Exclusive – Stephen Mulhern on the success of In For a Penny: “You never know what’s going to happen!”

We caught up with Mulhern to hear all the outrageous tales from the latest series of In For a Penny.

Stephen Mulhern (ITV)

Stephen Mulhern is back with a new series of the silliest gameshow on TV, In For a Penny.

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The premise is simple, Mulhern travels the length of the country tasking bystanders to complete seemingly simple games for £50 – or a grand if they make it through to the final.

Ready to quip at anything, Mulhern is on hand to poke fun at the contestants, always laughing with them, never at them.

“Without question it’s the people that make the show so great,” the presenter exclusively told RadioTimes.com ahead of the new series. “Nothing is set up, so it’s all what you see is what you get [and] the chance to be with members of public is for me a dream come true. I just love it because you never know what’s going to happen!”

And therein lies the secret to In For A Penny’s success. The sheer unpredictability and honesty of the 30 minute ITV format creates excitement and laughter across the nation. Mulhern is fantastic at the helm, never once belittling his guests, instead bringing out the very best in them. (In the new series, Mulhern revealed to us how a case of mistaken identity led to one man with his top off and trousers around his ankles… “There’s no other show like it”, Mulhern reminisced).

The upcoming series was also filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, something that didn’t worry the In For a Penny team, they just had to think creatively about some new and safe games to play.

“We’ve got so many new games – we had to come up with new games that were socially distanced. We filmed the new series in the height of it, so I was really panicked about it because I genuinely care for all the shows I work on,” Mulhern added. “With In For a Penny, it’s so raw, I just wanted to make sure we could still do it and make sure it was right. Myself and the team all work incredibly close together.”

And it was genuinely crucial to Mulhern and the team they managed to get it on air in 2021 because after a tough year, laughter has never been more important.

“I don’t think there’s anything better than having a good laugh or chuckling. I’ve been there, listen, I’ve gone through bad, bad times whether with family or friends and I know you can’t make a joke out of everything – and rightly so – but in the darkest or weirdest of times, if someone can make you smile it does make you feel different,” the host explained.

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“[In For a Penny] is only a half hour show – if in that half an hour, you giggle a couple of times… it’s just changed everything. And I also think, ITV and Saturday night entertainment – this is what it’s about. It’s about family, it’s about enjoying shows, and it never needs to go too far. But what it has to do is be proper laugh out loud stuff. A chuckle is fine, but a laugh is better.”

In For a Penny returns Saturday at 7pm on ITV. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our Entertainment hub for all the latest news.