SCARED OF THE DARK
TX: Stripped across FIVE nights from Sunday 16 – Thursday 20 April at 9pm on Channel 4
5 x 1 hour episodes
Hosted by the indomitable Danny Dyer, Scared of the Dark sees eight famous faces - Paul Gascoigne, Scarlett Moffatt, Chris Eubank, Chris McCausland, Donna Preston, Chloe Burrows, Max George and Nicola Adams - not just giving up the limelight, but light altogether.
In this world first, celebrities live, eat and sleep all in complete darkness. Can they endure the mounting psychological pressures of light deprivation, while also encountering their most primal fears in genuinely terrifying and faceless challenges?
If they fail, they lose their privileges, and life is made even harder. If they win, they get treats and time in the light. If at any time they feel too terrified and can't continue, they can stop the challenge or leave the show by saying 'I'M SCARED OF THE DARK’. For those strong enough to endure 180 hours in the dark, a peer-to-peer vote will determine the winner.
As the celebs endure the tasks, their every moment is watched over by clinical psychologist Dr T. He is on hand to explain the emerging relationships that form between the celebs and what is happening to them emotionally and physiologically; as individuals and collectively as a group. As time goes on, the celebs inevitably lower their guards, expect plenty of tears as they open up about their personal motivations for taking part in the show.
Scared of the Dark is produced by ITV Studios label, MultiStory Media, from an original idea by Possessed, and was commissioned for Channel 4 by Tom Beck, Head of Live Events with Phil Harris, Head of Entertainment and Events.
Executive Producers on the series are Glenn Hugill, Simone Haywood and Jon Cahn.
The series was commissioned from Channel 4’s Global Format Fund, the ringfenced spend designed to stimulate the creation of original new formats from UK-based indies for UK and International audiences. ITV Studios will handle global distribution.
INTERVIEWS WITH THE CAST
Danny Dyer – Presenter of Scared of the Dark
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?
Why have you said yes to Scared In The Dark?
To be honest, all of my career in this mad industry has been made up of fun and quirky opportunities. Whether it's going to Namibia, or doing I'm a Celeb, or watching the TV with my family, it's all been a little bit outside the box. So I think, whenever I get given an opportunity I just grab it with both hands, because I think, "Who else is ever going to get to do this?" Do you know what I mean? So I always just go, "Yeah, of course. Yeah."
Are you scared of the dark?
I'm not scared of the dark, well, I'm scared of what's in the dark. If that makes sense. So I'm not scared of night time. You know when you turn the light off in your bedroom, and then you run to your bed? I feel like I still do that. So I feel like I'm not scared of the dark, but I'm not a massive fan of it.
Do you have any other fears or phobias?
I don't really like clowns. But I feel like even if they were in the dark, I'd not be able to see them, so that's fine. I don't know if I'm going to be really good at the challenges or not because I can't see what's happening, or if that's going to be worse, it's going to have the other effect and my brain starts going, "But what if it's this? What if this is happening?" So I feel like I'm actually quite curious to see how I handle scenarios because I'd like to think I'm quite a strong person.
What's your biggest worry about this experiment?
Hopefully the people are lovely because it's quite a long time to be in that environment. I'm sat here, I've got my Nintendo, I've got my phone, I'm on a laptop. I'm a very electronics kind of girl. I think that's what I'm a bit apprehensive about, is everyone going to be nice? And am I going to be bored? Because my screen time on my phone is far too much, it is, I need to get off my phone a bit. The thing that I'm actually scared of is not having TikTok for a week!
How do you think you're going to cope?
The thing is, I don't know whether I'll just have the giggles all the time, because it is quite funny being in the dark, or you know when people are on fight or flight or whatever? I'm more of a just stand still and see what happens person. So I'm honestly really curious. I'm hoping that I last till the end. That's my main goal, is to actually see it all through. But I can't guarantee that, do you know what I mean? But hopefully I'll be all right.
Do you think it’ll impact your other senses?
Well, hopefully people can't smell more, because I doubt I'll be going in the shower a lot. I've bought a couple of tins of deodorant. And then I stupidly, cut all the tags out of my clothes, right? And then I was like, "Oh, no. I'm not going to know if I've got clothes on back to front”. I wear bright colours. I've brought leggings that are leopard print and I'm not even going to know what I'm wearing or anything. If ever we get a bit of light and I see what I'm wearing, think I'll be like, "Turn the lights back off."
What are you going to do about hair and makeup?
Well, I've brought dry shampoo. So hopefully, I'm using dry shampoo and not deodorant. I'll give it the old sniff test to double check. Do you know what I'd like to think? "Oh, I'll still put a bit of bronzer on and that." Even though it's in the dark,
you're still on telly and that. But It's going to be next to impossible to do anything. I’m very, very excited to just rough it. I'll definitely brush my teeth, but the shower scenario is a bit scary. I'm so clumsy. Do you know what I mean? I know my own house and my own bath and shower, and I still slip and slide. Maybe, I don't know, by day four, I'll give it a go or something. Basically, everybody will be able to smell me coming. They'll be like, "There she is."
Are you worried about mishaps, like getting in the wrong bed or touching something you shouldn’t?
Well, this is what I was thinking as well. I'm going to try and hopefully make friends with everyone. If we need to get from A to B, we just hold hands.
You could end up with somebody having a long conversation and everybody else has left the room…
Me, it's going to be me! Because I do, I chat all day long. And I know that people are just going to walk away from us, but it's fine.
What do you think you're going to bring to the group?
I think I'm good for morale. If there are proper physical challenges, I might let the team down there. But what I lack in talent, I make up for in charisma! So I'm going to just try my best, and be a cheerleader for everybody.
Do you think you'll get competitive in the challenges?
It depends who's in there, because I'm a bit competitive, but not too much. Do you know what I mean? I don't let it affect us if I don't win.
Are you up for pranking while you're in there?
Yeah. I'm not going to be annoying, but I do think it'll break up the day a bit. We could just scare each other all day long. I think it'll be fun. I think it'll be a laugh. Just make ghost noises from the corner, can you imagine?
What made you sign up to Scared Of The Dark?
Well, because there's nothing else like it, and I actually am terrified of the dark. I have the biggest fear of the dark probably known to man. I sleep with the main lights on. Even last night in the hotel, the TV kept going on standby and I kept waking up and I was like, “No!" I feel like I wanted to challenge myself and then see if I can actually do it. And I feel like eight days, it'll be fun, I don't think it'll be traumatising…
Where did your fear of the dark come from, do you know?
