Hollywood movies

Crystal Maze presenters now – from Hollywood movies to Harry Potter scenes

With its dazzling settings, enigmatic puzzles, and wonderfully eccentric hosts, The Crystal Maze was truly a diamond of a game show. This iconic gem with its quirky yet captivating premise has been a hit with viewers of all ages since its launch in 1990.

Eager teams were tasked with completing an array of timed challenges in an effort to unlock the titular crystals, and the more of these golf ball-sized Swarovski glass time tokens they could collect, the better. For each was worth five seconds inside the Crystal Dome, which the winning team would enter at the climax of the show.

The host would then utter the immortal words “can you start the fans please?”, which sent a load of gold and silver chips into the air. The team then had all the time they had amassed to gather as many gold tokens as possible.

If the group collected a total of 100 or more Golden Tickets – minus any cash deductions – they were declared the winners. Every contestant who appeared on the show won a commemorative crystal saying “I Cracked The Crystal Maze”, to which original host Richard O’Brien would say “keep that in your glove compartment and get it out if ever stopped by a police officer “.

Richard O’Brien in The Crystal Maze

The challenges leading up to the Dome were incredibly diverse and spread across a sprawling world made up of different areas. In the original series, they were Aztec, Medieval, Futuristic, and Industrial. Each participant could choose between a mental, mystery, physical or skill game in order to pocket this crystal.

Some of the most memorable challenges included the Underwater Maze of the Aztec Zone where you had to navigate chained crystal through a maze under water and through walls; Medieval Zone’s angled mirrors where you had to move them to direct a beam of light at a target; The futuristic zone planetary swing which involved swinging between five planets to reach the crystal and finally the industrial zone phone sequence where you were tasked with answering the (rather self-explanatory) phones in sequence, each giving a clue to the next to to respond.

If the contestant did not complete the task in time or violated the challenge’s three strike rule, they were locked in. The show originally ran from 1990 to 1995 before being resurrected in 2016 and the following year to 2020, where was canned due to declining ratings during the pandemic. .

The British show, broadcast on Channel 4, has featured four very different presenters over the years. Let’s find out what they are doing now.

Richard O'Brien photographed in 1993
Richard O’Brien photographed in 1993

Richard O’Brien – 1990 to 1993

The show’s most iconic host, the fantastically entertaining Richard O’Brien was there from the start. Often decked out in a long fur coat with a brightly colored shirt and long, sleek leather boots, O’Brien brought a wonderfully infectious and manic energy to the show. Jumping all over the place in his tight leather pants, he enthusiastically encouraged the contestants but was never afraid to chastise them if they got it wrong.

If ever there was a lull, Richard would often pull his harmonica out of his pocket and play a few bars of what he called “excitement music”. He also conversed with the various characters of the series such as Mumsie and the genius fortune teller Auntie Sabrina.

Richard left the maze after four series in 1993 because he wanted to pursue other things. He told viewers that he was going to live in America with Mumsie.

What he has actually done is play the Child Catcher in the theatrical production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the West End, as well as performing various cabaret-style music and comedy on stages around the world. A writer, actor and musician, he is perhaps best known for writing the musical show The Rocky Horror Show in 1973, as well as co-writing the film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975.

After Maze, he racked up numerous film roles like in the 1997 film Spice Girls, Spice World, the 1998 fantasy film Dark City and 2000’s Urban Gothic. In 2004, a statue of the character he played in Rocky Horror – Riff Raff – has been unveiled. on the site of a former cinema in New Zealand, where O’Brien now resides.

He pardoned the character in a limited run of 11 West End performances of The Rocky Horror Show in 2015. The following year he appeared as Computer Crystal Maze in a one-off episode of Celebrity Crystal Maze to benefit the charity Stand Up To Cancer. .

Now 80, he’s still working and most recently appeared – well, his voice did – in the musical adventure sci-fi comedy animated film Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against. The Universe in 2020.

