The Version Interview... Michael McIntyre on the return of Michael McIntyre's Big Show!

Michael McIntyre is back with a mix of comedy, music and variety with his popular Saturday night BBC One series, Michael McIntyre's Big Show.

Here, he tells us what to expect this time around...

Tell us a bit about series two of Michael McIntyre’s Big Show?

The show has naturally evolved from the first series and now everything has gone up a notch. We have lots of entertainment items running through the show, audience surprises, Unexpected Star, Send To All, stand up and much more. Knowing that series one was a success has allowed us to expand the ideas for series two and explore more parts of it, we have tried to make them even more fun and be more confident with them.

How does it feel to be bringing the show back to BBC One?

I am really excited about it. It’s been a gradual process, because first and foremost I am a stand up. I do stand up in every show but I am interested and excited by entertainment television. I’m new to it and what’s really surprised me, because we record the show in a theatre, is how big the laughs are. The atmosphere has been amazing; almost annoyingly as I think I can’t really get laughs like this with my jokes! So much of the comedy that comes out the show is natural to the situation, so it works really well. I have really enjoyed the opportunity and responsibility of trying to create a family entertainment show. As a family man who is also looking for entertainment on a Saturday night, I’ve tried to provide it.

What can you tell us about this series Unexpected Stars?

This series we’ve got a space next door to the theatre, so people don’t even know they are coming to the theatre now. The first Unexpected Star this series is a fireman and he thinks he is giving a fire safety course. One week the space is a wine bar, one week it’s a photography studio so every week it’s changing. Then we get people into the theatre but they still don’t know they are coming onto the stage. When it was a bar next door, the Unexpected Star thought the theatre was actually a club around the corner, so we had people queuing onto the stage with a bouncer on the end, we had disco lights and we were all on our feet dancing. We also have actors in the room next door and I can control them via an ear piece. I am able to add those moments. It’s very funny and more ambitious than ever, even if it doesn’t quite work. In the first show the fireman avoided some of the things we had set up for him but you just go with it.

We had so many great nominations for Unexpected Star so there are some wonderful performers, really surprising, incredible talent but also really fun people. We have tried to make them all really different this series. There is a 12 year old girl, a father and son and, 21 different people become unexpected stars in the Christmas show!

 

What do you think about the Unexpected Stars when they reveal their talent?

I’ve been amazed by them, I genuinely don’t know how they are going to perform. The fireman in the first show is completely mind blowing. I’ve never heard that song sung so well, it’s incredibly emotional. To be honest they have all been amazing. When I had the idea originally for it I never thought it was going to be a platform for talent. It is what it is, they are a member of the public who is going to be the unexpected star of the show. If they want to be a singer or if it’s a dream for them then that’s great but I wasn’t expecting talent like this. The audience also just love the fact that someone is having that moment because they have seen what they have been through and they just love that they are fulfilling their dream and they are part of it.

Tell us a bit about Send To All and the celebrities you have playing it this series.

We have really good guests for Send To All; fun texts and really fun apps. I had a lot of fun! I play with peoples phones beforehand; everybody has different things on their phones. We’ve had people’s CCTV, Carol Vorderman’s fart machine, I ordered a taxi on Olly Murs’ phone and there were some very private photos on Jamie Oliver’s phone which are really funny. Jamie was such a great sport.

It is amazing that people just hand over their phones. Jack Whitehall appears in the show and he didn’t seem to believe that people actually give me their phones! They genuinely have no idea what the text says so they are terrified. I tell everyone in Alexander Armstrong’s phone that they have bad breath and he had some great responses from the likes of Hugh Bonneville, and some people got really grumpy. Jamie Oliver’s text is probably the best of the series but you will have to watch to see what happens.

It was my wife’s idea to do Send To All with celebrities because I was doing it my show with audience members and then I played it with James Corden and I thought that was probably as funny as it would get because that was hilarious. But we gave it a go and it seems to work. Hopefully people realise that it’s just a bit of fun and will keep playing.

What new elements to the show do you have in store for viewers in the new series?

The main difference is that we have more audience hits. In the last series we just did two surprises on the audience. That seemed to work really well so this series we’ve got audience hits in every show. They may be the best part of the show, they are all surprises, they are very funny, one was emotional which was surprising and it’s worked really well, it’s been a lot of fun.

Has anything unexpected happened while filming the show?

In the first show I order a taxi on Olly Murs phone and the driver shows up and comes out on stage, that was unexpected but I want unexpected things to happen. The main drama is always getting the Unexpected Stars from next door into the theatre, if they twig that something isn’t right and we don’t get them onto the stage it’s a disaster. As much as I loved and enjoyed making this series, I am thrilled that we got everyone onto the stage and not one person twigged. Luckily that didn’t go wrong and it worked but anything could happen.

What can we expect from the celebrity guests, comedians and music acts on the show?

There are lots of great comics on the show this year such as Russell Howard, Sarah Millican, Jack Whitehall, Al Porter and Ricky Gervais as David Brent. Every show has music in it we have the likes of Ellie Goulding, One Republic, Sting and Olly Murs. There is an exclusive from the new musical School of Rock in the first show which is something a bit different. So it’s about finding the right blend and pace and setting fun things up and trying to pack as much entertainment as we can into an hour.

Do you have a highlight from the series?

I have a few highlights. One is the room next door and the fun we are having in it. When you are dealing with the Unexpected Stars you never know how they are going to react. The week we created the bar next door, the lady was really into Westlife, so Shane Filan came into the bar and I was communicating with him. He invites her to the club next door, which is actually the theatre, so when she walked onto the stage she was just standing there with her handbag and coat on. She was so shocked and it’s fun to watch somebody going through that experience.

The audience hits are another highlight. We did a very silly audience hit with Glenn Hoddle, we found a car salesman who loves Glenn Hoddle, he is his hero. So we secretly filmed him running into Glenn Hoddle all week. Glenn Hoddle walked in when he was buying his lunch, he was in the golf driving range two days later and Glenn Hoddle walks past and then we had him in a restaurant opposite the theatre live, having dinner with his wife and I sent Glenn Hoddle in again and then I went in. It just worked.

Don't miss Michael McIntyre's Big Show, Saturday at 8:10pm on BBC One