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Sanjeev Bhaskar teases his new show The Switch and more Unforgotten

The Switch Sanjeev Bhaskar host
(Image credit: ITV)

Sanjeev Bhaskar spills the beans on his brand-new quiz show where players 'can only get rich, if they survive The Switch'...

Sanjeev Bhaskar is probably best known for playing hilarious comedy characters on shows like Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No.42; and DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan in the ITV crime drama Unforgotten. But now Sanjeev is playing quizmaster on new ITV game show, The Switch.

So, how does ITV's The Switch work?

Well, all players get to bank money by answering quick-fire Easy Money questions. However, contestants 'can only get rich, if they survive The Switch’, a series of multiple-choice questions that each have only one incorrect answer.

The player that ends up with the wrong answer – either by choice or by default – is switched out of play and must hope another player makes a mistake, so they can get back in the game. The player who survives all ‘Switch’ rounds gets to the final where they can play to win their banked cash.

Sanjeev Bhaskar, 56, tells us more about The Switch...

What skill is involved in The Switch?

Sanjeev Bhaskar: "There’s a certain amount of strategising involved especially when players have to select – and sometimes switch! – the topics for the multiple-choice questions. Everyone hopes they’ll get a topic they like. Often, a player will switch a category and a rival will say: ‘Oh, that's a good one’. So as soon as another player gets the chance to switch categories, they’ll get rid of it!"

The Switch Sanjeev Bhaskar host

Sanjeev is the host with the most on new daytime quiz show The Switch...

So it gets very competitive then…

SB: "Yes! There’s also an element of luck involved in that when it comes to each player choosing one of the multiple-choice answers, one player will get whatever answer is left on the board whether they like it or not. Whoever ends up with the wrong answer is ‘switched out’ of the game, so getting to take control early on is very important."

Have you always enjoyed watching and playing along to TV quiz shows?

SB: "Yes, I have and I loved general knowledge quizzes at school. I've not appeared on many TV quiz shows apart from The Chase, where I certainly felt that extra bit of pressure. Suddenly, your brain isn't acting in the same way as it does at home. At home, I’m a genius! I always get lots of answers right on University Challenge. But I know if I was actually there I’d fall apart!"

On this show we hear you say that contestants ‘can only become rich if they survive the switch’. Do you like having a catchphrase?

SB: "With catchphrases, it just reinforces the name of the show; you try to get the name in there. But I started in sketch comedy, so catchphrases are something I got quite used to. Given that I came up with ‘kiss my chuddies’ and, as a result, the word ‘chuddies’ went into the English dictionary, I'm very comfortable in the world of catchphrases."

What would you say is the best game show of all time? And who's the best game show host?

SB: "Of all time? Ooh, that's really hard. That's impossible to say. I do think Bradley Walsh is fantastic. He’s a great host. The Chase is the only quiz show I've been on and Bradley’s really engaging and really funny."

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Do you think you'll be able to give Bradley run for his money now?

"Oh, I don't think so. Bradley is Doctor Who’s companion as well, so he's probably got access to a sonic screwdriver and all sorts of stuff!"

After a day’s filming The Switch, did you go home and quiz your wife [Sanjeev is married to actress Meera Syal] and son?

"For the early episodes, I got given a script, so I’d bring that home and fire questions at them. We like to watch these shows as a family. Quiz shows – and anything David Attenborough does! – are the two things that everyone from kids to grannies can sit down and watch together."

Unforgotten Sanjeev Bhaskar Nicola Walker

Sanjeev will reprise his role as DI Sunil 'Sunny' Khan alongside Nicola Walker's DCI Cassie Stuart...

In terms of your other work, we’re really looking forward to the return of crime drama Unforgotten. That’s definitely coming back, isn’t it?

"Yes. Funnily enough, I just got scripts through for series four a few weeks ago. I’ve read through them all and we start filming towards the end of January. Sunny’s a great part and came really unexpected to me. I never thought I’d be cast as a detective. But it’s been a joy!"

The Switch starts on Monday November 25 and is shown every weekday at 3pm.