[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ctor Warwick Davis has emerged as the surprise choice to front a brand-new version of the popular game show, Celebrity Squares.
ITV have snapped up the screen veteran in its latest bid to revive an old favourite and former ratings winner. With this to be Davis’s first ever job in presenting, it will test his versatility to the limit. The diminutive star has recently been treading the boards in Spamalot, which was also a personal milestone as it is the first time he has performed on stage. This will, no doubt, have provided some vital preparation for the Celebrity Squares gig, for which some will see him as too inexperienced.
However, as one source put it: “He is an extremely likeable guy with great comic timing and that’s all you need, really.” When it comes to presenting a game show, those attributes seem to be very much the order of the day; think Alexander Armstrong for Pointless, Keith Lemon for Through the Keyhole and even that bloke who used to be on The Apprentice for Countdown. In fact there’s only Brucie and Dale Winton left who fit the mould of the archetypal host.
What Davis also has in his weaponry is a ready-made fanbase, which has grown steadily since he got the call to play an Ewok in Star Wars back in the early 80s. More movies followed, most notably Willow, whilst since the dawn of the new millennium he’s become more famous as a best pal of Ricky Gervais, taking the Michael out of himself in Extras, Life’s Too Short and An Idiot Abroad.
This will be the third run for Celebrity Squares, with the previous two series coming in the 1970s and 1990s. Both were hosted by Bob Monkhouse who, with the help of the noughts and crosses format, helped make the show a hit with all ages. It is this kind of old-fashioned family fun that ITV are trying to cash in on, in evidence this year with revamps of both Surprise Surprise and Through the Keyhole.
A pilot is to be recorded very soon. Should it prove to be the sure-fire hit that many are predicting, a new series of Celebrity Squares will be with us in 2014.