TV star Rylan Clark-Neal has hit back at critics who accused his new game show Babushka of replacing The Chase.
In a statement entitled “RUMOURS” he set the record straight by pointing out that his upcoming ITV programme will fill in for Bradley Walsh’s popular quiz show while it takes its annual break.
The former X Factor contestant posted his comments on Instagram, shortly after quitting Twitter because of the torrent of homophobic abuse he had received over Babushka’s scheduling.
“Babushka is NOT replacing the chase,” he wrote.
“The chase is having its usual month off, like it does every year.”
He also responded to further criticism about the title of the show, which will see contestants delve through sets of giant Russian nesting dolls for the chance to win cash prizes.
He wrote that creators know the correct term for the traditional toys is “Matryoshka” dolls, but said that “babushka dolls” is the more common name – adding that he is also “common”.
Rylan previously told Loose Women: “I was getting tweets saying ‘I can’t believe The Chase has been axed for you, Bradley Walsh is amazing, Rylan you’re this’, and then I’ve had people going ‘I can’t believe you’re the new presenter of The Chase’.
— Loose Women (@loosewomen) April 28, 2017
“It’s a new Chinese whispers that got completely out of control and ultimately I’ve come off Twitter purely because of that.
“I’ve come off Twitter because the show is not about me, it’s not about me in the slightest, I’m just the host and I’m going to let the show go on air and people can make their mind up and then I will go back on Twitter because then the show speaks for itself.”
He said he expected fans of The Chase to be disappointed by the show’s break, but added: “What I am annoyed about and, I will say it, is I’m annoyed at the online media.
“What they have done with their headlines is say ‘Rylan’s axed The Chase to pave way for Babushka’.”
Babushka begins on Monday at 5pm on ITV.