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Alan Davies TV Passions: The As Yet Untitled star talks Strictly, Taskmaster and the future of Jonathan Creek
The Jonathan Creek and QI star talks to BT TV about the return of As Yet Untitled to Dave and his TV passions.
After a four-year break, Alan Davies is returning to Dave for a sixth season of his comedy chat series As Yet Untitled.
Davies will be joined at London’s Roundhouse by rising comic talents and A-list stars including Harry Hill, Dara O’Briain, Richard Ayoade, Bill Bailey, Sara Pascoe and Lee Mack.
Armed with only a couple of interesting facts about each guest, the conversation can go anywhere and the only rule is that the guests and Alan must come up with a title for the episode by the end of the show.
BT TV caught up with Alan to chat about the show’s return and his TV passions.
As Yet Untitled never stopped, we just parked it...
Dave commissioned all kinds of other projects and other shows and they’ve been great in the last few years at giving new people a chance and getting new shows on, people who might not get on anywhere else. I did wonder whether we would get our chance to do some more and then just as it looked like we would, Covid came along and we were postponed, postponed and postponed.
It was a year after we were supposed to do it that we recorded them. It turns out that it’s quite good for comedy to lock up comedians for a year, because it means they’re really up for a chat and there was a really nice atmosphere around the table.
Comedy after lockdown will be...
People do talk about it being like the Roaring Twenties, so when everyone gets out and starts doing shows, they’ll all be getting off with each other.
I don’t know what it will be like for comedy, but I’m sure audiences will be thrilled to be back in comedy clubs and comedians can’t wait to be on stage again. I think there will be some great gigs ahead in the coming year.
I’d say to anyone who wants to watch comedy, I know you want to see the big TV stars in the big theatres, but also go see the ones you’ve never heard of. They’ve missed a year of developing, they’ve missed a big chunk of their career.
In lockdown, I have been watching…
Me and wife sit together on the sofa and we have to find something that we both like.
Recently we’ve been watching Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet. I like watching Spiral, the French cop series on BBC Four, it’s brilliant. We watch a lot of the entertainment shows, Would I Lie To You?, Graham Norton. The telly is on most evenings.
And we’ve found the Curzon cinema chain have an app, where you can watch indie films - we’ve watched lots of those. There’s a lot of content available these days, which wouldn’t have been available in the past, so there’s not been a problem finding stuff to look at.
I was impressed by Bill Bailey on Strictly...
I was full of admiration. I thought he did so well. I’d never watched the programme. We’re not a Strictly house. I know some people watch it every year and love it, but we’ve never caught that bug. But we watched it when Bill was on and he was absolutely terrific.
They have asked me to do it. They said, ‘why don’t you come in and dance with one of the dancers’. I said, ‘ok maybe, that sounds good’. But as the days went by, I realised I wasn’t actually that interested.
My daughter is 11 and she said, ‘No! Way!’. I’m now using it as a threat. ‘If you don’t do, x, y and z, daddy will do Strictly Come Dancing’. And the kids go, ‘no, no, please no’. My daughter starts secondary school in September, so I don’t think she’d be happy if I did it the week she starts at school.
I also discovered later on that virtually everyone I know has been asked to do it
Filming Taskmaster has been hilarious...
A couple of times I ended up vaguely humiliated. But I really like Alex Horne, he’s very clever and funny. I wasn't competitive about it until they started handing out points in the studio and they showed us a leaderboard - ‘oh I’m in third’. Suddenly you start to think about how you’ve done. It doesn’t really occur to you when you are doing the tasks.
Obviously Greg takes the piss out of me. There’s always got to be one on the end who is old and slower than the others. That is my role.
A Jonathan Creek return is unlikely...
[David Renwick] wouldn’t tell me if he had written a script. But if he did write one, I would do it, out of loyalty to him. I can’t see it happening, but who knows.
He hasn’t said to me, ‘I’m not doing any more of these’. It’s not like One Foot in the Grave where he killed off Victor Meldrew and had him run over. He became quite frustrated with that as there were reports saying, ‘rumour has it, the BBC are bringing back Victor Meldrew’. ‘I killed him!’ he said. ‘What are they talking about?’
Jonathan Creek hasn’t been run over, so we’ll have to see.
Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled returns on July 27th, 10pm on Dave - BT TV channel 19.