Facing fierce competition
Kate Humble on hosting an anarchic new animal-themed quiz show...
Once in a blue moon a show comes along which is so much fun, you wonder why no one’s thought of it before. Step forward Curious Creatures, a BBC2 quiz which takes its inspiration from QI.
Hosted by wildlife queen Kate Humble, each episode sees two teams – captained by Springwatch’s Chris Packham and zoologist Lucy Cooke – compete in a series of games that will put their knowledge of the world’s wildlife to the test.
‘Hopefully, it’ll have broad appeal and the quirky facts will be talked about in the playground and the pub, and I’ll get to make loads more episodes!’ smiles Kate, 48. ‘I had a lot of fun doing it!’
Here, Kate tells TV Times more about the show…
How would you decribe Curious Creatures?
It’s an animal quiz in the style of QI and Have I Got News for You. Team captains Chris and Lucy have one guest each per show. As they get questions right, they win descriptions of an animal’s body part, which builds up a curious creature they have to identify.
Tell us about some of the rounds… Everybody’s favourite is ‘Whose poo?’ We worked in collaboration with the very real National Poo Museum on the Isle of Wight – it has the most amazing collection!
The teams have to ascertain who’s responsible for these delights that are served to them on a silver salver. Another favourite is ‘Who’s the daddy?’, where they’ve to work out the parents of a cute baby animal.
Chris’s knowledge of animals is encyclopaedic – did that put him at an advantage?
With questions like, ‘What’s heavier – a black rhino or the tongue of a blue whale?’, there’s not always an obvious answer. Chris is an encyclopaedia, but in a round like ‘Is it bigger than a chicken?’ – where teams get a square-inch picture clue – it’s never cut and dry.
Who are the guests? They’re all wildlife people, such as Steve Backshall and Martin Hughesgames, as well as newer TV faces like primatologist
How competitive did it get? Very! Lucy thought she’d never beat Chris, yet made it her mission to try and thrash him. Never think animal people are fluffy and sweet, it was tooth and claw!
What was the biggest challenge you faced as the show’s host? Shutting them up! The shows are only half an hour each and they analyse literally every quill and claw trying to figure out what it is. There was also a fair amount of asking for points, even though their answer wasn’t right. I found myself becoming like my headmistress! I should have worn tweed, brogues and glasses halfway down
Never think animal people are fluffy and sweet, it was tooth and claw!
my nose, looking disapproving. I’ll have to work on it.
We’re used to seeing you about and out. What was it like to do a studio-based show?
I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’ve loved being in a studio with make-up! The show is fun with masses of take-home information and lots of laughs.
Your career is getting more and more diverse! Yes, and it’s fantastic. I read once that Stephen Fry was waiting for someone to point out he’s a fraud. I’ve been thinking that for 20 years. I used to be in production so I keep waiting for a hand on my shoulder telling me I should be behind the camera, not in front of it.
So, what is heavier – the black rhino or a blue whale’s tongue? I’m going for a blue whale. I’ve learned lots on Curious Creatures (Correct: A black rhino weighs up to 1,350 kgs, while the whale tongue can be 2.7 tons)
Going into battle: rival team captains Lucy Cooke and Chris Packham
the big issue: a blue whale provides one of the animal teasers
Horn of dilemma:
a black rhino