QI Watchdown: H2 (H-Anatomy) or I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BISCUIT!

So, way back in Series A, we had the very first ‘Oh my god this is amazing’ episode of QI. And it starred an incredibly british chap named Gyles Brandreth, who never everything and spoke in a very thick, twee voice. And Rob Brydon and Rich Hall proceeded to steal the episode right from under him, turning his billion right answers into a spree of jokes. Gyles by himself can be a tad underwhelming, so with good support he can be enjoyable.

Tonight might not be as good support as Rich and Rob, but instead Sue Perkins and Bill Bailey are here to buffer Gyles a bit, in a special Anatomy themed episode.

Observations: Sue, after her fairly normal debut, has gone to her usual style of wearing her hair in a very boyish cut, which she’ll probably keep with for the rest of her appearances. Bill is wearing a full-on Dragonball t-shirt. Gyles has much less hair than he did in 2003.

The intros for all four have a ‘hand’ for Sue, a ‘HOORAY’ for Bill, a ‘HIP-HIP-HOORAY’ for Gyles, and a loud scream for Alan. All four buzzers are these recorded audio cues, even the ‘hair-raising scream’, which seems to freak Alan out.
Bill: “Already, this is one of the weirdest shows I’ve ever been on…”

Stephen: “What can you tell about someone from their hands.”
Alan: “How long you’re gonna live, what job you’re gonna have…”
Bill: “Your future…”
KLAXON- THE FUTURE
Now Alan and Bill start arguing who should get the -10 points. Bill even goes “he started it, I just went along with it…”

Gyles, after Stephen says the correlation between hands and future has never been proved: “But there are people who feel they’ve done it.”
Stephen: “Yes, but feeling you’ve done something is not quite the same as empirical scientific fact- thank God you’re out of government.”

behind Stephen tonight are two scientific example skeletons, just for the theme. When Stephen’s explaining an answer, someone offscreen starts moving one of them toward Stephen, putting a bony hand on his back. It turns out there’s a piece of wire…going all the way to Alan’s chair. Yeah, that’s pretty perfect. Eventually Alan yanks it so hard that the skeleton falls.

Gyles: “He, being gay, spent a lot of time in North Africa…”
Sue, making fun of him: “NORTH AFRICAAAA.”
Gyles: “One of the things I found when I was in North Africa…”
Sue: “Are you coming out? Is this a coming out story? Cause if it is, that [Gyles with his finger up in the air] will be the picture, so just watch out…”
Gyles: “I might not, but tonight could be the night…”
Sue: “I know your party’s well behind you…”

Gyles: “I don’t mean to namedrop, but I met Desmond Tutu, and he held my hand like this for a long, long time.”
Bill: “As he said to his aides ‘Who is this again?'”

Stephen: “I have no evidence of this. I know that Andre Ghee went to North Africa..”
Gyles: “Oh, that’s who I’m thinking of…” [Facepalm]

Gyles is actually doing a lot better making jokes and playing along with people like Sue and Stephen, in addition to sharing his wealth of knowledge. There’s a reason I loved him the first time he was on, and that’s because he’s very genuine about what he knows, and who he is. It’s not like a John Sessions/Rory McGrath facts for the sake of looking good kind of thing. This is who Gyles is, and the fact that he knows this makes up his personality.

There’s a great running character bit where Gyles, in order to demonstrate something, keeps requiring Sue’s hand. Sue, being very gay, hates even the slightest touch from a guy, so every time, she’s very reluctant. One time, Gyles even says “I need you to be my biscuit”, and Sue, horrified, backs away going “I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BISCUIT!”

Stephen: “Are there other names for an angels’ halo?”
Gyles: “Gloriole!”
Stephen: “Yes, Glory ‘ole”
Gyles, dodging outright: “No, it’s got to be Gloriole! He say Gloriole!”
Stephen: “It’s a shame, cause Glory’ole is somehow better, I don’t see why. Describe the Pope’s Glory’ole.”
Oh dear lord Stephen…

Sue: “Are there other shaped…glory’oles? Like, is there a triangular glory’ole?”
Stephen: “A TRIANGULAR GLORI’OLE!”
Bill: “What, so somebody’s stuffing Toblerone’s right in there.”
Second episode in a row to mention Toblerone. Thankfully it has nothing to do with Richard Fairbrass’ bum.

