Alex Brooker is set to be the new Hobby Man
Friday: Hobby Man - (C4, 8pm)
Channel 4 does like its ‘mans’.
Alan Carr was once known as its Chatty Man, while Richard Ayoade used to be Travel Man until Joe Lycett took over. Now there’s another to add to the list – Alex Brooker: Hobby Man.
The Last Leg presenter may be asking himself #isitok throughout the series, because it’s going to see him out of his comfort zone on lots of occasions – he’ll be tackling a heap of activities he’s never tried before, alongside some new celebrity friends, including chef and presenter Andi Oliver, comedian Joe Wilkinson and Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas.
The inspiration for the programme came during lockdown, when people across the nation took up new hobbies as a way to pass the time. Brooker admits, however, that he was not one of them.
“I’ve realised that I’m now in my late thirties and still only really like the same things as I did when I was 12 – basically football and Ghostbusters,” he laughs. “And while most people used lockdown to find new hobbies or carry on their existing ones, I mainly watched children’s TV to keep my kids happy so I’m delighted Channel 4 have made me their Hobby Man!
“It’s been amazing travelling around Britain with our brilliant guests and getting out of my comfort zone trying new hobbies. From learning to knit, making my own beer and getting panicked 3,000ft in the air in a glider – it’s been some experience! I hope the audience enjoy it as much as I have.”
The first edition pairs Brooker with reality show star Scarlett Moffatt. They head to Edinburgh, where they tackle three hobbies new to them both. First, they learn about chess at one of the oldest clubs in the world, before meeting members of the all-female group Beer Without Beards, who talk them through the pleasures of home brew ahead of the duo creating their own drink.
Then, last but not least, Brooker and Moffatt brace themselves for what they think will be a boring afternoon of birdwatching at Loch Leven, little realising they’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Clemency Green, commissioning editor for Features and Daytime at Channel 4, is thrilled with the show: “There are so many weird and wonderful things that us Brits do in our spare time, and we couldn’t wait to put the brilliant Alex Brooker through his paces. We’re delighted that he’s agreed to let us share in his undoubtedly unique quest to find a new hobby.”
Executive producer John Quinn agrees, and hopes that each episode will prove inspirational to viewers while also keeping them entertained: “It’s a win-win – watching Alex and his companion each week getting stuck into some of the huge range of new hobbies on offer was always going to be highly entertaining, funny and, no doubt occasionally, less than successful. But if people do like the look of what they see, there will be lots of practical information on how they can have a go themselves.”
Pens and paper at the ready, everyone…