Lee Mack tells us about his new Saturday-night entertainment show, Lee Mack’s All Star Cast

Not Going Out’s Lee Mack is your host for Lee Mack’s All Star Cast, BBC1’s new Saturday-night mix of stand-up, music, celebrity guests and sketches, complete with audience participation.

TV&Satellite Week magazine caught up with the quick-witted comedian for a sneak preview…

Lee Mack’s All Star Cast is a variety show… In that it includes a variety of ideas, rather than being an old-school variety show with unicyclists and jugglers. It’s a hybrid of a chat show and sketch show with stand-up, music and the audience being a big part of the action.

It’s said that there are two types of comedian… One can be quite miserable off stage, the other needy and desperate to get laughs. I don’t think I’m either. I’m the sort who messes about trying to make his mates laugh and yet, the more stand-up I do, the less I need to do that.

I went back onto the comedy circuit to test some new material for this series… That’s one of the best bits of the job – turning up to play some pokey little pub as one of four or five acts on the bill.

A guy ripped off my act on Australia’s Got Talent… I don’t feel angry about it. If you want to be a comedian and you’ve gone on national television with material you’ve stolen, you’ve already shot yourself in the foot.

Talent shows are a form of bullying… It’s like throwing tomatoes at people in the stocks. For every person whose talent we’re celebrating, we’re mocking five more.

I’m a control freak when it comes to my sitcom Not Going Out… The idea of me doing a show like All Star Cast is to be able to let go a little. Jack Nicholson said that if he has a choice between doing it his way or the director’s, then he’ll do it the director’s way because he likes to lose control.

When I watch repeats of the first series of Not Going Out, I wince… I think: ‘I’d never write a joke like that now’. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when we started. It was all about getting as many gags into the script as we could, whereas now we concentrate more on the story and character development. There was an episode on the other night that was so old I couldn’t remember the jokes. I watched it like an audience member and actually laughed.

The worst people to ask for advice on comedy are ones who have been in the business a while… The youngsters look at me, see my old, curmudgeonly face and think: ‘I’m not talking to him!’