Matt Richardson thinks his former Xtra Factor buddy Caroline Flack has had a rough ride following her departure as co-host of the main show after just one series.
“I think it’s a real shame that Caroline’s taken a bullet when she was the only redeeming feature,” Richardson told RadioTimes.com.
“She was ace. I think she saved Olly Murs’s arse on more than one occasion,” he said, referring to Flack’s fellow presenter, whose live show gaffes included the much-discussed Deadlock slip-up, which saw Murs announce Monica Michael was leaving when it was yet to be confirmed.
“I think it’s a shame that she’s been made to look like she wasn’t good enough because she was brilliant,” added Richardson, who hosted spin-off show The Xtra Factor with Flack in 2013.
Flack and Murs took over X Factor hosting duties from Dermot O’Leary last year, having previously presented Xtra Factor themselves from 2011-2012. News of Flack’s departure said she stepped down, while Murs’s decision apparently came after he decided he wanted to focus on his music.
Richardson – who has just been announced as the new drivetime DJ on the re-launched Virgin Radio – suggests neither Flack nor Murs could really do right for doing wrong on The X Factor, however. And not just due to following in the footsteps of the beloved Dermot O’Leary, who looks poised for a return.
“It’s a sinking ship. Whatever happens on that show you’re going to get absolutely mauled for it. The press has decided they just don’t like it now. Every week they tear it to shreds. People are bored of it. They don’t want that negative ‘go sing for your life/ beg to stay’ and all that. It’s quite horrible when you watch it back.”
The usual game of musical chairs is already underway on the main show, meaning Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom’s Xtra gig is far from certain too. But while Richardson has a spin-off show in his sights, it’s not this one.
“I think now Xtra’s a bit of a poisoned chalice. I left and every year they’ve replaced them now… It got me on telly, it did loads of good stuff for me, but I’ve got no desire to go back.”
So which show is it Richardson is keen on doing next? Well, if you’re listening ITV2 casting directors, the comedian really wants to host The Voice spin-off when the show moves to ITV next year.
“That’s the one I’d love. Or if Laura Whitmore decides she doesn’t want to do the jungle anymore, I’d rip her arm off for that job,” Richardson laughed of the after hours I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! show. “I’ve done my fair share of spin-off shows, they’re really good fun. The Voice one is what I’d love. I’ve told my agent, obviously.”
It seems an odd choice given his reservations about Xtra. It’s another stand-up-and-sing show after all. But Richardson says the difference is The Voice is much nicer.
“It’s much more in the same vein of Strictly in that it’s ‘look how good these people are!’ rather than begging and crying and all that kind of stuff. X Factor is essentially crying by a pool. So [The Voice is] the other side of it, I really like that about it. I think [co-host] Emma Willis is unbelievable on it. It’s just a much nicer feel.”
Although, Richardson jokes the broadcaster would need to have moved on from his Xtra past if he’s to have a chance of landing his coveted role…
“The last spin-off I did on ITV I got fired from, so let’s see if they give me another chance!”
See Matt Richardson on this week’s Drunk History, Wednesday 10pm on Comedy Central