The Version Interview... Michael McIntyre on Michael MicIntyre's Big Show
Jam-packed with celebrity guests, musical performances and comrades from the comedy realm, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show is recorded in front of a live audience at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and begins at 7pm on 16 April, on BBC One.
Tell us about The Unexpected Star of the Show…
We are doing two games, one is called Unexpected Star– the idea is that somebody comes to the theatre who thinks they are there for work but actually they come through a fake corridor that leads them all the way onto the middle of the stage and they receive the shock of their lives with 2,500 people in the audience going nuts! They all have a passion for performance, and we make this happen for them when they take part in a performance at the end of the show!
Can you tell us about some of the highlights of Unexpected Star so far?
We have an electrician; he can’t stop singing but has never performed in public before. His friends call him the singing musician; he shows up with his tools to fix an electrical fault but finds himself opening a door into the middle of the stage! It was absolutely amazing, the audience loved it, they loved the whole concept. His performance was magical at the end. When you are making a show you think – right, well this works, and from then it has got better!
For the first show, we have a hairdresser called Natasha. For her, we extend the corridor into an actual room to make a fake dressing room on the stage. I am going to be sitting in the hairdressing chair, she is going to come on and the wall of the room is going to fall away, revealing her to the audience!
How did the idea come about?
I had this idea when I did an awards ceremony for a pizza company last year - we had all the senior people that work for the company there, and I ordered a pizza delivery live when I was on stage. It was a great moment when this guy came in, and saw that he was at this big event - everyone was up on their feet. And I thought, perhaps there is something in this! So when we set to making the show, because we are in such a beautiful theatre where all day long people are delivering things, I thought, this could really work, if people come to the theatre under false pretences – it could be great to give people who have a secret passion for performance an opportunity, it could be a great surprise for them.
What makes Unexpected Star different?
Firstly, you don’t know how people are going to react. They have all been wonderful – they have all really taken to it. Secondly, it gives people a great opportunity - there is so much on TV now when people genuinely want to be a singer. This is a different angle - this is somebody who is going through something, this is a moment they will never forget, and you enjoy that with them and that narrative creates such an amazing moment.
How do the audience respond?
The audience have loved it. This is why I like making these shows in theatres rather than studios because you get a sense of what people are really enjoying. They enjoy this concept, the arrival is wonderful, and the performances have been sensational.
Tell us about Send To All
Send To All is a game I’ve played before on my chat show, and for the Christmas special, and it worked really well. I played it with the audience on the chat show and then I played it with James Corden in the last show and it was hilarious.
What’s different about Celebrity Send To All?
Sometimes when you are playing with a member of the public, they are unsuspecting, you want to be nice to people - you don’t want them to feel awkward! So I thought with celebrities – it would be their game, they put themselves up for it – it should be a lot of fun. I thought that it would work even better in a theatre - we have supersized it!
Which celebrities do you have on the show?
We did it with Peter Jones – I won’t tell you the texts to keep it a surprise, but they were hilarious! We also have Bruno Tonioli, Ronan Keating, Geri Horner, Alex Jones and Robbie Savage. With celebrities you get celebrities texting back – we’ve had David Beckham text back, Russell Crowe texted back, we have huge names replying.
It’s great that celebrities want to put themselves forward – we go through their photos and apps too; phones are such a big part of people’s lives – a massive reflection of who people are. It’s such a fun thing to look forward to.
What other surprises do you have in store on the show?
In addition to playing these games, we have lots of fun and many surprises for the live theatre audience throughout the series. We have speciality acts, world-famous musicians and brilliant stand-up comedians!
What’s the best thing about Michael McIntyre’s Big Show?
The show is pre-recorded but it is a live experience. I want people watching it to feel like they are there. The audience have been loving the show – and I have to make sure that translates to the audience watching at home.
I have done lots and lots of shows, but this feels really entertaining. Every week, the audience are on their feet. There are extra things I’ve never done before. These human moments and sweet moments – these different narratives, there is more excitement – it’s a family entertainment show and it seems to be working and I really hope people love it!