Radio 2’s Simon Mayo talks Blockbusters

Simon Mayo has been part of the Great British Sunday since the dawn of time, entertaining families for decades over the radio waves, and it would seem that now, after over 30 years, he is about to make the leap into television presenting.

And what better way to launch his face to meet his radio fame, than by filling the iconic seat of legendary Bob Holness whilst taking over the remake of the famous quiz show, Blockbusters.
“It’ll be interesting to see what difference Blockbusters makes,” Mayo commented,

“When I was doing Radio 1, Confessions and the Lottery, people were always saying hello.

“There are some people who will always nod or ask. But in London many people are too cool.”

Talking of his career, and the fame that goes with it, Mayo modestly commented:  “In our Waitrose the other day there was James McAvoy and his other half that pale actress who played Elizabeth I (Anne-Marie Duff).  There was Tim Pigott-Smith too, doing his shopping. Nobody cared and that’s just fine by me.”

Fans of the iconic Blockbusters, originally launched in 1983, have caused a huge buzz of excitement over the remake, of which mayo has said:  “It’s like Top of the Pops or Dr Who, it just has an aura.”

Mayo, who’s first series is due to run from May 14th on Sky channel Challenge, has already recorded 41 shows, over just nine days, with the rules, board, studio set and music all remaining the same as it was in Holness’ day, however the prizes have been somewhat upgraded, from a sweatshirt and dictionary to an e-reader.  Also affected is the age range, instead of college students now taking part, the show is centred on adults, which also affects the cuddly toy mascot status,

“Businessmen from Dudley don’t have mascots,” joked Mayo.

And if that wasn’t enough to wet your appetite, there is also a celebrity edition scheduled, featuring Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, Konnie Huq and Blur’s Alex James.

“Alex said he was far more excited about Blockbusters than The Brits because he’d watched it as a boy,” says Simon.

“He did well but I won’t tell you who won. It’d spoil the excitement.”

He went on to discuss how this new career move came about, saying:

“I was Christmas shopping down Tottenham Court Road and an email came in asking if I wanted to do it,” he recalls. “Of course I did. Who wouldn’t?

“My worry was I couldn’t fit it in with Radio 2, writing and everything else. Thankfully, I could.”

When asked if he feels lucky in his career, Mayo answered ominously:

“Am I lucky? I interviewed Ed Smith who wrote the book Luck,”

“We discussed what is luck and how that is different to fortunate and what our parents might have called blessed.

“He defines luck as things that are out of your control.

“Tom Watson” – the golfer, not the Labour MP – “talked about the harder I practice the luckier I get. That’s always been my position.

“But I’m thankful that somebody thought I was the right person to do things.”

Watch Konnie Huq’s student appearance on the show back in 1992 below: