Friday, 20 October 2017

A Very Royal Wedding

Alexander Armstrong will present A Very Royal Wedding, a feature-length documentary to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Queen's marriage to Prince Philip in November 1947.

Xander will discover how a battered post-war Britain pulled off the wedding of the century against the odds. Contributors include Joan Collins and Sheila Hancock, sharing their memories of the wedding, as well as revealing insights from those who were part of the big day, such as page boy Prince Michael of Kent.

This was “the people’s wedding” and Xander will meet the ordinary people who made this such a special occasion, including one of the seamstresses responsible for the spectacular wedding dress.

He will also see up close recreations of The Queen’s exquisite 3-carat diamond engagement ring, her beautiful wedding bouquet and her show-stopping 9ft high, 500lb wedding cake.
The film features stunning colour archive of the wedding as well as The Queen’s private home movie footage of the day.  

A Very Royal Wedding will air on Monday 30th October, at 9pm on ITV.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Soaps Pointless Celebrities, 28th October

A group of stars from the world of soaps take part in Pointless Celebrities, on Saturday 28th October at 5.45pm.

Former Coronation Street co-stars Kevin Kennedy (Curly Watts) and Amanda Barrie (Alma Barlow) join forces, while `Barry from EastEnders' Shaun Williamson teams up with ex-Crossroads actor Paul Henry (Benny Hawkins). Emmerdale's Chris Bisson (Jai Sharma) partners former village resident Adele Silva (Kelly Windsor), and Hollyoaks' Gemma Merna (Carmel McQueen) reunites with her on-screen mother Nicole Barber-Lane (Myra McQueen).

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Imitation Game picked up for series

ITV have ordered a series of The Imitation Game, a fast-moving comedy panel show based on impressions. Team captains are Rory Bremner and  Debra Stephenson, and guests will include Rob Brydon, John Thomson, Steve Coogan, and up-and-coming impressionists.

The information I've seen doesn't reveal the host's name, but the pilot was hosted by Alexander Armstrong. I was at that pilot, and he did his usual immaculate job at the helm, as well as contributing an excellent Louis Armstrong to the final sung round. The only reason I can think he wouldn't be doing the series is if he wasn't available. I hope that's not the case, and he does host. If so, ticket details in due course.

EDIT: I've now seen confirmation that Xander will be hosting. Hooray! The seven 45 minute episodes will be filmed and broadcast in 2018.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Famous Voices Pointless Celebrities, 21st October

Pointless Celebrities on 21st October at 5.45pm features stars best known for their voices.

Brenda Longman, the voice of Sooty's panda friend Soo, teams up with Doctor Who's K-9 John Leeson, while veteran game-show announcer Peter Dickson joins forces with Siri's British male voice Jon Briggs. Hollywood trailer narrator Redd Pepper partners seasoned Big Brother commentator Marcus Bentley, and The Archers' Felicity Finch throws her lot in with co-star Emerald O'Hanrahan.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

National Television Awards

Pointless and Alexander Armstrong are nominated for the National Television Awards: please give them your support!

Xander is nominated for Best Presenter, as is Richard Osman; The Real Full Monty, presented by Xander, is in the Factual Entertainment section; Pointless Celebrities in the Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award category; and Pointless is nominated as best Daytime Show. There are many other worthy nominees, but please consider giving Xander and Pointless your vote.

All votes must be in by 11pm on Friday 27th October.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Family Pointless Celebrities, 14th October

Family Pointless Celebrities is on Saturday 14th September, at 6pm.

The contestants include father-and-daughter actors Robert Lindsay and Sydney Stevenson, singing brothers Merrill and Jay Osmond, married comedians Richard Herring and Catie Wilkins, and Richard Blackwood and Sophie Mayers.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

TV Times Awards

Pointless has been nominated for Favourite Quiz in the TV Times Awards!

Please give it your vote. Warning: you have to vote in every category or your submission will be rejected.

Monday, 2 October 2017

A third series for Hey Duggee? DUGGEE HUG!

BBC Worldwide and CBeebies have announced the commission of a third series of the BAFTA and International Emmy® award-winning pre-school animation Hey Duggee.

 Devised by the OSCAR nominated and BAFTA award-winning Studio AKA, S3 will see Duggee and The Squirrel Club return for 52 brand-new episodes, narrated by Alexander Armstrong, to entertain and light-up the imaginations of little learners across the globe.

