I make sure the next thing I do is nothing like the last... ; Nick Knowles is one of TV''s most in-demand presenters, thanks to almost 15 years on DIY SOS, as well as the long-running series Real Rescues. He chats about these shows as well as new game show Break the Safe, his career highlights, and what he''d like to have ago at next
TELL US A BIT ABOUT BREAK THE SAFE The BBC decided to pull together the best team of the best people they could get to make a quiz show on a Saturday night; exec producers, producers, game show creators, stage designers. So it's a proper let's-go-for-it big Saturday night quiz show.
The result has been four years in the making. It's about relationships basically - brothers, sisters, mums and sons, best friends etc - coming in pairs to play in a game where they have to work together, to answer questions, to earn money and trust each other about how much they know about each other's knowledge. It's a real tension-comedy show.
YOU'VE DONE WHO DARES WINS FOR YEARS. WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY ENJOY ABOUT THESE QUIZ SHOWS? I love that it's been the number one slot on BBC television for six years. Quietly, without anyone noticing, I've had the number one slot in prime time Saturday night television on BBC, which is just amazing, really.
We've had Who Dares Wins, Secret Fortune and now because I got involved with bringing those to market and working on them to make them as good as they could possibly be, when they put Break the Safe together, they brought me in to get involved on the presenting side of it. I think it's a culmination really of how can we provide the audience with an alternative to whatever they're watching on ITV, C4 or anywhere else - let's make the very best quiz show we can.
IT'S OBVIOUSLY VERY DIFFERENT TO DIY SOS, SO YOU'RE GETTING PLENTY OF VARIETY IN YOUR PRESENTING Well the thing for me has always been, as anybody in television will tell you, you should do one thing and stick to it because the audience doesn't like you to hop around all over the place. My whole career, I've made sure that the next thing I do is nothing like the last thing I did. But I'm at the point now where the audience, I think, will pretty much let me do any kind of programme.
I can go off and do a nine-week natural history programme in Africa, or I can do Saturday night quiz shows, or I can do a building programme. Because the audience knows who I am, it kind of doesn't matter what programme I turn up on, as long as it's entertaining and interesting and gets the viewing figures.
FUTURE The truth is you just have to work harder. I think people get a break and then think 'I'm famous, all I have to do is turn up' whereas probably because of the background I've come from, I'm always expecting it to finish any day, so the next programme has to be better than the last one I did. I always work really hard to ensure that we produce the best possible programme .
WHY DO YOU THINK DIY SOS IS STILL SO POPULAR WITH AUDIENCES AFTER ALL THESE YEARS? Because it does a few things. It reaffirms your faith in humankind because you see people who are going through incredibly difficult circumstances - who are battling against it and surviving.
It represents working-class people in this country in a good light, people who are working class and making a living.
Whereas almost every other representation of working class people, they're either scumbags or they're nicking something or they're rogue traders or cowboy builders.
So you'd be forgiven for thinking that anybody who shows up on a working class estate is trying to con their way (through) and doesn't want to go out and earn a living.
In actual fact, 99% are really proud of the work they do and do a good job. DIY SOS represents a large part of the population that aren't properly represented on TV so I'm very proud of it from that point of view.
And I think people like it because it's a feel-good programme about rough diamonds, working-class heroes.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT? I think if you're the kind of person I am, your career highlight is whatever you're doing next. Two years ago I wrote my first feature film, so I'm making it next year. It's not been easy. I'm just putting the finishing touches to my first novel, I'm writing my second film at the moment, I've got prime time Saturday night on BBC1, I've got DIY SOS running mid- week, I've got Perfection which is a successful afternoon show. I don't tend to look back at what I've done, more 'what ON am I going to do next'? YOU'VE DONE SO MUCH ALREADY - IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D STILL LIKE TO HAVE A GO AT? Many, many years ago, before I became a news journalist, I did some acting and quite recently, I've been thinking I'd quite like to play a part in something like Ripper Street or Luther. I'd like to play some kind of psychotic villain - especially now I'm writing film, I'd quite like to have a go at being in one.
Break the Safe Saturday starts tonight on BBC1 at 8.50pm.
'It's a real tension-comedy show' - Nick Knowles on Break The Safe
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