Yeah. I do, actually. I was in uni and have you ever seen The Conjuring? The one with the nun? I watched that and I don't know what it was, but something in me just
clicked and from then on I could never sleep in the dark. I think I've got a really overactive imagination. So, whenever I'm in the dark I just think something's there. You know you can see the outline of something, I’m like, "It's the boogie man." So yeah, I think it's because my imagination's ridiculous. But from that film, I've never been able to sleep in the dark.
Have you ever done anything to try and get yourself over that fear?
Why would I need to? I just sleep with a light on. Before this, I've never put myself in a situation where I could ever be scared of the dark.
Have you had any scary moments in the dark?
I remember I had to go in the garden to get something, and one of the boys at Christmas would sneak out into the dark and then come out and literally just scream, “Boo." I screamed so much, ran and fell over and I sliced open my leg, but I was crawling across the floor. At home I’ll always have the main light fully on because I'm so scared.
What’s your biggest concern going into this experiment?
I'm trying not to think about it because I don't want to scare myself! Obviously, I'm slightly apprehensive, but I've convinced myself that it's going to be funny. It's not me on my own in the forest with no one there. There is a production team there, other people doing it. So, I think that's taking the edge off a bit. Inside, I'm screaming!
Do you hope this experiment might cure you?
You know what? Yes and no. I think the way I put it in my head is, it's a TV show, it's safe, there's a production team. If you told me to go walk in a dark forest after the show, I don't know if I'd do it. What I'm hoping is I'll be able to sleep with my light off.
Have you done anything to prepare for this?
Two days ago I was in my flat and I turned off the light, turned them all off and I sprinted to my bedroom and I was like, "This is fine." My mum was telling me I should prepare, sit in the dark and stuff. But in the same way, I want to experience it fully and actually test myself. I don't want to go in getting rid of only half my phobia.
What impact do you think it might have on your other senses when you're in there?
I think my smell's damaged from COVID. So, maybe that will sort that out, who knows? But how am I going to cope? Well, there's other people. I feel like we're all in the same boat. I’m probably going to latch on to someone who's not scared. I actually was Googling last night what happens when you're in the dark and if your other senses do really kick in. But then, I'm wondering, if I can hear more, am I going to be thinking more in the dark? But like I said, I don't want to overthink it. I just want to go in there and deal with it when I get in the dark.
You're going to be filmed 24/7, are you worried that they'll show any of your bad habits?
I had two months of this on Love Island so I don't worry about the 24/7 cameras. Everything we do is natural, I don't have any bad habits. It'll be fine!
But what if you accidentally touched somebody's bum or other body parts?
Oh my God, now I'm embarrassed! Well, I'll just keep my hands to myself. They can't say, "You just touched my bum”, it was an accident! The bathroom thing I'm not fussed about. Even if someone walks in, what can they see? I mean, I really hope it's so dark they can't see. Do you know my biggest fear before this conversation? It was putting on a mismatching track suit. But now, it's like, "No, what if I poke someone's eye out? Or forget to put my top on or something?" I don't know. There are some things that can happen, but it'll be funny. None of that is going to make me feel all traumatised. It's just going to be funny. You have to be 100% and just embrace the madness. That's why I'm not preparing or thinking about it, because I feel like it'll be so much better if I just go in and deal with it when I'm in the dark.
How are you feeling about being in there with a group of strangers?
I’m excited. I like meeting new people, it's nice. I was a bit apprehensive, because obviously I've done it before, been in situations where I don't know anyone, but I always feel like there's something to break the ice. Obviously, being in the dark, that's going to break the ice, isn't it? We're all terrified. I mean, I hope we're all terrified. But, as you can probably tell, I could chat for days, so I'm not worried.
Is there anybody that you hope isn't in there?
No, there's no one on this earth. It's only eight days! It might be different because I will be dealing with being scared in the dark. So, maybe I'll be less patient, but it's eight days. I can't be mad at someone who talks all the time because that's me. But if someone snores, someone's messy, that would wind me up.
What do you think you're going to bring to the group?
Well, I'm probably going to be the one that does everyones head in because when I'm terrified, I talk. I can't shut up all the time. So, that'll be good. No, I feel like I'm quite easy going. I like to always find humour in situations and make people laugh. So, I feel like I'll be that. I'm not going to be sat quiet on my own, not wanting to talk to anyone because I'm stressed. I'm hoping I'll bring a bit of humour, a bit of Gen Z, even though I'm not Gen Z. The trendy, hip one, maybe get everyone on TikTok afterwards!
You're going to be doing tasks while you’re in there. How difficult do you think it's going to be in the dark?
I mean, I'm very competitive. I like to win by any means as well. If I can cheat, I'm going to cheat. I don't mind that! I want to win. I feel like, physically, I'll be fine, but my memory is so bad and people keep asking me, "How good's your memory?" Well, mine's trash. So, I'm slightly worried about that.
How will you entertain yourself and the others while you're in there?
I was thinking that's a big thing, because I do get bored quite easy. I think my attention span, especially over the past year, is very small. So, passing long periods of time in the dark will be hard. There's so many games you can play, you can play the alphabet country game, the alphabet actor game, alphabet actress game. Genuinely, I don't know. What I'm hoping for is that there's someone else who's slightly as erratic as me and we can just bounce off each other in the corner and go slightly mad!
Will you pull pranks and cause a bit of mischief?
Yeah. I was talking to my manager and I was like, "I'm going to go in there and pretend I'm someone else." Each day I could just take on a different accent or something. Or keep putting on this weird, deep voice every now and then, "Who is doing that? Who is doing that thing?" Or if I’m in a really boring conversation, I could just walk away and they wouldn't know. If it's so boring, I'm literally walking away or just sitting there in silence. I have every intention to go in there and pull pranks but I am scared of the dark, so people are going to be playing pranks on me. I've accepted that that's what's going to happen.
Are you going to bother getting glammed up while you’re in there?
I've been on TV with no makeup and cried my eyes out about a boy. So I'm not bothered about what I look like in this show. I think that's one of the better things, they strip all of those aspects of what's going on so people can see what I'm really about. I probably won't wash my hair for eight days because why would I need to? No one can see it. Obviously, saying that, I did get my lashes done. So, there is an element of maybe I am going to try and look presentable, but I'm not going to be doing full glam every day because there's no point.
What about your outfits?
I just packed tracksuits and matching sets and I'm hoping that I'll be able to pick them out of my case. But everyone's in the same boat. It's not like someone's walking in in the best outfits in the world. You can't see it. However, doesn't mean that my outfits aren't cool. My tracksuits are nice. My gym wear is nice. I've mitigated any fashion disasters. We've got crop tops and track suits and leggings. It can't look wrong. I've packed with that in mind. But yeah, other people might be wearing Hawaiian shirts and tracksuits, but so what? Who cares?