Hey Duggee S3 is expected to transmit on CBeebies in autumn 2018 and will roll-out to other global markets following its UK transmission. Further new episodes of S2 are anticipated to air on CBeebies this autumn as well, including a Halloween Special, with more new episodes set to hit UK screens in spring 2018.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Arts & Culture Pointless Celebrities, 7th October

On Saturday 7th October at 5.45pm, figures from the world of Arts and Culture take part in an episode of Pointless Celebrities.

Music journalist Paul Morley joins forces with Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale, BBC arts presenter Katie Derham teams up with her editor Will Gompertz, art historian Tim Marlow forms a duo with journalist and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter, and songwriter Richard Stilgoe partners with actress and writer Meera Syal.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Sarah Jane Adventures revisited

The first series of Doctor Who spin-off Sarah Jane Adventures, featuring investigative journalist and old-time companion Sarah-Jane Smith (played by the late Elisabeth Sladen), began on 24th September 2007, following a one-off special on New Year's Day of that year.

The show ran for five series, during which Sarah Jane and her gang battled aliens and saved the world. As well as a group of teenagers, Alexander Armstrong was on hand as the voice of alien supercomputer Mr Smith.

CBBC will be marking the show's anniversary by showing three episodes from the first series on Sunday. 24th September from 2.10pm. Please don't dismiss SJA as a kids' show if you haven't seen it before: it's genuinely exciting.

Have I Got News For You

Alexander Armstrong will present Have I Got News For You for a record 30th time, on Friday 6th October at 9pm on BBC1.

Team captains are Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, as ever, and the guest panellists are James O'Brien and Roisin Conaty.

Sports Pointless Celebrities, 30th September

Pointless Celebrities on Saturday 30th September at 6pm is a Sports special.

Taking part are boxers Callum Smith and Anthony Crolla, athletes Kelly Sotherton and Ashia Hansen, snooker players Neil Robertson and Ken Doherty, and sports journalists Vicky Gomersall and Charlotte Jackson.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Writers Pointless Celebrities, 23rd September

Pointless Celebrities on Saturday 23rd September at 5.35pm is a Writers special.

Liz Pichon teams up with Pam Ayres, Quentin Letts joins forces with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Jill Mansell partners Jimmy McGovern and Mark Watson allies with Owen Jones.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Pointless tickets are now available

Free tickets for Pointless recordings are now available.

Recordings start on Monday 9th October, and tickets are currently available till Thursday 16th November. Recordings are at TV Centre in White City, London.

You can apply for free tickets here.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Experts Pointless Celebrities, 16th September

A group of experts take part in a repeated Pointless Celebrities on Saturday 16th September, at 6.10pm.

The House That £100K Built presenter Kieran Long teams up with fellow architecture specialist Piers Taylor, while Homes Under the Hammer host Martin Roberts joins forces with Selling Houses' Amanda Lamb. Fifth Gear duo Vicki Butler-Henderson and Tiff Needell combine their wits, and weather forecasters John Hammond and Laura Tobin also compete.

Monday, 4 September 2017

BBC orders 204 more episodes of Pointless

The BBC has commissioned a further 204 episodes of Pointless, which will take it up to its 10th anniversary in 2019. The order comes as a fresh run of new episodes begins on BBC1.

Xander said:
I cannot tell you how much I adore hosting Pointless and I’m thrilled that the BBC commissioned us to produce over 200 more episodes. I cannot wait to meet a whole host of Pointless contenders and of course, be reunited with Richard who I’ve genuinely missed. But don’t tell him that.
The new shows, 165 daytime programmes and 39 Pointless Celebrities specials, will be filmed at  the newly reopened BBC TV Centre in White City. Free tickets for the recordings will be available in due course.

Alexander Armstrong on tour

Following the release of his third solo album at the end of November, Alexander Armstrong will be touring in 2018.

The dates are as follows, with tickets going on general sale on 15th September.

21 May Birmingham 22 May Sheffield
23 May Gateshead 25 May Glasgow
26 May Manchester 27 May Liverpool
29 May Nottingham 30 May Southend-on-Sea
31 May London 2 June Cambridge
3 June Brighton 4 June Cardiff
6 June Bristol 7 June Bournemouth
8 June Oxford 11 June Northampton

In A Winter Light

Alexander Armstrong has announced details of his third solo and first Christmas album, In A Winter Light.

