TV CHAT

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Television - Matt All­wright

Pre­sen­ter Matt All­wright re­cently ap­peared as a co-host on BBC1’s The One Show, but is best known for his work on Watchdog. He joined Watchdog in 1997, and has also pre­sented shows in­clud­ing Rogue Traders, Scam­busters and Brassed Off Bri­tain. All­wright is also fronting The Se­cret Tourist, a con­sumer hol­i­day show com­ing to BBC1 in July. Watchdog can be seen on Thurs­days on BBC1.

YOU’VE BEEN DO­ING WATCHDOG FOR A WHILE NOW, DO THE CASES STILL SHOCK YOU?

I could never be jaded. Part of the job is hear­ing about how much dif­fer­ence the money they’ve lost made to them. It could be life-chang­ing, es­pe­cially with peo­ple who are maybe el­derly or vul­ner­a­ble. I know we have a lot of laughs in the pro­gramme, but we do take the job very se­ri­ously.

WERE YOU AT ALL AP­PRE­HEN­SIVE ABOUT HAV­ING TO DOORSTEP PEO­PLE WHEN YOU STARTED FILM­ING ROGUE TRADERS?

When we’ve been fol­low­ing a story for weeks and weeks, and you get to the stage where you’ve ac­tu­ally got some­one in your sights and on be­half of all the peo­ple that are watch­ing and all the peo­ple they’ve screwed over in the past, you get the chance to put those ques­tions to them, it is quite sat­is­fy­ing. Maybe sat­is­fy­ing is not the right word, but you get a buzz from be­ing able to do that.

HAS ANY­ONE EVER GOT VI­O­LENT WITH YOU?

On a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions, I’ve been pushed over and poked and grabbed and shoved. I’ve had a leaf blower swung at me and in the last se­ries some­one stuck a pen up my nose, so it does hap­pen.

DO YOU HAVE TROU­BLE WHEN YOU NEED TO CALL IN ANY­ONE TO DO WORK ON YOUR OWN HOUSE?

It’s an ab­so­lute night­mare! I came down my road one day and this guy was fix­ing the aerial, and he saw me and nearly fell off the roof. I have to stay away from the house when we’re hav­ing things done be­cause oth­er­wise ev­ery­one gets a bit jumpy.

IS YOUR WATCHDOG CO-PRE­SEN­TER ANNE ROBIN­SON AS SCARY AS EV­ERY­ONE SEEMS TO THINK SHE IS?

I don’t think she’s scary at all. I think she’s di­rect, and that takes peo­ple a lit­tle while to get used to, but as long as you are di­rect with her, it’s fine. When you get a big show like that, you’re like a fam­ily, and you have ar­gu­ments and fallings out, but that’s part of it. One of the joys of tele­vi­sion is those dis­cus­sions, they make you work out how you feel about stuff as you’re ac­tu­ally mak­ing the pro­gramme, and hav­ing a good old ding dong with An­nie is ac­tu­ally one of life’s great joys.

DO YOU EN­JOY­ING WORK­ING ON THE ONE SHOW?

Yes, it’s great. The thing with Rogue Traders is that I very rarely have will­ing in­ter­vie­wees. It’s so bizarre to be on The One Show and have peo­ple come on be­cause they want to talk to you, rather than be­cause we’re try­ing to catch them out. So to sud­denly be mak­ing a piece about tax­a­tion or The Wizard Of Oz or any of the hugely var­ied items that end up on The One Show is good.

HAVE YOU GOT ANY­THING ELSE IN THE PIPE­LINE?

There’s an­other se­ries go­ing out I think in July, called The Se­cret Tourist. It’s an un­der­cover hol­i­day show. The prob­lem with be­ing un­der­cover and on TV is that they’re mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive, but I can still get away with it - I just wear a bala­clava.

YOU TURN 40 THIS YEAR - DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO CEL­E­BRATE?

I’m hav­ing the mother of all karaoke nights, I was go­ing to have live mu­sic, but that means all I’d do is play mu­sic with the band all night, and I don’t get to talk to any­body, so my wife has told me I can’t do that. Karaoke is dif­fer­ent be­cause if they can wres­tle the mi­cro­phone out of my hands, ev­ery­body gets to have a go at that.

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