Mulhern has been an ITV mainstay for over a decade, hosting the revival of Catchphrase and Big Star’s Little Star alongside even fluffier and less well-received Saturday night programmes such as Go for It and Get Your Act Together (as no-one remembers either, Go for It was a medley of the worst bits of Britain’s Got Talent – people smashing watermelons on their head or unicycling over a row of cans – while celebrity circus show Get Your Act Together saw Jedward learning to skip and Sinitta pole dancing. Unsurprisingly, both programmes lasted only one series before being cancelled).
But recently it feels like ITV are cranking Mulhern up a gear. Those earlier shows could realistically have been hosted by any one of the small-but-select paddock of ITV all-stars: Paddy, Emma – even Keith Lemon. But In For A Penny is very much Mulhern’s vehicle. It’s not the format that makes the programme. It’s his personality and persona on which the entire show hangs.
If further evidence were needed of just how much the broadcaster values Mulhern, when he was forced to miss four days of filming Britain’s Got More Talent earlier this year owing to illness, he actually urged ITV them to find a replacement host but was turned down.
“At one point, I did say they should get someone else to do the days I wasn’t there so that we still had content,” Stephen revealed. “But ITV said, and I took this as a huge compliment, that I’ve made the show my own and there’s no other presenter they could see doing it in the style I do it.”
Highly regarded by his employers and with two new shows in the offing, is the ‘irreplaceable’ Stephen Mulhern ITV’s next Mr Saturday Night?