Xander said:
Christmas music is so important to us, it’s such a central part of how we embrace the festive season, I kind of need Christmas music – you don’t just listen to it, you kind of live through it and build your Christmases on it.

What do you think Christmas would be like without any music? I mean I daresay you could possibly still find some joy in an old mince pie or something, but just imagine if you took away all the music. There’d be no carols, no Bing, no more boys of the NYPD choir, no more “it’s Chriiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaas”, now that really would be a bleak midwinter. The truth is we haven’t got time to hang about in December so we use our favourite Christmas music to take us straight to where we want to be: right at the happy heart of every Christmas we’ve loved. 

The track listing of the album, to be released on 24th November, is:

1. Angels in a Winter Light (Prologue - instrumental)
2. White Winter Hymnal
3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
4. This Glorious Morrow (feat. The Choir of New College, Oxford)
5. Let it Snow (feat. trebles of The Choir of New College, Oxford)
6. I Still Believe in Christmas
7. O Holy Night (feat. trebles of The Choir of New College, Oxford)
8. Little Girl Blue (feat. Jools Holland)
9. Girl in the Dark (instrumental interlude)
10. Silent Night (feat. The Squadronaires)
11. There is no Rose
12. Winter Wonderland (feat. The Squadronaires)
13. In the Bleak Midwinter
14. Bethlehem Down
15. A Spotless Rose (feat. The Choir of New College, Oxford)
16. Angels in a Winter Light (Epilogue - instrumental)

Having spent years performing in choirs, Xander’s beloved musical heritage is on full, glorious display on In A Winter Light, recorded with the City of Prague Orchestra, abetted by the Choir of New College, Oxford, the RAF Squadronaires big band and Jools Holland. It can be pre-ordered from Xander's website.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Boisdale Music Awards

Nominations for the 2017 Boisdale Music Awards have been announced; Alexander Armstrong has been nominated as Best Male Singer.


The ceremony, hosted by Jools Holland, will take place on Wednesday September 13th at Boisdale of Canary Wharf. Other nominees include blues legend and veteran broadcaster Paul Jones (lifetime achievement award) Ginger Baker (Best Jazz Instrumentalist) Rebecca Ferguson (Best Jazz Singer) Imelda May (Best Female Singer), and Mike Batt (Outstanding Contribution to British Music).

Congratulations, Xander!

Reality TV Pointless Celebrities

Pointless Celebrities on Saturday 9th September, at 6.10pm, is a Reality TV special.

The duos competing are former Apprentice contestants Ruth Badger and Solomon Akhtar, I'm A Celebrity 2014 survivors Carl Fogarty and Jimmy Bullard, Big Brother's first-ever winner Craig Phillips and series seven housemate Nikki Grahame, and Made in Chelsea stars Jamie Laing and Alex Mytton.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Classic FM's Ultimate Chart

This year the radio station Classic FM is 25 years old. As part of their celebrations, they have published their Ultimate Chart of the 300 best-selling classical albums since 1992.

A Year Of Songs, Alexander Armstrong's debut solo album, reached number 57 in the chart. This is particularly impressive given that it was only released in 2015, and was up against albums released many years if not decades ago. Congratulations, Xander!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Full Works

Alexander Armstrong regularly presents shows on Classic FM at the weekend. In week beginning 11th September, he will additionally be at the helm of three shows in The Full Works strand, nightly at 8pm.

  • On Monday 11th September the theme is Autumn in the Air, with composers including Vaughan Williams,  Elgar and Holst. 
  • Tuesday the 12th has the theme of Alexander's A-Listers, and features Richard Strauss,  Beethoven, and Mozart.
  • And finally Wednesday 13th's show, themed around Durham, is centred on Jon Lord's epic Durham Concerto Also included is contemporary choral composer Will Todd.
Classic FM is on digital, on 100-102FM, or you can listen online.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Comedy Pointless Celebrities, 2nd September

There's a repeated Comedy special of Pointless Celebrities on 2nd September, at 7pm.

The teams are Simon Day and Paul Chowdhry, Emily Atack and Ian Lavender, Kerry Godliman and Graeme Garden, and Steve Pemberton and Bob Mortimer.

