Olly Murs on his Happy Hour: ‘It’s like Saturday Night Takeaway meets TFI Friday!’

For one night only, Olly Murs is taking over an Essex pub for a star-studded night of fun, games, music and chat...

Since coming runner-up on The X Factor in 2009, Olly Murs has seen his career go from strength to strength. To celebrate almost 10 years at the top, this Saturday, the much-loved pop star and Voice UK coach takes over a pub in his Essex hometown for a jam-packed night of fun and games – and, of course, plenty of hits – in front of a specially invited audience of friends, family, fans and famous faces.

Before the party really gets going, TV Times caught up with Olly Murs, 34, to find out what’s in store…

How would you describe your Happy Hour? How does it compare to the ITV special you did in 2014?

“We take over The King’s Oak pub in Essex and have loads of fun. It’s like Saturday Night Takeaway meets TFI Friday… carnage but in a good way. I’m hosting the show and [The Chase host] Bradley Walsh is the landlord of the pub… and my showbiz dad! This show sums up my personality more than the previous special I did. I wanted to celebrate almost 10 years in the industry by having some fun and I’ve got a few famous friends joining in.”

Olly Murs and Bradley Walsh

Olly enjoys a bit of banter with his ‘showbiz dad’ Bradley Walsh

Do you play any pub games?

“Yes! Sir Tom Jones, my fellow coach on The Voice, pops in and we play darts. I didn’t know this but, apparently, Tom LOVES playing darts, so it’s me against him and the loser has to eat different ‘pub grub’ that’s traditionally served up in pubs across the country. Some of it’s horrendous… like the stuff you’d see on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”

Who else can we expect to see?

“Emma Willis hosts our Karaoke Wheel of Fun. On The Voice, I’m always trying to get Tom to sing and I thought that, if I could entice him to the pub to play darts, I could convince him to sing a song with me… so we did! I also do a special performance with Jennifer Hudson. It’s nice to have The Voice ‘family’ there. As for who else is singing, you’ll have to wait and see…”

Emma Willis Olly Murs Happy Hour

Anyone for a sing-song? Emma Willis hosts the Karaoke Corner

You’ll be singing a few songs won’t you?

“Yes! I’ll be performing my latest single, Moves, from my new album [Olly’s sixth album You Know I Know] plus many of the hits that people will know. When I sing those old songs it’s weird to think how quickly time has flown. To get to go back to Essex and celebrate my time in the industry with all my friends and family on this show is pretty cool.”

Olly Happy Hour fans

Olly serenades some of his biggest fans at the intimate gig

It’ll be 10 years next year since you were on The X Factor. Are you pleased with how your career has gone in that time?

“When you get given an amazing opportunity like this, you don’t want to let it go. I was very conscious that, if I took three or four years away, people might forget about me or not want to hear me anymore, so I knew I needed to enjoy every moment. I spent too many years working in offices and selling kitchens, and giving people advice on energy bills to waste time not doing anything. I love singing, performing and doing TV work, so if I can keep doing that for a job, amazing.”

What’s your favourite ‘Happy Hour’ drink? And what’s your idea of a great night out?

“Well, I used to love a pint of beer but I’m intolerant to yeast now. So I’ll probably have a nice Strawberry and Lime cider or a Gin and Tonic. I just enjoy time spent with good friends. I always say it’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with that counts.”

Olly and band Happy Hour

Olly’s celebrating nearly 10 years at the top, since coming runner-up on The X Factor in 2009

What are your plans for Christmas?

“Every two years, we have all the family together on Christmas Day and usually all wear fancy dress; something Christmassy. This year we’re having an Eighties’ themed Christmas. I’m not telling you who I’m going as – but I’ve ordered my outfit and it looks amazing.”

And then you’ll no doubt be gearing up for a busy 2019?

“Yeah, I’ll be doing The Voice between January and April and I’m really excited about getting back in the mix with that. Then there’s my UK tour and more new singles. So it’s gonna be busy next year but I can’t wait!”

Happy Hour with Olly Murs is on Saturday December 15 at 9pm on ITV.