Paul McDermott To Host SBS' Version Of UK Hit 'Room 101'

21 October 2014 | 12:26 pm | Staff Writer

Scheduled for 2015 launch

SBS is producing an Australian adaptation of long-running British comedy series Room 101, to be hosted by veteran small-screen and stage personality Paul McDermott.

The first hints that SBS would be redeveloping the series for Australian screens came from an audience callout to be a part of the station's "exciting new comedy show", though at the time even the host was unknown. Although the face of the show has since been revealed as ex-Good News Week host and ex-Doug Anthony All Star McDermott, other details for the new version, including guest lists and airdates, are under wraps at the present time. Still, Aussie audiences can glean a decent amount about what to expect from the remake's UK origins. 

Starting in 1994, Room 101 — named for the infamous torture room in George Orwell's dystopian 1984 — has invited a broad array of celebrity guests, such as Ricky Gervais, Sean Locke, Lee Mack, Johnny Vegas, Stephen Fry and Boris Johnson, to open up about their pet hates, fears, and other annoyances (people, animals, places, anything), in an effort to convince the host — originally Nick Hancock, then Paul Merton, now Frank Skinner — to lock all that negativity away inside the eponymous room where it can't do further harm.

As to the point of it all, McDermott says that the process, for all its inherent humour, can be a particularly cathartic one for its participants.

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“So far we’ve got an incredible array of dislikes and hates and things that peeve people,” McDermott told News Corp, "which is exciting to investigate. It is a comedy show, but at the same time we’re hoping to get a little bit of depth to it as well. So it’s not just flippant. But it is fun.

“There is a marvellous sense of a burden being lifted when you say yes we’re going to sentence that particular fear of yours to Room 101. And I know it’s only the illusion of that and it has no basis in reality, but people — the people we’ve had on so far — have actually felt a sense of relief.”

The Australian adaptation of Room 101 is scheduled to air on SBS in 2015. Keep your eyes peeled for future updates.