Lord's Taverners in Dubai

Chris Tarrant on cricket, Dubai, radio and Who Wants To BE A Millionaire?

Interview, The Knowledge

Welcome back to Dubai! To what do we owe the pleasure?
I’m coming back with The Lord’s Taverners – we’ve been coming out for quite a few years. There’s a big golf day, two games of cricket and a big dinner every year, raising money for the Lord’s Taverners charity. It’s usually much more of a showbiz turnout, with me, Tim Rice, Nick Hancock and guys, but because the Emirates team we play against are so good, we’ve had to put in more really good cricketers.

Aside from golf, cricket and gala dinners, what will you be doing while you’re in town?
I don’t know! We always end up in that lovely place… I’ve forgotten the name of it… Madinat Jumeirah! We go to The Meat Co. Mike Gatting, the former captain of the England cricket team, eats so much we have to take him there at least once. I’m doing a radio show on Thursday morning on Dubai 92, with Catboy and Geordiebird and that lot. I haven’t done an early-morning breakfast show for the best part of ten years, so I keep thinking: why am I doing this? It’s quite fun though.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just done a load of Who Wants to Be a Millionares this week, with celebrities and members of the public. I’ve also done a series on railways around the world, which I’ve really enjoyed. It’s called Extreme Railways and it’s very successful. Last year we did Bolivia, The Congo, right over to Australia and India.

That’s very different to hosting a game show.
Yeah, but it’s been good. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s just me going around, you know, looking at foreigners and going, ‘Aren’t you all peculiar people?’ It’s good fun.

Do you get recognised for Millionaire in any of the more unusual destinations?
No. Well, it depends. Loads of people in London recognise me, but actually so do a lot of people in Africa. I’m there in Sierra Leone signing autographs and thinking ‘Surely no-one can know who I am?’ But they do, because they get a Millionaire feed. The only other country that gets it straight from England is New Zealand.

Would you ever host the show in a different country – the UAE, for instance? Licensing permitting, of course.
It sounds a good idea to me, but there might be a lot of logistics and reasons why we don’t. I don’t think you can go, ‘I know what we’ll do tomorrow, we’ll make one in Dubai’. It’s an ITV discussion really – there are probably all sorts of complications.

Well, it looks as though we’re seeing plenty of you here at the moment anyway.
Yes, you’ll be sick of the sight of me in a few weeks’ time.
See Chris Tarrant at The Lord’s Taverners golf, cricket and gala dinner at The Montgomerie on February 28.

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