Alan just keeps playing with the shrunken head, and pressing the buzzer with it, so there’d be a high-pitched scream every time the head hit it.

Stephen: “But how do you shrink a head.”
Alan: “Put it in the washing machine at a very high temperature…”

Stephen: ‘What happens if you try to comb a hairy ball?”
Sue: “Ask Bill.”
Man…it’s a good thing Bill’s heard worse from Mark Lamarr.

Gyles, in his nosebleed answer, goes “you could lie back.”
Sue and Stephen: “Oh, no…”
Gyles, sensing a klaxon: ‘NO NO! I MEAN-”
KLAXON

Gyles and Sue tie for first. Gyles turn to shake Sue’s hand, and Sue winces, going back to the episode’s runner, before finally shaking it.

Overall: A very fun and breezy episode, though the droughts in the middle did slow the grade down a bit. Gyles was a wonderful addition, and his way of working with Sue was definitely a great improvement. Sue was a wonderful connector as usual, and Bill, though down from his usual material, was still very funny.

MVP: Gyles
Best Guest: Sue
Show Winners: Gyles and Sue
Best QI Fact: Shrunken heads
Best Runner: Gyles and Sue handshakes.

Nevermind Watchdown: S14E5 or LIONEL’S JOKE GOES IN!

Onto Episode 5, featuring Lionel Blair, which can only be a good thing. Not only that, but Tommy Scott, lead singer of Space, an indie rock band I have indeed heard of, is on the program.

Gareth Jones is a huge-time presenter. Mikey Green sang with Popstars-ilk Phixx.

Mark, to Lionel: “Nine years ago, I don’t know if you remember. We danced together.”
Lionel: “Yes, of course. I was Fred Astaire, and you were Ginger.”
Mark: “I’m not quite sure that wasn’t just the way he looks at it…”

Bill mentions that he and Lionel were in a Limbo Dancing competition once. I believe Bill brought this one up in an episode of QI, too.

I’m not writing down all the ‘Alex is gay’ jokes, because not all of them are funny, but there are quite a few of them. At least Mark throws a Patrick Kielty joke in there too.

Mark: “Recently Garth Brooks started a foundation for underprivileged children called [dramatic pause and smirk] ‘The Touch-‘Em-All Foundation’. [The whole audience laughs]…I’m just saying. If this show’s repeated in ten years time, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

Because Lionel’s in the building, Intros round has been replaced with just Bill and Lionel (or whoever) miming the name of the song. Lionel gets in trouble right off the bat with ‘Illegal Alien’, because he thinks that ‘Illegal’ has 2 syllables. Mark has to stop him, and go “Lionel…that first word has three syllables.”

For ‘alien’, Bill just holds his fingers over his forehead (like an alien), as Lionel’s going “SOUNDS LIKE…”
Mark: “Sounds like Moose, apparently…”

In order to get Tommy the full title, Bill, Lionel and MARK ESPECIALLY just start doing even more over the top stuff. Bill stands on the desk and everything. Once he gets it, all three in unison yell “YES!!” It’s hysterical, the whole process.

Lionel: “Fourth word.”
Mark: “DON’T SAY ‘FOURTH WORD’, DO [symbol for four] THAT!”
Lionel: “WELL, HE’S STUPID! HE’S FUCKING STUPID!”
Bill: “HEY!”
Tommy: “It mustn’t be a shit show. I’VE WATCHED THIS!”
Mark: “I can see why, in seven years, we’ve never tried this before.”

I’m not writing a ton in this episode, but that shouldn’t undermine it’s greatness. There’s a ton going on, especially in the Next Lines, with Mikey, and how competitive he gets (“SLOW DOWN”) Also, Lionel’s just having a hell of a time overall, and you can tell Mark loves having him on, sort of like the Jimmy Cliff episode.

