After a bit of uncertainty, cult Channel 4 game show The Crystal Maze is returning to screens with a 20-part series and a new host – The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade.

The 90s classic previously returned for a popular one-off special for charity broadcast Stand Up to Cancer last October, where it was hosted by Stephen Merchant with celebrity guests including Rio Ferdinand and Michelle Keegan. However, Merchant decided that he didn’t fancy continuing in the hosting role (made famous in the original series by Richard O’Brien), meaning that Ayoade had to be brought in as Maze Master instead. 

As with the original series, the new version of The Crystal Maze will see teams of five contestants puzzle their way through themed areas called The Aztec, Medieval, Future and Industrial zones (missing the original’s water-based Ocean Zone from later series), facing a host of skill, mystery, physical and mental challenges to win crystals to trade for time in the legendary Crystal Dome. 

Unlike the October special (above), which filmed in an interactive version of the original Maze open to the public, the new series will shoot in a new 30,000-ft Maze purpose-built in Bristol by original series designer James Dillon. The new series will also continue to offer Stand Up to Cancer celebrity specials, with Ayoade joined by various famous faces. 

“The Stand Up To Cancer special was so brilliant and so successful that commissioning a series of The Crystal Maze was almost a no-brainer,” Channel 4 Head of Live & Events Tom Beck said in a statement.

“And I couldn’t be more pleased and excited that Richard has agreed to become the new Maze Master – he’s an inspired choice.” 

Details of how contestants can apply will apparently be released in due course, but for now we can relish in the news that ANOTHER 90s throwback is making its way back to Channel 4. Who says living in the past has to be a bad thing?