Big Star’s Little Star sees Catchphrase host Stephen Mulhern invite three celebrities and their children to play for a possible prize of £15,000 for a charity of their choice. But what do they have to do to win such money?
Well, after we as viewers have mastered the Stars in Their Eyes-style guessing game as to who the eponymous ‘big stars’ are, they must go through three Mr & Mrs-style rounds, in which the adult is asked a question – more often than not about their child’s opinion on them – and their answer must match that of their ‘little star’, and which will invariably cause them embarrassment. Whichever parent and child team has the most points at the end of the three rounds progresses to the final, where they have an allotted time to play a game of pairs, with the pictures representing an aspect of their lives – be it a family member, hobby or something related to their job. For each pair they match correctly, they win £1,000. As they already have £5,000 guaranteed, they must match all ten pairs in order to win the £15,000 jackpot.
It’s slightly similar to Ronnie Corbett’s quiz show, Small Talk – except in Big Star’s Little Star the parents are present and they stand a chance of winning £15,000 for charity, instead of theatre tickets for themselves…
The big stars in this opening episode were: EastEnders actress Nina Wadia and her son, Aidan; Two Pints actor Will Mellor and his daughter, Renee; and pop star Jamelia and her daughter, Tiani. The kids were brilliantly cute and the adults were perfectly game, and a lovely sense of camaraderie developed between Nina, Will and Jamelia as they sat cringing due to the embarrassing truths that their darling offspring were revealing to the nation, and they all laughed along and look at each other as if to say, ‘We’re all in the same boat here.’
Of course, the whole point of making this show was to see celebrities embarrassed and have secrets revealed about them which they wish had been kept between the four walls of home, and in that respect, Big Star’s Little Star triumphed. Over the course of an hour we learned that Nina Wadia tells her son that she’s 24, Prince William once held Will Mellor back in ‘a scuffle’ (actually I was just surprised to hear that he even knew Will’s name – clearly a Broadchurch fan) and that Jamelia relaxes on the toilet – but doesn’t do ‘a number two’. I think there are a lot of critics who would argue with that, having seen her on I Love My Country.
The only criticism I really have of Big Star’s Little Star is that it sometimes needed a bit of a kick up the backside – it was often quite slow in pace, and was a bit more fun when the kids were on- screen, rather than cooped up in the toy-filled VIP lounge. However, I know that the show would have felt a hell of a lot slower without Stephen Mulhern, who brought along his quick wit and slick presenting techniques from Catchphrase and More Talent and provided many fantastic moments throughout. Having worked with kids on CITV and Britain’s Got More Talent, he was perfect to host this show but also created more than a few risqué moments, too – but none so risqué that it prevented Big Star’s Little Star from firmly fitting the ‘family entertainment’ bill. I’m sure that, just like the little stars in the studio, most kids watching wouldn’t have understood why the thought of Zainab from EastEnders tying up her husband was so funny…
I thought Big Star’s Little Star was great family entertainment, and probably even good enough to be given a Saturday night slot. I’m sure it’d be more popular than Stepping Out. For now, though, it’s sitting quite comfortably on Wednesday night, and I for one think it’s nice that ITV have a bit of light and shade in their schedules, as Whitechapel followed immediately after. I think a lot of young viewers will have been sent to bed at 9:00pm sharp.
Images courtesy of ITV and Nicky Johnson, ©ITV
Big Star’s Little Star is on Wednesdays at 8:00pm on ITV
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