IT’S been eight years since viewers were last treated to the sight of contestants getting pelted in the face by Total Wipeout’s legendary Big Red Balls.
But the water-based assault course game show, which became a cult classic, is being brought back — with two new presenters.
I can reveal that Top Gear favourites Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness are taking over from where Richard Hammond and Amanda Byram left off and have signed up to front a series of classic moments from the show on BBC1.
The new six-parter, called Total Wipeout: Paddy And Freddie Takeover, will see the duo voice over some of the best clips from the show, which ran for three years before it was axed in 2012.
Speaking exclusively about his decision to come on board with the revamped format, Paddy said: “Now more than ever we need to laugh at people bouncing off those big red balls. I’m so happy to be involved in bringing this classic show back.”
Freddie added: “I can’t wait to be involved with this brilliant show and to have a laugh watching people fumble with those balls.”
The BBC has yet to confirm when the series will air but insiders say it will hopefully be on screens later this summer.
A source added: “There has been a rush to try to fill slots in the schedule after the pandemic caused havoc with filming.
“Paddy and Freddie are voicing the series from their own homes and it’ll be packaged together by a team remotely.
“It’s a genius move in what’s been a really tough time for all broadcasters.”
If ever there was a time to plan a full reboot, and not just a clip show, it is now.
THEY won over a legion of fans with The Inbetweeners and now they hope to do the same with footballers.
Writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley say their new BBC2 sitcom The First Team, which follows a fictional top-flight club, will be based on reality.
Iain said: “We are hoping that it will feel like any other workplace sitcom. Yes, it’s an extreme example of privilege and skill but really it’s like any other workplace.”
He added: “We did a lot of research and spoke to Premier League players.”
Rom & Rob’s wicket day out
THERE are few things better than a day out at the cricket – but Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett didn’t quite have all the fun punters normally do.
They were put through their paces while following England’s tour in South Africa earlier this year for the second series of Sky One show Rob & Romesh Vs.
In the third episode, which is available on demand, the boys go to Cape Town where they get to watch some of the test and complete a challenge on the pitch in front of thousands at the Newlands cricket ground.
And they got accustomed to legendary England fan group The Barmy Army, who heckled Rob for his big gnashers and made him down a pint.
But getting to South Africa was the only bit of time Romesh got away from his old pal, as he ended up on a separate flight from the comic.
He revealed: “I didn’t request that but I was delighted when it happened.
“He’s a lovely guy, but when we’re together on a flight and I say anything, he’ll say to the staff, ‘Oh, sorry about him’.
“He just makes it look like I’m being a p***k regardless, even if I’m just asking for something reasonable.”
But Rob insists he is merely looking out for his pal. He said: “People underestimate flying. It’s eight to ten hours over the Atlantic – we’re in it together,
“I’m sure Joe Swash checks on Stacey Solomon when they’re flying to Alicante.”
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Guest what! Ross is back
IT looked like days as a chat show king could have been on the wane after ITV shelved the spring series of his programme.
But now bosses have decided that one outing a year from the man himself is not enough – and have greenlit a new series for later in 2020.
I’m told that as well as his autumn series, a sort of “Best Of” show will air, bringing together clips of some of the best guests on the sofa over the years.
The programme, provisionally called The Jonathan Ross Show: Special Guests, will be on screens at some point in the coming months.
A source said: “Without a spring series there’s more of a demand again for Jonathan and his show.”
DAISY EDGAR-JONES says she has struggled to process the success of BBC1 drama Normal People from her bed-room.
She told Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary: “It feels a bit like a simulated video game on my phone. It’s very surreal.”
It’s Jack at the double
SOME BBC1 series are like buses – you wait ages then two come at once. Now Jack Whitehall has landed a double billing on the channel, one with his dad Michael.
The comic is set to front Jack Whitehall’s Sporting Nation, which will look at the history of Britain’s athletic pastimes.
The TV joker said: “We thought, ‘What do people need in this barren summer?’ and we came up with this.
“I’ve worked with some of the country’s most talented sports journalists to create six compendiums of British sport.”
Never one to stray far from his family, Jack is also letting cameras in to film his socially distanced Father’s Day celebrations with Michael, with Jack sitting on the pavement outside the family home.
I’ve no doubt Michael will find a way to embarrass his boy, even from two metres away.
WHAT? Britain’s Unsung Heroes, Channel 4, 9pm.
WHY? This emotional documentary looks at the efforts of key workers such as teachers, cleaners and bus drivers who risk their lives to do their jobs during the pandemic.
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