Time Crashers’ Charlie Condou: ‘I got slightly hysterical during the Tudor banquet!’

Former Coronation Street star Charlie Condou joins nine other celebs as they’re thrown back in time for new C4 series Time Crashers…

You new show Time Crashers sees 10 celebrities become time travellers. How does it work?
“We’re blindfolded, dressed in outfits of the era and driven to a surprise location. At first, we didn’t know where we were or what era we were in, which was very interesting. Travelling back in time seems exciting, but it was actually extremely challenging!”

Why was that?
“Because it was such hard work! I set out to see how far I’d be pushed and whether I’d live up to being challenged, but I think it surprised all us how hard it was. Usually, when you’re tired and you want to have a break, you just go and get a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. But we couldn’t do any of that!”

You appear in the show alongside, among others, Cheers star Kirstie Alley, presenter Fern Britton and comic Chris Ramsay. Did being an actor help you take on the various roles?
“As actors, myself, Kirstie and Keith Allen are kind of used to dressing up and being in different times, so I think the three of us remained pretty cool. But the people who weren’t used to that would get quite angry and start arguing with the taskmasters. Fern Britton, Chris Ramsay and Louise Minchin had a few run-ins; they’d get quite cross about not being spoken to a certain way. But we’re used to people shouting at us and knowing it’s not real.”

In this week’s opening episode, the Time Crashers are transformed into servants and transported to 1588, the height of the Elizabethan era. What did you have to do?
“I was one of the kitchen staff and the very first thing myself and athlete Greg Rutherford had to do was skin a deer! Luckily, I’m not as squeamish as I thought I’d be. But it was hard, especially when it came to bedtime and we were given some sacks with straw in them and had to sleep on the cold stone kitchen floor!”

Were there any disasters in that first episode?
“I don’t think there were any disasters as such but I got slightly hysterical during the Tudor banquet! The amount of bowing we had to do was ludicrous. Every time we presented a dish, we had to bow about six times and the food kept on coming out. I wasn’t good at all that pomp and ceremony, so in the end I just lost it!”

The six-part series also ‘crash lands’ the celebrities in the medieval era, the Iron Age, plus Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times. Did you have a favourite era?
“The Iron Age was in many ways the time when it was easiest because we were living very much as a community and we worked out who was good at what. But it was still hard work. I had to skin a deer again but this time I didn’t have a knife! So we had to find a blacksmith and make a knife but it still wasn’t sharp, so then we’re trying to skin an animal with a blunt knife!”

Do you think you made a good servant?
“I think I did alright. I’m much better when I’m just given a task and I can get on with it. I wasn’t very good at all the ceremonial stuff. In my own life, I’m not good with authority and discipline.”

All in all, are you glad you took part in the show?
“It was brilliant and I loved pretty much every second… OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I really enjoyed the experience – but I wouldn’t do it again because it was so hard!”

Time Crashers start on Sunday, August 23 at 8pm on Channel 4.