'The Weakest Link': Romesh Ranganathan on hosting the new series

'The Weakest Link' Christmas panto special. Hello Romesh...they're behind you!
'The Weakest Link' Christmas panto special. Hello Romesh...they're behind you! (Image credit: BBC)

The Weakest Link is a classic BBC1 show known for its bossy host Anne Robinson giving contestants her trademark "glare", a raised eyebrow and cutting remarks should they displease her. 

The hit show was taken worldwide, including in the US, and last aired in 2017 for a Children In Need special. Now the famous game show has been revived by BBC1 in time for its Christmas TV 2021 schedule and the new host is comedian Romesh Ranganathan, so it should be a whole lot kinder and pleasant for those competing in the studio than when Anne was in charge. Although we do accept she's not quite so scary hosting Countdown on Channel 4 these days!

So here's all we can tell you about The Weakest Link Strictly and Christmas Specials and the new BBC1 series hosted by Romesh Ranganathan, plus an interview with Romesh himself...

'You are The Weakest Link, goodbye Anne and hello Romesh!'

'You are The Weakest Link, goodbye Anne and hello Romesh!' (Image credit: BBC)

Anne Robinson presented 'The Weakest Link' for 17 years.

Anne Robinson presented 'The Weakest Link' for 17 years. (Image credit: BBC)

Romesh begins hosting The Weakest Link with The Weakest Link Strictly Special on Saturday Dec. 18 at 6.10pm on BBC1. The Weakest Link Christmas Special featuring panto stars is on Thursday Dec. 23 at 6.30pm on BBC1. These two episodes form part of the 12-part new series of The Weakest Link. The Strictly and Christmas Specials and all subsequent episodes of The Weakest Link will also become available on BBCiPlayer shortly after they air on BBC1. 

Romesh will also be hosting a Christmas special of The Ranganation on Sunday Dec. 19 at 10pm on BBC2. He's joined by his mum Shanthi and celebrity guests to take a look at some of the festively funny stuff going on in the country at the moment. 

Yes, the BBC has released a The Weakest Link trailer with Romesh in charge, as he informs us: 'The BBC said they wanted to go in a different direction with this show and apparently the opposite of Anne Robinson is an overweight Asian man in his 40s. Welcome to The Weakest Link everyone!'

BAFTA award-winning comedian Romesh Ranganathan promises to bring his own twist to The Weakest Link which has been one of the world’s most iconic quizzes over the past few decades. 

Romesh says: “It’s an honour to be asked to bring what is basically a TV institution back to our screens. Anne Robinson was an amazing host and to step into her shoes is an anxiety-inducing privilege. I’m hoping we’ve found a way to make both the fans of the show happy as well as bringing a new audience to it. If not, accept this as my apology.”

"I think Anne was great as the host and she was the reason why the show was so massive. She added her own flavour to it and what she did was brilliant but I’ll be doing it my own way. I’ll be bringing a comic element to it in terms of how I interact with the contestants. I am a comedian by nature so that is what I am going to be bringing to it."

Romesh currently hosts his BBC2 series The Ranganation and is a co-host of A League Of Their Own on Sky Max along with Jamie Redknapp and Freddie Flintoff. Also for Sky Max, Romesh joins fellow comedian Rob Beckett for a series of hilarious challenges in Rob vs Romesh.

Romesh Ranganathan tries gymnastics.

New 'The Weakest Link' host Romesh Ranganathan tried Olympic gymnastics for his Sky Max series 'Rob vs Romesh' earlier this year. (Image credit: Sky)

For The Weakest Link Christmas Special, new host Romesh is joined by eight celebrities in panto costume, including Bonnie Langford, Kym Marsh, Danny John-Jules, Gemma Collins, Christopher Biggins and Olly Smith, each with their own connection to Christmas who'll have to work as a team to try to win a maximum prize of £50,000 for their chosen charity. We will update which famous faces are putting on their Christmas jumpers, Santa hats and blouses as soon as we find out.

Each round one player will be voted The Weakest Link by their fellow contestants and will leave with nothing. After a final head to head one celebrity will be crowned The Strongest Link and will take the prize, for a charity of their choice. 

The first show of The Weakest Link however is a Strictly Come Dancing special featuring the likes of Janette Manrara, HRVY, Ore Oduba and Dr Ranj and Anton Du Beke.

'The Weakest Link' will kick off with a 'Strictly' special.

'The Weakest Link' will kick off with a 'Strictly' special. (Image credit: BBC)

Former Strictly pro Janette Manrara competes on 'The Weakest Link'.

Former Strictly pro Janette Manrara competes on 'The Weakest Link'. (Image credit: BBC)

Romesh says: "It’s a really fun episode! The celebrity contestants include Gemma Collins, Christopher Biggins and Olly Smith, and they’re in panto fancy dress. It looks really good. Everyone knows The Weakest Link walk of shame and I can confirm that it’s great in fancy dress!" 

Romesh on how he'll be celebrating Christmas this year

Romesh says: "We’ve just moved house, and have been trying to move for a long time, so I think we are going to have to have everyone to ours. I say ‘have to’, but the truth is we’ve been politically manoeuvred into a situation where we have to have everyone over."

'The Weakest Link' host Romesh is ready for Christmas fun!

'The Weakest Link' host Romesh is ready for Christmas fun! (Image credit: BBC)

Romesh reveals the best and worst Christmas gifts he's ever received

Romesh says: "The best was a weekend away in Barcelona which was a present from my other half. The worst was a snow globe with a photo of me in it. I mentioned it was the worst present I’ve ever received on Taskmaster and my sister-in-law, who gave it to me, saw it. I got myself into a bit of trouble over that one!"

The Weakest Link is a BBC Studios Entertainment Production for BBC1. The new series has been filmed in Glasgow and is a 12-parter. It was commissioned by Kate Phillips, Director of Entertainment. The Executive Producer for BBC Studios is Pete Ogden. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Neil McCallum.

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.