Happy birthday to you

So, 2009. Did anything interesting happen?
  • Matt Smith was named as the new Doctor in Doctor Who, taking over from David Tennant
  • Captain Chesley Sullenberger crash-landed his airliner in the Hudson River after birds disabled the engines. All passengers and crew survived
  • Peter Andre and Katie Price separated
  • There was an epidemic of swine flu
  • The funniest joke of this year's Edinburgh Fringe, as voted by viewers of TV channel Dave. came from comedian Dan Antopolski: "Hedgehogs. Why can't they just share the hedge?" 
Oh... and a TV quiz, name of Pointless, was broadcast. for the first time.

Today, 24th August 2017, is the eighth anniversary of that first show's broadcast, in a quiet little BBC2 daytime backwater. More than 1200 editions later, it's one of BBC1's top shows, complete with celebrity specials shown in prime time Saturday night slots.

And with another long recording block about to start, it looks like Pointless will be with us for a long time yet. Roll on the next anniversary!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Series 2 of Danger Mouse? Crumbs, DM!

Series 2 of the rebooted Danger Mouse (starring the voices of Alexander Armstrong as Danger Mouse himself, and Kevin Eldon as Penfold) will start on Monday 4th September, at 6pm on CBBC.

In the first episode, Colonel K goes on holiday, leaving DM in charge of the secret service and allowing Baron Greenback to strike chaos across the planet. How will Colonel D save the day this time?

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

It must be autumn...

Season of mists, mellow fruitfulness... and new Pointless shows!

Series 17 continues from Monday 4th September at the usual time of 5.15pm. With another couple of hundred about to be recorded, we've plenty more to come!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Health & Fitness Pointless Celebrities

On Saturday 26th August at 7.20pm, BBC1 has a repeated Health & Fitness edition of Pointless Celebrities.

The contestants are 1980s TV fitness instructor Lizzie Webb and This Morning's resident doctor Chris Steele, Dancing on Ice judge Robin Cousins and former contestant Rosemary Conley, Welsh sprinter Iwan Thomas and former Olympic athlete Katharine Merry, and Embarrassing Bodies consultants Dr Dawn Harper and Dr Pixie McKenna.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Danger Mouse: From Duck Till Dawn

Danger Mouse: From Duck Till Dawn, starring Alexander Armstrong as Danger Mouse and Kevin Eldon as Penfold, is the latest Danger Mouse DVD to be released.

The DVD, to be released on Monday 18th September, will contain 8 spooky Hallowe'en episodes of the hit show, including the reappearance of Count Duckula. Crikey, DM!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Peter and the Wolf, and other animals

The release date for Alexander Armstrong's album of animal-themed classical pieces for children with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has now been confirmed.

Xander said:
It’s very exciting to be moving onto a narration project after having done quite a lot of narration in my role as an actor and as presenter. But also using my experience as a solo singer; I’ve had a musical side and an acting side, and I see them both as using the same sort of discipline. A sort of musicality is involved in narration, it seems like a very logical thing for me to be doing.
 To be released on Friday September 29th, the album will include Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Ogden Nash's poems for Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals, and Rawsthorne's Practical Cats. It can be ordered at Amazon or all usual sources, or downloaded on iTunes. Alternatively you can listen to it on Spotify.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Formula One Pointless Celebrities

There's a repeated Formula One Pointless Celebrities, on Saturday 19th August at 7.20pm.

The competitors are retired F1 racer David Coulthard and Australian motorsports star Mark Webber, former driver Allan McNish and Williams F1 deputy team principal Claire Williams, veteran commentator Murray Walker and ex-champion Nigel Mansell, and Red Bull Principal Christian Horner and ex-MotoGP presenter Suzi Perry. 

There are only a few sporting questions, so to make them feel at home Xander challenges Nigel Mansell to a Scalextric race – with Murray Walker commentating. 

Friday, 4 August 2017

Test Match Pointless Celebrities, 12th August

Pointless Celebrities on 12th August at 5.40pm is a repeated Test Match special.

Taking part are Graeme Swann and Alison Mitchell, Michael Vaughan and Phil Tufnell, Melinda Farrell and Jonathan Agnew, and Ebony Rainford-Brent and Henry Blofeld.

Also featured is this exceptional cricket tea.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Business Pointless Celebrities, 6th August

There's a repeated Business special of Pointless Celebrities on Sunday 6th August at 4.15pm.

