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The Totally Senseless Game Show

August 11, 2015

This will air tonight at 10.30, BBC Three. Presenter Martin Dougan explains more here:

Martin Dougan is a presenter who first appeared on our screens as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Games coverage and can currently be seen reporting for CBBC’s iconic news show, Newsround. Here, he chats about how he came to front the Totally Senseless Game Show, part of BBC Three’s Defying the Label season.

As a wee Martin, I would sit and watch all the crazy shows the 90’s had to offer like The Big Breakfast, Blind Date, Gladiator, Alive and Kicking; I could go on for ages.

They don’t make shows like that anymore and I miss them. The shiny floors, the cheesy music, and all the family together, chucking away at other peoples misfortunes. Especially when Blind Date was on: what happens when you put willing contestants in front of a live audience? I’ll tell you what you get: TV gold!

The Totally Senseless Gameshow was formed with all of those memories in mind, but it comes with a twist; get a couple of celebs and make them do things in front of people – seemingly nothing original about that idea because it happens all the time.

I have a condition called Cerebral Palsy, which means I use a wheelchair to get about. What better way to bring people into my world, than to let them experience it for themselves? I like to tease people so that’s all the information about the show I’m giving…

To say this project was challenging for me would be a huge understatement. I usually present a children’s news programme, so having my own 30 minute comedy show meant I was a completely out of my depth. I mean, I might be a funny guy, but do I know how to make things funny on TV? There is a difference, you know. To add to that how does a newsreader become a comedy host? Has that ever been done before?

On the very first day of this project, I quickly realised I must the luckiest man in the world because not only was I going to be the person doing this, but in my opinion, I was going to be working with some of the best comedy brains around. I really want to take all of the credit for this show, but I can’t – a good friend of mine, the TV producer Gina Lyons, deserves most of the applause.

I came up with a couple of crazy ideas and that lovely human made it all happen because she believed in the idea. She even managed to convince people that I should be the person in the driving seat, which was amazing because at the time I wasn’t so sure she was right. Gina ended up producing the pilot with Roughcut Productions. As soon as I walked into their office, I felt as though I’d known everyone for ages. They understood my humour and what this show was, arguably before I did.

Sometimes all you need is for someone to take a chance in you. There are TV presenters out there who’ve never had the chance to do something like this. I just hope people enjoy the show and I hope it gets people talking about disability in a positive way.

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