Alan Carr

Alan Carr

Date of birth: 14-07-1976
Alan Carr, the son of football manager Graham was born in Weymouth and grew up in Northampton and Blackpool.

He studied drama and theatre studies at Middlesex University, after which he took on a series of dead-end jobs, from toilet cleaner to call-centre worker, before turning his hand to stand-up.

In 2001, he won the BBC New Comedy Award and the following year made his solo Edinburgh debut, returning in 2003 and 2005, where he came to the attention of Channel 4 executives looking for new presenters for The Friday Night project.

He has co-hosted the show (which later moved to Sundays) with Justin Lee Collins since 2006, and in 2008 landed his own Channel 4 game show, Alan Carr’s Celebrity Ding Dong.

He has also appeared on BBC One's Live At The Apollo, and was in the line up for the 2005 Royal Variety Performance. Guest appearances include FAQ U, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Countdown's dictionary corner and Never Mind The Buzzcocks

In 2007, he embarked on a major UK tour, Tooth Fairy Live, the DVD of which was a Christmas bestseller; and in 2008 his autobiography Look Who It Is! was published by HarperCollins.

Described as 'the spiritual son of Frankie Howerd, Carr was named best live stand-up at the 2007 British Comedy Awards and best comedy entertainment performer the following year. He was named circuit comic of the year in the 2005 North West Comedy Awards and nominated for best theatre tour in the 2008 Chortle awards.

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'It sounds like the most moronic show ever...'

Alan Carr on hosting The Price Is Right

Alan Carr is fronting a revival of high-energy game show The Price is Right for Channel 4 this Christmas – following in the footsteps of Leslie Crowther, Bruce Forsyth and Joe Pasquale.

Here he talks about they joy of the gig, why the premise makes it sounds like ‘the most moronic show ever’… and how he ended up dressed as Wonder Woman running through a field of wheat.

Why did you want to bring it back?

Well, I love the way you think I’ve got all this power. ‘I want to bring this back!’ And Alan gets what he wants! 

No, they asked me if I wanted to present it, and I loved the show. When I was there on the set, it actually felt quite emotional for me, seeing all the games like Plinko, and Cliffhanger. It was funny how much they’d stuck in my head.

 It was a no-brainer for me, and like I said at the time, it was proper bucket-list stuff. It was something I’d watched as a kid growing up, with Bruce Forsyth and Leslie Crowther. So when they asked if I wanted to do it, I jumped at the chance.

Explain, for the uninitiated, what the concept of the show is.

Explaining The Price Is Right is probably going to make it sound like the most moronic show ever. I invite people out of the audience to guess the price of a series of household objects. It’s a bit like when you try and explain Deal or No Deal, isn’t it?

Although it sounds very basic, there’s a lot of skill involved. It’s just a celebration, really.

It’s one of those things we all like to do – guess the price of things – and I think now it’s very fitting to do it at Christmas. Everyone will have had rubbish presents from their family and be thinking ‘How much did they pay for this?’ so we’ll all be in the right frame of mind.

But I was so nervous doing it, it’s been so long since it was on telly, and I worried if there was still an appetite for it. But as soon as I came through those doors, and experienced the genuine excitement of the audience, it was amazing. I got to the ‘C’ of ‘Come on Down!’ and they were screaming and shouting. And I loved the fact that everyone in the audience wanted the contestants to win. It was really lovely.

The audience are pretty bonkers, aren’t they?

Yeah, I know! It was funny seeing 400 Mancs screaming ‘£19.99’ about a spiraliser that makes courgetti spaghetti. That’s one of the joys of filming up in Manchester. You get the best audiences up there – they just throw themselves in! It was great, really good.

How do you think you’d do as a contestant?

Awful! I’m not that good at knowing the price of things. Not because I live in a celebrity bubble, but just because I’ve always been rubbish at stuff like that.

In the run up to the show, did you watch old episodes? Was there a particular presenter whose style you liked?

Obviously I loved Sir Bruce. But the thing is, I not only watched the English version, the production company sent me the Spanish one, the American one, and the French one. 

It’s funny how they all do it differently. In America it’s been on every day for 40 years. So it works, you know it works! It is a classic. It’s not like one of these new shows, where nobody can figure out what’s going on. 

But I definitely think Brucie was the master of it all – his way with people, he’d get people to be willing to have the mick taken out of them. He got the tone just right. He died just after I made the show – I’d have liked him to have seen it, I hope I did him proud.

Are you a fan of game shows in general? What have been your favourites over the years?

I wanted to do Challenge Alan Carr, like Challenge Anneka – I’m in a helicopter, doing clues all over. But I think, budget wise, I’d end up doing it on a Megabus. I know David Walliams did Blankety Blank, and when he did that I was so jealous. I would have loved to have done that. It’s sort of my sense of humour.

You’ve also got a Chatty Man Christmas Special and a New Year Specstacular. What can viewers expect from those?

They’re very different shows. The New Year’s Specstacular is just party central. Your favourite celebrities getting trolleyed !It’s just chaos.

I get a bit of survivor’s guilt when I do it, because you’re basically stepping over drunk celebrities by the end. But it’s a lot of fun; it’s all hands on deck. I always end up having a Viennetta smashed in my face. 

I always treat myself; I always have my first drink in part three. There are eight parts to it. I was a bit of an idiot when I first did it; I was so leathered by the end. But now I’ve learned to pace myself, because of my age. But it’s always a laugh.

Have you filmed any of the skits that you’ll be performing?

Yes, I was Theresa May as Blunderwoman, and I filmed that the other day. I was dressed as Wonder Woman, running through a field of wheat. This field next to the M4, getting lots of lorry drivers honking me and shouting abuse. 

We did a pastiche of Love Island, where I’m Gemma Collins again, my alter-ego. That’s very funny. And also a pastiche of The Handmaid’s Tale. So something a little more highbrow if people haven’t seen Love Island. 

But don’t worry, I drag it down to my level. Margaret Attwood would be so proud.

• The Price is Right is on Saturday December 30 at 8pm on Channel 4

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Published: 11 Dec 2017

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