Phill, after Lionel misses a cue, “He’s only doing the show because Mark promised to give him a kidney…”
Mark: “I meant a dinner…”

Mikey, after trying to flirt with the ID Parade members: “What’d you give ’em to make ’em look so unhappy?”
Mark: “We set Gaz there.”
Gareth: “She would eat you up and spit you out, Mikey…”
Mikey: “That’s what I’m hoping…”

Mark, after the real Angie Brown has been introduced, he sets her up with what she’s doing now, and instead of just saying ‘Angie Brown, ladies and gentlemen’, he goes “ANGIE….ANNNNNNJEEHH…WHERE DOES THIS LEEEEAD US FROM HEE-EEE-EE-EERRE…Brown, ladies and gentlemen.”
Angie of course smiles it off, having heard it a billion times before.

Oh dear god. So for Bill’s ID Parade, which is the lead singer/keyboard player for Ultrasound…only one of the people on the lineup is actually dressed like the keyboardist for Ultrasound. The other four, INCLUDING ATHELSTON, are dressed as pirates. This is getting so ridiculous now.

Of course, Mark goes “Is #1 ‘Tiny’ Wood? YES.” Which is either a pathetic way of giving Bill the answer or a sneaky double entendre.

Athelston is #3, ‘Cape of No Hope’, and he’s done so much with the ‘pirate’ thing that he’s even got a fake parrot around his neck, which Mark absolutely adores.

Mark: “I’ll give you a clue…#5’s been on before, and it’s very difficult to make him drop his sword.”

Bill: “Can we see the whole lot together? Yes, it’s Anne Widdicombe and crew.”

Lionel, after saying he’s played the Criminologist in the Rocky Horror Show: “I’m also gonna be in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I’ll be playing the Child Catcher, and I’ll be dressed up like Michael Jackson.”
Mark: “You know what? If you’ve seen that go on television, that means that I’ve won an arm-wrestle with out lawyers.”

Overall: Another really nice episode, and a slight improvement on Episode 4. Lionel was having the time of his life, Gaz and Mikey were ridiculous at points, and Tommy was giving some good responses. Solid panel, but this episode is mostly worth it for ID Parade, and a ton of the Lionel bits.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Lionel
Best Runner: Mark dancing while sitting down.

Nevermind Watchdown: S14E4 or IT’S GETTING BUC-CAN-EER! SO TAKE OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHES!

As if this season didn’t have enough momentum already, here comes a Jimmy Carr episode.

Tony Wilson, famous record promoter, is back with us. New players are Alistair Griffin, who was on Fame Academy, and Carol Decker, who was in T’Pau.

The show opens with a british army soldier searching Mark’s mouth for Saddam Hussein. Kinda sums up the tone of this episode.

Mark asks how misuse of a telephone got Ike Turner in trouble.
Jimmy: “Was it used to call the police?”
Mark: “I’m gonna give you a point for that, because if it went to trial, I think you’d win.”

Jimmy: “So, the lyrics then were ‘Ooh Aah Ooh Aah Ooh Aah Ooh Aah’? So, she wrote that then?”
Mark: “She might have done it. It was a Wurzles tribute record.”
Bill: “Are you inpuning the Wurzles?”
Mark: “No, I was saying that Ooh Aah…are you telling me that the Wurzles never said ‘Ooh Aah’?”
Bill: “No, they didn’t. They started out as a German Expressionist Synth Band.”
Mark: “And their expression was ‘Ooh Aah.’
Bill: “They sold out. They went all ‘Ooh Aar.’

Mark asks what Pete Townshend did with a hearse.
Phill: “Did he knick one, but, like, DURING a funeral?”
Mark: “What, a really slow getaway? Driving ten miles an hour, out of respect.”

Tony: “Does the crime involve Jimmy Savile?”
Mark: “….No.”
Phill: “Cause Savile was a very astute businessman. Maybe he had a fleet of hearses. SavileCabs. ‘Hey, we’ve got te pick up UC over there, now get in da hearse.”