Four Rooms duo Peter Ratcliffe and Jeff Salmon take on Ann Summers Chief Executive Jacqueline Gold and Dragons' Den investor Richard Farleigh, The Apprentice winner Tim Campbell and former rival Saira Khan, and lingerie entrepreneur Michelle Mone and former BBC business correspondent Declan Curry.

History Pointless Celebrities, 5th August

Saturday 5th August at 5.25pm sees a repeated History special of Pointless Celebrities.

Taking part are Kate Williams and Adam Hart-Davis, Janina Ramirez and Andrew Graham-Dixon, Ben Willbond and Laurence Rickard, and Lars Tharp and Tim Wonnacott

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Teach My Pet To Do That starts soon!

Teach My Pet To Do That is an entertaining, informative and charming new show presented by Alexander Armstrong, that celebrates the hidden intellectual talents of the nation's pets.

In the first episode of Teach My Pet To Do That, on Friday 11th August at 8pm on ITV1, animal lover, comedian and presenter Xander opens the doors of his multispecies pet training school, to welcome Eric the dog and miniature horse Aslan to see if trainers Jo-Rosie Haffenden and Nando Brown can train them to answer a door to the cue of a doorbell.
The star pet is Ziggy the skateboarding dog, and the trainers attempt to train River the cat to not only ride Moss the dog, but also to be the star attraction at the opening of a doggy daycare center.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Sports Pointless Celebrities, 29th July

Pointless Celebrities on 29th July, at 7pm, is a repeated Sports special.

Taking part are Willie Thorne and Tony Jacklin, Andy Fordham and Deta Hedman, Tessa Sanderson and Derek Redmond, and Nick Easter and Martin Offiah.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Alexander Armstrong takes his family to Corfu

A pool, a boat and some lard: the Pointless host discovers the secret of family harmony on Corfu

From The Times, 16 July 2017

Short of popping off to Switzerland for an old-skool rock-star blood transfusion, is there any more rejuvenating feeling than arriving on a holiday that you can see from the outset is going to be a corker? Seriously, give me one flash of a twinkly blue sea from a terrace, chuck in a whiff of cypress and the languid slap and gurgle of a swimming pool, and I feel the yip, pep and general how-d’ye-do of an 18-year-old taking over my system once more after these many years.

This was only my second trip to the Greek islands — the first was to Zakynthos for a friend’s wedding six years ago — and on both occasions I had this reviving sense on arrival of the dirt falling from my fingernails and the animals at the end of my mental reins transforming from a couple of old farting dogs to a pair of whinnying Arab stallions. Put it down to some ancient magic of the islands, the mad blueness of the sea or just the sheer ruddy pinkness of the rosé. But for its restorative effect, I don’t think you can beat it.

Corfu in itself is exciting. It sets out its stall pretty unequivocally: Cor! Foo! You might as well call a place Crikeywow or Shitblimey. And, on the whole, I’d say it lives up to the billing.
We took the bold step of booking a villa up in the pretty northeast of the island. You really want to be certain of having found the right place when it’s going to be just you and your immediate family there for the whole holiday.

Ours was right on the coast, just round the point from Kassiopi, so we made the decision to do (almost) all our travelling by boat and eschew the rental car. (How many days of your life have been idled away queuing to pick up a car YOU HAVE ALREADY BOOKED AND PAID FOR while a man in a tight suit stares at a screen and taps out The Ketchup Song on the counter with the keys to a Picasso?) Well, I can tell you, it was the best holiday-transport decision we have ever taken.

Island roads dutifully curl and saunter around every bay, inlet and mountain pass in these parts. We, on the other hand, bombed up the east coast in a straight line from a jetty near the airport. It probably still took 45 minutes, but who cared? We were in a huge pointy grey inflatable that made me think I was in The Night Manager, and which delivered us invigorated and salt-dried onto a tiny little bobbing jetty just below our villa’s gate.

We are a family of six, two adults and four fighting boys (10, 8, 7 and 2), and we’ve struggled to come to terms with the sheer numbers involved in being on manoeuvre — not just the headcount, but the automatic costs of flights, taxis, hotels, etc. Renting a villa normally ends up being the most economical way of doing it. In fact, for the past three holidays, we’ve ganged up with other friends who have children and shared, which makes the villa option an even more alluring prospect financially. And there’s an undoubted smugness that you get from feeling all independent, swinging your basket off to the market on Day 2 like you’ve been there for ever, and making salads in your own kitchen with basil from the garden and courgette flowers and... LARD?