How are you feeling about being cut off from the outside world, including social media?
Yeah. Slightly concerned. My screen time is 11 hours a day. Yeah, I use it a lot. I'm very intrigued, but I feel like it'll be good for me. I'm very reliant on my phone. I just sit on there, sit on TikTok, sit on Instagram. I feel like taking that away, it'll be so good for me, personally. It'll be like rehab from my phone. So, that'll be good. But obviously, I do need it afterwards. So, let's hope it doesn't impact me too much. But no, that was what I was concerned about, being bored and not having anything to do and then I'm like, "Oh, my God. What is going on?" Because I'm constantly in touch with what's going on with my whole life. What if a disaster strikes and I'm stuck in the dark for eight days? Who knows?
Why did you agree to be involved in Scared Of The Dark?
Because I do whatever I'm asked so long as it actually keeps me in the standard to which I'm accustomed, which is dignified.
Are you scared of the dark?
No. When I was a child I talked and thought and reasoned like a child. Now I'm a man. No, I am the light now. The dark is going to meet the light.
Have you ever had any scary moments in the dark?
Well, yeah, I guess so. When I was a kid, I mean, when the thunder thundered, then I'd cry and I would run for cover because I didn't understand what thunder was. So, yeah, it scared me. It should have scared me because I was a kid and I didn't know. So I'd run to my mother, and then she would always comfort me. But I'm a man now. And the dark, there's nothing there. And if there is anything there, it's an illusion. It's fake. It doesn't exist.
Have you done any preparation for this experience?
My entire life has been my preparation. It's no different at all. What you call different is an illusion. I'm a man. I'm not a child anymore. So you think like a man. You think like the person your mother taught you to be. They taught me to be a King and so that’s what I am.
What are you expecting to take from this experience?
I'm taking from it, peace. That's what the dark gives me. Peace. Where there's no one disturbing me. Nothing must despair but me. And so if anything tries to disturb me, I make it love me immediately and instantly.
How do you think being in the dark will impact your other senses?
Well, it will brighten it. It'll brighten my senses. But that's all inside of me. And so if you have peace within yourself, then it radiates.
Are you worried about finding your way around the bunker?
I've been bumping into things and I've been having mishaps all my life. And when I look back, I've enjoyed them all. Even the mistakes I've enjoyed. Maybe not at the time, but you give it a little time and everything mends. Time mends everything. You're speaking to positivity.
Do you think that's what you are going to bring to the group, this positive outlook?
No. Not just to the group, to everyone watching. We are going to smash it. Because we are all working as one on this project, and as I said, we are going to smash it.
How difficult do you think the challenges might be?
I don't understand difficulties. I've overcome all of the difficulties. Look at what they've written about me over the years. Look at the lies that has been said about me. My response to all negative comments about me from 1989, since I've been in the public eye, I’ve dealt with it like a gentleman. When they hated me, I never hated them. I've always loved everyone irrespective. You can go back and find the most disturbing stories, whatever they said that wasn't true, it was my response that gave you the answer to who I am. When they lied about me, I didn't lie about them, I said nothing. Why? Because I know who I am and I'm positive. And positive means whatever you say about me in the negative, it cannot be true, It's rhetoric. You may remember a line in the poem, the philosophy called If, which is, “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for the doubting too. If you can wait and not be tired of waiting. Or be lied about, don't deal in lies. Or being hated, don't give hate or hating. Then yet don't look too good nor talk too wise, If”. That resonates always. It's real. It's there. If you follow If. If you read If. That's who I am.
How will you entertain yourself and the rest of the group while you're in there?
I don't know the format, but I'll tell you this. Anyone who speaks to me is going to fall in love with themselves. Nothing else matters. The only thing that matters is positivity.
How do you feel about being famous and in the spotlight?
I think it's a wonderful privilege and it's the privilege of which has to be earned. If you haven't earned it, then you are effectively still in the game, I guess. And I've not been in the game. Let's just say I've raised my thought process to, well, positivity. That's it.
Have you ever been given a really good bit of advice about coping with the pressure of fame?
Yes. What I was told about pressure is it's an illusion. Your reality is fooling you. So if your reality is fooling you, as I know it's fooling or trying to fool me, then effectively what you're going to have in that house is a person who is purely objective. So, pure objectivity is positivity. And positivity is love. And love is success in every and all things. I'm not there to say, "Look at me. I'm the big guy". No. I'm you. Whoever I face in there, I'm them. I'm reflecting them. And when you reflect someone, you're reflecting the love of them.
Why did you want to be involved in Scared Of The Dark?
Do you know what? It sounds interesting. I think in a way, I am, I suppose, maybe the control group in this experiment, but still susceptible to a lot of the same issues as everybody else socially in terms of deprivation. I'm blind but I don't see black. I still see light and space, I still have an awareness of the space around me, not in terms of objects and things, but in terms of the room and whether there might be something in front of me. It just gives you that awareness that you're taking that away from me. I'm a slave to my iPhone like everybody else. So on paper you go, "Well, I should nail this," but in one area I should be more practically adjusted. It'll be quite interesting to see how quickly everybody else gets to that point. I'm quite looking forward to being the most able bodied person for a while. It doesn't happen often.
For people that don't know you from the comedy world, can you explain your condition, because you weren't born blind, were you?
No. I mean this is really boring, but retinitis pigmentosa is the thing I have, RP, it's called. It's hereditary so I was born with it. But it's genetic. So basically I was born with a genetic condition and my eyesight deteriorated, I would say, at a steady rate. At such a slow rate that you never notice it going, but you look back and you realise that three years ago you could maybe do stuff that you can't do now. I used to be able to see all through my childhood and to the point where I had a normal childhood, except I couldn't see the blackboard in school and was crap at hide and seek. But Liverpool in the eighties was very much get out of the house after breakfast and don't come back until your mum shouts you in the street for your tea. People go, "Well, when did you go blind?" And it's very hard to say because when your eyesight deteriorates steadily, you stop being able to do different things at different stages. So you stop being able to see in the dark, or seeing dusk, or see your computer screen, or read a printed book, all of these different things happen at different times. But I kind of say late teens to early twenties, that kind of five year period from maybe 16 to 21 is when the bulk of the useful stuff just went.
How did that impact you?
