A League of their Own’s Romesh Ranganathan and Andrew Norgate reveal many professionals aren’t allowed to take part

David Brown talks to Romesh Ranganathan and Andrew Norgate ahead of the BAFTAs.

Romesh Ranganathan (GETTY)

This interview is part of our BAFTA 2020 special for more interviews visit The Big Interview hub.

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To the makers of the BAFTA-winning A League of Their Own, Andrew Norgate is the senior games producer, who dreams up all the wild tasks the panellists take on. But to Romesh Ranganathan, he’s the personification of all his worst nightmares. “It’s weird. I love him and I think he’s the very best at what he does. But I can’t help associating his face with horror. He’s my Jason or my Freddy Krueger,” says the comedian. “It’s because every time I see him, I’m going to be shown something that increases my anxiety level.”

Romesh Ranganathan with Andrew Norgate by Mark Harrison
Romesh Ranganathan with Andrew Norgate (Mark Harrison)

Yet despite the nerves, Ranganathan (nominated for two BAFTAs for The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan and The Ranganation) always gives his all on the Sky 1 sports-based comedy panel show. And for this, Norgate is thankful. “Romesh is a godsend,” he says. “Many of the professional sports people we have on won’t do any of the games. They’re not allowed. So what Romesh brings is a fantastic willingness. Even though — and I don’t think he’ll be offended if I say this — he’s not a natural athlete.”

Is Ranganathan offended? “No, because I was terrible at PE at school. I was an overweight kid who had terrible hand-eye coordination. All of my PE reports said, ‘Romesh has coped ably despite his obvious physical drawbacks.’ So I now consider myself to be a hero and an inspiration. People are looking at me and thinking, ‘There’s no way I could be as awful as him. Yet he still does it every week.’” He became a regular team captain in 2018, so surely he can’t still be scared of the physical challenges?

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“I’m still terrified every single time,” he laughs. “And there have been occasions when I’ve thought, ‘I can’t complete this.’ It’s got to the stage now where it’s about getting through this without ending my career.”

Norgate, though, believes the star is being too harsh on himself. “We shoot on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So, because he’s doing those games pretty much back to back, Rom does get knocked around a lot. And the thing is, he’s getting better and better. He’s now far more athletic. Well, reasonably more athletic…”

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