Who would recommission a TV show like this? Through the Keyhole returns to our screens

New host Keith Lemon will front the latest series as executives look to old hits to revive ratings

The old ones are always the best. Or at least, they’ll do if you can’t come up with a new one. That seems to be the approach to Saturday night TV, as  familiar old formats are being dusted off and given a new lease of life.

The latest show to be resuscitated is Through The Keyhole, a peek inside the homes of the C-list, which invites us to ask: “Who would live in a house like this?” The show was dropped in 2008, after a 21-year run, but returns to ITV tonight.

The idea dates back to 1983, when a then-unknown Loyd Grossman would snoop round a famous person’s home for a segment on TV-am. David Frost took the concept to a half-hour Friday night slot in 1987, and it became an instant hit.

Now, ITV is hoping to revive the ratings success of the Eighties and Nineties with a new series. Keith Lemon will host the show and serve as the snooper. A panel of three celebrities – tonight it is actress Martine McCutcheon and television presenters Eamonn Holmes and Dave Berry – will try to guess whose homes are being shown.

It follows an attempt by the BBC to boost its Saturday ratings by turning the clock back to the Seventies, with a reinvention of The Muppet Show. That Puppet Game Show, a celebrity-based game show featuring new characters from the Jim Henson studio, started earlier this month on BBC.

Later this year, ITV is bringing back Surprise Surprise, once hosted by Cilla Black but now starring Holly Willougby. A one-off pilot last year was such a success that a new series was commissioned. The show, launched in 1987, features a member of the public having a long-held wish fulfilled.

Other old shows having makeovers include Blockbusters, which returned last year with Simon Mayo; and Catchphrase, which came back in the spring, and has been commissioned for another series in the autumn.

“TV executives are leaving no stone unturned,” says Ellis Cashmore, a professor of media at the University of Staffordshire.

“They take the view it’s worth trotting out old ideas to see if they will work again.” But while ITV has had a positive response to Catchphrase and Surprise Surprise, the BBC’s punt with the Muppets has been less successful. Its first episode drew a disappointing 15 per cent share of the audience, attracting only 2.37 million viewers.

Through the Keyhole seems a safer bet, with its winning combination of shameless celebrities and gaudy interiors. But ITV has taken a gamble in its choice of presenter.

Keith Lemon, a character played by comedian Leigh Francis, fiercely divides opinion, with his hyperactivity and appalling dress sense.

While Grossman and Frost brought a pseudo-sociological approach to inspecting celebrity homes, Lemon will be playing it for laughs.

The key to the success of Through the Keyhole always lay in the wattage, or otherwise, of the stars having their homes explored, and in the naffness of the decors.

The show was originally hosted by Sir David Frost and Loyd Grossman The show was originally hosted by Sir David Frost and Loyd Grossman
Tonight’s episode should not disappoint: viewers will get to poke round the turreted home of a former cabinet minister; the luxury pad of an Olympic athlete; and the shared home of a pop star who has fallen on hard times.

But is there a danger the show will have less impact than it once did, given how attitudes to privacy have changed with the rise of social media?

“Through the Keyhole was ahead of its time,” says Professor Cashmore. “When Loyd did it, we weren’t as voyeuristic as we are today. Over the past ten years, we have become almost unapologetically voyeuristic. We now have a generation of people who don’t understand the idea of privacy. That’s all been changed by Facebook and Twitter. There has been an inverting of privacy, in which we readily make our private lives available for all to see.”

ITV has enjoyed some major original hits in recent years, with the X Factor on Saturday nights and Downton Abbey on Sundays. New  series of both are scheduled for this autumn, with the X Factor celebrating its 10th anniversary when it starts tonight. In a strategic bit of scheduling, Through the Keyhole will air immediately afterwards. But executives have been cautious, commissioning only six new episodes of the show, much fewer than the 60 episodes made in its 1997 heyday.

Sir David Frost, whose Hampshire home was splashed across newspapers recently when he put it up for sale, is thrilled his old show is making a comeback. “I’m delighted that Through the Keyhole rolls on in this new incarnation” he said. “I hope Keith and his team get as much fun out of it as I did over the past 25 years.”

Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial