There aren't many TV personalities who can say they'll be starring on three of the biggest British TV broadcasters this festive period, but comedian and presenter Mo Gilligan is one of them.


From returning to the panel of The Masked Singer for season 4 on New Year's Day and hosting Channel 4's The Big Narstie Show (continuing tonight), to becoming the face of BBC One's latest Saturday night entertainment format That's My Jam, it's turning out to be less Ho Ho Ho this Christmas and more Mo Mo Mo.

"I didn't realise it until my friend told me the other day. My friends are like, 'Every time I turn over, you're on something,'" the comedian tells me over Zoom from NBC's Tottenham Court Road offices.

Since posting his sketches on social media whilst working at Levi's Covent Garden shop back in 2017, Gilligan has turned into one of TV's biggest stars. He's picked up two BAFTAs for his Channel 4 chat show The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan, hosted the BRIT Awards and appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox with friend Babatunde Aléshé – resulting in the latter getting the call-up for I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here this year (more on that later).

It's all the above that caught the eye of US late-night juggernaut Jimmy Fallon, who asked Gilligan to front BBC One's version of That's My Jam – a game show where celebrities compete in musical challenges, many of which came from viral moments on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Mo Gilligan on That's My Jam.
Mo Gilligan on That's My Jam. BBC

"It's a massive honour to be working with the BBC. But I think also occupying that Saturday entertainment spot is even bigger," Gilligan says. "And it comes on at Christmas time. Obviously the weekend is great, but that kind of Christmas time where everyone can sit down with the family and have that escapism while the show launches is going to be really cool."

Gilligan hadn't actually met Fallon – who rose to fame on Saturday Night Live in the '90s before becoming a big-name presenter – when the chat show host reached out. "It was one of those moments where I was like, 'He knows who I am?' When we met he was like, 'Hey man, I've seen your sketches. I've seen your stuff on Netflix and whatnot.' He was quoting back some material, which was really nice."

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With Fallon hosting the original version of That's My Jam, he asked Gilligan to record a UK pilot in LA – and while taking on a role also held by the entertainer, who has racked up over 16 billion views on YouTube, would be a daunting prospect for any presenter, Gilligan says the American host told him to put his own spin on That's My Jam.

"Jimmy said, 'Hey, man. Do it your way. I want to see your twist on it,' which was really cool. Meeting Jimmy was a big deal for me. I was like, 'You're literally Mr Saturday Night Live!' So yeah, that was such an honour.

"We got to properly hang out a bit more when we filmed series 1 (of the UK version). He's telling me stories of some of his famous friends, which is kind of blowing my mind. 'Yeah man, I was hanging out with Keanu Reeves and Dolly Parton.' I was like wow, these are some massive names. Jolene and Neo from The Matrix."

The California filming location explains That's My Jam's eclectic mix of (mostly American) celebrities, from NSYNC's Joey Fatone and comedian Reggie Watts to Aloe Blacc and Glee's Amber Riley.

While viewers can expect to see familiar faces like Alesha Dixon ("she does this thing called the Musical Medley Challenge and does her version of Stormzy's Shut Up but as a Disney Princess"), it must be a BBC first to have Selling Sunset's Chrishell Stause and Mary Fitzgerald belting their hearts out.

Michelle Visage, Kevin McHale, Alesha Dixon and Jenna Ushkowitz on That's My Jam.
Michelle Visage, Kevin McHale, Alesha Dixon and Jenna Ushkowitz on That's My Jam. BBC

"Mary and Chrishell, they were fantastic and they really get into it. I'm just like, 'Wow, you guys are really good. If this whole selling houses thing doesn't work out, Broadway might just be calling up after the show.'"

Unsurprisingly, Gilligan also invites on Brits who've defected to the US – like actor and fan-magnet Tom Ellis, who is now better known for playing The Devil on Lucifer than his breakout role on BBC One's Miranda. "He was so cool. He was just like the ladies' favourite. Every time he said something, people just whooped.

