought, “I don’t really like you” but it happens so seldom and it’s not happened on Five Gold Rings."
WOTV: Do you get an insight into marital relationships with people not listening to eachother when they’re playing the game?
PS: "Oh yes, you see how they communicate and you get a good insight into how family life runs in their house, and a really good insight into what the conversation is going to be like in the car on the way home! I’ve never seen an actual row off-stage but maybe the crew have. I’ll usually be finishing up with the audience when people go off stage but you do see the look in their faces when some have left and you think, “I would NOT want to be in your shoes when you get out of here!’"
WOTV: What else have you got coming up? Are you going to be doing any more travel shows like the South Africa one?
PS: "There are no plans for that at the moment. I’ll be back on This Morning back after the summer and soon after we’ll be celebrating its 30th anniversary, so that’s going to be a big time for us. And then we’ll be throwing ourselves headlong into Dancing On Ice."
WOTV: Can you tell us anything about what’s happening for the This Morning anniversary at this stage?
PS: "There are all kinds of plans in the offing, which will have been finalised over the summer. There is going to be 30th anniversary show especially for primetime. We’ve all done our interviews and clips for that. There is also a big surprise which is lovely which I definitely can’t say anything about, but it’s something that has made us all very proud."
WOTV: And behind the scenes are you going to have a big party?
PS: "Oh, you can bet your life…absolutely!"
Five Gold Rings starts on Sunday September 2, ITV, 7pm
Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.
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