Romesh Ranganathan: I'll be doing 'The Weakest Link' my way

Romesh Ranganathan is the host of The Weakest Link (BBC/Alan Peebles)
Romesh Ranganathan is the host of The Weakest Link (BBC/Alan Peebles)

It was renowned as the meanest game show of its era with a host so harsh she became a Doctor Who villain.

But now The Weakest Link is back for an all new generation with a much friendlier face. Presenter Romesh Ranganathan hopes so anyway.

He brings it back this weekend for a Strictly Come Dancing themed celebrity special to prepare for the big ballroom final later that evening, followed by a Christmas special later in the festive season.

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A brilliantly competitive format pits a group of contestants not just against the quiz master, but each other – the more right questions they get as a group, the more money they can make. And at the end of each round, the collective must decide who is the most likely to curtail the money gathering, and give them the boot.

THE WEAKEST LINK -- Pictured: (foreground) Host Anne Robinson (background) unknown contestants -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
The Weakest Link host Anne Robinson (Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank)

Anne Robinson became a worldwide star as the curt-lipped presenter armed with insults and put downs, and was eventually represented in a special TV satire world Doctor Who found himself in, meeting the 'Anne Droid' armed with deadly blasters as well as a side of cheek.

She went from her BBC gig to host international versions of the show and her catchphrase 'You are the Weakest Link, goodbye' swiftly entered popular culture around the world. The reboot host Ranganathan is hoping for a different vibe.

He said: “I think Anne was great at it, she really was, and she is a big reason why the show was so massive but that was a long time ago.

“What she did was brilliant but tonally my version will be different, and I’ll be doing it my own way.

Romesh Ranganathan is the host of The Weakest Link (BBC/Alan Peebles)
Romesh Ranganathan is the host of The Weakest Link (BBC/Alan Peebles)

“When Anne hosted it was very much her flavour to it, but if someone answers something ridiculously, or is clearly The Weakest Link, I am definitely going to point that out and have fun with that, but I will do it in my own style.

“I’ll be bringing a comic element to it in terms of how I interact with the contestants, going through the scripts and adding comedy to that. It’s just me hosting the show, I am a comedian by nature so that is what I am going to be bringing to it.”

The comedian, best know for hit entertainment shows including Rob & Romesh Vs… and The Ranganation, was delighted to make his quiz debut.

Read more: Injured AJ Odudu withdraws from Strictly Come Dancing final

He admitted: “It is the first time I’ve presented a quiz show, and if I am being absolutely honest it was never on my list of things I thought I was going to be doing.

Romesh Ranganathan is the host of The Weakest Link (BBC/Alan Peebles)
Romesh Ranganathan is the host of The Weakest Link (BBC/Alan Peebles)

“But then when The Weakest Link came up and I looked at it, I thought it is a great format and you can have fun with it, so it felt like if I was going to do one, this would be the one to do.

“So it’s a bit of a blessing and a curse, on the one hand it is a really loved format, but on the other hand I’m slightly bricking it because people do really love it!

"You can write the negative reviews in your head ‘It turns out The Weakest Link is… Romesh Ranganathan!’ or something like that, it terrifies me, I can just see it, I like to catastrophise.”

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 04/12/2021 - Programme Name: The Weakest Link - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: The Weakest Link host, Romesh Ranganathan - (C) BBC Studios - Photographer: Alan Peebles
The Weakest Link host, Romesh Ranganathan - (BBC Studios - Alan Peebles)

He loved the special Strictly theme, and commented: “The first episode is a Strictly Come Dancing special, so we have dancers and contestants so people like Clara Amfo, Dr Ranj, Ore Oduba. Anton and Janette are there! We have real mix of people, and it is a proper Strictly themed special.

“All I can say is the beginning of the episode they outperformed everyone including their own expectations of how they were going to do. I would say there was panic in the gallery, they were doing so well.”

Romesh added: “Everybody that works on this show is a fan of the original Weakest Link and the format, and the actual structure of the quiz is amazing, so if you like that, you’re going to love our version of The Weakest Link.

“We all love the format, and it has rewarded us with some really big moments, so if you are a fan of dramatic quizzes with a lot of fun, I guarantee you will not be disappointed by watching this series.”

The Weakest Link Strictly special will air at 6.10pm, Saturday, December 18, on BBC One, and the Christmas special is 6.30pm, Thursday, 23 December, on BBC One.

Watch: Anne Robinson delighted to see The Weakest Link return