Claudia Winkleman has said she was so taken aback by the success of the first series of The Traitors that she did not want to do another one.

The TV star hosts the psychological reality show in which 22 contestants must take part in a game of deception and detection in a bid to win £120,000.

She said: “The success of the first series literally winded us.”

She continued: “I said to lovely Studio Lambert (the production company) and the BBC ‘Let’s just leave it. This thing happened, this magical thing happened. Enough!’

“The head of the BBC said she wanted to take my temperature.

“So we went again but I’m nervous and weird about it.”

The first series of the show was a ratings hit, as viewers were gripped by the twists and turns of the deception as it unravelled.

Winkleman said: “What happened never happens. It was overwhelming for all of us.

“When Kathy Burke, who is a hero of mine, and Russell T Davies, when they tweeted, I was amazed with the whole experience.

“It felt like some sort of magical dust and I just don’t want people’s expectations to be so high.”

Assessing what made the show so popular, she said: “The people who make it are extraordinary and the game is compelling.

“And I also think it taps into… I don’t know about you, but I’ve been told that all my life – trust your gut.

“When you meet somebody and you fall in love, or you think you’ve fallen in love, or you get asked to do a job, trust your gut.

“But it turns out you can’t. Your gut can tell you absolutely nothing, you have no idea what you’re doing and other people are lying to us.”

Winkleman said a major difference with the second outing of the show is that the contestants have seen the first series.

She said: “They have watched it, they think they know how to play. Happily, don’t worry, they don’t.”

– The Traitors will return on January 3 from 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and episodes 2 and 3 will be available on iPlayer immediately afterwards.

The show will air on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.