Tonight's TV highlight: Anneka Rice is reigniting her beloved series Challenge Anneka
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, heartwarming reality series Challenge Anneka stirred up emotions in households up and down the country as it aired on BBC One.
Some 30 years later, Anneka Rice is returning to her role of altruistic helper, returning to tackle challenges that are bigger than ever as the series is reprised on Channel 5.
Backed by an army of volunteers, this reboot will see Rice, 64, undertake some incredible tasks to help local communities. Building a home for abandoned dogs in Kent, constructing a "memory village" for people with dementia in the Wirral, creating a huge food hub, kitchen and cafe for those in need in Stockton - these projects are mind-blowing in scale, and the team have just three days to complete each one.
We catch up with Rice to find out more about her return to Challenge Anneka.
WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT FROM THE NEW SERIES? WILL IT REMIND THEM OF THE 90s ORIGINAL?
I've had discussions over the last few years with TV companies who have been interested in bringing Challenge back, but the most attractive thing about Channel 5's vision was that they wanted it exactly as it was.
Apart from satnav in the buggy, and our wonderful production team being able to access people online rather than sifting through Yellow Pages, viewers will find it weirdly similar.
People still use paintbrushes and you still have to wait for plaster to dry. No-one has yet found a replacement for a human sorting out a waste pipe.
At the end of the day, it's a programme about communities and volunteers. The programme shines a spotlight on the disenfranchised and harnesses the power of television as a force for good.
This was always my vision when I devised the format.
FOR THOSE THAT ARE NEW TO THE SHOW, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW IT ALL STARTED?
I started my career on a BBC training course aged 17, and spent two years working for the World Service. It was there that I realised that I was a small cog in a huge global wheel and it made me want to get out into that world.
I ended up as a newsreader aged 21 when the regular was taken ill and I offered to stand in. While I was there, refugees from Vietnam were arriving in small boats after treacherous journeys.
I reported on them nightly.
I ended up working at one of the huge refugee camps and it made me realise how being useful was a great thing. It stopped me feeling lonely and out of my depth.
As AA Milne wrote about Piglet: "Piglet was so excited at the idea of being Useful that he forgot to be frightened any more."
I thought of this when I was devising the format for Challenge.
Basically, humans are hardwired to be altruistic and we love being part of a community. It makes us look outwards and makes life a little less overwhelming.
WAS THE COMMUNITY SPIRIT JUST AS AMAZING AS IT WAS IN THE 90s?
Communities did come together in just the same way.
One of my sons came to watch a challenge going on, as he was too young for the original 90s series. He was gobsmacked at the scale of it all.
It really does feel like being on another planet, with huge arc lights, catering trucks.
But I'd no sooner said hello to him than he was set to work finding painters and decorators. It really is all hands to the deck.
WHICH OF THE ORIGINAL DETAILS ARE COMING BACK? THE BUGGY, TRUCK, DAVE THE SOUNDMAN?
Everything is as it should be!
This time, the truck opens out to form a giant production office. It's like the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
We've had dog photo shoots in there, children painting a mural. It's big enough for everyone and anything.
I decided to upcycle some of my old outfits as I have a wardrobe full of Lycra. So zips, stripes, flashes went on.
The trouble is we ended up filming in the winter so all hopes of looking glamorous flew out of the window. Most of the time I look like a Teletubby, layer upon layer of thermals!
THE ORIGINAL SERIES WAS ALWAYS AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER. CAN WE EXPECT MORE OF THESE HEARTFELT MOMENTS, AND DID ANY IN PARTICULAR STAND OUT TO YOU?
Who knew that when we renovated a soup kitchen in the early 90s, we would be building a food hub in 2022? We wouldn't have even known what that was.
Or in 2022, kids would have nowhere to go after school, with the demise of youth clubs and playing fields, and we would be helping teenagers with mental health issues?
Or who knew we'd be openly discussing a huge dementia problem that we have in the country today?
I was hugely touched by the dementia project. I work for Alzheimer's Research UK and also over the years have befriended elderly ladies through my local Age UK, so I know how loneliness and illness can impact a person's health and their families.
Our project with Age UK in the Wirral was to build an entire memory village, with everything from a pub, record shop, bakers, cinema, you name it. It was ridiculously over-ambitious and we didn't finish in time, but obviously in Challenge tradition we stayed on.
HOW HAPPY WERE YOU WHEN IT WAS COMPLETED?
I'm thrilled with this project. The Dutch have a brilliant attitude to the elderly and dementia and this village mimics what they have been doing for years. It means that people with little memory or capacity can wander around safely, go into shops, where they will find care staff to help them unlock memories.
There was one lady for whom Elvis was the only person she could remember, and to see her happily sitting in the record shop clutching an album of Elvis cracked my heart wide open.
We had a singsong in the new pub at the end, and although the dementia gang didn't know their names or what they were doing there, they suddenly burst into word-and-pitch-perfect renditions of Danny Boy and My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. It was astounding.
At that moment the rain eased and a rainbow arched over the village. It was pretty mind-blowing.
Challenge Anneka starts on Channel 5 at 8.50pm tonight.