Richard Ayoade to host the Crystal Maze | Replacing Stephen Merchant © Channel 4

Richard Ayoade to host the Crystal Maze

Replacing Stephen Merchant

Richard Ayoade has been named as the new host of the Crystal Maze.

The IT Crowd star will step into the challenging labyrinth when the Nineties cult classic is revived for a full 20-part series on Channel 4 later this year.

Stephen Merchant hosted a celebrity special in October, but he declined to return for a full run, reportedly to concentrate on his American career.

A purpose-built maze spanning over 30,000 square feet is being created for the new series at The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol by the original Crystal Maze designer, James Dillon.

Ayoade currently presents the documentary series Travel Man for Channel 4 and is a regular on Big Fat Quiz of the Year. He has also been among the many names tipped to replace Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins when Bake Off switches to Channel 4.

Tom Beck, head of live shows and events at Channel 4, said: ‘The Stand Up to Cancer special was so brilliant and so successful that commissioning a series of The Crystal Maze was almost a no-brainer.

‘And I couldn't be more pleased and excited that Richard has agreed to become the new Maze Master - he's an inspired choice.’

Neale Simpson, creative director at programme-makers Fizz added: 'We’re thrilled at the prospect of building a maze to the scale and cinematic spectacle of the original, and our hope is to bring a new vision to the legendary time travelling adventure that will excite the next generation of viewers.'

Rocky Horror Show presenter Richard O’Brien presented the original series, which began in 1990, and was replaced by Edward Tudor-Pole from 1993 to 1995.

The TV revival follows its success as a live-action experience in London. A second, bigger version is due to open in Manchester in April.

Published: 13 Jan 2017

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