Interview With Danny Dyer – Presenter of Scared of the Dark: Airs Tonight (April 16) on Channel 4


(Danny Dyer Pictured Above in the Middle)


Channel 4

How did you get involved with Scared Of The Dark?
Well, they came to me and asked me if I was interested in hosting a brand new reality show, and I was like, "Okay." And they said, "Basically we're going to lock eight celebrities in the pitch black for eight days." And I was like, "Fucking sign me up, it sounds amazing!” It depended on the celebrities for me as well, I wanted it to be interesting people. One of my heroes of all time is Paul Gascoigne, and so as soon as I heard his name I was like, "This is amazing." Being the host of it is beautiful, because I get them in and then I just watch it all unfold. I think that it's really simple, and there's just something really funny about watching people walking around in the dark banging their shins on things. It's really simple and bloody funny. And of course the brilliant fucking twist is, Chris McCausland, who is a blind comedian, is also in there, and the way that pans out with a man that in everyday life has to depend on a lot of people in the light. But in the dark, of course he's the hero of the piece. So clever, and a really good mix of celebrities. And it's a very emotional show, I'll tell you.

What did you think when you saw the line up?

Well, I was just surprised at some of them that were doing it. And I was like, "How have you got that person? What is their desire to go sit in the dark and be filmed?" So, I was very, very intrigued. I mean, one of my first questions is, "Why are you doing this?" Like, "What the fuck? What's the matter with you?" And most of them responded with, "It's a job”, which it is. Some people did want to test themselves. Other people it'd be great to raise their profile slightly. But I was fascinated by it.

You’re a big football fan, had you met Paul Gascoigne before this?

Yeah, I've met him a couple of times at a couple of football matches, he's always been a fan of mine, like I'm a fan of his. He did an interview once and he said that if they do a film, that he'd want me to play him, which I had to tell him that there's no way in the fucking world I'm going to do the Geordie accent, you know? But I was very touched and quite honoured, actually, that he would want me to play him. I'm 45 now, so I don't know if I'd play a younger Paul. But the fact I was even in his thoughts humbles me.

How would you describe his journey on the show?

Well, he thought I was going in there. And so, one of the reasons why he signed up is I said I'm doing it. He didn't know I was the host. So, when he walked into the bunker and I was standing there in the light, he goes, "Ah, it's going to be fine." And I went, "No, I'm not doing it." He goes, "What?" I was like, "No, no, no, I'm just going to put you in. I'm the host!” And he was like, "Ah, fucking hell, I don't know if I want to do it now." And I said, "Well, you can always walk out." And he said, "Yeah, but I've already paid the agent!” I said, "Well, you're fucked then, ain't you?!” And then when the lights go down, it goes dark, oh my god, it really hits them. now. Some more than others, but it really hit Paul. You think he's not going to last a half hour, but let me tell you something now, and I won't give too much away, he's got an amazing journey in there.

What was it like having two boxers in there, Nicola and Chris? Did they bring a competitive element?

Well, he's the ‘Sheriff of Chivalry’, I believe, whatever the fuck that is! They’re very different people, Nicola Adams is a very, very, very sweet woman. You’d think they'd bond, but they don't. They don't really gravitate towards each other. And so, Chris does struggle. And again, he's brilliant in telly, you need him to bring his madness and he doesn't like swearing. And the others, including the host, swear like a fucking trooper.

Do you think we will see a different side to Chris Eubank?

Well, he said some interesting stuff about how he's more fearful of stuff that happens in the light. And I'll back him on that, because that's where there are some very shady things going on and there's a lot of people out there that, especially in our industry, that can be quite scary, and it's very cutthroat and ruthless. So, he makes a good point, actually, it's scary actually in the light at the moment, maybe it won't be so bad in the dark. And then again, I won't give it away, but the journey that man goes on is an emotional one.

What would you say is the funniest moment that you saw from inside the bunker?

