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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
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.

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone