I TALK TO Rickie & Melvin

Rickie Haywood-Williams and Melvin Odoom are about to host Bang On The Money, a new primetime gameshow on ITV, where two teams work their way through a series of challenges, in an attempt to win hard cash.

For some, Monday morning might not be the best time to do press interviews, but for Rickie Haywood-Williams and Melvin Odoom, they were on top form.

And it's no surprise really, as by the time I had a chat with them they had already presented a live four-hour breakfast show to the nation on KISS FM UK with Charlie, from 6am!

To some ITV viewers, Rickie and Melvin may perhaps not be familiar faces. Those who watched The Xtra Factor last year will recognise Melvin, as he co-hosted the show with Rochelle Humes and Rickie has fronted a couple of BBC Three documentaries.

Together, they were team captain on Sweat The Small Stuff, a BBC Three panel show hosted by Nick Grimshaw in 2013 and earlier this year were seen backstage with Laura Whitmore at The BRIT Awards co-hosting the ITV2 coverage.

But now, Rickie and Melvin are about to face their biggest TV audience yet, as they front Bang On The Money, a new Saturday primetime gameshow on ITV.

First of all, congratulations on the new show, Bang On The Money, you must be excited to be working together again on telly?

Melvin: Yeah, we're really happy.

Rickie: We're looking forward to it man.

So for those out there who may not know who Rickie and Melvin are, how did you two first end up working together?

Rickie: We met at University, literally on the first night. They took everybody down to the local club...

Melvin: The local discotheque! (Laughs)

Rickie: I saw Melvin throwing some shapes on the dance floor! (Laughs)

Melvin: Discotheque makes us sound really old, we're not that old. It was a club called The Beach. Why it was called the beach we don't know because there's no beach in there! There are no beaches in Luton, there's an airport, so it should have been called Airport really.

Rickie: But anyway we met on the first night, we lived together in halls for the first year, then moved in together years two and three and we've been like family ever since.

Melvin: We've been trying to do this for a long long time, some people like you said won't have any idea about who Rickie and Melvin are, but there are people who have followed us for years.

We've been at KISS for over 8 years now, so we've been grinding for quite some time, and prior to that we were working behind the scenes at the BBC, and prior to that I used to random characters for CBBC, so it's been a long time to get to this point now.

We're trying to give our all to this, and ensure that we do it to the best of our ability.

What's the new show, Bang On The Money all about then?

Rickie: Bang On The Money is two teams going head-to-head in a series of challenges in the form of games, and the winner of those challenges ends up playing for a lot of money in the final game. That's basically it.

What was it about the show which made you say yes to hosting it?

Melvin: Well we've been developing the idea with Thames for like over a year now. We met up with an amazing lady called Susie Lamb who has made some of the biggest shows at Thames, and she met with us, we really got on, so we said to her "Look. We want to make a show which is about friends, which is the kind of thing that we would sit at home watching, and want to be a part of.

We've been developing this idea about two teams of friends. Real people going head-to-head doing a series of bespoke challenges, and that's how we came up with the show.

Wow, so you've really been involved with the show from the beginning then?

Melvin: Yeah, literally from the very grass roots of it all. Me and Rickie have tested out every single game, we're part of the show as well - there's a coin toss moment where we do challenges ourselves and the contestants have to decide whether myself or Ricki is going to win.

So yeah, we're completely across everything.

It must be quite daunting, the prospect of being on primetime ITV, Saturday night...

Rickie: It's terrifying! (Laughs) It's terrifying, but it's exciting at the same time. We're really looking forward to it and we're just hoping that everybody really likes the show as much as we do, because we love it.

We've put a lot of work into it. We've had a lot of fun making it as well, so hopefully that comes across and people love it as much as we do.

Melvin: We've got an amazing team, and ITV have been so supportive as well. It's obviously the biggest gig we've had on ITV, but when you've got a team like we've had for the last few weeks, you don't really have anything to worry about.

The hard part from mine and Rickie's perspective has kind of been done now. We've been shooting non-stop for the past few weeks, so now it's left to the producers and directors to make this amazing show off the back of it. And we trust them whole heartedly.

