Geordie duo Ant and Dec reveal the life-altering changes in the new series of big-money ITV1 game show, Red Or Black

Can you tell us about the changes for series two?
“There are quite a few. After last year we had a look at what we thought would make it better. We realised it was too difficult to get to know the contestants when we started off with that many, so we’ve decided to start with eight. That way you get to invest in them a bit more and hopefully care about them as they go through.”
Ant: “And it’s now on weekly instead of nightly. It’s also pre-recorded, which gives us time to finesse the show. We’ve learned from series one. It’s a lot harder and there’s more skill involved when the contestants choose red or black – it’s much less based on luck. Now the money starts at half a million quid in episode one and if it isn’t won that night, it rolls over and over and we end up giving away a lot of cash! It’s the biggest cash prize in British TV history, so it’s very exciting.”

And you’ve got rid of the roulette wheel in favour of a new end game?
“Yes, the Vortex! It’s made the end far more exciting. It’s a massive perspex wheel thing and a ball gets fired into it. The contestants have to choose how hard they fire the ball into it, and when in the sequence they let it go. Then they have to watch it travel. It’s the most nerve-wracking 40 seconds of your life. And we’re just hosting, so we can only imagine what’s going through the contestants’ minds!”

Is it tougher than last year?
“Definitely. It’s much more tense because the contestants are more responsible, they’re not just hitting a button.”
Ant: “And because we know them more, it certainly affected me more. We’ve spent time with them and you’ll really like them or hate them by the end of it.”

What guests will you be having on?
“We’ve got people like Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Kevin Pietersen and Mark Ramprakash. Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey and X Factor winners Little Mix got involved in a game. And Carol Vorderman and Jonathan Ross went head to head in a spelling bee.”
Dec: “That was fantastic! Be honest, we’ve always wanted to know who’s best at spelling, Carol or Jonathan. Well, we answer that question!”

What other kind of games will there be?
It’s jam-packed and all of the games are so different. We’ve had one with guys throwing playing cards at 90 miles an hour and bursting balloons, cutting the tops off roses, cutting string. There’s one where two huge stuntmen run through panes of glass – things that you’ve never seen on television before.”

How does hosting this show compare to Britain’s Got Talent and I’m A Celebrity?
They’re all big ITV1 shows, but they’re all different. I’m A Celebrity is us having a right laugh, taking the mick a bit, the sun’s shining, it’s on every night, you really know what to expect. And BGT is BGT. But we approach this completely differently because we’re working with the general public and it’s more like a game show. It’s just lovely to watch – and when you get a big win, you know how much it’s going to change their lives and the lives of their parents, friends and kids. It’s an amazing thing to be able to say ‘you’re now a millionaire!'”