Deal Richard Osman’s House of Games Night

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Friday: Richard Osman’s House of Games Night; (BBC One, 8.30pm)

Does Richard Osman ever sleep?

The towering TV presenter is rarely off our screens these days. And when he is, he can usually be found on the radio instead.

Not bad going for a man who never set out to become famous. Instead, when he began his media career, he planned to stay firmly behind the scenes, an approach he stuck to for quite a long time.

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Ed Gamble, Dara O'Briain, Richard Osman, Sindhu Vee and Sian GibsonEd Gamble, Dara O'Briain, Richard Osman, Sindhu Vee and Sian Gibson
Ed Gamble, Dara O'Briain, Richard Osman, Sindhu Vee and Sian Gibson

He got his first broadcasting experience as a DJ on BBC Radio Sussex, and witnessed the trials and tribulations of fame when his older brother, bass player Mat, became a major rock star following the success of his band Suede.

After attending university (where, among his peers, was a certain Alexander Armstrong), Osman became an executive producer on various game shows, including Deal or No Deal and 8 Out of 10 Cats. He also created the short-lived ITV programme Prize Island, was the script editor for the BBC’s Total Wipeout and wrote and created Channel 4 sitcom Boyz Unlimited with Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

But it was Pointless that thrust him into the mainstream spotlight. He pitched the idea to the BBC, then played the ‘assistant’ during a demonstration; his quick-thinking and surefire with landed him the role on a permanent basis.

Since then he’s enjoyed numerous other successes, but last December announced that he would be stepping down from his role at production company Endemol. In a statement released on Twitter, he said: “I’ve worked at Endemol since I was 29, but it’s time for me to move on. Will still be doing Pointless/House of Games and working with brilliant people there. But also looking forward to creating new shows with new people. It’s been a wonderful 20 years, and I will miss it very much.”

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Perhaps that’s why Osman has been busier than ever – maybe launching new projects takes his mind off his former role. A few weeks ago he began presenting light-hearted quiz The Birthday Cake Game on Radio 4, while his second crime novel, The Man Who Died Twice, was released on September 16; the first, The Thursday Murder Club, was a massive success, with the film rights snapped up by none other than Steven Spielberg’s production company.

He’s also still featuring on episodes of Pointless, and now Osman is also returning with a second six-part run of House of Games Night.

“We’ve got some great celebrity guests lined up,” he says, “and on top of our regular games we’ve also got a few new surprises in store.”

Taking part are comedians Ed Gamble, Sian Gibson, Dara O’Briain and Sindhu Vee, who will be putting their general knowledge to the test via a variety of weird and wonderful games.

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Among the surprises mentioned by Osman is the new House of Games band, led by Irish funnyman David O’Doherty, which is probably worth tuning in for alone. And if you’re an Osman fan but don’t fancy this series, don’t worry – he’s sure to be back soon with something else to tickle your fancy.

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