I’ll have a TV career please, Bob: four famous Blockbusters contestants

As the classic game-show is revived on Challenge tonight, watch Stephen Merchant, Konnie Huq and more taking part before they were famous...

Blockbusters returns to TV tonight after an absence of more than a decade, with a new host and on a new channel. Fronted by Simon Mayo and airing on Challenge, the revived game show boasts one further change: nowadays contestants of all ages will be taking part, instead of the sixth formers who populated the studio during the late Bob Holness’s tenure.


And, who knows, maybe there’ll be a famous face of tomorrow among the new wave of Blockbusters contestants. After all, the show’s played host to some of British TV’s best and brightest over the years. People like…

Stephen Merchant

The lanky Extras star turned up on the revived Blockbusters hosted by Michael Aspel in 1997. Merchant claims that a friend of his who appeared on the original Blockbusters described the experience as “a debauched old time” and, naturally, fancied a week of subsidised decadence for himself too. Alas, by the time he’d registered to go on the programme it had been revamped to allow contestants of all ages, leaving a would-be naughty Merchant adrift in a sea of elderly women and middle aged bikers…

Konnie Huq

Blue Peter presenter-to-be Konnie appeared on Blockbusters in 1992, aged 16, as part of a team. While on the show, Konnie rather reluctantly confessed to an appearance on BP at the age of 14 and also unexpectedly revealed that she first met Bob Holness when she was four years old, having been sat on his knee at a fete.

Jon Tickle

Big Brother contestant turned Brainiac presenter Jon was a contestant on Blockbusters in 1991 alongside his brother Philip and had a great time on the programme. He said: “For my sins, I’ve appeared on Blockbusters. It was great fun to do – they put us up in a four-star hotel for a start! We filmed three shows in the late afternoon and two late at night.”

He also revealed that Holness was a convivial host: “Bob was a top bloke and had dinner with all the contestants every day and was very chatty. He occasionally fluffed his lines but not too often.”

Daniel Kitson

Perrier Award-winning stand-up Daniel Kitson, who also played Spencer in Phoenix Nights, made an appearance on Blockbusters as a 15-year-old. As well as winning £45 on the show, Kitson revealed that he wanted to be a comedian, making him one of about three people in the world who actually achieved their teenage dream.

Will you be tuning in to the new Blockbusters tonight? Did you ever appear on the show back in the day (and can you confirm Stephen Merchant’s story about the debauchery)? Post a comment and let us know…

All New Blockbusters is at 8pm weekdays on Challenge