Saturday Kitchen: Alexander Armstrong discusses Pointless
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The Pointless legend hits screens this evening with a new epic travel series, ‘Iceland with Alexander Armstrong’. It will come as something of a relief to those tired of seeing TV celebrities riding canals around Britain, visiting the seaside or traipsing across well-known countryside, as Channel 5 weighs in and gives us one of the first series’ outside the UK. The coronavirus pandemic has made international travel difficult for the past year and a half, but Armstrong will now embark on an 8,000-mile journey halfway around the Arctic Circle in the middle of winter, observing natural wonders, discovering the magnetic lure of the far north and swim with locals.
While he has been on screens for decades, it is his role on the game show Pointless alongside Richard Osman that has made him a household name.
Every weekday, the two see members of the public answer niche questions on an array of topics in the hope of winning a cash prize.
A handful of celebrities also take on the quiz each season in Pointless Celebrities, bidding in pairs to show off their general and specialised knowledge, hoping to win cash for their chosen charities.
Like many shows, Pointless is pre-recorded, and guests have to go through rehearsals and pre-runs before recording the real thing.
This allows for a small portion of creative licence and colourful language from the presenters, who know that the show will eventually be edited into clean segments.
For Mary Berry, however, Armstrong’s language was too much to handle.
When she appeared in the celebrity edition of the show in 2012, she was taken by surprise when Armstrong dropped the F-bomb during rehearsals.
He recounted the awkward moment during an interview with The Sun in 2016, admitting he accidentally offended the Great British Bake Off legend.
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He explained: “When we swear during filming, particularly when we have celebs on, it reminds them that we will edit it.
“That’s when I decided to say ‘motherf*****’ in front of Mary Berry. I don’t think she ever visibly relaxed.”
He explained that he sometimes needs to take certain measures when celebs appear on the show, and said: “Sometimes the celebs are a bit prickly to start with.
“It takes a round or two to make them realise we’re not having a laugh at their expense.”
Osman also joked about the gaffe, and said: “She did not take it well and will not be back.”
Berry has not appeared on the show since.
To the surprise of many, she was not partnered up with her long-time colleague Paul Hollywood, but instead competed with former ‘I’m A Celebrity’ contestant Jennie Bond.
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Armstrong isn’t the only one to have had a gaffe during the show.
With over 1,000 episodes, contestants have provided both him and Osman with entertaining answers for years.
In 2016, contestant Gemma had the pair in stitches after she said the person who Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated in Dallas was “JR”.
The answer was, in fact, President John F. Kennedy.
She said: “That’s quite hard. I’m going to have to go assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas as JR.
“Oh I think I might have got completely the wrong Dallas…”
Stunned, Armstrong said: “JR…Well I really thought that was going to be a correct answer…well thank you Gemma.”
He proceeded to burst out with laughter and the audience shortly followed in tow.
Turning to the crowd, Armstrong joked: “Let’s see if JR is right.
“Let’s see how many of our 100 people said JR.”
The answer was, of course, wrong, and Armstrong added: “Oh Gemma, I’m really sorry that’s a wrong answer but thank you for giving us a really good laugh.
“I’m afraid that’s wrong.”
‘Iceland with Alexander Armstrong’ airs on Channel 5 tonight at 9pm.
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