Peter Crouch gives us a flavour of BBC One’s Crouchy’s Year Late Euros
Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or simply enjoy seeing a gangly, six-foot-seven-inch man dancing like a robot, there’s something about Peter Crouch that truly transcends the beautiful game.
With more than 40 England caps to his name, on paper, Crouch is the most unconventional of international strikers.
And yet his career has gone from strength-to-strength, transitioning from player to presenter with ease, all while avoiding the criticism bestowed upon many of his fellow players who have followed a similar path.
Stepping in front of the camera once again as part of BBC One show Crouchy’s Year Late Euros: Live, the 40-year-old ex-England international and former Liverpool and Stoke City player, is set to take on a new challenge: live TV.
“The fact that it’s live and we have a bar and can socialise safely again will be amazing,” reflects Crouch of the less-restrictive but nonetheless Covid-compliant format.
“It’s going to be a televised celebration of the big Euros games, live – after they end.
“First and foremost, I’m a football fan, so I’m excited about watching the games and reacting off the back of them. I’m hoping to incorporate everything we’ve missed, football, socialising and being in one place together, at Wembley, it’s going to be big!”
Despite taking place in 2021, organisers of the event have retained the competition’s original name, with 24 national teams battling it out in the hope of reaching the final, which takes place on Sunday, July 11 at Wembley Stadium.
The show’s arrival coincides with what is set to be an exciting summer of sport.
Taking in the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, alongside the UEFA Euros, the summer will also feature Wimbledon, the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, cricket’s inaugural Hundred tournament and the Tour de France to name but a handful of highlights.
When it comes to the Euros, however, Crouch says the England v Scotland game is going to be a particularly “epic” battle, given the historic rivalry, with the match location of Wembley Stadium making it “a bit like a derby”.
Compensating for a lacklustre 2020, Crouchy’s Year Late Euros: Live takes place following key matches in the competition’s calendar.
Joined by Glow Up presenter Maya Jama and Taskmaster creator and comic Alex Horne (alongside his comedy band, The Horne Section), the live series is set to be a sublime celebration of sporting achievement.
“I was just desperate that he liked me,” blurts Horne, 42, with a laugh, reflecting on the opportunity to work alongside the footballing icon.
“I’m still star struck – especially because he’s so interesting to look at, he’s extraordinary. And I think he’s very handsome. He’s also very gangly. And his hair is very fluffy. So, there’s a lot going on.
Instantly noting the line-up is “quite a peculiar mix”, Horne says the presenters are “chomping at the bit” ahead of the live shows.
“Peter is not a trained TV presenter – he’s really good and I think he surprised a lot of people with how good he is at it.
“I’m from the world of comedy and music, Peter’s football, Maya is a bit of music and a bit of football actually – she did football presenting at the start, so we’re definitely from three different worlds.
“We enjoy each other’s company and find each other entertaining,” he says, simply.
The follow-up to last year’s pre-recorded Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer, the live element of the show is nothing new to Horne, whose roots hail from the live comedy circuit.
“When you do pre-recorded stuff, you have several goes at it and you sometimes lose the magic,” says Horne.
“I treat it as a live show – like a stage show, I suppose. That’s all we ever do as comics, so it’s more my wheelhouse.
“I think if you ever thought, ‘Hang on, there might be a million people watching this’, you would just turn into a shivering wreck.
Describing the show as a “much less professional” version of another football-centric BBC show, there’s certain to be no shortage of spontaneity where live antics are concerned.
“The match happens, then I think it might be the news, and then it’s us,” notes Horne of the show’s time slot.
“We’ve got a very limited time to work out what we’re going to do and that’s really exciting. I suppose it’s like Match Of The Day, in that they don’t have that much time to prepare.
“So, this is Match Of The Day with the fans, a comedian, guests and some nonsense.”
As for tournament predictions, Crouch is the quickest to place his cards on the table.
“I fancy England,” he declares, matter-of-factly. I don’t want to. I want to say that we won’t win it, and then us win it, but I feel like we’ve got a real chance.
“We’ve got some great young players that show no fear, they are a different breed and there’s a real team ethic. If not, I’ll say Portugal!”
Crouchy’s Year Late Euros: Live will kick off on BBC One on June 11