Jimmy: ‘it has something to do with cricket.”
Mark: “It’s the theme to cricket, but we’re looking for the title.”
Jimmy: “Stumpy Bats?”
Mark: “How did you know my nickname at school?”
Bill: “It’s like stumpy bats.”
Mark: “We have to call them little people now…”

Mark, because Tony’s not getting a damn thing in Intros, just says the entire answer (‘hold me close by David Essex’), TWICE, so he can get it.
Tony: “When you said ‘Hold me close, by David Essex’…was that a clue?”
Mark just looks at him for a second.

For the 1st ID Parade, for #5, Mark brings back the dancing to the Del Shannon guitar break, which is still very funny.

Mark, after another Bill line: “Did someone give him Nesquik before the show? He always gets a little…boing!”
Bill: “And a couple of lines…”

For Phill’s ID Parade…oh lord. The actual D-Ring member is #1. There’s 3 pirates. And one guy who looks like Athelston, but isn’t him. Man, this just keeps getting better.
Mark even goes: “IT’S GONNA BE A TOUGH ONE, THIS ONE…”

#5, which made me laugh, is “…IT’S GETTIN’ BUC-CAN-NEER! SO TAKE OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHES!”

Mark: “I’d like to point out as well that our normal #2, Athelston, who’s always in the lineup? He was busy. So we’ve got a tribute Athelston. We’re hoping to get him next week, but he’s gotten a bit big-headed and all…”
Phill, looking over the panel: “And as the honor guard from the Swiss navy meet the Zambian ambassador…”

Mark, doing a Next Line: “And I find it kind of funny, and I find it kind of sad- it’s a review of this show!”

Mark: “I love your work action”
Jimmy: “Thanks very much.”
Mark: “…lovely work, frying pan face…”

Mark: “I know a girl from a lonely street”
Bill, thinking it’s Lonely Goatherd, yodels
Mark absolutely loses it
Mark: ‘Yes, it was Debbie Harry in the Sound of Music”

Mark: “Stop…”
Allstair and Phill: “…in the name of love?”
Mark, shaking his head: “Hammer time…”

Overall: The last bit of this episode was cut off, but it was one of the weaker installments of the series thus far, even with another hysterical ID Parade. Tony and Carol were fun, and Jimmy Carr was Jimmy Carr (even though Mark was beginning to spar with him), but there wasn’t a ton of material between the panel. Very thin in that respect, though not without moments.

Best Regular: Bill
Best Guest: Jimmy
Best Runner: Ooh Aar Ooh Aar.

Nevermind Watchdown: S14E3 or Buzzcocks and its Nazi Japery

Series 14, two episodes in, already may be one of the funniest in the show’s history. And tonight, to help that, we’ve got another So-Solid Crew Member, Lisa Maffia, and another appearance from Dave “I do Johnny Vegas’ schtick, but funnier, and in a different accent” Johns.

David Grant was a member of Linx, and is a vocal coach. Mike Lewis is the bassist for Lostprophets.

Bill points out, in the Stones video, that there’s a guy sitting down with a glazed expression, and glazed tips, in the corner.
Dave: “He’s going “OOOOH YOU KNOW, I should get some frosted windows put in this toilet.”
David: “He’s sitting there thinking “…what about ‘Sting’ as a stage name…”

Bill: “That’s a can of Ronco Leach-Away.”
Dave: “Or else it’s a small German u-boat, and that’s the tip… “VE SEE DA MAN IN DE TOILET. FILL ZE TUBES.”
Mark: “CALL TWEEDY.”
Dave: “CAPTAIN TWEEDY, WE SEE HIM.”

Phill, on R. Kelly and Blue’s lead singer: “So one of them pretended to be blind to win a talent contest. Or did they just pretend to be blind to win the sympathy of the audience?”
Mark: “Do you think…I’M THERE, when all these things happen?”
Phill: “YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT??”
Mark: “Yeah, I went to school…with BLUE AND R. KELLY.”
Phill: “You don’t wanna be at school with R. Kelly my friend…”
Mark: “It’s not paedophile if you’re a kid yourself, is it?”
Phill: “I dunno…does it count?”
Mark: “Well then we’re all paedophiles…”
Phill: “ARE WE?”

