He’s best known for starring in the BBC1 sitcom Not Going Out and comedy panel shows such as Would I Lie To You? but now Lee Mack has turned quiz show host for ITV’s new prime-time quiz The 1% Club.
Unlike most quizzes, the audience of 100 people are also the contestants, plus you don’t need to swot up on general knowledge to do well. All you need is logic and common sense.
Here, we explain what happens in The 1% Club, reveal the air date and chat to Lee about hosting the show…
The 1% Club: When does it air?
The eight-part series of The 1% Club airs on Saturday nights on ITV. The first episode is on Saturday, April 9 at 8.30pm.
The time may change from week to week so check our TV guide for details.
The 1% Club: Explained
Each show starts off with 100 contestants, who each start with a £1000 stake.
The quiz begins with a question that 90% of the country answered correctly (based on a sample of answers given by 1000 people across Britain) and then goes onto questions that smaller percentages of people answered correctly.
But if anyone answers any question incorrectly, they are out of the game and their cash goes into the prize pot which swells as time goes on.
When the quiz reaches questions that 50% of the country got right, the contestants can skip the next question by putting their £1000 into the prize pot.
When it comes to the questions that 30% of people could answer correctly, the contestants are given the option to take the £1000 and leave the game.
After the 5% question, whoever remains will win £10,000 or a share of £10,000 if more than one contestant remains. If they’re feeling brave they can risk the money by trying to answer the 1% question.
If they get it right, they will win whatever’s in the prize pot which could potentially be £100,000.
And if they win, they become a member of the 1% Club!
The 1% Club: More about host Lee Mack!
Lee started his career as a stand-up comedian and was nominated for the coveted Perrier Award in 2000.
In more recent years he has appeared on comedy panel shows. As well as appearing as a team captain on Would I Lie to You?, on BBC1, he’s also presented the comedy sports quiz They Think It’s All Over and hosted the Sky One panel show Duck Quacks Don't Echo.
Lee’s also been a guest host on Have I Got News for You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, a guest captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, and a guest panelist on QI.
Since 2006, Lee has appeared as a fictional version of himself in the BBC1 sitcom Not Going Out, which he also co-writes. In 2009, the show was cancelled, but after a surge in DVD sales and a petition, the comedy returned for a fourth series in 2011. The 12th series is currently on BBC1.
In the same week that The 1% Club airs, Lee joins Holly Willoughby to co-host BBC1’s new celebrity survival show Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof. The series follows eight famous faces, including Alfie Boe, Tamzin Outhwaite and Owain Wyn Evans, as they undertake a series of chilly challenges set by Danish ‘extreme athlete’ Wim Hof, who believes that embracing the cold will change their lives for the better.
Stockport-born Lee, whose real name is Lee Gordon McKillop, has also appeared on Taskmaster, and has had roles in Doctor Who, Gold's comedy whodunnit Murder, They Hope and the 2019 film Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans.
The 1% Club: Q&A with host Lee Mack
Here Lee talks about hosting his first quiz show, reveals why he'd take the money and dealing with a contestant who was desperate to use the loo!
Lee, this is your first foray into hosting a prime-time quiz show, what made you say yes?
“I’ve done plenty of panel shows before but I've never done a quiz show. This is an actual proper quiz show with proper questions and real things to win… rather than a load of comedians trying to out-funny each other.
"What I really liked about it was that the people making it [Magnum Media] are a company I’ve worked with before and I know they don’t dumb down. It starts like most quizzes do, gentle and a little bit easy, but the fact it then goes on to ask a question only 1% of the population knows is great.
"Quizzes like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which is a brilliant quiz show, are great because they start off fairly easy and yet towards the end most of us haven’t got a clue what the answers are… which is handy otherwise they’d have to give a million pounds out each show!”
What sort of quiz shows are you a fan of?
“I like quizzes that are tough. I watch University Challenge knowing that if I’m lucky I’ll get a couple of questions right and I’m more than happy with that because when you get it right you feel great.
"That’s what I really liked about The 1% Club, producers shared some questions with me and if I’d been able to get them all right, I probably wouldn’t have done the show. But I quickly realized that if someone gets these right, they’re a proper brainbox.
"Most quizzes use traditional general knowledge-style questions – you either know them or you don’t straight away. Here, the questions are about logic, if you don’t know straight away and your brain is quick enough, you can try to work it out in the 30 seconds you have to answer."
What was it like hosting a show with 100 contestants? Did it feel like doing a stand-up gig?
“What was interesting is the people on the show were both contestants and the audience and given my stand-up background, even though I haven’t done it for seven years, that ability to work with the audience and joke with them, never goes away.
"But this is slightly different, comedy can be difficult at the best of times, never mind when someone is thinking about a difficult logic question. It’s about trying to get the balance right. £100k is a life-changing amount of money so I did make sure there were no jokes towards the end.”
Did you try some questions out at home with the family?
“There’s a very strict embargo on knowing what the questions are, with lots of security in place, there were very few people that knew the answers. But I showed the kids after we’d filmed it and they played along with it and were really engaged in the questions and loved it.
"Interestingly, playing for real in the studio, I also found that the percentage was normally spot on. For example, there was a 50% question that I thought was easy but sure enough, only 50% of the contestants got it right, so they’re very well researched on what people are capable of getting right.”
How do you think you’d do if you were playing for real?
“I went through the whole series without getting a 1% question right. The best I did was a 5% question. I always thought I would be a contestant that wouldn’t go for the option of taking a grand and ending my go, but as the series went on I realised it was too hard and I changed my mind. I’d have snatched the grand off them! It’s great that the show gives the contestants that option. The other good thing is if you do go out early, you’re still part of the show.”
Any standout moments from filming the series?
“One of the funniest moments we had during filming was a chap who was desperate for us to get going as he was dying for the loo and kept asking us to do it quicker!”
Michael writes about TV for Woman, Woman's Own, Chat, What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and regularly contributes to whattowatch.com (opens in new tab).
After graduating from the University of Winchester with a degree in English and American Studies, he chose a career that combined his great passions in life – magazines and television – and he has primarily worked as a TV journalist for more than 25 years.
He loves classic sitcoms such as The Good Life, Hi-de-Hi! and Man About the House, as well as shows such as Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, The Great Pottery Throwdown and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Some of his favourite people who he has interviewed over the years include Gillian Taylforth, Linda Robson, Sara Davies, Alex Polizzi and Bradley Walsh!
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