Jeff Stelling hopes new quiz show will be next TV hit

Jeff Stelling. PA Photo/ITV.
Jeff Stelling. PA Photo/ITV.

Hartlepool-born TV presenter Jeff Stelling is set to host a new quiz show coming to our screens next week.

The Sky Sports presenter, who previously led Channel 4’s Countdown, is heading up ITV’s new daytime quiz Alphabetical.

Jeff Stelling. PA Photo/ITV.

Jeff Stelling. PA Photo/ITV.

Despite the number of quizzing rivals, he thinks Alphabetical has “every chance” of success.

The 61-year-old dad-of-three said: “It has a lot of competition out there, so I’m well aware of what the standard is like.

“The Chase, Pointless and Tipping Point have all done fantastically well in recent years, and before that you look back to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Million Pound Drop.

“Of course, there are a lot that haven’t flown at all, so we just hope that Alphabetical is one of the former and not one of the latter.”

The show sees three contestants pitted against a returning champion in a series of games based around the alphabet. Over four rounds, the aim is to bank as much time as possible in preparation for the final, whittling the contestants down to one who’ll face the reigning champ in a bid to win the jackpot.

Even if it doesn’t stick, Stelling is set to be a firm fixture on TV over the coming months. As well as the next season of Soccer Saturday, he’s also presenting Sky Sport’s coverage of the Premier League’s new Friday night games, alongside former Countdown co-star Rachel Riley.

The move to schedule games on a Friday night has been a controversial one.

“If you’re a travelling supporter, it’s not great because it’s very difficult to get places,” said the lifelong Hartlepool United fan. Our first live Friday night is Manchester United against Southampton and I understand why Southampton fans travelling to the game would be frustrated, because it’s taking time off work. But on the other hand, the great majority of fans don’t travel, so for them, it’s a massive bonus. Friday nights, it’s a great opportunity, you go out with your mates, get in the pub, wherever you want to watch a bit of football. It’s a great start to the weekend.”

Although Jeff is hailed by fans nationwide, he says closer to home it is a different matter. He said: “My kids are rarely impressed by me. Because they’ve all grown up with me on TV, they don’t see anything special in it. And when I’m not on, and they’re watching something else, they just want me to be quiet.”

Alphabetical begins on ITV on Monday, August 15