Any favourite moments?

Melvin: So many! Do you know what it is, it's just the fact that you become so attached to all the contestants and a lot of them have done really well off the back of it and a lot of the time it's quite life changing.

So in that sense, when people leave after being there for hours with money in their pocket, that's a big deal. Do you know what I mean?

So it's a feel-good show?

Rickie: It's really feel-good! Because the people who are involved in the show, the contestants, they're just normal people. There are a lot of celebrity shows at the moment, but this is about your average Joe, someone who goes to University, or works in a call centre - really normal people, and they can come off the back of it winning just life changing amounts of money, at a really young age which you don't really see on TV that often. That's one of the USP's about the show.

Melvin: The other mad thing is, that when we finished one of the shows, I remember one of the ladies on production coming up to me saying that she'd had this really nice email from someone who didn't win, but they just really enjoyed playing the games, they enjoyed being there, and they felt really looked after.

So if people can come on, and not win and enjoy the whole experience, that's a beautiful thing. If you can create a show that people just like being on anyway, then that's a great thing in itself.

Is the show more about luck or skill?

Rickie: I think skill does come into it quite a lot actually, because you still have to be good at the games. So I don't think you can really luck out too much. I think it's more about teamwork. It's about working out who is the best person for each game.

The way it works, is that the first game is a one-player game, the second game is two-player, the third game's three-player and then the final game everyone gets a go each.

So you have to work out who is the best person for each game, and who you work well with, and just knowing your friends is so important for this.

How do you think you would do if you were contestants on the show?

Melvin: We would be amazing at it! Just because we know each other back to front, and I think that's the secret to winning this game.

You mentioned earlier how you've been presenting for over 8 years on KISS now, that's an incredible achievement. Out of radio and TV, is there one you enjoy more than the other?

Rickie: I think they're so different, but equally as enjoyable for different reasons. With radio, you literally go in in the morning and you can be really reactive and talk about something that happened to you that second, earlier on that day, or when you woke up in the morning.

Whereas TV, is a much longer process. But at the end of it, the end product is so good, it's just enjoyable in a different way. I always say 50/50. I love them 50/50.

Melvin: There are pros and cons to both...

You mention pros and cons. Any pros and cons working together?

Melvin: He doesn't get on my nerves, but Rickie has always been smooth with the ladies. I've learnt everything from Rickie Haywood... Ricky Hollywood Williams!

Rickie: You know what does happen though sometimes? We turn up wearing the same clothes. That's really annoying!

Melvin: (Laughs) Annoying for him... I think I look great! (Laughs) I look like Rickie's shorter brother.

Melvin, I have to ask - Who's your favourite TV partner? Rickie or Rochelle?

Melvin: We all know who's better looking! (Laughs) You know what, I love them both. They're both amazing to work with for different reasons. I see them both as family.

Roch is a completely different animal, I get to be more cheeky with Rickie. I get away with a lot more, Rochelle does not have it.

Whilst we're on the subject of Rochelle, I just wanted to say, I thought you both did a brilliant job on The Xtra Factor. Do you know if you'll be back yet this year?

Rickie: They did a good job didn't they?

Melvin: Thank you man. We don't even know if we'll be back this year. I haven't heard anything yet, but fingers crossed. Hopefully!

I'll message Dermot and ask him to put in a good word.

Will you be watching the show goes out? Or will you be staying away and staying off Twitter?

Melvin: I'm going to have a massive day where everyone comes to the house for a screening day. Our mums are so proud at the fact that we're doing this, so I want to have a little screening day with everyone.

Rickie: We're definitely going to watch. It's ITV! (Laughs)

Melvin: That's going to get watched, Sky plussed... (Laughs)

High hopes for a second series?

Rickie: It's all about getting this one in the can. Hopefully people like it. Hopefully they get it, and enjoy it as much as we do. After that? Who knows. Fingers crossed man, but it'll be great.

Bang On The Money starts Saturday 16th April at 7pm on ITV