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TV Quickfire: Tom Allen on new 'fantasy desert island' panel show The Island

Comedian Tom Allen's new series The Island is part panel show, part chat show. We found out more from the presenter himself...

The Island: Tom Allen

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP THE ISLAND?

I WOULD describe it as: we're on a fabulous cruise ship, it's run aground, but luckily we've spotted four islands in the distance that our passengers are going to go and live on. I've decided I'm the captain, because I'm bossy and I look good in epaulettes, and I've found four of my comedian friends on board and each of them are going to run one of the islands. And so the game is to see who can attract the most passengers to live there.

WHAT WAS THE APPEAL OF THE SHOW FOR YOU?

It's really exciting content because it's a new format, it feels very fresh, and I don't think there's another show quite like it. I also like the fact that there's a bit of improvisation. It's got elements of a chat show and a panel show, and at the same time, it's very cerebral, it's intelligent, it's getting people to create their own island. So it's the sort of thing that I imagine people at home would play along with, and go, 'Well, who would you have as your chief of police?' or 'What would you have as your island drink?'. So it felt like it was a really great thing to be part of.

YOU GET TO WORK WITH SOME GREAT COMEDIANS TOO…

I really love all the people I got to work with; it was really fun. The four comedians we had, and Kemah Bob and Jason Forbes who co-hosted with me, were all just lovely people to spend time with. They're people who I've really looked up to as comedians because they have such original voices, all of them, and such great perspectives on things. But they also all brought a different energy and a different tone – and because everybody's there for a whole series, you really get time with them, you get to know them. I think that's important.

IT MUST HAVE BEEN FUN TO LET YOUR IMAGINATIONS RUN WILD?

There was lots of talk about, 'What would be your house band on the island?'. You know, that's quite discursive, but at the same time, it's using that childhood imagination that so often we don't do. We were doing arts and crafts, and we had a bit of an Olympics as well, so just stuff that felt engaging with that primary school childishness.

Because of the cruise ship and the island, there's a sense of getting away to somewhere else, as well, which maybe people feel they want to do.

AND HOW WOULD 'TOM ALLEN ISLAND' LOOK?

Well, in my mind, it would be very formal. That's what I imagined. It'd be very civilised, very gracious, very serene, people being very polite to each other. It would be a bit like, I suppose, Mary Poppins. That's the sort of world I would try and create. But in truth, what would probably happen is I would be a bit lazy and/or a bit greedy and would probably try and eat all the bread and then people would get annoyed! Then there'd be riots and I'd probably be decapitated. But it'd be somewhere between those two.

IS THERE A DREAM JOB YOU'D LOVE TO TICK OFF?

I would like to do some sort of chat show or talk show or entertainment show. I grew up loving things like The Generation Game where people come on and do their best to play a game and have a laugh. That's my favourite thing: just people having a laugh together and getting through the day.

:: The Island, Wednesday March 23, Dave and UKTV Play.

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