The Version Interview... Ben Shephard on Ninja Warrior UK

Back on New Year's Eve for a brand new series is itv's addictive physical gameshow Ninja Warrior UK. Host Ben Shephard told us what to expect...


Why do you think Ninja Warrior is so popular?

I think there are a number of reasons why it’s so popular. It’s fantastic family entertainment. You lose count of the amount of families who come up to me and say they love watching together with Granny and Grandad. I think it’s something that makes Saturday night TV really special and it’s a powerful thing, I know because my family sit down and watch it. I think it’s really aspirational as well, watching the people who come onto the show who challenged themselves to take on the course, the good and the bad. It’s thoroughly entertaining to watch people try something, slip and fall into water but then it’s thrilling when they actually complete parts of the course. With all those elements it ends up being a brilliant show.


It is such a great show because like you say it brings the family together and gets people wanting to tackle the coffee table…

Yeah we get pictures through from people where kids have taken over the living room, jumping on door frames, moving from cushions on sofas and driving parents mad. In the garden they are swinging on clothes lines and causing general havoc.


Have you got a funniest moment from the show? You get all sorts of characters on the show which is great to watch…

The colourful characters we get add so much to the show and they are attempting the course in their costumes which is great, we get someone who comes as his hero/heroine dressed as Lara Croft, not that recognizable as Lara Croft. Another competitor dressed as a banana and all of these things are gifts for me and Kammy, his laugh is infectious.


The series comes out in January and is there anything new for viewers to expect?

Well there are some changes to the course because people are such big fans of the show and learn the course we previously had so there are some new parts to the course this series. There are Ninja gyms around the country now so you can train at your heart’s content but we like to throw in a curve ball. The course is more demanding than ever and we have less returning competitors but Owen “the stuff” McKenzie is back this year again after being the last man standing last series.


It sounds like it’s going to be a big hit again and something that everybody needs after Christmas because we’re all a bit full…

Yes, everybody gets on the fitness kick and joins a gym but with television it’s motivational because people start the new year running and getting fitting. There is nothing better than this to help with that inspiration.


Ninja Warrior UK, 7pm, New Year's Eve. Itv.