You can go from hero to zero with a roll of a coin...
TV favourite Stephen Mulhern talks to GEORGIA HUMPHREYS about the return of Rolling In It and reveals his dream contestants
SINCE rising to fame fronting kids’ programmes, Stephen Mulhern has become a staple of Saturday night TV.
The Londoner is a contributor to Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, has hosted ITV2’s Britain’s Got More Talent, and now has not one but two of his own entertainment shows – In For A Penny and Rolling In It.
The latter was a runaway success when it debuted on ITV last year, achieving audiences of almost four million – and is now returning for a second series.
So, how does Rolling In It work? Well, every episode stars three celebrities, who are each paired with a contestant from the general public.
The teams take it in turns to roll a coin and wherever it lands is how much that question is worth. But, as the game progresses, a roll could lead to ‘bankrupt’, ‘half’ and ‘steal’.
After 15 multiple-choice questions, the team that has the most money has the chance to play the end game, which involves a quickfire round. But they can only take their jackpot home if they land in ‘win’ with a final roll of the coin.
Here, 44-year-old Stephen, who has been a member of The Magic Circle since he was 17, having started learning tricks as a child, tells us more about what’s in store.
Have you been pleased by the reaction to Rolling In It?
I had people coming up in the street going ‘That show keeps you on the edge of your seat, doesn’t it?’ And that’s quite unusual after series one.
When you look at some of the celebs that have joined the show, helping out our contestants – whether it’s Sarah Millican, Katherine Ryan, James Martin – these are people that you want to see on the game show, rather than the same people all the time, and that was great.
People know what to expect now, and they know that while the show can be incredibly exciting – it can also be incredibly brutal.
There are lots of great game shows on our screens. What do you think makes this one stand out?
You can go from hero to zero with a roll of a coin. You get that moment where a contestant might go to their
celebrity partner, “Shall we go for one more roll?”
It’s a game of chance – a thing we have to deal with every single day.
“Do I go left or do I go right? Do I actually leave at this time?”
You’ve got to make a choice, and that’s why it’s exciting.
What is it like on set for the contestants and their famous partners?
It’s very supportive. If my mum, for example, played this game, and she was on with someone like Rob
Beckett, she’s in a TV studio, she’s in a zone that she’s not used to – but Rob is used to this.
So, he can be like a comfort blanket. But the reality is, at some point, he’s got to step away and go, “This is your game. You need to decide, are you going to push your luck or sit tight?”
But don’t forget, if you do sit tight, somebody could steal it. It’s hard.
The celebrities will be booked but, unlike any other game show, they actually do need to work. They can’t just be there smiling away going “Isn’t it great?”
They’ve actually got to help that contestant out. Because if they don’t, the viewers will absolutely hate them. They’ll be exposed.
If you were to play Rolling In It, which celeb would you like to be paired with?
I would really like to be paired with a baddie from a soap. Geoff from Coronation Street [played by actor Ian Bartholomew]; when he was in the soap, I hated him.
I was like, “You’re a bad person”. But it would be interesting to see how he would play it.
Lorraine [Kelly] would be a good contestant. We should absolutely get her because she’s so mumsy.
If she blew someone’s money, you might see Lorraine lose it!
Can you tell us a favourite moment from the new series?
I know Simon Gregson very well.
Steve McDonald [played by Gregson], he’s the comedy, happygo-lucky guy in Coronation Street, and when you see Simon on shows, he’s so laid back, he may as well be sleeping.
But on this show, it’s the first time I’ve seen him be quite serious and alert about everything, because reality kicked in that the contestant he was playing for genuinely wanted to win the money.
They weren’t greedy, but they wanted to go away with the jackpot if they could.
What is left for you to tick off on the career checklist?
I’m pleased you’ve asked this, because nobody has ever really asked me that! I would love to do a big live entertainment show.
It could have a combination of feel-good moments, maybe some magic as well, which I don’t actually get to do on the telly. A show that just makes people laugh.
We’ve got Saturday Night Takeaway, and that’s a show that I’m privileged to be part of, and Michael McIntyre has got his big show – a big show like that.
Like an up-to-date version of Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. I said about Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush to a friend of mine the other day. He went, ‘Never heard of it’.
I got him to watch it on YouTube. Chris Evans was the host – it was a brilliant, brilliant show.
Noel’s House Party – I’d like to do that sort of show. Also, that would be very different from everything I’ve done.