I went early, it was the first task! We take five things out of their bag. Toothbrush, socks, really important stuff, deodorant, shoes, and then after just we put them in the room, they've got to find them in two minutes. If they don't find them, they don't have them for the duration of their stay. So, you can imagine eight days without brushing your teeth. But it's their first moment of the dark, so they're really confused. Some of them, especially Paul, he's desperate to get these digestive biscuits. He couldn't give a fuck about brushing his teeth, he just wants his biscuits! But the way it unfolds and the desperation of seeing people in the dark and just bumping into shit, is so funny. But it pans out even funnier as it goes on, because you would think they get more used to it, they don't. If anything, they get worse at it. Other than Chris McCausland, who is a hero in the show. He gets all five of his things, of course he does. He uses the clapping technique, so he can clap and find out with the echo if there's anything solid. It's fucking brilliant. And that for me is when you're being part of something special.

Did he come into his own in the bunker?

He did. But he loved it. And I think that he's not used to being the leader, because he isn’t relied on in the same way in the outside world, but in the bunker for finding things or how to get to the toilet, you have to explain stuff to them of where this is and where's that - he did it all and it's really touching, and he's loved in there so much. And he is really emotional and worried about leaving and going back to knowing that no one's going to rely on him anymore. That's really touching, and of course, the reward they get is time in the light, that's not really a reward for him, you know what I mean? The switching between being the helper and needing to be helped, it really did choke me up. It really did.

Did being in the dark play tricks on the celebrities?

Yeah, their minds were definitely playing tricks on all of them - imagining they could see stuff in the dark ! And so, the comfort was in that they weren't the only ones. It's weird when you're watching them though, because their eyes are so wide, because they're open, and they blink a lot, but their eyes are really dilated. But they're clearly trying to search for people, but they can't find them. And yeah, you do see them sitting there staring. But, to be fair, the bunker is freaking them out and doing shit to them all the time, and making noises, and hanging stuff from the ceiling that touches their head. So, that kept them fucking busy with their brain, they never let them relax too much. And sometimes there was people in there to place stuff. So, they would've seen little movements and shadows. But come on, eight days in the dark, it’ll drive you fucking insane!

What can you reveal about the challenges?

Oh, wow, there's some amazing things because what they tend to do is, because they're in the dark, they don't quite know what they're doing. So in one they pick them up and take them up on a hoist, they think they're really high up and they're not. So they've got to walk across a beam that they're told is 10 meters high, when actually it's only two foot off the ground. It's really interesting what it does to people, the idea that they're 10 meters off the ground walking across a beam and they've got to get to the end of it with horns being blown in their face and things being dropped out of the sky. So there's some really, really clever things what they do. And also, with the eating, the first meal, they cube everything. So all the meat's cubed, the potatoes are cubed, the vegetables are cubed, so they really don't know what they're eating, they cannot work out any of it because of the texture and the shape of it. And it's really funny to watch it unfold.

Who would you say was the most competitive during the challenges?

Chloe Burrows. Nicola as well, I suppose. I think they all wanted time in the light, so they were all very competitive at the beginning. But again, that's really interesting how that pans out, because there's a little bit of competitive shit going on in there, actually. I won't say who, but there's a couple of people that start to get pretty fucked off that they can't do these games in the dark, and there's a couple of little tensions going on, which again, is hilarious. Donna screamed a hell of a lot. You’ll see the trailer for this show and be like, "What the fuck are they doing to these poor bastards?" And she had a catch phrase in there which is, "That's unacceptable." She's very lovable, Donna. I loved them all, really, but I really, really wish her all the best in the future. I think she's a very talented woman and I think that she comes

across really fucking well, actually. Because she's very honest and open and emotional. And you just want to give her a cuddle half the time.

Those that won time in the light, how did they use it?

Well, they wouldn't have a choice. So, they would have a salon in there so you could do your hair and then a little bit of a gym maybe with a little running machine and some dumbbells. Or they will have 10 puppies in there. So, you go in and there's little dogs running around that you can cuddle. And they were really quite adventurous with what they gave them to do in the light. And they just wanted to be in the light, and they also gave them food and sweets. Because to not see what you're eating for eight days, it is exhausting. So, to actually see what you're picking up and putting in your mouth is a treat. You know? Towards the end, because some of them just can't win a challenge, so they start playing for other people, to get other people time in the light because they wanted to give everyone a shot of it, you know? Because some of them were just better than others at winning games in the dark.

