The comedian talks about his brand new C4 show, Buy It Now, and his nerve-racking stint on Strictly
The comedian, singer and actor is hosting a new C4 show, Buy It Now, which starts today and showcases ingenious inventions to potential buyers. Here former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Brian, tells us what’s in store and talks dance floor terrors….
What’s on TV: How did you find the whole Strictly Come Dancing experience last year?
Brian Conley: “It was absolutely wonderful although it must be the best laxative in showbusiness! To stand on that stage knowing that 11 million people are about to watch you live is utterly terrifying.
“If I could have sung or made people laugh I would have been a lot happier. The funny thing is, I actually thought I was going to be better than I was. I’ve done lots of West End shows so I was thinking, ‘Oh I’ll be alright’, but what you forget is you’ve got three months to learn a routine for that rather than a couple of days! My dance partner Amy was wonderful and we has so much fun. I would have loved to have lasted a few more weeks but I knew I was never going to win it.”
What’s on TV: Tell us how your new show works…
BC: “Inventors and product designers have got just 90 seconds to pitch to an audience of 100 people in the studio audience. If any audience members like it and want to buy their product they press a button, which triggers a green light. The seller then reveals the price and if there are still green lights the seller gets the chance to also sell to three buyers from major retailers.”
WOTV: Which inventions impressed you?
BC: “I loved the simple things. One guy had created a pair of unbreakable sunglasses. He told me to stamp on them in front of the studio audience. I don’t know what he made them out but they were indestructible!”
WOTV: Did any demonstrations go wrong?
BC: “Quite a few. We had an electric ice cream scoop that broke in half, a hot drinks cup that leaked when it was turned upside-down and a special invention for taking selfies with your pet. It was a little device that you attach to your phone and it squeaks to make the animal look up. Sadly the dog in the demo didn’t perform as expected and the audience were in hysterics. You can’t plan for this kind of thing!”
WOTV: Do people come from far and wide?
BC: “Definitely. There’s a guy called Elvis who’s flown in from Canada specially, he’d read online that we were doing the show. We had someone from Boston, another from the States, one person from China. People see it as a great opportunity to get their product out there.”
WOTV: It’s a bit like Dragon’s Den isn’t it..
BC: “Yes but unlike Dragon’s Den, the retailers don’t want percentages of the business, they just want to buy the product and sell it. It’s very immediate and people can see instantly if something is going to work or not. I was worried there were going to be lots of mad inventors, but there weren’t. There was only one thing when I thought, ‘You are genuinely mad!’. When the guy came on I was thinking, ‘Is this for real, it’s the worst product ever!’”
WOTV: What do you like best about doing it?
BC: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see some people do so well and get huge orders from the retailers. It’s completely life-changing for them. Not surprisingly there were quite a few nerves. We had a few people having panic attacks because they’ve put their whole lives into something, and then they’ve got this huge moment on national television to convince everyone it’s good.”
WOTV: Which products on the show did you think your wife Anne Marie might like?
BC: “There was a hairbrush called the Shark Brush that two hairdressers had invented and I could see how the public would really go for that. It is such a simple product but as soon as I saw it I thought, ‘I’m buying that brush’ and the price was good too.”
WOTV: What kind of shopper are you?
BC: “I’m very impulsive. I don’t know if it’s a bloke thing. ‘I need some trousers. Go into town. There are some trousers. Done. I’m on my way home.’ I’m not a good browser. Usually if my wife’s in M&S or somewhere, I’ll be standing in a corner, on my phone unless I’m summoned over and told to try something on!”
WOTV: Which Strictly fellow celebs are you still in touch with?
BC: “I got on really well with Chizzy, (Akudolu), and Dav, (Davood Ghadami), but I’m still in touch with everyone. We’ve got our own little Whatsapp group.”
WOTV: What did your daughters, Amy, 20 and Lucy, 16, think about their dad on the dance floor?
BC: “They loved it. Amy is studying in Australia. Every week I had all my family and friends wanting to come to the studio but contestants only get two tickets each. Try telling that to everyone, no-one believed me!”
WOTV: How do you relax when you’re not working?
BC: “I just love being a dad, watching films, going on holiday with the family, walking my dogs, going on Instagram. I’m back touring at the moment. It’s great being infront of an audience. Anything can happen and making people laugh is such a wonderful honour.”
Buy It Now starts on C4, Monday 16 April, 5.30pm