Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most of you will have heard of The Traitors by now. It’s a reality show/ game show, and it’s so totally captivating. I’m not usually one for reality type shows, but I enjoyed Netflix’s The Mole and figured that this might be similar. Turns out the two shows are actually very different, but The Traitors ended up being so much better.
There are multiple versions for a few different countries, but the one I’m referring to is the UK version. My patriotic bias aside, most people seem to agree it’s the best version, and I think the reason for this is the incredible cast of players. There’s such diversity, and it makes for such interesting telly. I loved the interpersonal dynamics, and all of them seemed so genuine.
Of all of the contestants, my favourite was Ivan Brett. I immediately related to him as he’s an author, and writing is one of my main passions in life. I loved his verve for creativity, and was gutted when he left the show. Since the show ended, I’ve followed several of the players on social media, Ivan included. One day, after watching one of his Tiktok lives, I decided to shoot my shot and see if he’d be interested in an interview. I was expecting either a rejection or no response at all, but to my delight, he said yes! Read on for my interview with Ivan Brett from The Traitors!
Who is Ivan Brett?
Whilst the US version interspersed their cast with celebrities, the UK version just used real people from all walks of life. Personally, I much prefer that, as I found it so much easier to connect with the everyday people. However, despite not being a celebrity, Ivan is no stranger to being on TV.
As a child, he appeared on several shows, apparently living every kid’s dream. He may also be familiar to those of you who watch quiz shows. He appeared in several episodes of Only Connect, a show where contestants have to find connections between clues. His debut episode was in September 2019, but he appeared a few times throughout the series, including a Christmas special.
Outside of TV, Ivan’s done all sorts. He used to be a teacher, and taught primary school children for 3 years. Apparently he was known as “the fun teacher”, and I don’t doubt that for a second. Nowadays, his job involves one of his true passions; Dungeons & Dragons. He’s also an author, and has written books about games, such as The Floor is Lava. He’s also written a children’s book series called Casper Candlewacks.
Ivan also happens to be one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. I was feeling really nervous ahead of this interview and he instantly made me feel at ease. The fame hasn’t gone to his head, and he was so friendly, almost to a fault. In fact, he kept asking me questions back out of a genuine interest in me as an individual! It felt less like giving an interview and more like talking to a friend. It’s clear that Ivan is every bit as decent as he appeared on the show.
Discussing The Traitors
Having been so enthralled by the show, I was eager to know more about Ivan’s experience, and he certainly delivered. Going into the interview, I had no idea how long it would last as I knew it would be entirely dependent upon Ivan’s answers, but it was even better than I could’ve hoped. He never failed to give me a great answer, and he spoke with so much energy and detail. It was easy to see just how passionate he was about The Traitors. You’ll have to watch the interview to learn everything he had to say, but below are some of the highlights:
It’s an Epic Game
One thing that was clear throughout all of Ivan’s answers was how much he viewed the show as a game. Given his background, that’s unsurprising, but he really showcased his knowledge about all the secrets and intrigue that may be missed at a surface level. He acknowledged how easy it had been to get caught up in the emotions, and spoke about how he kept on trying to bring it back to the game itself. He wanted to view it as something fun that he was playing rather than getting too caught up in the drama.
Ivan also shared a lot about his own personal strategies. The Traitors didn’t give many opportunities to discover who was a Traitor, so Ivan had to get tactical. He revealed that every night after the banishments, he’d been going home to write down everything he remembered about who had voted for who. This was a very smart decision as it was one of the few pieces of information that could actually lead to catching a traitor. It’s a shame he never got the chance to make use of his strategy.
He also spoke about the us V them nature of the Traitors and Faithfuls. He said that there was such a hatred of the Traitors which on reflection seems silly, but was so intense in the moment. I found this fascinating, because that was something I’d pondered a lot when watching the show. I couldn’t understand why the contestants were getting so personal about alignments, and hearing Ivan explain it was so interesting.
He did express sympathy for the Traitors, though. Ivan said he felt guilt vicariously for all the murders that they had to commit. It was easy to tell how glad he was not to be responsible for that. He seemed very comfortable with his position as a Faithful, and said that if he were to ever be on The Traitors again, he’d want to be a Faithful again. However, he did say he would have accepted an invite to be a Traitor. Not because he wanted to be one, but because it was the optimal play.