Ah yes, that’s a thing about Greece: the language and script make absolutely no sense to anyone who isn’t actually Greek. None of your Romance languages will help you out here. Happily, on Corfu nearly everyone speaks English, so here’s a tip for husbands going off on “helpful” shopping trips: just ask someone if it definitely is feta cheese.

The northeast of Corfu is pleasingly light on concrete and development, which means the coast has that lovely familiar look of pretty much any Mediterranean coastline. Less steep than the Amalfi, I suppose, less nocturnal than Ibiza, but it’s full of drama nonetheless: crags and bays and cypress trees and terracotta rooftops. If you’re lucky enough to get there in May or June, then it’s also thrillingly green and bursting with wild flowers. Anemones, irises, honeysuckle and acanthus were all jockeying for position by the roadsides, and the air — particularly in the evenings — was thick with wild herbs and jasmine.

Our boat would be dropped off at the bobbing jetty each morning we needed it and picked up again in the evening, so no nagging worries about it drifting off to Albania in the night. It was a) not cripplingly expensive (€50 for the day) and b) wonderfully easy.

I suppose my lesson in how to drive the thing was as thorough as it needed to be: I was shown the ignition, forwards and reverse, and seven seconds later was handed command of the vessel. After making our way gingerly around the point, I soon got the hang of it and opened it up a bit. Cor! Foo! It was fun. We spent two deliriously happy days tearing around, grinning like idiots, waving to people in other boats and generally enjoying the total freedom of the water.

On the first day, we chugged down past the pretty harbour of Kassiopi and explored all the little bays and beaches, many of which are part of a nature reserve and nearly all of which we had to ourselves, as they are inaccessible by land.

On the second day, we went up north, to Kalamaki beach and beyond. The great beauty of being afloat is that you can drop anchor anywhere you like and hurl yourself into the clear blue water whenever the fancy takes you. It’s worth pointing out that the beaches of Corfu (certainly in the northeast) are pebbly rather than sandy, so if you’re planning on going ashore, it’s a good idea to have some decent rubbery shoes that you don’t mind swimming in.

For lunch, we headed down to Agni — one of the grander inlets of the northeast coast and (glamorously) the scene of the infamous tête-à-tête between Peter Mandelson and George Osborne in that brief Corfu hoopla of a few years ago. Here, there are three stonking restaurants side by side, and a handsome wooded backdrop that is only a couple of nymphs and shepherds shy of being an Old Master.

The man at the end of the Taverna Agni jetty seemed the keenest to help with our mooring, so they got our custom and there we ate ambrosial grilled fish, which I dare say hadn’t been out of the sea much longer than we had.

We came back from our boating days weathered, salty, tired and happy. I’m struggling to think of a better day out. For a moment, the children even stopped fighting, swapped cigarettes in no man’s land and showed each other photographs of their loved ones. These were glorious days.

On our last evening, we took our only journey by road up into the mountains to check out Old Perithia, an ancient village someone had recommended, to see if we could find some supper there. Old Perithia, it turns out, is almost completely uninhabited (ah yes, that’ll be the “old” bit), being a cluster of charming dilapidated houses, farms, a schoolhouse and a church — all now roofless and overgrown — strung out along a steep, winding flagstone path. This would be a glorious restoration job for someone with deep enough pockets. (I had to stop myself half closing my eyes and imposing vulgar Armstrong Villas onto the noble bones of practically every tumbledown in the place.) But Perithia was heavenly and the mountains were cool and lush — the winding path that took us for about a mile and looped back onto the main track to make a satisfying circuit was blooming with willowherb, buttercups and daisies. It might have been a walk in Donegal rather than by the Ionian Sea, but what a magical finale to the holiday. And, best of all, the few inhabited buildings included an excellent taverna with a huge terrace, so we supped on hearty rustic stew among the vines before wiggling our way back down to the sea.

I suspect early June sees Corfu at its best — the temperatures are in the high 20s by day, then cool by night, and the island is in full spring fig — but the charm of the place is surely year-round.
The one thing I would mention — and this is a good thing or a bad thing, depending entirely on how far from home you like to feel when on holiday — is that about 98% of the people we came across on Corfu were British. British, I hasten to add, of the most affable sort. On our evening walks into Kassiopi, we made all kinds of friends. But that, I suggest, is another reason why a villa is quite a good idea. You can get the best of both worlds — venture out to enjoy the bustle, then retreat to enjoy the quiet, magnificent Greekness of it all. And some lard.

