Davina McCall: ‘I feel evil!’

Davina McCall tells What’s on TV about her scary new game, Five Minutes to a Fortune. Premiering on Saturday, April 6 on Channel 4, it’s on six days a week for the next four weeks…

Tell us how your new game show works…
“What happens is that contestants are in teams of two, and one of them has five minutes to complete five challenges. There’s a huge 15ft hourglass in the studio to time them, which contains £50,000. If they run out of time, the hourglass turns and the money starts draining away! After the five games, they swap over and their partner has to play one final game to win the cash left in the hourglass. If they fail, all the money drains out. That’s already happened in one of our practice runs – a guy won £45,000, but then his team-mate had to play the final game and he just froze, like a rabbit in the headlights. He knew some of the answers when we showed them to him, but he literally could not speak and they lost all their money. I felt so bad for him!”

Sounds scary!
“It is! In the last 10 seconds before the time runs out, the hourglass starts turning and it makes a creaking noise. So you’ll be answering questions and suddenly you hear it start moving, then it’s tick, tick, tick and you’re ‘Oh my God, next question, aargh!’It’s stressy and buttock-clenching for me and the competitors and I feel very evil! But you can win a lot of money. The Saturday night show has celebrities playing and the prize money doubles, so they can win £100,000 for a charity.”

What are the challenges like?
“They are questions, but they’re not straightforward general knowledge questions. It’s quite taxing on the brain and you really have to think hard, and process it. The final challenge is a question where there are 10 possible answers and you’ve got to name five – hard when the pressure is on.”

 Would you be any good at this game?
“No! I’ve already told Channel 4 that if they do another mash-up (where presenters swap roles) I am not playing this game! I’d find it so stressful. And who would I play with? It’s a real game of teamwork and understanding the person you’re playing with because one of them chooses the category of questions for the other, so you have them going: ‘Why did you give me that category? I’m going to be rubbish!’”

We hear you’re a saver, not a spender, but if you had £50,000 burning a hole in your pocket, what would you spend it on?
“I’m definitely a saver. But if I had to spend £50,000 I’d get my mum and dad and my cousins, and my husband Matthew and the family and we’d go on a massive holiday together. We’d rent one of those crazy houses in Florida and go to Disney and Universal.”

The show is on every day except Sunday for four weeks – that’s pretty intense!
“Yes, it’s absolutely full-on, but I like to do that. It means that in the school holidays I can have a really nice batch of time with the kids (Holly, 11, Tilly, nine, and Chester, six). I’ve got the summer half-term off and all July and August.”

 What do you do with your time off – travel or are stick at home?
“We’re always travelling! My favourite place Is probably Canada. I just love the people and the scenery is epic, really, really amazing.”

 Are you going to do any more of your other show, The Million Pound Drop?
Oh yes, definitely before the summer.”