He also spoke more about the recruitment process, and said how he applied to be a Faithful. Technically he just applied to be on the show, but he said that they did ask about which side he’d want to be on. Ivan was clear that all through the process, he’d been most keen on being a Faithful. His main reasoning for this was that he liked the improbability of winning as a Faithful. He started breaking out the statistics, and he admitted he loved the unlikeliness of victory. Ivan also said “I wasn’t in there to manipulate”. He didn’t want to play the mind games of a Traitor, he wanted to be the one figuring things out.
One of the biggest discussions surrounding The Traitors has to be the controversy over Kieran’s final words. With just two words, “parting gift”, Kieran changed the entire trajectory of the finale. I’ve seen multiple debates online about this, so I was keen to get Ivan’s take on it.
He was very diplomatic, and hesitated to give an opinion on whether or not he thought it broke the rules. Instead, he spoke about it from the position of how it affected the show. He felt that it made for great TV, and that one of the things he loved about The Traitors is how real it was. Ivan said that regardless of the rules, it was what happened, and it made that final banishment so much more intense.
We then brainstormed some ideas about how the show-runners could avoid issues like that in a future series. It was a lot of fun and we both came up with some unique ideas. The BBC should be paying us a fee for doing their job for them!
To end off the part of the interview where we discussed the show, I suggested doing a quickfire round. Ivan was really enthusiastic about this, and was only too happy to entertain the idea. I would give a statement about one of the contestants, and he’d answer which one of them it most applied to. I told him he couldn’t say himself for any of the answers. It’s more fun if you watch the video, but I’ll also write his answers here for you:
- Funniest – Hannah
- Smartest – Rayan
- Takes ages to get ready – Aisha
- If you had to be stuck in a lift with one of them – Maddy
- Would do well in an escape room – Tom
- Life of the party – Aaron
- Can never make their mind up – Nobody (apparently they’re all really decisive!)
- Most determined – Wilf
- Best cook – Wilf (but he wanted to go for himself!)
- Closest friend – Maddy
Let’s talk interests!
As well as discussing The Traitors, I wanted to get to know more about Ivan as a person. TV shows can only portray so much about someone’s personality, so I wanted to delve deeper. We spoke about all kinds of topics, from books to games to TV, and Ivan was so enthusiastic about sharing his hobbies.
Ivan is absolutely obsessed with games, and almost everything he does links back to that initial interest. Even as a teacher, he’d play games with the students, and would sometimes end up in trouble with management because of it. But Ivan feels that play is fundamentally a good thing and that it should be encouraged for everyone of all ages. I really love his approach to life, because I feel the same way. I don’t think ‘growing up’ means that people should have to stop playing games, and I always try to find the fun in life, just like Ivan does.
Ivan also mentioned how he studied Philosophy, and how he drew inspiration from classic thought experiments. He found they got his creative juices flowing, and he liked using them as prompts for his writing. Much like myself, Ivan enjoys playing board games, and he revealed that some of his favourites are Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy, Carcasonne, and Small World.
Ivan had strong opinions about the changes to the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game Licence. Despite loving D&D, he explained how it’s not and never will be the best tabletop rpg. I’ll be honest, I have very little experience with ttrpgs so I don’t fully understand it, but Ivan summed up his feelings very well. Also, in case you were wondering, Ivan prefers the Bard class when he plays. He describes himself as a forever DM (Dungeon Master), though!
Two Truths and a Lie
Given that The Traitors is all about deception, I thought it would be fun to end the interview with a segment to test Ivan’s skills. I played the classic game of Two Truths and a Lie. If you’re unfamiliar, he had to give three statements, two of which were true, and one which was made up. The statements he gave were:
- I’ve appeared on TV with a broken jaw.
- I’ve appeared on TV playing a left-handed piano.
- I’ve appeared on TV getting custard pie-d by Lenny Henry.
But which one was the lie? Did I guess correctly? You’ll have to watch the video to find out! He also wanted to try his hand at catching me out, and so we played a second round. How did Ivan fare when he was the one spotting the lie?
I’ve tried to summarise a lot of the interview for this article, but there’s so much more for you to discover. The interview ended up lasting nearly an hour, and it’s easily one of my favourite things I’ve ever produced for Screen Hype. There’s so much fascinating content, and I urge you to watch the full thing. As well as the topics I’ve mentioned already, we also delve into Ivan’s favourite video games and TV shows. He even shares some fun anecdotes from his time on The Traitors.
I had such a blast doing my interview with Ivan Brett from The Traitors and hopefully you’ve all enjoyed it too. The show has been such a cultural phenomenon, and I’m thrilled to have been able to participate in the hype in this small way. Have you watched The Traitors? Who were your favourite contestants? What did you think of Ivan’s interview?