How To Save Saturday Night TV: Celebrity Telly Addicts Pitch Ideas For Their Perfect Show

As Saturday nights in continue to be ruined by the stale formats and glitzy cruelty of The X Factor and Strictly, we ask our panel of celebrity telly addicts what they’d replace them with.

by ROB DELANEY & SHARON HORGAN, Catastrophe couple

Rob: “Make a celebrity cry. I think it’d be good to see Danny Dyer be sad – in a fun way.”
Sharon: “Celebrity Parkour. That’d be pretty good. There might be some serious damage.”
Rob: “I only recently heard of Jools Holland and that he always plays piano with people who visit his show. So I’d like to see Jools Holland doing things he isn’t good at. Like belly dance with Shakira.”
Sharon: “When those X Factor-type shows first came out, there was something slightly interesting about them. Now they make me want to vom. You can’t keep spewing out the same formula. Jeez, I hope I never need a job from Simon Cowell.”


Catastrophe is on C4 every Tuesday at 10pm

by JESSICA KNAPPETT Inbetweener and Drifter

“Entitled, intolerant members of the British public who hold unsubstantiated anti-immigration views are invited to settle the immigration crisis once and for all… by swapping places with a refugee and being forced to leave the country for good unless they can prove they are of more value to society than the incoming contestant. Agents from UK Border Control stand guard at the start, waiting to confiscate the passport of, say, inflammatory journalist Katie Hopkins and hand over citizenship to the asylum-seeking contestant instead. Challenges include basic empathy, cultural literacy and geopolitics – but to make it fair, the bigoted British participants will have to spend several months in a refugee camp before taking part in the contest. Meanwhile the refugees get to live in the comfort of the British contestant’s privileged, white, Western home eating paprika Pringles and watching The Great British Bake Off.”

Drifters is on E4, Thursdays, 9pm

by JOSH WIDDICOMBE, comedian


“Remember Hole In The Wall? This is even better. It’s a show where you stand there and they drop increasingly large balls, and you have to try to catch them without them hitting the floor. You start with a tennis ball. Then you move up to a football, which will be easy, and then it gets bigger and bigger until it’s like one of those balls from Total Wipeout. Whoever can catch the largest ball from the greatest height wins. There will be a water balloon round, too. Bowling ball will be a difficult round. On the judging panel I’ll have David Seaman, because he’s been lobbed on so many occasions.

I’m never in for Saturday night telly. I found out the other day that The X Factor is two hours long. That’s more than most films. It’s insane. Balls From Above will be four hours.”

Josh’s sitcom, Josh, airs on BBC3 from Wednesday November 11

by MARK WATSON, Endurance comic

“We’ve now seen almost every human activity turned into a competition for the benefit of reality-show audiences. Even as we speak, someone somewhere in Soho will be pitching a series called ‘Keeping It Funer-Real’ where familiar faces learn the skills of embalming and burial. So let’s cut to the chase with a reality show which will make all the others obsolete. Quite simply, it is a quest to find the best person in Britain, by combining all the disciplines. We start with ten contestants who are subjected to a psychologically and physically shattering series of tasks. One week they have to learn and perform a song, like in X Factor. But another week they have to oversee a building project; one week they must learn to tame a lion. At the end of it all is a massive, real prize – not some half-arsed recording contract like X Factor, but a huge sum of money like ten million quid. Maybe they become the leader of the country. Maybe the three lowest scoring candidates are executed. I mean, this is still very much a work-in-progress.”

Mark Watson’s ‘Flaws’ DVD is out on 30 November. He tours next year

by PADDY MCGUINNESS, Love lift operator

“Jack Whitehall brings his man-of-the-people charm to this quiz show in which two teams of celebrity Wrights answer questions on the father of modern aviation, Wilbur Wright. Round one: All Wright At The Back. Arsenal’s Ian Wright kicks footballs at our guest, Michael Barrymore. Every time Barrymore heads it, the audience shout: “All Wright at the back!” Round two: Far Wright. We pack Mark Wright off on a long-haul flight with Nick Griffin. Round three: Am I Wright? Our team have to guess which one of our line-up is film director Edgar Wright. Final Round: I’m All Wright Jack. Our remaining Wrights are put in a zero-G simulator. First one to answer a question about Wilbur Wright correctly before passing out wins.”

