Who’s joining you on the panel for the Christmas special of Through the Keyhole?
Julian Clary and Barbara Windsor. It’s the campest panel in Christmas TV history. The good thing is we only filmed it a few days ago – I’ve shot Christmas promos in August, which is a bit too much of a stretch of the imagination. A Christmas-based world record attempt takes place on the show. If you like the show and you like Christmas, this should be part of your Christmas viewing.
In that company, did your own inner campness come out?
Yes. It’s under a very thin layer, a very thin disguise. It’s ready to pop out at any time.
How much of Julian Clary’s stuff will have to be cut for taste and decency reasons?
One of the great things about the series is the stuff that’s for the audience only. I dunno if they’ll do a DVD! Julian is part of that club. To spur us on, we had that legendary Barbara Windsor giggle when things are a little bit naughty.
Any clues about the celebrity homeowners?
It’s in Keith Lemon’s contract that only he can give clues… One of them is the classic situation where Keith says the name as part of the VT, but he inserts it in the middle of the sentence with a bit of wordplay. He says, “I said the name in the VT Dave!” I say, no you didn’t. Then he plays it back. Like, in Amir Khan’s house he said, “I can’t believe Amir in the kitchen…” He’s done that to me again.
What are the worst things Keith has done in someone’s house?
He totally destroyed Greg Rutherford’s Olympic medal by accidentally dropping it in his dog’s poo-poo, then trying to remove said poo-poo by scraping it on a brick wall. He also tried to pull Sarah Harding’s mum. She was at Sarah Harding’s house during the filming and the last we saw of him, he was going upstairs with her, carrying a jacket potato.
What will you be watching on TV this Christmas?
In my family, traditionally it’s about music and games. Playing cards and listening to Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album. But I’ve watched Scrooged, the Bill Murray classic, every year for about the past ten years. And Elf, which is Will Ferrell’s attempt at a Christmas movie. It has the silliness of Anchorman or Saturday Night Live, but with a really warm heart. It deserves a second viewing: the first time, many people say they don’t really like it or it’s silly. But it becomes something you must have on at Christmas.
What about people disappointed that Sky have the rights to it this year, not C4? They used to enjoy all watching it together and tweeting.
Make sure you own it on DVD and press play when it comes on Sky [9pm Sunday 29 December Sky Movies Christmas]! I might start an Elf-fest where I have a load of DVDs I dish out to people.
Any viewing you’ll be catching up on over the holidays?
I’m yet to watch the latest season of The Walking Dead. I got so into it, I’m missing a group of friends. That’s what’ll make a post-apocalyptic zombie show Christmassy, in a weird way. It’ll be like catching up with pals.
What about the big comedies?
I’ll watch Still Open All Hours, because I’m interested to see how the writers bring that back, and Christmas isn’t Christmas without David Jason. In my world it’s not like an Only Fools and Horses or The Office, but David’s an icon of British TV.
Do you watch much sport at Christmas?
The Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports 1 has become a mainstay of my televisual week. You can spot people who have totally lifted their rhetoric from the journalists on that show.
Will you watch Sherlock on New Year’s Day?
Yes. Can’t wait. I’m intrigued about the dark world he’s in now. I bumped into Mark Gatiss – Mark and I have known each other for a few years – and I really tried to get clues about the new series. He was in quite a serious meeting, but it didn’t stop me heckling him from across the bar.
Through the Christmas Keyhole, 9.30pm ITV