As a new series of Harry Hill's Alien Fun Capsule begins, the comedian tells us what's in store, what his secret TV obsession is and who his ultimate dream guests would be to get on the show
It’s early Monday morning when we meet Harry Hill at ITV’s HQ in central London.
Dressed in one of his trademark white shirts with huge oversized collars beneath a dapper pinstriped suit, he greets us with a big smile, hearty handshake and mild embarrassment. “I don’t normally go around dressed like this first thing on a Monday morning”, he explains somewhat sheepishly, “But I’ve been told I’m having my picture taken later today so…well, here you go!”
Back this Saturday with a new seven part series of his comedy panel show featuring a host of surreal skits, funny TV clips and four different celebrity guests each week, the 54-year old comedian is on top chatty form as he tells us what’s in store, what makes him laugh and who his ultimate dream guests would be….
WOTV speaks to Harry Hill
WOTV: What fun are you going to be kicking off the new series with?
Harry Hill: “My first guests are Tom Courtenay, Alison Hammond, Martine McCutcheon and Les Dennis. As usual we look through clips of stuff the celebs have done in the past that we can use. A classic was Martine falling down the stairs as Tiffany Mitchell in EastEnders so in the show we have a ‘falling down the stairs’ competition to see who can do it fastest! And we have fun singing Martine’s famous song, This Is My Moment, along with a group of ukulele players from the George Formby Society.”
WOTV: The sketches are sometimes quite physical, are the celebrities always up for doing them?
HH: “The really physical stuff we have stunt people doing. That’s not really Tom Courtenay you see hurling himself down a flight of stairs. We run it past people’s agents to say, ‘Will they be ok to do this or that sketch’ but most of the studio stuff they don’t know about beforehand. It works much better if it’s a surprise to them.”
WOTV: Who are some of the other guests coming up?
HH: “We’ve got Bill Roache from Corrie who threw himself into things – you see Bill throw a few punches, Kelly Brook who is great fun, Michael Buerk and Ade Edmondson who has always been a hero of mine. Last year we had Cannon and Ball and this series we have The Krankees who I think are brilliant. I’ve always loved old school comedy. They’re on with Pam St Clement, Chris Packham and Chelsee Healey from Hollyoaks. They had a burping competition and a mud fight which Pam got very stuck into!”
WOTV: Do some of the celebs get quite nervous beforehand?
HH: “Yes quite often, some more than others, they can be a bit wary but the good thing is they arrive at about 4.30pm and we always pre-record the song bit of the show first so we’ll all inevitably be dressed in something stupid and chatting. It’s a good chance for everyone to calm down. We haven’t had any divas so far.”
WOTV: Who would your dream guests be to have on?
HH: “I’ve always wanted to get the Beetles on, Paul and Ringo. And I’d love Steve McFadden, Phil from EastEnders to come on. I think he’s such a great actor and you never really see him on anything else. I suppose he’s a bit busy! We’ve asked Mary Berry…always too busy. Any of the chefs would be great, Nigella, Jamie, Gordon!”
WOTV: What do you like best about doing the show?
HH: “I love all the slapstick stuff. We have Anne Diamond making an appearance and vomiting green gunk on me because she’s been inhabited by an alien. I end up soaked pretty much every episode with gunk up my nose, in my ears. We usually finish filming around 10pm and I’ll go back to my dressing room, take off my clothes and be standing there in my wet pants, looking at myself in the mirror thinking, ‘You’re a 54 year-old doctor. What happened?’”
WOTV: Since you finished doing your series TV Burp, are you enjoying watching TV again?
HH: “Yes, I think it took about 2 years after TV Burp ended for me to stop watching every show as if it was for work, constantly on the lookout for funny clips. I had TV PTSD! The past year has been really great for TV. My 14-year-old daughter and I got into Line of Duty, Bodyguard and things like that. But do you know what, I don’t have much control over our TV. My wife would kill me for saying this but we have got into Dr Pimple Popper on TLC, we’re slaves to TLC. Dr Pimple Popper is an American dermatologist who basically spends her days removing cysts and lypomas from people. That’s pretty much the show!”
WOTV: You said you liked Bodyguard. Keeley Hawes would be a good guest to get on Alien Capsule…
HH: “Yes she would. There’s a really funny photograph of Keeley and I together from years ago at the BAFTAs. We were doing a photo call and all the photographers were gathered around and I said to her, ‘I always do cross-eyed for photos’, so she crossed her eyes but I didn’t. If you Google Keeley Hawes and Harry Hill it’s the first thing that pops up!”
WOTV: Are you a sci-fan fan and have you ever had any alien encounters?
HH: “Growing up in the 70s we were all obsessed with UFOs. People were spotting them on a daily basis. When I was about 11 I remember faking photographs. I had this dish that I covered with silver foil and would then take photos of with my little instamatic camera. Close Encounters was the big film at the time.”
WOTV: Do your family enjoy watching Alien Capsule? Do you sit down and watch it together with your three daughters?
HH: “Well I do, the rest of the family don’t! My two older girls have moved out. I think my daughters all view me with a mixture of extreme embarrassment and bursting pride. I sometimes run things by them, which is always a mistake! (laughing). They can be quite harsh critics but they have good taste and always tell me if they’ve seen someone or something funny they think might be good for the show.”
Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule starts on ITV on Saturday 8th June at 7.30pm.