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Richard Ayoade will host the new series of The Crystal Maze

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It will soon be time to once again “start the fans, please” – or something like that – as Channel 4 has confirmed a new series of The Crystal Maze, with brand new host Richard Ayoade.

It follows the success of its one-off celebrity special for Stand Up to Cancer last October, hosted by Stephen Merchant. There had been speculation about whether the show was set for a TFI Friday-style revival, and whether Merchant would don the bald cap and velvet jacket for a full series.

Eccentric legend Richard O’Brien hosted the original series, which ran from 1990 to 1995, with punk rocker Ed Tudor Pole taking over for the final two seasons.

Channel 4 has commissioned another 20 episodes, including more celebrity specials for its Stand Up to Cancer campaign. The show’s original designer, James Dillon, is at work on a brand new 30,000 square foot maze at a Bristol studio – which will reportedly include the classic Amazon, Futuristic, Medieval, and Industrial (get stuffed, Ocean) zones.  

As Merchant proved, the show’s for a bit of self-aware irony and humour, so offbeat actor and director Richard Ayoade – best known for The IT Crowd, Travel Man, and The Mighty Boosh – is a top choice for hosting duties.

Tom Beck, Head of Live & Events at Channel 4, said: "The Stand Up to Cancer special was so brilliant and so successful that commissioning a series of The Crystal Maze was almost a no-brainer. And I couldn't be more pleased and excited that Richard has agreed to become the new Maze Master – he's an inspired choice."

Producers are already scouting for contestants, who will enter the Maze in teams of five, but whether they’ll face physical, mental, skill, and mystery games like the original contestants – or whether Richard Ayoade’s mumsy will appear – is unknown.

One thing’s for sure though. If Ayoade doesn’t wear the bald cap, it’ll be automatic lock-in.

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