Big Narstie talks new TV show, becoming a MMA fighter and why he’ll never be on ‘Love Island’

Big Narstie‘s TV cameos have been among the best things on the box over the past year, so it seems only natural that the grime MC-turned-national treasure would get his own show.

The Big Narstie Show begins on Channel 4 tonight (Friday, June 29) and sees the BDL leader joined by comedian Mo Gilligan, plus guests including Ed Sheeran, OT Fagbenle, Sherrie Silver, Keith Lemon, and Krept and Konan.

Ahead of the show’s unveiling, Narstie sat down to chat with NME – in a Vodka Revs, no less.

The show has been called “Graham Norton on acid” – is this accurate?

“I’d say it’s more like… the most chillest thing on TV.”

What can viewers expect?

“A lot of fucked up shit and a lot of real, genuine urban life. I’m not from a conventional world, innit? So the fact that I’m getting a chance to express my world in society and TV is epic.”

You described it as “the blackest show on TV” – do you think it’s a step forward for BAME representation on television?

“100 percent. Obviously what I’ve done hasn’t really been done before. It’s a bit unheard of, but I like hard challenges. Hopefully I’ve inspired a lot of people who thought they’d never be able to get their own TV show to give it a go.”

Did you think you would ever get your own TV show?

“No. It wasn’t planned. I fell into it. I’m not really a comedian innit, I just naturally say things which people class as funny. But I haven’t really got a rehearsal or a script for what I do. To me it’s very surprising and a lot of the time when people find me funny but it’s humbling as well if I’ve got it naturally.”

What’s your double act with Mo The Comedian like?

“I wouldn’t really say it’s a double act, but Mo’s one of the funniest people in the country right now. He’s very naturally gifted, man. It’s just natural banter.”

The first episode features the likes of Ed Sheeran and Keith Lemon as guests. What was that after-party like?

“There was a little shindig afterwards. I was shattered though. I just wanted to walk my dog and play FIFA in my boxers.”

What other guests can viewers look forward to?

“Craig David, Michael Dapper, Tinie Tempah and a lot more.”

Who are your all-time dream guests to have?

“Dave Chappelle, The Rock, Jonny Vegas and who’s the angry pub man? I wanna go old school… what’s that guy? What’s his name again? Harry Enfield and Chums. Is it Harry Enfield? I wanna get Harry Enfield on my show.”

You recorded a World Cup song with John Barnes, perhaps football’s greatest rapper. How was that?

“A very surreal opportunity. I was very lucky – how many people can say they did a song with John Barnes and played football with him? You know what I mean? And that’s chilled like, if truth be told, yeah, I’m still pinching myself to see that this is all real.

“John Barnes said to me that [former Newcastle player] Peter Beardsley was gonna do the song [‘World In Motion’] before he decided to do it. Imagine – that would have been epic. Peter Beardsley’s a geezer!”

Is he still good at footy?

“He’s still got it. 100 percent. He’s got a cracking left foot.”

England have made a decent start to the World Cup. Do you think they’re gonna win it?

“I hope so.”

Is “football coming home”?

“Hmm, it might be, but I’m optimistic.”

Did you see Robbie Williams’ opening ceremony performance?

“No, unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of the matches.”

You’ve been too busy?

“Majorly too busy.”

Have you been watching Love Island, the sort-of alternative World Cup.

“No.”

Would you ever consider going on a celebrity version?

“I’ve got no problems with my sexual life. I’m a fucking porn star.”

You were recently on Crystal Maze

“That was fucking gassed.”

You’ve been described as the best Crystal Maze contestant of all-time. How does that feel?

“I used to watch it on TV, as a kid, so just being there… I know it might sound a bit cheesy, but all of it’s just humbling and exciting to me, fam. I’m like a tourist, innit. I’m in a new world, doing things that I’d only dream about, do you know what I mean? So, truth be told, I’m just trying to take it in and try not to act so much like a [fan]… I have no composure, I get really excited!”

When did you last get starstruck?

“I was like that when I met Craig David. I was like that when I met Walter White’s son from Breaking Bad at the Brits. I was like that when I met Liam from Eastenders. I broke down in flipping Brick Lane, like I was just walking behind him and talking like, ‘Ah fam!’. I’ve had a few moments like that, it’s very surreal.”

What’s next on your bucket list?

“I’m training for my first MMA fight.”

Your new album is called ‘BDL Bipolar’ – what’s it going to sound like?

“Some of the stuff will make you fucking smash your house up and some will just put you in a deep hallway of self-assessment, checking where you are in your life. For me, it’s my first time being a parent with my daughter so I tapped into like some deep stuff with that as well. And in general, it’s just where my life is at now, like obviously the movement – BDL – it’s a new England.”

Has fatherhood changed you?

“A little bit. But the only thing that’s changed is me wanting to be with her more, not in the sense of me as a person. Just like, I’m pissed if I’m not home enough to spend time with her. Apart from that, I think I’m still me.”