It's difficult when you're losing your sight so subtly. There's never a moment you've got to deal with. So if somebody has an accident and the next day they're disabled, they've got a huge moment of trauma and they've got to come to terms with that. But when you're losing your sight noticeably slowly, it's just kind of a constant phase of frustration and denial really. And you don't realise that you can't do things until maybe something happens that you realise, "Oh, maybe I shouldn't do that anymore." The last time I played football, I put myself in hospital and I thought, "Well, that's my football days done." But each of these things happen separately, you know what I mean? And when you grew up with a very normal childhood, playing in the streets childhood with mates, and you're a teenager in Liverpool and in your early twenties, you want to be cool or trendy or whatever. So there's a huge kind of refusal to get on board with the whole blind thing, I think. You know, like using a stick. I was never comfortable with it. I think as a result I'm still not comfortable with it. I'm still not good at it. I think I'm not comfortable with it now because I haven't got the confidence with all that kind of stuff. I haven't got the confidence with it because I was so resistant to it through my twenties that I've never really got massively on board with it all. But luckily we’ve got Uber now!
How are you feeling about being locked in a bunker with a load of people that you've never met before?
Do you know what? I love doing TV shows, the good thing about the TV shows I've been doing is I'm used to working on the live comedy circuit and just working with a hell of a lot of stand ups. And when you do your tour, it's very isolating as well. But when you're doing TV you end up working with people from all kinds of different entertainment, or sporting backgrounds, and music, and stuff like that. I've been doing standup for nearly 20 years and the last few years have been really, really exciting to work with people who are musicians and actors. But the other thing about doing these shows is you're just in and out. You turn up, you do your few hours, you have a drink afterwards, and you go home. And then that's kind of it until maybe randomly you see them again. So this feels like it's going to offer something that I don't normally get. I don't know who's going to be in it, but I'm just hoping there's going to be some people from the 80s or the 90s that I know.
Any type of celebrity you hope won’t be in there?
I don't know. I've never watched reality TV so I don't know anyone. I think I only know one person off reality TV because I've done something with them. I hope there's somebody like a rocker, old school. I'd like to be mates with Jason Donovan. That would be so cool, wouldn't it?
What do you think you're going to bring to the group?
I think everyone will be funny. I think everyone will bring comedy. This is the problem with comedy, isn't it, is that everybody's got it. I do something that everybody's kind of got inside them anyway. Not everybody's got musical ability in them or sporting ability. But everybody I'm sure will be funny. I'd like to get on with people. I'm quite laid back, I'd like to think so anyway. So I hope I'll bring a little bit of humour and calmness to everybody else's frantic terror.
Do you think we’re going to see a few mishaps of people touching thing they shouldn’t?
Yeah, well I mean, I've gone to shake hands with plenty of people and poked them on the wrong bits!
You're going to be filmed 24/7, have you got any bad habits that are going to come out?
Apparently I eat in my sleep. I'm not looking forward to that being televised. Not physically. I mean, I'm not at the fridge. I kind of lie in bed and I don't know what I'm eating. I think I'm sucking on a Werther's Original or something like that. The thing is, I hate social media. I do it from duress from my agent. Kind of, "You need to put something on there." But I hate that kind of open your whole life to the world. I suppose this is a little bit almost, not specifically your life, but you are kind of revealing maybe bits of you that you would normally keep away from the cameras. Did he just pick his nose and eat it?
You’re going to be doing challenges in there, do you think you'll get competitive?
I don't know whether we're working as a team, whether we're working against each other, whether it's kind of like the Hunger Games or something and I've got to survive, I have no idea. So if we're meant to be working as a team, I hope it works. I'm used to working on my own, aren't I? I'd like to think I'm a really good team player. But the truth of the matter is, there's not a lot of evidence to suggest that.
Would you consider yourself a prankster?
Yeah. I reckon. It's a little bit of the blitz spirit thing, isn't it? You take the piss, and you play pranks and take the piss out of people that you get on with and like, don't you? So I suppose if we're all doing that, that's a good sign, isn't it?
Do you like being famous and in the spotlight?
I enjoy doing TV shows. I can't bear to watch myself on them, but I enjoy doing them. And I enjoy that opportunity to be on things, and have these different experiences, and build my profile through these opportunities. I love that aspect of it. But outside of that, I kind of quite like to wear a hat and keep my head down.
What's the best bit of advice you've been given about coping with being famous?
God, do you know what? Best piece of advice I've been given is to be nice to people because it's a privilege to have them know who you are, really. Saying that though, if you put a hat on and keep your head down, they might not even notice you're there.
Why did you sign up to Scared Of The Dark?
I just like a challenge, I think. I'm a big believer in taking chances. And if opportunity arises like this, I just think, "Yeah, fuck it!”
So are you scared of the dark?
I never really think about it, but I don't think I will be because I'm with people. Unless they're prankers. I don't know if I'll like that. I mean, it'll just get exhausting. I imagine it'll be really exhausting in there anyway, because it's just that you're constantly going to be like, "Where am I?" It's going to be an effort to even get from A to B, wherever A to B is.
Have you had any scary moments when all the lights have gone out?
Well, I think it's shut down now, but back in the day when I was 13, I went on a ride called the Black Hole, it was in a swimming pool and that was quite scary. But I was ejected on this rubber dinghy into a black hole. That was probably my scariest moment in the dark.
Do you have any other sort of fears or phobias?
I know it sounds a weird one, but I don't like printers. And I know that printers probably won't be in there, I’m just really bad with technology. So I hope that nothing like that will happen. And phobias? I mean, it's the normal, isn't it? Spiders, I can't deal with spiders. Have you ever done it, though, when you think there's a spider on your face and you give your face a massive slap? Paralyse your face a little bit. And then you're like, "Oh no, it's just a little bit of hair!”
What’s your biggest concern heading into this experience?
My worry is breaking something, injuring myself. Yeah, that's my fear because I can imagine it. So you're just taking tiny little steps, because I will be. I'll be tense and then I'll just have all these knots and shit going on. I'll get out and I'll literally be solid. Yeah, so I think my biggest concern is breaking something. And also, because we're trained to think that the dark is bedtime, I hope that I'm just not constantly sleeping because that would be horrific wouldn't it? I'd be like, "Guys, I'm sorry. I can't function." It's going to be interesting. Also a massive challenge, but a good challenge. Because God forbid, touch wood, if anything does ever happen in life that, I don't know, you lose your vision or something like that, then this is a massive training programme, I guess. You have to think of stuff like that, but I mean, hopefully I won't lose my vision.
Do you think your other senses will be heightened in there?
Well, I'm not starting in a good position because since COVID, it's coming up to a year now since I had it, and I still can't smell or taste anything. So it's not great. The only things I can smell is bad things. But they all smell of ashtrays. And then the only things I can taste is sugar or salt. But the thing is, you would've thought I would've lost weight. But it's more about texture, that then you go, "Oh, let me just try that." I've just ballooned up because you want to try everything. I’ve been doing sensory training to try and get it back.
