David Walliams on hosting the launch of ITV’s US-style talk series The Nightly Show

David Walliams is delighted that ITV has asked him to host the launch week of new entertainment series The Nightly Show, which will screen Monday to Friday at 10pm and premieres on February 27.

Inspired by late-night American talk shows, each 30-minute episode – which will be recorded as ‘live’ earlier in the evening – promises to be a fun mixture of topical issues, studio-based games and famous faces.

Here, in an exclusive interview, David, 45, tells TV Times more…

What appealed most to you about The Nightly Show?
“I thought it’d be fun and I like a challenge. It’s scary thinking I’ve got to host a chat show five nights for a week, but you’ve got to get over those worries and see what happens. It is a talk show, but also an entertainment show with lots of sketches.”

There’s a different celeb guest host for each of the eight weeks, with John Bishop and Gordon Ramsay announced so far. Are you looking forward to watching them?
“John and I are very close, we’ve talked about it and we’re both a bit nervous. He does a brilliant in-depth talk show John Bishop: In Conversion With… on W, so he’ll be great. I know Gordon a bit, he’s a very friendly person. I think his week will be very different, probably a bit sweary!”

How do you feel about being first in the hot seat?
“I like it because it’s all to play for. I’m definitely going to pull out all the stops to give it a big launch, so it’s quite exciting!”

Does that mean you’ve been raiding your phone book to try to get A-listers like your Britain’s Got Talent boss Simon Cowell?
“I’m letting the makers’ book people, but there may be a little bit of that, yes! Simon said to me [launches into an uncanny impression]: ‘What week are you doing? Maybe I’ll come on the first show.’ We’ll see…”

Which talk show hosts do you admire?
“When it is done well, it appears effortless, like on Graham Norton’s show. When you’re a guest on a programme like his, it feels like you’re just chatting to him rather than being asked questions, but, of course, Graham’s done his research. I also love Michael Parkinson and I always watch old episodes of his programme. I’d love something like Parkinson to be back on TV, but The Nightly Show isn’t it, as, being an entertainment show, the emphasis isn’t on in-depth soul-searching interviews.”

Would you like to host a Parkinson-style show one day?
“What was so brilliant about Parkinson was that he didn’t have a performer’s ego. It was never about him; it was about his guests. So I’m not sure I’d be the right person to do it because when you’re a performer the show becomes more about you.”

After this, you’re back judging ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent when it returns for an 11th series this spring. Any plans after that?   
“I’m excited to be doing an adaptation of Ratburger, one of my children’s books, for Sky1. I’m playing Bert, the villain of the piece. It’s a great cast including Sheridan Smith, Nigel Planer, Sarah Hadland, Sophie Thompson and Cheryl Fergison. I’m also doing another series of BBC1’s Walliams and Friend. So I’ve got my work cut out for a while – I’m not going to starve just yet!”