Edward Tudor-Pole in The Crystal Labyrinth
Edward Tudor-Pole in The Crystal Labyrinth

Ed Tudor-Pole – 1993 to 1995

An excellent English dandy, Tudor-Pole donned an attractive waistcoat and tunic, giving his entire appearance a rather distinct Georgian vibe. With his sallow complexion and slightly emaciated gaze, he imbued the show with a slightly darker and more intimidating feel. Yet despite this aesthetic, Ed was instead more sympathetic to the guests than his predecessor, and would sympathize with their misfortune rather than ridicule it.

Filling his tenure with wonderful nonsense words such as “trignification,” it was hard not to get swept up in all the fun. He also spoke lyrically about fictional stories in each of the zones and referenced unseen characters such as Starbuck the disturbed cat in Ocean Zone and Bert the horse in Medieval Zone.

Since leaving the maze, Ed has gone on to star as Enaros in the 1997 sci-fi epic Kull the Conqueror. A year later he played a landlord in the film adaptation of Les Miserables.

In 2002, he landed the role of Mr. Borgin in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but it was unfortunately cut from theatrical release, although it was included on the extended DVD edition. He played Spike Milligan in the 2004 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. and his last known role was in a movie called Straight To Hell Returns in 2010.

Ed rocked Game of Thrones as an angry street preacher in the second series in 2011. He’s also best known for his punk rock band Ten Pole Tudor, which was highly regarded during its heyday in the late 70s. and in the early 80’s.

Pictured on set of Crystal Maze's Stand Up To Cancer celebrity special are, left to right, Jonnie Peacock, Sara Cox, host Stephen Merchant.  Josh Widdicombe, Michelle Keegan and Rio Ferdinand
Pictured on set of Crystal Maze’s Stand Up To Cancer celebrity special are, left to right, Jonnie Peacock, Sara Cox, host Stephen Merchant. Josh Widdicombe, Michelle Keegan and Rio Ferdinand

Stephen Merchant – 2016

This is where the show has rather lost some of its earlier character mystique. But that’s not to say Merchant was any less of a host, he just brought a bit more “real life” to proceedings, often joking about world events.

Donned in a blue suit with a red waistcoat and a white shirt with a floral scarf, he certainly looked very stylish. His cheerful demeanor and witty repartee made him very popular with contestants and viewers.

Just like his predecessor, he cheered when the contestants won, he booed when they lost, and he went out of his way to make sure they were all having the best time. We may know Stephen best as co-writer with Ricky Gervais of British sitcom The Office. Since leaving the maze, Merchant has been incredibly busy.

In 2017 he appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster Logan where he played a deranged character called Caliban opposite Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. He appeared on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway as a guest announcer in 2018 and as Nazi Gestapo leader Captain Deertz in the Oscar-winning Jojo Rabbit.

In 2019, he penned a biographical sports comedy film Fighting With My Family, which starred Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. In 2021, he starred in – and co-wrote – the comedy-drama The Outlaws, where he even managed to persuade acting legend Christopher Walken to play a role! Merchant will appear – or rather his voice will – as the character of Croc in the upcoming animated film The Ark and the Aardvark.

Richard Ayoade on the set of The Crystal Labyrinth
Richard Ayoade on the set of The Crystal Labyrinth

Richard Ayoade – 2017 to 2020

Taking things in a slightly more cerebral direction, the funny Richard Ayoade definitely brought an offbeat charm to the show. Sporting his black-rimmed specs and colorful costume, he waved around a stick sporting a wooden hand at competitors. Ushering in a much more laid back version of the show, Ayoade often broke the fourth wall and conspired with the audience.

He had also – for better or worse – largely erased the fantasy element of the Crystal Maze, instead making jokes at the expense of its production values ​​and rearranging the contestant’s safety gear. One of the sweetest hosts, Ayoade was perhaps the most charming presenter at the Crystal Maze.

A regular on many panels such as The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, Ayoade is never far from our screens, appearing in his hugely popular travel series Travel Man.