Gameshow Host Richard Osman

150 150 Rob McGibbon

subject photo

Published: 25 October 2014

Gameshow host Richard Osman:


"The sadness day of my life? When my father told me he was leaving home. I remember every second in complete detail"


We ask a celebrity a set of devilishly probing questions and only accept THE definitive answer. This week it’s Pointless co-host Richard Osman.

The prized possession you value above all others... My grandad Tom Wright’s six Second World War medals. He was a very special person in my life – he helped bring me up after my parents divorced.

The biggest regret you wish you could amend... Wasting ten years from the age of 17 being shy. I thought I was different because I’m tall [6ft 7in] and have nystagmus [a condition that makes his eyes flicker]. You learn later that everyone has things they’re embarrassed about.

The temptation you wish you could resist... Salt and vinegar crisps. I’d happily have them as my main meal.

The book that holds an everlasting resonance... The Catcher In The Rye, which I read when I was 20. It was moving and funny.

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Man for a day... I’d go into bankers’ offices, find their passwords and transfer a day of their wages to charity, particularly Child’s i Foundation, which finds families for orphaned children in Uganda.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity... It sounds geeky but I love snooker. I’m encyclopaedic about it and go to watch the World Championships. I love how these guys have such mental strength.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise... When people get angry if you disagree with them. Can’t we just agree to disagree?

The film you can watch time and time again... Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. It’s funny, charming and intelligent.

The person who has influenced you most... Tim Hincks, president of the TV production company Endemol, where I’m his deputy. I did a six-month trial at his company 14 years ago and I’m still there. Tim and I just clicked. We still do.

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint... I’d love to sit in a pub in Dickensian London and just chat to the regulars.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child... Never judge people by what they say, but by what they do.

The song that means most to you... Suede’s Metal Mickey. My brother Mat is the bass guitarist and seeing them on Top Of The Pops in 1992 was monumental.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again... The cruciate ligament in my left knee. I damaged it playing football when I was 23 and it’s affected me ever since.

The unending quest that drives you on... To maintain happiness.

The poem that touches your soul... Wendy Cope’s Valentine is a very beautiful poem. If you want poems about love, Wendy’s the one.

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase... I wish the fact that I’m 6ft 7in was a misapprehension. People always comment on it and they mean well, but I’ve had it all day, every day, all my life.

The event that altered the course of your life and character... Being born with nystagmus has made me the person I am. I can’t see properly. The world to me is like driving in fog – not that I’m allowed to drive!

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it... I’d create my own airline tickets that automatically upgrade me to first class.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions... I’d have a lazy morning at home in west London, reading the papers with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich. Then I’d go for a walk at Chiswick House with my dog. I haven’t actually got a dog, but I’m dog-broody. After that I’d arrive in Dubai with the kids [a daughter, 16, and a son, 14. Richard is separated from their mother] and go to Wild Wadi Waterpark, which is a wonderful place. Later I’d walk along the Thames to Craven Cottage to watch my team Fulham play. I’d have a pie before the match and we’d win. After that I’d go to New York. It would be snowing and I’d go to an art house cinema to watch It’s A Wonderful Life. I’d end the day at home with friends drinking decent red wine and having a takeaway while we played games and had some laughs.

The happiest moment you will cherish forever... Watching Fulham beat Juventus 4-1 in a second-leg match in the Europa Cup in 2010, thereby winning 5-4 on aggregate.

The saddest time that shook your world... The day my dad told me he was leaving home when I was 10. I remember every single moment in complete detail. It was an awful, but I was brought up by a fantastic mother and grandparents and I’d like to say to any kid out there who is going through something similar, that it does get better. It will be OK in the end.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you... To get a tattoo, but recently my daughter said, ‘If you get a tattoo I’m going to take heroin.’ So this ambition may frustrate me a bit longer.

The philosophy that underpins your life... Try to be kind.

The order of service at your funeral... I want my coffin to come in to The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash. I’ll create a quiz for the congregation, pitting one side of the church against the other. I’d like my ashes scattered in a garden of remembrance on the hills overlooking the sea at Brighton, which is where my grandparents are.

The way you want to be remembered... With love by my children and friends, and for them to remember I love them, too.

The Plug... The Very Pointless Quiz Book by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman is published by Coronet priced £14.99. It’s guaranteed to ruin your Christmas Day!