Pointless ratings depend on who’s leading daily coronavirus briefing, says Richard Osman

The Pointless quiz master told Radio Times that the programme is "in trouble" when the Chancellor of the Exchequer is presenting the Cabinet's daily briefing.

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Pointless co-host Richard Osman has said that the show’s viewership depends on which Cabinet minister is presenting the coronavirus daily briefing that day.

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Speaking to Radio Times, Osman said that although daytime TV has a “very healthy” audience, the lockdown has introduced new viewers to the programme.

“Pointless is definitely getting a new audience, although we’re up against Boris Johnson or Matt Hancock sometimes,” he said.

“If we’re up against Matt Hancock, our ratings shoot up, but when it’s Rishi Sunak, we’re in trouble,” he continued. “He’s very much the Bradley Walsh of the Cabinet.”

Pointless usually airs on BBC One at 5:15pm, however due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the gameshow has been moved to the same time slot on BBC Two to make room for the Cabinet’s COVID-19 daily briefing on the broadcaster’s flagship channel.

Osman’s Pointless co-presenter Alexander Armstrong added that he’s not sure if there are new people coming to the show in quarantine. “I’m absolutely certain that’s true, but when you go out on the street, you’re not being stopped by quite so many people for selfies, for reasons I can’t understand.”

“Maybe it’s the face mask, I don’t know – but we’re not getting the daily feedback,” he joked.

The presenters, who have been at the helm of Pointless for over 10 years, also told Radio Times that they are asked to host quizzes “literally non-stop” during the lockdown.

“It’s as if someone’s thought of it for the first time,” Osman said. “I do charity ones and I do for people I know, but I get asked a lot. So if I haven’t replied to your email, please forgive me.”

Read the full interview with Richard Osman and Alexander Armstrong in this week’s Radio Times, on sale now.

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Pointless airs weekdays on BBC Two at 5:15pm. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.