How are you feeling about being locked in the dark with a group of strangers?
I think it will be okay because we're all in the same situation, I just hope that I'm with a really nice group of people. That's all I'm hoping. Hope everyone's caring. Hope everyone's up for a laugh. A few pranks are fine, but when it's bedtime, no pranking.
Is there anyone you hope isn’t in there with you?
Oh no, I don't think so. I wouldn't like a moaner. I mean, that's just draining, isn't it? If there is a moaner in there, I think we'd all probably gently sandwich it but say please shut up. In a polite way. But also the beauty of this is that you can pull any facial expression and they won't know. And also, when you are talking to someone, it's fine because they can't see. I'd be asleep. Or I can just leave the room!
Being in the dark could lead to some hilarious mishaps, how are you feeling about those sort of things?
Well, I hope that I don't touch anything that I'm not allowed to touch! But who knows? There might be some lovely candy in there that I won't be able to see. I don't know. But it's going to be an interesting one. But I think I’ll just be protecting my face rather than having my hands out in front of me, because essentially, this is the money maker, it's not the body! I'll just protect the face!
You're going to be filmed 24/7, are you worried about any bad habits that you might have being shown to the nation?
Bad habits? I don't know. It's a hard one because I live on my own, you see, so I don't really know what my habits are. Possibly farting, but I'm going to be ladylike.
You’ll be facing a series of challenges in there, how competitive do you think it might get?
I am intrigued to know what these tasks are. I don't think they're going to be too dangerous. The thing is, we've got to do it for the team. So I'm definitely going to put my all into it because it'd be shit if I didn't. I don't think I am competitive. Well, I don't know. We'll see! I've only done one show before where it was a competition, and I felt really weird because it got a little bit... not toxic, but it was a weird energy. I was like, "Oh, I don't know about that." So I just stepped back and I was just like, "Take the crown, take the crown."
Have you thought about the bathroom situation?
That is a worry of mine, going to the toilet. I’m trying not to worry, you are using a different part of your brain in the dark which I've never used before. So I've been taking my brain vitamins, actually, the past two weeks. So hopefully that will give me a boost
How do you feel about being in the spotlight and being famous?
See, I wouldn't even class myself as famous. I find it very bizarre when I get asked that. I'm a bit of a recluse, to be honest. When I'm at home, I'm quite introverted. I lock the doors and I stay in. I don't feel like I am famous. I think I'm in denial because all my friends will be like, "You're not a celeb." And I'm like, "I know I'm not." I'm not even saying I am because there's so many celebs now, isn't there? It's not like back in the day where... Like Marilyn Monroe, that was a star. There's a lot of celebs out there now.
Do you get recognised in the street?
When I've got my pieces in my hair, that's when I get recognised. So if I want to go to the pound shop I don’t have them in.
How are you feeling about being cut off from the outside world including social media?
I love that. I'm not really a social media person anyway. I only do it because of work, but I don't really document my life or anything like that, like, "I'm at a cafe. Ooh, frothy coffee." I wouldn't ever do that anyway. I think I did it a lot in the pandemic, when you were bored at home. I was like, "Look what I'm doing now. I'm sanding a wall." I don't know why I did that. But yeah, I'm looking forward to having an escape from it. A digital detox.
What made you sign up to Scared Of The Dark?
I think because it's so different, and I was intrigued by the concept of living in the dark for eight days and what that might entail and what it would be like not being able to use my sight. I think we, as people that can see, rely on the sight for everything and neglect everything else, so I feel it'd be interesting to just see what it's like to not have my sight and then trying to find my way around, how I'll function, how I'll make food. How will I eat? How will I'll even be able to see what I'm eating? I'm the type of person that eats with my eyes first, so it's going to be really strange in that sense, not being able to see what I'm eating.
Are you scared of the dark?
No. I used to be as a kid, but I'm not now. But I guess it is going to be a place that I'm not familiar with, so that makes me nervous as well.
Do you have any other fears or phobias?
Just spiders. I hate spiders. I’m happy I won’t be able to see any in there. But I hope they won’t crawl on me when I can’t see them! I'd be freaking out. That's not for me.
How do you think your other senses will be impacted?
Yeah, it's going to be so strange. I'm just wondering if my whole perception of time's going to be messed up as well. Because I won't know if it's morning or night because I'll be in the dark, so it's going to be really strange. And then being able to hear everybody else talking to me but not actually being able to see them, or see their body language, or see how they might be feeling. You've just got to really get all that from what a person's saying, so I guess my communication needs to be a lot better. My hearing's going to be 10 times better than what it was, so I hope nobody snores. That's going to be annoying!
Are you worried you might forget you’re being filmed and show off some bad habits?
Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, it's going to happen because I guess you're in the dark, you're going to forget that the cameras are there, and then you're going to be
yourself. It's almost like that you know how they say, "Dance like nobody's watching." It's going to be like that. I'm quite an optimistic person. I just go with the flow, and I'll just be taking it my stride, and there's going to be loads of mishaps, I reckon. People ending up in the wrong beds and bumping into each other. This is one thing I was thinking about, when I get in there, I'm going to feel around the whole room and try and suss out how many steps it is to different things so I can get around a lot easier and quicker and stuff. I feel like by the time the show's done, I'll know the bunker back to front with my eyes closed because I'll be in the dark.
How are you feeling about being in the dark with a group of strangers?
It almost feels more comfortable that it's in the dark because you can't see anybody, so all you're hearing is voices, so because you can't see it's almost like talking to somebody online. It’s actually going to be worse for me because I'm really good with faces, but I'm really bad with names. I think everybody's going to have to explain a lot to me until I can picture their faces. I'll be like, "Yes, I know who you are, honest!”
What type of person are you hoping you won't find in there with you?
Just people that snore. That's my one concern. As long as nobody snores, I'll be cool. Or people that chew with their mouth open. Things like that I think could be quite irritating. But in terms of celebs, I don't think there's anybody I really dislike that much that I'd be annoyed if they were there, unless they're really loud all the time. Someone that moans all the time, that'd be annoying. That'd be really annoying. You're in the dark, and you just got a little Moaning Myrtle in the corner.
What do you think you are going to bring to the group?
I think a bit of fun. I'm hoping that I can bring some fun to the group, keep the energy high, keep everybody in a positive vibe. I'm hoping that's what I'm going to bring to the group. I guess I'll have to see when I'm in there, see what characters are there, see what the vibe's like. I mean, can you imagine we're getting there and nobody likes each other. I was stuck in the dark with these people, what would happen then? But then I was like I don't know if someone was really annoying because they can't see you. You could literally just not talk in one corner of the room. How would they know? Just thinking about it, you could give them rude gestures, and they'd never know. I'm a prankster as well, so I can't wait to get in there.
