David Astle and Lily Serna return to SBS for Celebrity Letters & Numbers, with host Michael Hing
Premiering 7:30pm Saturday 2 October
It's been almost a decade since a new season of the iconic game show Letters & Numbers last aired on SBS, and there's no need to email us anymore because the beloved program is returning to Australian screens.
Adapted from the much-loved quiz show that aired from 2010 – 2012, and inspired by the thousands of audience calls for its return, the first season of Celebrity Letters & Numbers premieres at 7:30pm on Saturday 2 October.
Hosted by comedian and Triple J presenter Michael Hing, Celebrity Letters & Numbers will see the return of wordsmith David Astle and numbers expert Lily Serna. Each episode features three comedic celebrities and a special guest alongside David in Dictionary Corner. Watch as they battle it out for the most unique prize on Australian TV – the highly sought after, priceless, antique collectible of…one single book, from a vintage 1980s encyclopedia collection, generously gifted by Michael Hing's parents after they cleaned out their garage.
Guests race against the clock as they pit their linguistic and numerical skills against each other. Both seasons consist of twelve, hour-long episodes, and feature a mixture of letters, numbers and conundrum games. Series guests include Hamish Blake, Matt Okine, Merrick Watts, Jennifer Wong, Aaron Chen and Susie Youssef, to name a few.
Host Michael Hing said:
"When SBS offered me the opportunity to work on a Letters & Numbers reboot, I was worried that appearing on television opposite Lily and David (famous smart people), I might come off looking very, very dumb. And look, that's still not impossible, but luckily, SBS have also packed the show with celebrities and I remain hopeful I walk away okay. The real joy has been two-fold. Firstly, watching people who haven't had to do maths since school panic and regress as soon as the Letters & Numbers clock starts, and secondly, the moments of triumph and success on the show are so rare that when they happen it's the kind of genuine, pure joy that is quite rare in an otherwise, extremely grim world."
Crossworder, broadcaster and verbivore David Astle said:
"Imagine I gave you nine letters – like VUNEDARET. What can you see? What's the longest word there? That's the thrill of Celebrity Letters & Numbers. Every game will be like an inkblot test with the alphabet. Panic may well set in. NERD or TUNA might be the best a player can do. Interesting. Or maybe a guest will nail TAVERN or VERDANT, or swear black and blue that DUNERAT is a type of beach rodent. Curious. Do you need to lie down? Add celebrities to each session, a stopwatch, healthy egos, bragging rights, desperation, and the results will be revealing. Let's play."
Numbers expert Lily Serna said:
"Returning to the numbers game is like getting back to the gym, a mental workout of stretching and tweaking to reach the random target. I can't wait. There's a real thrill when I hit that magic button and we all get to see what total needs chasing down. It's like reuniting with old friends, the bigs and the smalls, my board and marker, the 75-times table, and travelling to a new destination each time. Well, three or four destinations every episode! Bring it on. Numbers can be so exhilarating, so elegant, and I look forward to helping people see that. Just as fun, I get to lead our celebrities, and our viewers, to those little lightbulb moments along the way."
SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said:
"Letters & Numbers has been entertaining Australian audiences for over a decade, and we're thrilled to bring it back to SBS in this new format. Celebrity Letters & Numbers brings together a large cast of comedic personalities for an evening of compulsive games that will have the whole family playing along. SBS aims to provide Australians with programming that entertains, educates and unites, and the revival of this cult quiz show is a testament to its dedicated fans. We can't wait for you to join us every Saturday evening."
The series, produced by ITV Studios Australia, will be available to stream on SBS On Demand with subtitles in Simplified Chinese and Arabic.
Season one of Celebrity Letters & Numbers premieres at 7:30pm Saturday 2 October on SBS and SBS On Demand. Episodes continue weekly.
Season two will premiere in 2022. Celebrity Letters & Numbers is produced by ITV Studios Australia for SBS.