Comedian Rob Beckett: 'There'll be no mention of Brexit or politics in my new stand-up tour'

Rob Beckett has landed his first proper quiz show gig in the form of BBC Ones brand-new daytime offering, Head Hunters. Photo: PA Photo/BBC/Tuesday's Child/Mark Mainz
Rob Beckett has landed his first proper quiz show gig in the form of BBC Ones brand-new daytime offering, Head Hunters. Photo: PA Photo/BBC/Tuesday's Child/Mark Mainz

He's earned his stripes on panel shows, reality series and through stand-up and as he embarks on a huge tour, with dates in Yorkshire, comedian Rob Beckett adds quiz show host to his remit. He tells Gemma Dunn all there is to know about his latest gig, Head Hunters.

Rob Beckett is mulling over his specialist subject. The comedian - who hosted a fair few pub quizzes back in the day - has landed his first proper quiz show gig in the form of BBC One’s brand-new daytime offering, Head Hunters. And he’s willing to pledge his bets if a certain confectionery brand makes the cut.

Beckett is also embarking on a new stand-up tour, with dates in Yorkshire. Photo: PA Photo/BBC/Tuesday's Child/Mark Mainz

Beckett is also embarking on a new stand-up tour, with dates in Yorkshire. Photo: PA Photo/BBC/Tuesday's Child/Mark Mainz

“[My subjects] would be football, boxing or the Kinder brand,” muses the Celebs Go Dating narrator, who will appear in Yorkshire later this month. “I’m a big Kinder eater... Buenos, the little hippos, I’m all over that.

“It’s very niche but if that comes up, who else you gonna have with the talent to answer it? No-one. Bobby Beckett is going to step up to the plate and hit the home run."

Mark Radcliffe - on his battle with cancer, John Lennon and his radio career
Head Hunters will see three contestants, each picked from a pool of 20 quizzers, vie to win the rolling jackpot at the end of each show, by answering a question correctly from nine different categories (think anything from fashion to the Tudors) in just 90 seconds.

Once the topics are revealed, the Head Hunter has the decision to either go it alone or think two, three or four heads are better than one. If it’s the latter, they can recruit quizzers from the talent pool by bidding for their services in cash.

"It’s a bit like Dragon’s Den,” quips Beckett, 33. “Because there’s a bit of negotiation and bidding, which is really good because it riles [the contestants] up - and then I stir the pot!”

“But it’s just a really good, fun quiz,” he follows. “It feels so familiar, so it doesn’t take long to get to know what’s going on, but you’re also watching something that’s a bit different.”

He has not turned his back on stand up though. He’s also just embarked on a huge tour, with dates in York and Hull later this month. “It’s my favourite thing to do,” he says. “I started off doing stand-up and it’s something I will always do, no matter what.

Gentleman Jack writer Sally Wainwright to talk about career at Northern Ballet in Leeds
“They’ll have to wheel me on to stage when I’m about 90 in the old people’s home. I’m excited because I’ve got it together; I’ve put all the hard work in, and I’ve done all the graft.

“I couldn’t have worked any harder on this tour, I couldn’t have made it any better.”

Writing the show is the hardest bit he says. “But when you’re confident with it, there’s no better feeling in the world. “The only time you get a bit nervous is if you’re a bit tired, unwell, or if something has happened that you’ve got to put to the back of your mind.

“Ultimately, it’s what I love doing most and I’m excited, more than nervous, to show everyone what I’ve been doing.”

He draws his material from his real life experiences and “whatever funny stuff I’ve thought of”. “I just talk and when someone laughs I remember it and say it again, and it builds from there.

“For me, walking out on stage is the easiest part of the day because all I’ve got to do is make people laugh. I don’t have to worry about kids, a house, or all the boring stuff that drives you mad. I’ve only got to do one thing and it’s the thing that, luckily for me, I’m best at.”

Sheffield's Sean Bean compares BBC's new World On Fire war drama to a 'completely captivating novel'
There is one thing his new tour will be steering clear of though - and that’s politics. “I don’t mention politics or Brexit or Trump at all,” he says. “I’ve not got the answer - it would be a worry if I did - so there’s no point me wasting time trying to think of one.

“I’ll just be funny and distract you for half an hour or whatever, that’s my job. I’m a clown. A comedian shouldn’t have the answers, they should distract you.”

Head Hunters launches on BBC One on Monday, October 7. For details of Beckett’s Wallop! tour, visit www.robbeckettcomedy.com