Kids’ TV presenters, Sam Nixon, 25, and Mark Rhodes, 29, are still going
strong as a double act eight years after meeting on Pop Idol. We caught up
with the boys for a game of frisbee.
Where: Hyde Park, London (on the hottest day of the year)
So who’s going to win this game?
Mark: I’d put your money on me. [He’s limbering up. This is serious.]
Sam: Yeah, I’d back Mark all the way, too. The only sport I play is
Badminton? Not very rock ’n’ roll…
Sam: We’ve tried to be cool, but we can’t pull it off. It would help if
we liked to roll out of nightclubs at 3am, but it’s just not in us.
Mark: You’re more likely to find us down the pub – Sam supping a pint
of bitter and me with a glass of red wine.
Is it exhausting being super-smiley and enthusiastic all the time on TV?
Sam: We do have off days sometimes, but the viewers would never know.
Mark: We know each other well enough to compensate for the other one.
So, what’s the biggest argument you’ve ever had?
Mark: This sounds so clichéd, but we’ve never had a cross word with
Really? But you can’t spend all day together without falling out, surely?
Sam: Unlike a lot of other duos [who on earth could he mean?!], we
didn’t grow up together so our home lives are separate, which gives us some
Mark: It’s healthy because we go our own ways and have plenty to talk
about when we get back together.
So you don’t live in neighbouring flats à la Ant and Dec?
Mark: I’m getting married next year! We’ve got to be grown-ups now.
There are a few Tube stops between us.
Tell us about your new show Sam & Mark’s Big Friday Wind Up…
Sam: It’s a zany entertainment show that we hope families will sit down
and watch together.
Mark: Kids and their parents set each other challenges in order to win
Is the plan to follow the Ant and Dec path from kids’ TV to prime-time
Sam: If we could have half their success I’d be delighted. A
Saturday-night show would be the dream.
Mark: Being compared to Ant and Dec is a great compliment – they’re the
best at what they do. If we were compared to Zig and Zag then I might be
You met as aspiring pop stars on Pop Idol – what happened to that dream?
Mark: I went on Pop Idol to become a pop star. But people thought we
might be good as a pair on TV. And thank God, they did because I love what
we do – I’d never go back into the music business.
Sam: Music was my passion, but when it became a job I lost that. When
you’re in a boy band you have to come across a certain way, but whenever we
went on TV shows we just wanted to have a laugh. Sadly, you have to be a bit
cool if you want to be a pop star – and we ain’t!
Sam & Mark’s Big Friday Wind-Up starts on CBBC on September 16. Visit Samandmark.com.
Bottles of water drunk: 8
Number of sun-weary passers-by who looked at us as if we were mad:
Times factor 30 had to be applied: 3
Times the frisbee almost took an eye out: 2
WORDS: SANDIE JONES PHOTOGRAPHY: JAMIE HUGHES, REX