Alexander Armstrong urged Pointless producers to ‘recast’ him after ‘bad’ series

Pointless: Alexander Armstrong introduces Sally Lindsay

Alexander Armstrong has admitted he expressed concerns to producers after hosting the first series of Pointless as he struggled to be “slick”.

The presenter has been presenting the BBC One quiz show since its inception in 2009, but things didn’t get off to the best of starts.

Discussing the programme in a 2021 interview, the 53-year-old said: “One of the things I really like about Pointless is that it confounds on several levels.

“It’s sort of confection, but it’s also got real heft to it because our question setters are so brilliant.

“And I love that Richard [Osman] and I are sort of anti-quiz hosts.”

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Reflecting on the beginning of their journey together however, Alexander told The Telegraph the first series was a “shocker” for the team.

He explained: “We were just so bad at being slick. I had a conversation after that first series and said, ‘I think you either need to recast this, or make a virtue of our slipshodness’.”

After deliberation, producers went with the latter and he and his co-star continued to work together for 13 more years.

Their lengthy partnership came to an end last year when Richard announced he had decided to step down to focus on being an author.

In a statement, he said: “After 13 wonderful years I’m leaving daytime Pointless, to concentrate on writing.

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“Will still be doing the celebrity shows and ‘House Of Games’.

“It has been the GREATEST pleasure and I can’t wait to start watching as a viewer. Thank you to everyone!”

Alexander added at the time: “Daytime television’s loss is international best-selling crime fiction’s gain.

“I say that like it’s a consolation – I’m going to miss the big man next to me Monday to Friday.

“But at least I still get him at weekends – and weekdays if you’re watching on Challenge.”

Following his exit, Pointless added another eight co-hosts to its roster including Sally Lindsay, Gyles Brandreth, Rose Matafeo and Sally Phillips.

Tonight, Alexander hosts the satirical current affairs quiz show Have I Got News for You.

He will be joined by actor and comedian Miles Jupp and journalist Olivia Utley alongside team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.

Pointless airs weekdays from 5:15pm on BBC One. Have I Got News For You kicks off at 9pm.

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