What sort of things do you think you might be doing prank-wise?
Oh God, all sorts, sneaking up on people. Swapping drinks around. I've had time to think about this!
How hard do you think the tasks are going to be?
Yeah, I think the challenges are going to be quite tough. I've tried to think of different challenges they might do. It could be maybe eating challenges and you have to guess what it is and you can't see it. Or things where you have to put your hands in boxes and you don't know what's in there, try and find stuff. I'm just been basically thinking of the worst things.
Do you think it'll get competitive?
Yeah, I think it will because you get time in the light when you win, so I'm definitely going to be giving my all to just get a little bit of light. Just to be able to see daylight for a little bit will be quite nice after being in the dark for so long, so there's definitely a lot on the line.
How do you think you'll cope getting yourself glammed up in the dark?
Oh I'm definitely not going to bother with makeup. That's it. There's no point. I'm going to try to do my hair every day, so I'm going to see how that goes in the dark! That’s going to be really difficult, but I am going to try to do this every day. I was packing my stuff and I was like, "Oh, well I'll take this colour t-shirt," and then I was like, "And these T-shirts match these ones." And I was like, "Well, hang on a minute. How am I going to know what I'm going to be putting together when I get in there?" If I was smart, and I’d have just got all one colour. Then I'll always match.
Are you worried about the bathroom situation?
Actually, that is one of my worries because you can't see anything when you go to the toilet. I don't know any other way to put it, but you’ve got to wipe your ass and just showering or doing it in the pitch black, not being able to see anything. I can imagine coming out and being like, "Where did I put my towel?" Or just walking into somebody naked. Actually, that could be a big fear! Few awkward moments, just wrap myself.
Do you think viewers are going to see a different side to you on this show?
Yeah, they'll get to see more of my fun side, I think, a bit more of my personality. I mean, I can be messy, but nobody in there will see, so how will they know?
How do you feel about being in the spotlight and being famous?
It doesn't bother me. I guess I've been doing this for quite a while now, so I've got used to it. I actually miss doing the little day-to-day things, like going to the supermarket and just grocery shopping because now everything I do is online because it's just so much easier. But I know it sounds simple, but it's just little things that I miss, the simple things.
Where's the weirdest place you've been recognised?
In a changing room. I was recognised by voice alone. That was a whole other level. I was trying on clothes, and I was talking to my friend that was in the changing room in the stall next to me. And someone was like, "Oh my god. Are you Nicola Adams?" I was like, "Wow."
Do you ever think about giving it all up?
I don't even think that's a possibility, is it? I mean, I'll never be able to change who I am. I mean, I still enjoy what I do. That's the main thing, isn't it? If you enjoy it, then why take a step back?
How are you feeling about being cut off from the outside world and social media?
I'm really going to miss Ella and Taylor while I'm on the show. That's going to be really hard. Social media is going to be okay. Not having to deal with social media for a bit's going to be really nice, actually. Just get back to basics almost.
You mentioned obviously little Taylor, how is motherhood?
Good, really enjoying it. It's just the little things. Every day he does something that he didn't do yesterday and just seeing his little smile, it's cool. Everything's about Taylor now, and my schedule all revolves around him. That was definitely a change. The panic of when he was actually born and like, "Oh my God, there is actually a person that I'm responsible for now." That's when the panic sets in.
As he grows up, would you mind if he wanted to go into TV?
Yeah, I wouldn't mind. I just want him to be able to do whatever he wants to do, and I'll be able to support him in whatever he wants to do: sport, actor, television, doctor, whatever he wants to do.
What would your advice be for him to cope with fame?
My advice would be to be himself. I've done that my whole career, and it's been all right. I think it's when you pretend to be somebody else that it all tends to unravel and go wrong.
Why did you say yes to Scared In The Dark?
I don't know why. It's too late to go home! No, I see all the other reality shows, and I watch some of them, some of them I don't like watching because there's some people that are on there that are not even famous. They're on there because of their mam or dad or whatever. But then this comes along, and I thought, "Oh, I'll get this challenge in." But at the moment, I'm trying not to think about it, because my mam said, "Paul, you're frightened of the dark." I went, "Mam, I was seven years of age then. I'm 55 now." God almighty. So yeah, I'm looking forward to it. It's a challenge. I want to give it the full whack and go all the way.
What's the scariest moment you've ever had in the dark or when the lights have gone out suddenly?
God almighty, when the lights went off. It was so funny. Years ago, I was in Italy, and I had this Bart Simpson alarm clock. And it used to say, "Hey dude, get out of bed and get out to work." And all of sudden all the electricity went off because of the rain. I'm trying to find out where the plug was to put the electricity back on, and I touched the alarm thing. I absolutely shit myself. It was Bart Simpson saying, "Hey dude, get out of bed." That was quite scary, to be fair.
Do you have any other fears or phobias?
Just snakes and heights. I mean, I hate flying. I don't like the turbulence. I don't like flying, even though I flew around the world, but I hate it. I don't like snakes. I've met a lot of snakes in my time, but the slippery ones. Just those two, really. Apart from that, I'm not too bad.
Is there anything that you're worried about going into this experience?
I'm not scared of anything, because of what I've been through in my life... People keep saying, "You've got more lives than a cat." That's because I have. I've had near death experience, 36 operations, I've died a couple of times, and they've put me in a coma for 18 days. So I've come through all that, so hopefully this'll be a little bit easier than what I've put myself through. But I know it's going to be a challenge. I don't want to speak to anyone, because they're always saying, "Oh, it's going to be tough. It's going to be tough." And I can't be bothered to listen to all that. I know it's going to be quite tough, but I'm looking forward to it. And then obviously, there must be girls going in there, so I don't want to be embarrassing myself in front of girls. I want to be macho, man.
Have you done any preparation?
When I did the pre interview for the show I was sitting in the light and had to get up and it went pitch black. I had to walk five to six yards to the chair, and I couldn't find the chair, and then my head hit the mic. And all of a sudden, I just went, "Oh my God. That's five yards and I've got people round us, and I know where they are." So when I was going home I was like, "Shit. I couldn't even find my chair back there" So I'm just going to ground, just crawl round. There'll be a week of me on my hands and knees. I'll be like a new crab.
How do you think you’ll cope in the bunker?
