If you were a kid in the 1990s there were a few things in life you craved more in life than a complete album of Tazos and the chance to go on Fun House.
Now the wacky, crazy and outrageous children’s TV show looks set to follow the huge success of The Crystal Maze as a huge crowdfunding campaign has launched to bring back the Go Karts, ball pit and – if you can believe it – Pat Sharp himself for a brand new live experience.
It’s going to be a bit more grown up. There’s hopefully going to be a bar (now we’re adults we’re not sure we could take on that ball pit sober) and even DJ nights at the attraction, which is looking to open in a secret London location next year.
It looks like it’s going to be a whole lotta fun, so RadioTimes.com got Pat for a chat and found out more about the experience, how he wants Fun House to make a TV return (YES!) and why even £650,000 might not be able to bring that mullet back…
Pat, we’re very excited by the idea of a live Fun House experience. How did this all come about?
“We were first contacted at the beginning of the year when we were approached by this group of people who are involved with theatre and TV and they asked would we be interested in joining forces with them.
“I phoned the twins [Melanie and Martina] and said ‘Are you interested in doing this?’ and they screamed down the phone and went ‘Oh my God, yeah!’ They’re still very, how shall I say, buoyant, the twins in their expressions – even though they’re 45 years old.
“Since then we’ve had meetings and we’re backing the campaign and seeing how it’s going. We’re watching as outsiders watching what’s happening and it’s exciting.”
With the experience, will everything look and feel exactly the same as it did back in the day?
“I only know what you know from the pictures that I’ve seen. They wanted to produce a live attraction in London that’s going to be very very on the ball and the drawings look quite dramatic and I think the finished article will reflect this.
“The Fun House is a similar but modern day version of it. I’m guessing it’s going to be bigger and better. People expect everything to be quite jazzy these days so we’re not going to have a hoop and a stick. It’s going to be dynamic and it’s going to be great but I can’t tell you as I’m not involved with the company, but I’ve been assured from our point of view that it’s going to be far from rubbish.
“They’ve promised us it’s going to be very slick, very professional and people are going to come away with a fantastic two-hour experience behind them. They’re going to be impressed.”
Although apparently due to health and safety there won’t be any gunge…
“If people are going on a hen party or a bachelor party or even just turning up with workmates from work, they probably don’t want to be covered in gunge! They’ll probably be wearing red and yellow jumpsuits and it’ll be like going Go Karting.
“With the gunge side of it – we did a little survey of it the other day and the gunge wasn’t the most popular part of the show. People loved the Go Karts, they loved running through the Fun House – and the games and the gunge came out quite far down the list. We’ll still play games but they’ll be updated and made a lot more grown up and a lot more fun for 2018.”
On the crowdfunding page it says you’ll bring your mullet back if a donor wants to pledge £650,000…
“If someone did offer it, the only problem I’ve got is that at my age it might be quite difficult. I’ve still got a fairly good head of hair but I don’t think it’ll grow that long again. I think it’s probably had its moment.”
What would you do, then?
“I think we’d probably do a deal where we’d give the company who pays for it – because I can’t imagine an individual doing this – I think we’d probably give the company a load of PR out of it and go and have some extensions put in and do some shots with them and give them some good publicity from it.
“I don’t think I could physically do it and if they did they might be in for a hell of a wait and we might all be dead. I think some people of my age still do have long hair but it’s because they’ve never cut it. But I think to grow it again would be very difficult. It’s very short at the back and tidier than it was.”
Is the mullet something of an albatross around your neck that you can’t shift?
“I get people going ‘Oh mate, have you cut your hair?’… ‘Yeah, 1992!’ Quite bizarre isn’t it, but that’s amazing again that people remember it. It’s fine for me! It’s never unpleasant – people are nothing but nice to me and I’m very grateful for that. If people want to say ‘your hair was a bit crap but Fun House was great and you did a good radio show when I was younger’, then what’s not to like?”
Was it the success of The Crystal Maze live experience that has encouraged you to agree to this?
“I must admit that has crossed my mind, don’t get me wrong! I think Fun House can do just as well if not better, because I think it was even more popular than The Crystal Maze at the time. It was on for longer as well so the potential of it is full steam ahead. We don’t know where it might go.”
Much like The Crystal Maze, if this is a success and TV companies become interested, would you be up for hosting a revived version of Fun House?
“Absolutely – but featuring adults. I think it’d be great. Even as a small segment inside, say, Saturday Night Takeaway or something would be brilliant. If you got celebrities like Ant and Dec and Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan to be the contestants. Michelle’s already tweeted us saying how it was her childhood fave and it’s just a real buzz for a lot of people. I’m sure lots of celebs of today would love to do that.
“I’m not a TV producer so whatever anybody would decide would decide and I would have to go with the flow. I mean look, again I think if people jump at it we’d be foolish not to. But we wouldn’t do a kids’ version again because I think that would look a bit odd with our ages. As an adult version I think it would only work with the original people, with us in the mix. I think people would love that!”
You currently do versions of Fun House with the twins for corporate events, but this is going to be on a whole new level!
“That is true and it’s not something I’ve actually thought about – but [the live experience] is probably going to make me and the twins go ‘Oh my God we’re getting a second crack at this – this is unbelievable’ because we had such a crack at it last time.
“When we did it we never even thought it would last so long and become cult status – even now because of the repeats are run on Challenge TV there are people who say to me now on Twitter who say they are watching Fun House with their seven year olds and due to my hair they get asked ‘Daddy, is that a man or a lady?’, which is quite funny.”
Here’s information about #BringBackFunHouse and how you can pledge (and even get Pat to write personalised message on a ball for a tenner).