Did you get a chance to go in the bunker?

Yeah, it was awful! It was absolutely awful, and I just couldn't work anything out, you know? It's great, because I do go in there a couple of times but I get special goggles. So they give you these infrared goggles that you wear to go so I can go in there and just freak them out a couple of times, you know? Which is very funny. But, yeah, when you take them off, it's just incredible. It's so, so dark. And you can imagine the washing situation as well, when they're trying to wash and all that. It was quite pungent towards the end!

Why would you recommend that this is a series people should watch?

Because I think that it's never been done before, it's a world first, and that's always interesting. I think that people are making a lot of reality TV and they're trying to find a new concept. I mean, I'm a Celebrity and things like that have done so well, and I think it's done so well because you're seeing privileged celebrities doing things, making them do stuff that they fucking hate, which is always good telly. I think that when you put them in the dark and just watch them just trying to walk around, it's fucking hilarious, honestly! I think it's just that interesting stuff with the psychology of it and what it does to people. And it's very raw, and it's really emotional, and it's very real, you know, because there's no mask you can put on in the dark. We wear masks for different situations and for different groups of people and for different aspects of our life. We all do it, it's just part of being a human being, but in there, there's no need for a mask. You're completely reliant on your voice, and your personality, and your soul, really. And when you chuck a few souls in the dark together, it's absolutely riveting, and I mean that. I'm not even just saying it because I'm a part of it. When I watched it, I just thought it was such good, interesting, different telly, and it's on every night over a week, but I promise you, at the end of every episode, you cannot wait for the next one.

Does it feel liberating for you to be able to take on different projects, from hosting shows like this to all your different acting projects?

Well, I think my bread and butter is an actor, but I also think it's nice to have a couple of other strings to your bow. You don't know if you’ve got those strings to your bow unless you find yourself in the deep end. So, it started really with me, back in the day I did the documentaries on hooligans and stuff, which I didn't enjoy. I'm not going to lie. It wasn't a bit of me. I'm not a journalist. I did it for the money, it got me a house. But I got a theory that if you do a lot of stuff like that and all you're relying on is your personality, you give a lot away as an actor, because your toolbox is you. And it's your charisma and all the stuff that makes you interesting as a human being. So, if you can, and a lot of actors are good at this, not give away anything. And that means not doing a lot of press, really. Certainly not exposing yourself to too much stuff that's reality style, then people think you're a better actor. And that's the truth, because they don't know you. I'd give everything away, as a human being, I've done so much of this stuff. And so therefore when I'm acting, if it was, "Oh, he just plays himself," all that sort of stuff, there's an element of truth to that, but that's an art. So, I think that me doing the other stuff, like doing game shows and all that, I grew to love it, actually. And I think that I am quite honoured to be asked to do that, the presenting side of things as well. This is a new one for me, really presenting a show in this fashion. I don't think I've done anything like this before. But ultimately I love acting, and you can never learn enough. And I'm always trying to better myself and try and look for roles that are going to stretch me and try and improve me. And I love it, I'm obsessed with it, I'm always acting. I hate the fame side of it, I'm not going to lie, but I certainly understand it's part of my life now and I have to get on with it and try and be responsible with it. But ultimately, I love the job so much. I love the fact that it's so different and so exciting. And you meet so many different kinds of people, and love expressing yourself in a way that. I’m quite a sensitive soul, naturally. Which is a good trait to have if you're an actor. I think at the moment, I've got about five things coming out at the same time, and one of them being acting, one of them being a travel show, one of them being this. I do have a documentary coming out, called 21st Century Man, which is about toxic masculinity and of course it'll be quite controversial stuff, but I hope I've made a good film that gets people talking about what men are going through at the moment. It's going to be an interesting time for me coming up, you know?


TX: Stripped across FIVE nights from Sunday 16 – Thursday 20 April at 9pm on Channel 4 / 5 x 1 hour episodes.

Source Channel 4

April 16, 2023 5:00am ET by Pressparty  

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