Tonight, the nation’s most famous block of flats welcomes its latest set of residents. A £100k prize is at stake in an unpredictable game of popularity. The Players will be living just metres apart, but they cannot see or hear each other. Instead they’ll communicate via a voice-activated platform called The Circle. But on The Circle, not everyone is who they seem, and the Players have no idea who is real and who is a catfish.
OCCUPATION: Company Director
PLAYING AS: Himself
What is your MOTIVATION FOR ENTERING THE CIRCLE? What is it about the game that made you want to apply?
I think It’s a really cool format. I like the idea of interacting with people in a way that I don’t normally, because I’ve never sent a DM in my life. But I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world where it’s cooler to be someone else than it is to be themselves.
I get that people want to see what it’s like to be perceived differently and I know we’re all going into The Circle for a bit of fun, but I can think of better ways to have fun than pretending to be someone else.
My motivation is to show that you can win it with a bit of integrity. I really want to get a catfish to admit to me that they’re a catfish. I don’t know what I would do with that information, but that is my ultimate aim. I’d class that as winning.
Have you watched the show before and did that give you any tips on how to play the game?
I’ve watched series two. Finding a catfish is one thing but staying in the game is another. Tim was pretty astute, and I would like to think I fall into that category.
What is your STRATEGY to win the show? Are there any specific tactics that you think will help you win?
I’ll be unashamedly me. I’m biased but I think I’m a pretty decent bloke and I hope that comes across. If I have to call someone out on being a catfish, I’ll be able to find a way to articulate myself while still being liked. I’m not desperate to be universally loved but it’s a preference over being universally disliked! I’ll try and convert some catfish and get them on my side, I want them to change their profile picture and announce they’re a catfish to everyone!
Why did you decide to play yourself and not another character? I think it’s important to be who you actually are. Colleagues have called me the priest because I value morality above anything else. Considering what I think about catfish, it would be disingenuous to play anyone other than myself.
• What do you want viewers at home to think of you or learn from you? Just that I’m a decent bloke who’s fun to be around. I want to come across as someone you would want to be mates with.
How do you feel about being on TV?
I never thought I’d be on TV. It’s never been a goal of mine, but The Circle is my wife’s favourite programme. I can’t wait for us to watch it back sitting on our sofa.
How much do you use social media in the real world?
At the beginning of Covid I made coaching videos on YouTube of how you find profit and things that other people probably think are quite boring. But I put it on YouTube and more people started watching them. They are by no means viral, they’re very niche, but after that I got on Instagram, I don’t really engage on it though. I only post when my wife tells me to post a nice picture of us and the kids. The only thing I go on social media for is a quick nosey or to read football articles.
In real life how does your online social media self differ to who you really are in person?
In my YouTube videos I’m talking about really serious subject matters. I would say it is a very real representation of who I am - there is a professionalism to it. But it’s always done with humour, I’m commercially pretty unorthodox.
Who do you admire on social media? Who do you think uses it well? The only one is Simon Sinek who is a public speaker and his posts are quite poignant. I wouldn’t do it personally, because it’s a bit too serious for me. He wants to be an authority on the greater good, in having integrity and morality in the business world, which I think is massively important. The only other person would be Piers Morgan. I don’t agree with everything he says but he is who he is. I value that a lot, when you are what you say on the tin.
Have you ever been catfished? Or caught a catfish?
No. I’ve been with the same person for so long that when we met, social media wasn’t a big thing!
Do you think you'll be able to spot any catfish on the show?
Yeah, I can smell a lie. Three weeks is a long time to lie. I just have to find the balance between interrogating and getting to know them. The minute I spot a chink in the armour I will let them know. What are they going to do about it? Make a group chat and tell everyone that I’m after them?
Do you think what you say on The Circle matters or will you say anything if it would help you win?
I think everything you say always matters. I don’t think there is a scenario where it doesn’t matter, especially on a recorded television programme! That’s why I wouldn’t want to be anyone else, you can’t be too flippant with your own integrity.
• Has social media made it easier or more difficult for people to find romance? Do you think it is possible to fall in love online?
Definitely easier, but I think there is more intrinsically bad with social media than there is good. The people that are caught out and effected by it are often the ones that are most vulnerable. There could be someone sat in their bedroom desperately in love with a catfish in Texas who is actually a bloke.
Will you be open to people flirting with you on the show?
Innocent flirting is part of the course. Flirting with intent would feel wrong. I’m a genuinely happily married man and I’m looking forward to going home to my wife and kids. I don’t have it in me to humour it for too long. But innocent banter is just part of life.
Do you want to win? How far will you go to win?
I want to not lose more than I want to win. The money is less important. For me the important bit is to be myself and get to the final. The winning for me would be to not have a catfish win it!
What would you do with the prize money?
I’d put it into the businesses that I have. I’m not going to lie and say I would give it all to charity, because I try and do decent things anyway. I would try and grow one of my businesses which is a food market where we mainly use only independent produce. I would just carry on what I’m doing now because it’s what I’m passionate about. If I was in a scenario where I thought someone was genuine, I would be open to the idea of seeing them win if the money would do more for them.
Any surprising facts or hidden talents that we should know about you?
I have ulcerative colitis and had lifesaving surgery where they removed my large bowel at 18 but I didn’t let it affect my life or career, it only pushed me further. I think if you meet me you wouldn’t think that by 22 I was the youngest general manager at a football stadium in Europe at a premier league club and also went on to run other high profile stadiums and events. By 30 I ran one of the largest E sports events in Europe. By 32 I was one of the youngest listed board directors on an Aim listed business, and was the chairman of one of the world’s largest model brick building company.
The Circle begins tonight at 9:15pm on Channel 4 and is available to stream on All4.