Alexander Armstong and family were guests of Scott Williams, which has 40 villas on Corfu. They stayed at Castro, which sleeps up to 10; a week starts at £8,000, including boat transfers and the services of a concierge, a chef and a maid (01749 812721, Airlines flying to Corfu include British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Thomson Airways.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Pointless Celebrities, 22nd July

There's a repeated unthemed edition of Pointless Celebrities on Saturday 22nd July at 6.35pm.

The teams are singer-turned-author Louise Wener and wildlife presenter Kate Humble, veteran Olympian Mary Peters and ice dance star Jayne Torvill, comedian Tony Hawks and broadcaster Henry Kelly and comedy duo Hale and Pace.

Writers Pointless Celebrities, 23rd July

There's a repeated Writers edition of Pointless Celebrities on Sunday 23rd July at 5.45pm.

Taking part are Germaine Greer abd Kathy Lette, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid, Mark Watson and Ian McMillan, and Freya North and Tony Parson.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Be on Pointless!

Applications are now open for the new series of Pointless, to be recorded between October and May. Click here for your chance at one of these coveted items.

Once you've completed your application form, if you're very lucky, a researcher will telephone you for an initial chat. Some people are invited for audition as a result of their chat, and a very few actually get onto the show.  Thousands apply...but if you don't have a go, you definitely won't get on!

Start the application process here.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Soaps Pointless Celebrities, 15th July

There's another repeated Pointless Celebrities at 6.45pm on Saturday 15th July, this time a Soaps special.

Former EastEnders Joe Swash (Micky Miller) and John Altman (Nick Cotton) join forces, veteran Hollyoaks actor Nick Pickard (Tony Hutchinson) teams up with old co-star Ali Bastian (Becca Dean), Waterloo Road secretary Victoria Bush (Sonya Donnegan) partners former student Zaraah Abrahams (Michaela White) and Holby City nurse Tina Hobley (Chrissie Williams) reunites with her on-screen mother Sharon Maughan (Tricia Williams).

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Food & Drink Pointless Celebrities, 8th July

There's an oasis in Wimbledon's Pointless-free desert on 8th July at 6.45pm, with a repeat of a Food & Drink edition of Pointless Celebrities.

Ed Baines and Paul Rankin team up to battle fellow chefs Tony Singh and Cyrus Todiwala, Jean-Christophe Novelli joins forces with TV cook Jo Pratt and former Great British Bake Off finalist Richard Burr works together with 2013 finalist Frances Quinn.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Pointless shortlisted for TV Choice Awards

Pointless has been shortlisted in the Daytime category of the TV Choice Awards. Please give them your support: if you've voted previously this year, that was to get them onto the shortlist - now they need your help to win!

The 2017 TV Choice Awards take place on Monday September 4 at The Dorchester in London, and will be hosted by Richard Osman.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Animals, Cats, Peter, and the Wolf

Alexander Armstrong has been recording an album with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, in which he narrates several pieces of classical music.

Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf tells a children's story while the orchestra illustrates it. A young boy, Peter, and his friends, the farmyard animals, capture a big grey wolf that comes out of the forest.

Carnival of the Animals, by Saint-Saëns, is a humorous musical suite of 14 movements, each representing a different animal or animals. In 1949, Ogden Nash wrote a set of humorous verses to accompany each movement.

20th Century British composer Alan Rawsthorne wrote orchestral pieces to accompany poems from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the same poems that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. This composition has only been recorded once before, in the 1950s.

The album comes out in the autumn, and Xander will be taking part in a live performance of the pieces in Liverpool.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Family Pointless Celebrities, 1st July

Pointless Celebrities on 1st July at 5.45pm is a repeat of the Family special.

It features Louis Theroux with his wife Nancy Strang, Michael Underwood and his wife Angellica Bell, Calum Best and his mum Angie, and Gary Lineker with his son Harry.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


As is the norm, Pointless goes on hiatus for the two weeks of Wimbledon, from Monday 3rd July. It will (I assume) return on Monday the 17th. In the meantime, if you have withdrawal symptoms, just about every Pointless episode ever is on YouTube, and it'll still be on Challenge every evening at 7pm, so fill your boots!