Life

Strictly 'the best known laxative in showbiz' says Buy It Now's Brian Conley

Brian Conley fronts Channel 4's new consumer show Buy It Now, which gives inventors the chance to sell their products. The presenter chats to Georgia Humphreys

Brian Conley presents new Channel 4 show Buy It Now, which starts today

WHAT APPEALED TO YOU ABOUT BUY IT NOW?

I love the fact that we don't know what the product is, how much it means to that person, and how much they've sacrificed to get to that point... sold their house and maybe left their wife – we had a few of them. And you think, 'What is this thing that he's got that's going to change the world?' And then suddenly you see it, and then, of course, you hopefully get a few people that genuinely want to buy it.

THE SHOW SEES INVENTORS PITCH THEIR PRODUCTS TO POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS AND RETAILERS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?

We've got a cross-section of the audience – our shoppers – so the retailers can see how popular the product is. We have the price reveal which could change everything. So, it's like a game where there's lots of questions leading to the big payoff – or little payoff. They only need one [audience member to buy the product] to get through to the retailers, and will the retailers buy it, will they not? We've given away huge amounts of money.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE WATCHING THE INVENTORS' PITCHES?

No matter what happens, they get their 90 seconds where, even it all goes wrong, we still film it – and it did go wrong. There was quite a few where [the product] broke, it went wrong, it wouldn't work... I like to feel that I'm supportive, that's all. My job was to make sure that they were relaxed.

WERE THERE PRODUCTS YOU WERE TEMPTED TO BUY?

There were many things that I thought, 'Isn't that brilliant?' and, 'How wonderful no-one's thought of that?' Blow up booster seat – when you're in the cinema, and you just get a blow up booster seat out for your child, and it just folds up in your bag. I was amazed by how incredible these people are to think of these things.

YOU GET TO CHAT TO THE AUDIENCE A LOT – DO YOU ENJOY THAT?

Yeah, because it's ad-libbing – I love the fact we don't know what's happening next. That kept it all fresh for me. And, all of the inventors are different, that's what I love. But, all of them were extremely anxious and wanted to do well. They were more anxious than anyone on The X Factor.

YOU'RE ON TOUR AT THE MOMENT. HOW IS THAT?

I love making people laugh. I think it's a wonderful honour, and a wonderful art form. I am celebrating 45 years doing it professionally – so, I think it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. And I have enjoyed every aspect of it. I've actually been in more musicals than Michael Ball, and I've done so many varied things.

YOU STARRED IN THE LAST SERIES OF STRICTLY. ARE YOU STILL DANCING?

God, no. I always thought I was a better dancer than I actually was. In a musical, you have three months to learn something. You only have four and a half days [to learn a dance on Strictly] because you have to do so many other things. It all becomes very hectic and it's really nerve-wracking – it's the best known laxative in showbusiness!

WOULD YOU SAY STRICTLY IS THE MOST CHALLENGING THING YOU'VE EVER DONE?

Yes, because of the turnaround. And, knowing that everyone's going to watch it, it just took over your life, because when you got up you'd be looking at videos, and dancing in your bathroom... But, what an experience.

:: Watch Buy It Now on weekdays on Channel 4 from today.

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