I'll probably work out in the dark, I'll do some sit-ups and some squats and stuff like that. It might just pass the time a little bit. But yeah, I know it's going to be tough. I don't know until I actually get in there. I suppose, obviously, I won't know who's in with us, but if I end up talking to someone, I'll try and just have a laugh with them. I was speaking to my sister, I said, "Fuck it. I'm just going to pretend I'm in Disney World." That's the only way I can think about it. "Right, I'm in Disney World, and I'm talking to Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse and all that." Just try and keep it like that. See how long I can last with that.
Do you think it’ll impact your other senses?
Yeah, definitely. I can sniff out quite a few people, which I've had to learn that over the years, obviously, with regards reporters and that. My senses will be strong, definitely, obviously, my taste buds. But then I've been thinking, "Right, how am I going to know who I’m talking to. Would I recognise a voice or something like that?" But I might be giving a couple of like, "Ooh." Just pretend to be ghost and freak people out!
Are you worried that you might forget that you're being filmed, and suddenly you're bad habits come out?
Yeah, I got this stupid habit not long ago, I was just blowing my nose for no reason, pop my ears and that. And I thought, "God almighty. I'm going to have to stop all that." I'm just trying to take it in good humour, I'm looking forward to it, to be fair, more than anything.
Are you worried that there might be inappropriate touching with other people that you can't see?
I can only be myself, so I'm not really bothered. Like I said, I'm not a sad person. I always look forward to every day. I am who I am. I can't change that just because of a show. I'll just go in there and be myself, you know?
What do you think you'll bring to the group?
I like to think that I'm a caring person anyway. I don't think I've got a nasty bone in my body. But I can snap now and again, but that's not very often. But it may be just a laugh. I’ll definitely have a laugh. Try and keep everyone's spirits up. Not the ones I used to drink but try and keep everyone's spirits up. And just take it from there.
You mentioned pretending to be a ghost, do you think you will be a prankster in there?
Yeah, definitely. It all depends what's around for food and that. I might have to stitch somebody up and put something in their food if there's something hanging around or whatever. No doubt there might be a couple of spiders that I can keep a hold of and put them in a sandwich. Yeah, I'm just thinking there's some daft things I can do. But then I can't see anything, so I'll just figure things as they come along, but I'm quite good at doing pranks.
How do you think you'll cope if somebody annoys you in there?
I'll be all right. I'll just look at them. Well, I can't see them, but I'll just pretend whoever they are they've got a bandage around their forehead and they're not well. That's how I look at things.
Have you thought what kind of tasks they might get you doing?
I think one might be an eating one. I'm thinking, "What happens if I fail a task? Am I getting buried somewhere?" Because I suffer from claustrophobia a little bit. I can't really think of anything really because it's in the dark. It's going to be tough, I think.
Do you think it'll get competitive?
I think so. I'm a competitive person. I had to be doing what I did for a living.
How do you think you'll all entertain yourselves while you're in there?
I think there'll be a few people on tenterhooks for a start. Got to be. It's not normal not to go in there and not be. So I think everyone will be a bit nervous, I think. Because you can't see who's in there, and you'll be wondering who that is and all that. For me, it's just try and get in there and to settle down as quick as possible and try work out a few bearings where I am and what I'm up to and stuff like that. I mean, who knows? I might spend 24/7 on the toilet. At least you know where you are. Spend the whole week shitting myself!
Are you worried about walking in on somebody on the loo?
No. I'm a Geordie. I don't give a shit. Listen, when you've put your arm around Maggie Thatcher and you've kissed Princess Diana... I mean, I was at Wembley not long ago and Prince William was there, and I just went over, climbed a couple of seats at Wembley and kissed him. He went, "Hi, Gazza." And I gave him a kiss and just went back to my seat. So no one really bothers us. No one gives a shit. When you get invited to Gaddafi's house and there's a big bomb in the living room, and you've got to sign something for Gaddafi, that's more worrying, put it that way. I was shitting myself. There was loads of press there and everybody. It was just like, "Wow." To be fair, I'm 50/50. I'm looking forward to it, and I know it's going to be a challenge. I can only do the best I can, and I think I'm quite good at dealing with things.
Why did you sign up to Scared In The Dark?
Do you know what? I've never done anything like it. I think it might be nice just talking to people in the dark. I think that might be really chilled and campfire vibes, but without the fire and I like the thought of that.
Are you scared of the dark?
I've always been a lights out kind of guy. Even when I was a kid, I never had a door cracked. You know what I mean? With the bathroom light on. I was never like that. Although, the house I lived in in Salford got broken into 12 times in eight years. And a few of those times it was pitch black and we were home. We'd looked down and couldn't see he was there, I suppose that was a bit sketchy. I think after the 12th we moved out. That was the cut point for me mum!
Do you have any other fears or phobias?
Man United fans! Man United in general I think is my biggest fear. Old Trafford's a phobia of mine. Do you know what? Probably my worst, not fear, but ick, I guess, is negativity, if someone is moaning a lot. I'm not someone who quickly jumps in and is like, "Shut up." It's not me. I don't really like confrontation, but negativity constantly really gets on me nerves. I like positivity. Because I can feel quite negative if I'm surrounded by it and that's not a nice feeling.
What's your biggest fear or concern about taking on an experiment like this?
Boredom. I do get bored really easy. That's the biggest fear doing it is just being sat around. I'm sure there will be some really interesting people that will have loads of stories. I'm probably getting too much in my own head thinking about things, when I'm active in daily life working, all that negative stuff in my life, I'm able to just mask for the day or whatever. I'm trying to work out how best to think about stuff. I don't necessarily want to think about I'm on TV, but I suppose that's the test, isn't it? Maybe I'll come out stronger on the other side because of it.
What sort of things are you worried that you'll be brooding on in the darkness?
Thinking about my nan. I always worry about her. I'm really close with my nan. I was brought up by my nan, along with my parents and my granddad. He's not here anymore, but my nan's nearly 92. I usually spend loads of time with her. I'll usually stay there three nights a week, but because we've been working so much, I've just not been there the last six months. At least I'm able to speak to her and stuff with my dad, on FaceTime, whatever. If it was just a week, like a holiday or whatever, then fine. But a week in darkness is probably going to seem like a month. There's a lot of time to get in me head and worry how she is and other things. And my mate passed away. I'll probably think a lot about that. But I think hopefully I can just think about him and think in a positive light and have him drive me on, I guess.
You said you get bored easily, how will you entertain yourself in there?
I was going to say read a book. Not going to happen, is it? I hope there's a good singer in there. I have no idea. We're all probably going to go a little bit mad and get really creative through madness, which is quite exciting really. It is just going to be so out there this and who was it? That politician that was acting like a cat one time? George Galloway. I'm probably going to end up like him by the end of this.
How do you think you’ll cope in the dark when it comes to eating?