"We had Patsy Palmer on there and Tom Grennan, Becky Hill as well. One of my favourite moments was when I made up this thing on a keyboard on the floor. I made up a rhythm on it, and then Tom Grennan started rapping. [Lord of the Rings star] Billy Boyd started rapping and that just happened purely by me being like, let me just have a go. No one's seen a hobbit rap, so those kind of moments are really quite fun."

As for whether he was starstruck by any of his guests, Gilligan says he was in awe of Donny Osmond. "Before the show I'd always meet everyone and Donnie, he got the collar of my blazer and straightened it out and said, 'Hey, how you doing kid, nice to meet you – Mo Gilligan right?'," the comedian says, launching into an American accent.

"'Man, love your stuff. It's gonna be great!' Then he finger-pointed, like old-school showbiz stuff. I was like, 'Woah, I'm like friends with Donny Osmond.' I think the one for me though has to be Boyz II Men on the show. We also had Salt-N-Pepa. The child in me that used to listen to my sisters' RnB and hip-hop Black CDs as a kid was like, 'This is such a full circle moment.'"

Turning our attentions to season 2, Gilligan wants to go even bigger. "We've got to get someone like Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson on the show. I think if we're going British, let's try and go high again. I say we go Adele, maybe Stormzy will be quite good." He pauses before adding: "Hey, maybe even Barry from EastEnders. I've seen he's got some pipes on him."

Babatunde and Mo
Mo Gilligan and Babatunde Aléshé on Celebrity Gogglebox. Channel 4

Gordon Ramsay's name is swiftly added to the list ("We'd have to bleep out the show a lot") but when I ask whether he'll recruit Babatunde Aléshé, his Celebrity Gogglebox co-star who recently placed eighth on I'm a Celeb, Gilligan reckons he won't be able to book him.

"He's probably the most in-demand man once he gets back. I feel like everyone's gonna want him on every single show. With Baba, you've seen him in the jungle when he had to sing Bob Marley so I wouldn't put it past him. I would not put it past him at all."

Like a good friend, Gilligan did tune into the show although he missed the launch show, which saw Aléshé shout the infamous line, 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!' in the season's first heights-based challenge.

"I had so many people messaging me like, 'What's going on with your mate?' I'm like, do you know how hard it is? He's scared of heights. So it was great to see him redeem himself and earn some stars for camp. He's done a great job, he really faced his fears."

As for how he found watching Aléshé in the jungle with Matt Hancock, the presenter takes a leaf out of Fallon's book and beats around the political bush(tucker trial). "I think it was always weird to see [Aléshé] in the jungle. This guy is scared of everything. I'm just sitting there praying like, 'Please win some stars for your team!'"

Pivoting back to That's My Jam, Gilligan says in earnest that it is "probably close" to his career high point. "It was a really massive 'pinch me' moment when I got to do this show. I feel like names are really made within UK weekend TV that just go on to become successful forevermore.

Mo Gilligan on The Masked Singer
Mo Gilligan on The Masked Singer. ITV

"Whether it's people from The X Factor or Ant & Dec or Bruce Forsyth or Claudia Winkleman – these are names that just roll off the tongue and everyone knows who these people are, so the fact that I'm in that conversation, it feels like an honour. I don't think it'll sink in just yet until the show actually launches."

However, as we've seen over the last few month, Saturday night names can fall just as quickly as they rise, with David Walliams recently apologising over "inappropriate" comments he made whilst filming Britain's Got Talent in 2020. On the morning of our chat, Gilligan is the frontrunner to replace Walliams on the ITV talent show, with odds of 5/2.

Would he want to join the BGT panel? "Oh man, that's a lovely honour. I think whenever you're linked to any show, it's just flattering.

"I was also linked with Big Brother and a few other stuff, so the fact that I was even in the conversation is super flattering. I'm a fan of the show, the show is a fantastic show but if I'm completely honest, I don't know if I've got the time, man. It's mad to be booked and busy."

However, Gilligan pauses and cheekily asks: "What are the odds on that?" Perhaps we'll be seeing the comedian take over even more Saturday-night real estate in the New Year after all.

That's My Jam airs on Saturday 17th December at 9:35pm on BBC One.

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