TV Interview: Paddy McGuinness on his new BBC gameshow, Catchpoint.
Paddy McGuinness presents Catchpoint - BBC One’s gameshow with difference. This is the very first physical game show where contestants need quick reflexes and brains in order to win the cash prize.
Ten giant screens have balls hidden above them which drop from the correct answer. Contestants must think fast because if they choose the wrong screen and miss the ball falling they risk losing their place in the game. The series begins on Saturday 23 March.
The premise of the game is simple - don’t drop the ball! In the studio, ten large rectangular LED screens are positioned along the back wall of the Catch Zone. These screens will display the answers to each question that the players will face. Suspended above the Catch Zone are ten trapdoors - each containing a ball. Only the trapdoor that is located directly above the correct answer screen will open and send a ball plummeting to the ground.
All the players must do is stand in front of the screen that they think is displaying the correct answer, press the button to release the ball and then catch the ball when it drops from the correct answer trapdoor. If the player is standing in the right place, it should be a piece of cake but get it wrong and they’ll have to rely on fast moves and quick reflexes not to drop that ball!
Paddy tells us more…
How would you describe the show?
It’s so simple. It’s just answering questions and catching balls, as mad as that sounds. When we were filming, I’d come on say to the audience, “look, it’s a new gameshow, you don’t know much about it but I’ll tell you the jist of it - someone’s going to answer a question and catch a ball, that’s it!” It’s just so simple.
What made you say yes to it?
I think for me, I like any show where I can of course be a bit looser, where I have free reign to wander about and chat and go off piste. So when this came in and I had a look at it and had a chat with the makers, I thought yes, I could actually just have a bit of fun, chatting to people. And it’s not just me stood behind a podium with a set of questions. It’s not like that at all and that’s what I liked about it.
What’s been the standard of the catches?
We had some really good catches and some shocking ones. I must admit, it’s one of those shows, even when I’m stood in the studio, when you watch them catch the balls, you think it looks very simple. I’ve tried it myself and when you’re stood underneath the little trap doors, where all the balls come out and there are other little balls coming down at the same time, you realise it is more difficult. I’m pretty sure people watching at home will say: “I hope they’ve not caught that.”
Is it the same contestant catching the balls and answering questions in the one episode?
Two couples take it in turns and then it’ll get the point when one couple has won more money than the other couple, so they’ll go through to the final and then it’s just them on their own.
Are the questions just general knowledge questions or are there specialist questions too?
The questions are good and could be as random as: "Which of these breeds of dogs is the same weight as a shotput?" Or having to guess where the next musical notes are going to land. It’s a bit of everything really, but there are some random ones as well, which is always nice.
How were you when you had a go?
Well the first time I did it I walked on set giving it Charlie Big Time. I went: “Yeah, go on, let one go and I just totally missed it.” That was a good start and was when I realised it’s more difficult than it looks.
So the cricketing gloves didn’t come in handy at all then?
No, not in the slightest.
How did you get on with the questions?
Not too bad at all really, because strangely enough, if you don’t exactly get the right answer, you still get the chance of winning money. For instance, the question I mentioned about the weight of the shotput, you look at all the different breeds of dogs and if you kind of think, is it going to be the same weight as a pug or a dachshund or whatever, you get yourself in the middle of those and give yourself a better chance. As long as you catch the ball, you can still win the money, even if you get the question wrong.
Does this show ever get really chaotic with balls flying everywhere?
Yeah it does. Even while I’m hosting, they’ll start dropping down. They randomly drop everywhere. But I like that chaotic element.
Would you like to do a celebrity version of the show? If so, who would you like to get involved?
If we do a celebrity version, it would probably be good to have a few cricketers on board, that way, if they don’t catch the ball, you can absolutely rinse them. I think anything like that would be handy. The trouble is, I don’t watch much cricket so I can’t think of anyone [laughs].
What do you enjoy most about working with the public on these gameshows?
I think the unpredictability of what someone’s going to say to you. With this show, I’m chatting to people about the questions. I just don’t know what they’re going to say so it keeps it interesting for me too.
Do you have any pre-recording rituals and do you get nervous before the cameras start rolling?
I get nervous before everything I do. I always have done. I think that’s quite a nice thing to have or otherwise you’ll get complacent. It’s not a ritual but I literally have five minutes on my own before I go out because when you’re filming, you’ve always got people with you, asking you questions and showing you things and it’s just a bit manic, so I try to get everyone out for the way for five minutes, so I can gather my thoughts and then out I go. But I don’t have lucky socks or underpants or anything.
If you had to sell your new show Catchpoint to the public to make them tune in, how would you do that?
What else would you be doing at teatime on a Saturday? Not sure that’s the best of sells but it works for me.
Do you have a catchphrase on this?
No, I mean it is called Catchpoint and catching the ball is basically the point. The title says it all so it doesn’t really need a catchphrase.
When you’re out and about, do you get a lot of people shouting catchphrases at you?
People get a bit nervous and try to say a catchphrase but get it completely wrong. But it’s always nice. For me, personally, I take that as real a compliment that the catchphrases are part of culture now.
What’s your favourite ever gameshow?
Oh you can’t just throw that one in the mix there. Cor blimey. Do you know what, it’s not about the actual gameshows at the time, it’s more about where you were in your life at the time so when I was a kid, I used to love watching Larry Grayson do the Generation Game because my mum really liked it and I’d sit with my mum and she’d be laughing and I’d be laughing, so them kind of memories… There have probably been better gameshows over the years but it’s all about where you were in your life when you were watching it. So I’d probably say Larry Grayson’s Generation Game.
Do you like doing a variety of different shows?
I been doing it 20 years now and I feel the reason I’ve been doing it so long is because of that. I can turn my hand to a number of things and it keeps it interesting for me and for the viewers. If you pigeonhole yourself into being just a presenter or just an actor or just a comedian or just a writer, you know, you’re limiting yourself sometimes. So I like having a few strings to my bow.
Do you accept much work that takes you away from home?
I’m lucky because in my job you do these jobs that are on telly for like two months at a time but you can get them all filmed in the space of three or four days, so I can go do a block of work and then go back home and then carry on normal family life.
What else is left in your broadcasting bucket list?
I’ve not done a book yet so that’s something I might look at in the next year. I’d be interested in writing a life story. I feel as though at 45, I have a bit of experience now. When I see people who write their life stories at 20, they’ve not had a life, but I feel I’m just at the right age to start penning a few things.
Warts and all?
I honestly don’t know how I’d approach it or where I’d start my book. Do you start at your childhood or write about it now, the entertainment industry? I just don’t know. I have to have a proper sit down and think.
Catchpoint airs Saturdays on BBC One.