Harry Hill says 'play it safe' bosses take all the fun out of TV


The comedian, 57, said commissioning editors don’t have the “enthusiasm” to try new and exciting ideas these days due to becoming too obsessed with what will be popular rather than fun to watch. He said: “What always surprises me is if you’re the commissioning editor and someone comes to you with the idea for The Young Ones, or Vic and Bob [Reeves and Mortimer], you would think, ‘OK, it may not be popular, but it’ll be a lot of fun to try it and find out’.

“That enthusiasm just for the challenge of it is the thing that seems to have disappeared. Everyone just seems to be playing safe.

“I have a little production company, and in the summer Channel 4 did this call out, saying they wanted a new light entertainment show. 

“So they asked me to pitch some ideas, and the brief was, ‘We want something like Taskmaster’. And I thought, ‘Well you’ve got Taskmaster. What do you want another one for?’

“I always think you never know what you want until you’re offered it.”

Harry admits he no longer likes working for others, but he makes an exception to host Channel 4 series Junior Bake Off because it isn’t heavily scripted.

He said: “I’ve got to the stage now where I don’t really like working for other people. I’m doing Junior Bake Off, and that comes back in the spring. 

“It’s a great job for me, actually, and an unusual one in that previously everything I’ve done has been heavily scripted.

“I had to take a slight leap of faith with it in that I turn up and it’s a tent full of kids and I just have to try to make them laugh.

“Actually I’ve really enjoyed it, because the kids are so surprising.

“But I don’t have any plans to do a big Saturday night type thing. I kind of start to get anxious about that ‑ the stress and how you’re so exposed ‑ because I did it for so long. Things may change.”

Harry is best known for his hit Saturday evening show TV Burp ‑ which ran from 2001 until 2012 on ITV ‑ but he always worried the series would end up being loathed by diehard viewers.

He said: “My fear with TV Burp, which was obviously my big success, was that we’d hit a bad patch. And people hate you if you’ve got a show they love and you start to churn it out and it’s a bit ropey.

“They really turn on you then. It’s almost worse than having a flop that they ignored all the way through.”

Despite his success with TV Burp, the former doctor says the best moment of his career came when he was able to throw a cream flan into Piers Morgan’s face live on Good Morning Britain in October 2018.

Speaking on The Lovejoy Hour podcast, he said: “I think it’s the only time I’ve ever been viral. I got texts from all over the place.”



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