He was a quirky casting choice, pure and simple. Best known for his eccentric attitude and long-standing TV show (The Sky at Night) Moore was also a jobbing TV presenter who'd been on a number of other shows in the recent past, suggesting that he was touting himself around as a "presenter for hire".
In this interview with Eurogamer (entitled Gamesmaster, The Inside Story) we learn how the producer's casting decision was made:
According to Dave Perry, the original plan was to hire a child. "We
auditioned a load of kids but we couldn't quite find anyone who had
the precociousness to carry off the role," he says. "We started to
talk about quirky presenters and someone suggested Patrick Moore. It
was the nearest we could get to finding a big baby to deliver the
Watching the show now, it's hard to imagine the role of the
GamesMaster being played by anyone else. Moore was the perfect foil
for Diamond, rising above his schoolboy antics to bring order and
authority to the proceedings. He could be stern as a Willans and
Searle headmaster, but there was always a twinkle in his eye. Best of
all, he was utterly believable as the fount of all video games
knowledge when dispensing tips in the "Consoletation Zone".
"He didn't understand anything of what he was saying," says Diamond.
"But he just nailed it. He did everything in one take; he was a
"Patrick was a good sport," says Jonny Ffinch. "He had the general
gist that this was a faintly subversive activity. He would pretend not
to understand all the double entendres, but he did really."
That being said, it seems that the producers are keen to suggest that his interest wasn't financial:
Director Cameron McAllister, who was so keen to avoid trying to be
trendy, was thrilled to have Moore on board. "He was a massive coup
because he was as uncool as you could get," he says. "He was
hilarious, a completely eccentric old duffer. He was like the Boris
Johnson of outer space."
Cynics might assume Moore was only in it for the money, but they'd be
wrong. McAllister still remembers the salary negotiation: "Patrick
said, 'Ah, yes. Well, I did something before and they asked me what my
fee should be, and I told them, and we drank it.' That was his
approach - a bottle of whisky."
Moore was never on the set of the live show. His sections were filmed
separately over a couple of days and then he and the production team
would go out to lunch.