Fac­ing fierce com­pe­ti­tion

TV Times - - Interview - Curious Creatures Mon-fri / BBC2 / 6.00PM Elaine Reilly

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

Christy Har­ri­son.

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

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