Paddy is currently touring the UK

by KARL PILKINGTON, Gervais’ stooge

“It would be like The Apprentice, but with young people who want to be surgeons. They’d start off doing basic jobs around hospitals. You’d get to know the contestants as they clean up sick and sh*t, and as the weeks progress they move on to small operations. There would be a panel of doctors who mark their performance. It would build to each finalist having to perform a major surgery. The heart monitor would add real tension. There are loads of hospital dramas on telly so people will be well into it. There’ll be feelgood moments and maybe a few deaths – it might get kids wanting to be doctors instead of bloody singers.”

Karl Pilkington: The Moaning Of Life is on Sky 1/HD, Tuesdays, 9pm

by AMY CHILDS, ultimate Essex girl

“Right now, I’m watching clips of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, and I started to think that I should do the same thing with makeovers, in the ladies’ toilets, on a Saturday night in a club. I could wait for girls to come in to redo their make-up. I’d jump out of one of the cubicles and give them a 30-minute makeover, then send them back out on the pull. I could even set up a shower curtain and give the pale girls a quick spray tan and a vajazzle. I’d be a bit like Cilla Black, buying hats for all the weddings I set up, all thanks to some skills with lip liner and bronzer. It’s a brilliant idea, I know.”

Amy Childs’ book 100% Me is out now via Blink Publishing

by JOHNNY MARR, guitar hero

“I think they should bring back wrestling, but have politicians doing it in the most embarrassing costumes they can muster. I was going to say that first and foremost, there should be some musical entertainment on, which shows how little regard I’ve got for those talent shows… I think of them more as pantomime and abuse. It’d be great to have a cutting-edge music show on at any time, but Saturday night would be really great. If there has to be reality TV, it should be following interesting people – artists, writers and musicians. Why don’t we see the side of Britain that’s creative, rather than destructive? Reality TV that’s about cool young people doing interesting sh*t would be a good start. How about something inspirational for a change?”

Johnny Marr’s new live album, ‘Adrenalin Baby’, is out now

by HARRY KOISSER, Peace frontman

“I’ve been trying to get my TV show idea off the ground for about a year-and-a-half. I’m fairly sure this is my big break so here goes. Basically there’s twenty players – ten guys, ten girls – and each starts with a randomly assigned piece of string of different lengths. No one knows how long anyone’s string is except their own. There’s basically a few rounds of quiz where correct answers are rewarded with more string to tie to your bit, making it longer. After the adverts, there’s a bit where they have ten seconds to pair into five couples. The final round is some kind of physical challenge where more string is earned. It all gets a bit daffy and flirty but eventually the question is asked, ‘How long’s a piece of string?’. The couple with the longest string win a barge holiday in Selly Oak.”

JAMAL EDWARDS, media mogul

“I would love to see a Saturday night TV show where a select group of UK MCs and a handful of MPs work on a political rap battle together, which the politicians would have to perform live on TV, in front of a studio audience and a panel of judges, made up of legendary MCs and MPs. We could get Stormzy to pair up with David Cameron and Aaron Unknown or Big Narstie to pair up with Corbyn to train them up. Then, live on Saturday night, get Cameron and Corbyn – and their fellow MPs – to battle it out in a Prime Minister’s Questions-style rap battle. That would really win them some votes!”

SEAN KELLY, Storage Hunter

“Every pub has a group of regulars, and inside each group is a know-it-all, a tough guy, a funny guy and a crazy guy. The studio is designed like two pubs facing each other with a street in the middle. The regulars are inside the pub doing what they do best – drinking pints – when a challenge is issued. And each pub must decide which of the regulars should be sent out into the street to beat the other pub in the challenge. The rest of them watch from the pub windows and cheer their mate on. The challenges are everything from arm-wrestling to answering trivia to showing off a hidden talent. Every episode we invite different pubs to challenge the winners of the previous week.”

Storage Hunters UK, Tuesdays 8pm on Dave