Frank Skinner to present new version of Room 101

The comic will take the role last performed by Paul Merton as BBC1 revamps the comedy format

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Frank Skinner is to host a new series of comedy show Room 101, six years after the last episode was broadcast.

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Room 101 ran for 11 series, ending in 2006. It was fronted by Paul Merton, who took over from original presenter Nick Hancock in 1999. The format sees celebrity guests venting their spleen over their most hated objects, practices and people, hoping the host will agree to consign them to Orwellian oblivion.

New presenter Frank Skinner should know exactly how it works – he was a guest on the show back in 1995 when he successfully banished Action Man and unidentified tubes in meat, but had his comedy partner David Baddiel’s cat saved from extermination despite his best efforts.

Skinner will be presiding over some changes, too. A competitive element has been added, with each episode pitting three celebrity guests against one another as they vie to have their pet hates across a number of categories consigned to Room 101.

Skinner said: “It’s recently become clear to me that people are at their most articulate and passionate when slagging stuff off. That’s the last time I type my name into Google.

“Still, that bodes well for the new, revamped series of Room 101. I’m really looking forward to hearing my guests wax lyrical about the people and things they hate most.”

Hat Trick Productions, which produced the original series for the BBC, has been tasked with bringing it back. 

Executive producer Jimmy Mulville said: “We can’t wait to get this much loved show back on the air where it belongs. After seeing so many poor imitations over the past few years, it’s very pleasing to bring the real thing back, and in a new version with Frank Skinner as host.”

Guests confirmed for the new series include Danny Baker, Fern Britton, Alice Cooper, Hilary Devey, Josh Groban, Larry Lamb, Lauren Laverne, Mark Lawrenson, Gabby Logan, Alistair McGowan, Sarah Millican, Ross Noble, David O’Doherty, Chris Packham, Chris Tarrant, Gregg Wallace and Robert Webb.

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Filming on Room 101 starts today, with broadcast scheduled for January 2012.