Richard Osman: the TV quiz industry is ‘sort of collapsing’


Richard Osman conquered daytime TV with quiz show Pointless, which he co-presented for years with Alexander Armstrong. But he’s declared that the market for the daytime telly staple is in steep decline.

“That industry is sort of collapsing,” Osman said at the Capital Crime festival on Saturday night. “Terrestrial TV, formats and quizzes and stuff like that… [is] very much on its way out, certainly in the last five years. Even if I wanted to get back into it, there’s slightly not the foothold there.

“I’d love to make a comeback… in 10 years time, but I’m not sure there will be an industry to go back to.” In recent years, streaming services have boomed, crowding out daytime TV.

Osman, who as a producer also helped devise Pointless, left after 27 series last year to focus on writing following the success of his bestselling crime book, set in a retirement home in Kent. He said that locals “pitch him murders” that could happen there. “They say, ‘Now Richard, there is a concert hall further up the road with a very high balcony. If you pushed someone off it, they would die,’” Osman told interviewer Miles Jupp at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in the City. He is appreciative of their input: “Thank you Marjorie.”

Reeves finds Financial Times festival crowd rather taxing

Rachel Reeves at FTWeekend festival (FT handout)
Rachel Reeves at FTWeekend festival (FT handout)

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves had a hard time at the FTWeekend Festival on Saturday. In a panel about Labour’s plans, hack Robert Shrimsley joked that Reeves’s pledge not to bring in a wealth tax would win over the rich Financial Times reading audience. Then two hecklers with a “tax wealth now” started a protest.

Reeves’s stance on tax has earned some odd admirers — this weekend, a Right-wing US senator praised her as “Reagan-esque”. She got a hard time from the FT crowd. When Shrimsley asked why Labour had become pro-Brexit, the EU-loving audience burst into jeers. Reeves, left, countered that her Leeds constituents have a different view. She may want to check her facts: Leeds voted, narrowly, to Remain.

By the end, she’d zoned out. Asked to give the last word on unifying the country, Reeves said: “Sorry, I didn’t hear that.” Shrimsley blamed her G&T.

Final curtain and gown for Lily

Lily Allen Instagram (Lily Allen instagram)
Lily Allen Instagram (Lily Allen instagram)

Lily Allen said farewell to the West End stage on Saturday night, at least for now. The singer has been starring in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman this summer. It’s also the end of her nightly fashion shows. After each performance, Allen posed in very glamorous outfits, in contrast to the fake blood she has to wear in character.

Allen will go back to New York, where she lives with her actor husband David Harbour. She posted online: “Can anyone recommend anywhere that does home visit haircuts for kids in NY? Need back to school haircuts.” It’s that time of year…

Damian plays tunes with the kids

Sir Hubert Von Herkomer Arts Foundation (HVH Arts) Summer Exhibition
Sir Hubert Von Herkomer Arts Foundation (HVH Arts) Summer Exhibition "Create Every Day" (Dave Benett)

Actor turned singer Damian Lewis busked with the kids in Bloomsbury yesterday. He played with the Hubert Von Herkomer Arts Foundation for their summer exhibition. His late wife Helen McCrory was a patron of the charity. Lewis told us recently he isn’t sure if he’s a thesp or a singer these days.

Pub quiz gets starry

 (Alamy Stock Photo)
(Alamy Stock Photo)

The pub quiz at the Barley Mow in Marylebone is so popular it has a waiting list. Why? Each week an A-lister hosts a round via a recorded video: the first was Dame Judi Dench. In which other London boozers might you find a celeb doing a picture round? The Cat & Mutton in Hackney has a good quiz, and Keira Knightley is sometimes seen there. The Beckhams frequent The Cow in Notting Hill.