Stephen Merchant, start the fans please: The Crystal Maze announces its host


Comedian Stephen Merchant will be stepping up to start the fans for a charity celebrity version of cult gameshow The Crystal Maze.

The comedy writing partner of Ricky Gervais, famous for TV hits including The Office and Life's Too Short, has been confirmed as host of the one-off revival episode as part of Channel 4's fundraising evening Stand Up To Cancer.

He will take on the role Richard O'Brien and Edward Tudor-Pole were known for in the show's heyday, guiding a team of celebrities around the Aztec, Medieval, Futuristic and Industrial zones before sending them in to face the fans in the Crystal Dome.

It had been rumoured that Doctor Who star David Tennant would front the episode, but Stephen confirmed: "As a huge fan of the original series, I'm honoured to support Stand Up To Cancer by hosting this one-off edition of The Crystal Maze. Richard O'Brien and Ed Tudor-Pole leave big shoes to fill, but I have size 14 feet, so I'll do my best."

Celebrities lining up to face the Crystal Maze are yet to be announced, but they will be filming at The Crystal Maze Live Experience in London, a tourist attraction based on the programme that opened in March this year and was created by Little Lion Entertainment.

But rather than playing for a day out at a theme park or a replica crystal, the famous challengers will be hoping to win time in the Crystal Dome which will allow them to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer.

Richard O'Brien The Crystal Maze
Richard O'Brien was the show's best-known host (PA)

The Crystal Maze was cult viewing from 1990 to 1995, when it ran for six series of teams of contestants navigating four different challenge zones on their way to the final in the Crystal Dome.

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint fundraising effort between Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK which has taken over the broadcaster's schedule for one evening every year since it launched in 2012 and takes place this year on Friday October 21.

Channel 4's head of TV events Ed Harvard said: "We wanted something extra special for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign this year, so we're delighted that Crystal Maze will be returning for a celebrity one-off. And in Stephen Merchant we have the perfect host - he is our dream booking for this show."