That's going to be a challenge, isn't it? Because I tried practicing a little bit, a couple of nights ago. Wasn't good. Drinks went everywhere. I couldn't find anything. In the light, I'm really clumsy so I might struggle and I jump quite a lot. I'm quite jumpy. Something touches me or a noise. I'll jump. I'm going to be a nightmare. I'm going to probably do everyone's head in with that. But I can't help that. I am quite jumpy.
Are you worried about any bad habits being caught on camera that fans potentially haven't seen before?
Do you know what? I haven't even thought about that. I actually said to someone the other day, I said, "There's a shower there which is good." Because I love having a shower, I shower two, three times a day. I was like, "The good thing is no can see you. You can just dash in whenever you want." She said, "Max, everyone can see you. That's the point." I was thinking about the people in the bunker. I'm going to have to train myself to remember that people can see me. Just I can't.
Is there anybody that you really hope doesn't walk through the door?
Oh my God. I could name about 100 but no, not particularly! I suppose that'll be easier anyway in the dark, won't it? Won't have to look at each other. If they come in and say their name and it's someone I don't like, I'm just going to pretend to be somebody else. I'll just say I'm Jay from The Wanted so I can tell similar stories.
You're going to be doing challenges, do you think you'll get competitive?
Yeah. I got fitted with a harness this morning. That was so exciting. Harness. Why? What are we doing? And they were like, "On the day, it's going to be really tight." I was like, "Okay, so we're getting flung about a bit then?" That was exciting. It's not so much competitive with other people, it's just when I'm doing something I want to achieve it. I want to win it for me. I just want to be good at it. I think everyone does. Don't they? When they do something, they'd rather be good at it, but I've always been into physical stuff, adrenaline fuelled stuff. I've always loved all that. If it's stuff like that, I'll be really happy. I was buzzing when I got a harness.
Will you pull a few pranks while you're in there and cause a bit of mischief?
Yeah. I might do. If someone's whinging, especially. If they're really whinging about everything, then you might as well just play into it and add to it. I feel like possibilities are endless in the dark. Moving stuff would work. Scary stuff wouldn't work because I'd only ended up scaring myself. I'd just end up jumping and then I'd be scared. The moving stuff might be good. You just don't want to do anything too serious, because it's in the dark. If you get it wrong, it could really backfire.
How are you feeling about potential mishaps like touching something you shouldn’t?
Obviously, that's just going to be part and parcel of it, isn't it? I was talking to a producer and they were like, "If you have a shower, whether you shower with someone on your own." I was like, "I'm pretty sure I'd know if I were showering with somebody." Maybe not, it’s that dark. Do you know what I mean?
Have you thought about what you’ll wear and how you’ll dress yourself in the dark?
Do you know what? On the list was plain trackies, socks and pyjamas. That'll do me. Honestly, that's what I'm like anyway at home so it's only when I go out I make an effort. But in general I sit at home in my tracky with my dog and chill. I'm not bothered about that. And it's in the dark, isn't it? If I can't see that it looks like shit then I won't feel like shit. I’ll feel fine. Because in my head I'm like, "Oh you look good today." Doesn't really matter.
Do you think we'll see a different side to you on this show?
Maybe because I suppose it is much more exposed and you're in the dark so you definitely feel more vulnerable in the dark. I think having people there and having all that time in the world to just open up and talk then probably yeah people will see a different side to me because I don't talk that much about me. Maybe this will be an opportunity where I do open up a bit about who I am and what I am, whereas before I've just done things, but it's either my music or it's acting or it was Strictly, but no one really got to know who I was in that. Because they're all certain roles and Strictly I just couldn't dance! That didn't really last. Once I trust the people that are in there, maybe there will be a different side that comes out.
How are you feeling about being cut off from the outside world and social media?
That is going to be weird. Obviously, not talking to my close ones every day is the worst bit. Social media, I’m not bothered about that, but it's more just checking in with my nan, my parents and Maisie, just seeing how they are, how's your day been. Can't do that. That is going to be really strange because I speak to my closest every day, five, six times a day. It's just the way it is. That will be weird.
From the start it’s clear that everything in The Bunker will be challenging, including meeting people for the first time in the dark. Personalities clash almost immediately thanks to the exacting standards of boxing legend Chris Eubank who doesn’t take lightly to swearing! But not everyone struggles with their new environment, in fact for blind Comedian Chris McCausland, it’s all too familiar. However, one thing immediately changes for him in the bunker; as the most able-bodied person of the group in the pitch black, he soon becomes the most relied upon to survive. We see football legend Paul Gascoigne getting to grips with his new environment, and when Comedian Donna Preston and Love Island Star Chloe Burrows take on the first terrifying challenge, things go from bad to worse. Just the thought of being alone in the dark has an emotional Chloe begging to leave and screaming ‘I’m Scared of the Dark!’
Danny Dyer and psychologist Dr T analyse from the side lines as a group of celebrities continue to struggle, having been living in a pitch-black bunker for the last 30 hours. Tensions flare as boxer Chris Eubank calls out the group on their language and behaviour. Comedian Chris McCausland takes it upon himself to defend the younger members of the group against the boxing legend. The tense atmosphere only increases as the celebrities are then shackled into pairs for 12 hours. With Eubank paired with McCausland – will being forced into close proximity drive them closer together or will they come to blows?
Having been forced to spend the last 12 hours in the ‘black hole’, reality star Scarlett Moffatt and actress Donna Preston are finally released from their night of pure terror. Conversation quickly turns sour as Gazza tells the group about his worst night ever - flying next to a dead man for 9 hours. Chris Eubank is not impressed with Gazza’s jaw dropping tales from his legendary life on and off the pitch! As the celebrities begin to bond, Chris Eubank starts to withdraw further from the group and he refuses to take part in two tasks.
After nearly 70 hours living in complete darkness, the frustration for some is inescapable and we see our celebs battling with the daunting thought of getting through their final days in the darkness. The bunker has yet more surprises in store, and with a shock exit from the group, the celebrities go from eight to seven. Some celebrities are left buzzing in their next challenge as electric shocks are administered to those unable to navigate their way into a tiny box, drawn on the floor of a vast pitch-black hangar. At the end of a tumultuous day, the celebs will be presented with the ultimate decision...
In the dramatic finale of Scared of the Dark, the 7 remaining celebrities will power to remain in the bunker is tested from the outset. Challenges test both fears and the strength of their camaraderie, as the celebrities overcome trepidation to battle it out for time in the light. One final challenge remains; a leap of faith into the unknown, which, if they don’t complete as a group, will bring their time in the bunker abruptly to the end. Spoiler not everyone makes it to the end, those that do must vote for the person they feel deserves to be the winner of the experience.
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