Mark, with his rock-colored-glasses, tries to comprehend Lisa liking Blue.
Lisa: “I think they’re one of the best boy bands out there.”
Mark: “That’s like calling something the less-stinky poo…”

Mark, right before giving the intros to David and bill, says he had it stuck in his head, “I’m the Urban Spaceman”, and was about to sing it, but that might ruin the quiz. “Anyway, Dave, that’s your clue.”

Dave: “Come on, give us another…”
Mark: “I BLOODY SAID IT WAS THE ‘I’M THE URBAN SPACEMAN’!”
Dave: “…I know, but I want to GUESS it.”
Mark nods, and cracks up to himself.

I’m not writing every little argument down, but this episode is pretty golden, because there are a ton of Mark-Dave moments, and a ton of Mark-Bill moments, in between scenes. For Dave’s second intro, Dave knows the song but keep guessing the wrong part of the title, and Mark just keeps screwing with him.

Bill, under his breath: “She sells sanctuary…”
Mark: “It is, of course…could you say it out loud, for the show?”
Bill: “SHE SELLS…SANCTUARY.”
Mark: “Well, not like a twat. The first time, it was sort of under your breath, and the second time, you did it like..”…SHE SELLS…[flair] SANCTUARY! Someone else do it, he can’t act.”
Dave: “i’ll do it. SHE SELLS SANK TREE.”
Mark: “well HOW WAS *THAT* better than him?”
Bill: “David, you have a go.”
Mark: “David, what’s the name of the song?”
David: “She sells sanctuary.”
Mark: “That’s exactly what we were looking for, it was at easy as that. YOU TWO, who CLAIM to be great actors…actually, Bill doesn’t, but he once passed for a human in a lift…”

Mark keeps screwing with Lisa as she’s waiting for Mike to guess the intro.
Lisa: “KEEP OUTTA THIS ONE.”
Mark: “*I HOST THE SHOW!!*”
Lisa: “YOU *SPLAIN* IT…you do.”
Mark: “You don’t scare me…Maffia.”
Mark then realizes the context of what he just said, and makes an expression of “wait a minute, that can’t be right…”

For Bill’s ID Parade, now the number of Pirates has DOUBLED. And the number of Athlestons have stayed the same.
#3, the Pirate, is ‘Dr. Look-shit.”
#4- “Doctor, I think we’re losing him.”
#5, Athelston: “Doctor, I’m sure we’ve lost him.”

Mark: “Now, David, d’you want any clues on this one?”
David: “That’d be nice.”
Mark: “Well…it ain’t number 2, 3 or 5. D’you know why?”
David: “Why?”
Mark: “One’s Athelston, he’s here every week. The other 2 are pirates.”

Dave: “#2 looks like a very camp pirate, doesn’t he? The pirate of camp men’s pants.”
Even #2 starts cracking up here.

David: “I thought they were members of Adam and the Ants, 2 and 3.”
Bill: “Dandy Highwaymen.”
Mark: “YES, THEY’RE THE DANDY HIGHWAYMEN *OF THE SEA!*”

Dave: “#1’s got this sort of relaxed look to him-”
Mark: “But he’s being protected by pirates. He’s in between Maffia and Pirates. There’s not a safer man in the world.”

Overall: Another really strong episode, thanks to Dave being himself, Lisa and David being a ton of fun, and Mark picking fights with just about everyone. A ton to love in this one, even if it was slightly a step down from the last 2.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Dave
Best Runner: Lisa’s death glare

QI Watchdown: H1 (Hodge-Podge), or Toblerone-Rolo Combo

Onto yet another Series of QI, the H series, featuring some definite flux in how the show goes, and who gets the reins of semi-reg-ship. Tonight has two people we’ve seen before, Phill Jupitus and Jack Dee, and one person we’re going to see dozens of times down the stretch, Ross Noble.

The buzzers are all ‘hello’ bells of some sort. Ross’s is a retread of Alan’s ‘RING-A-DING-RING-A-DING’ buzzer from a few X-Mas shows ago. Alan’s is just a Klaxon, which gives him a -10 right off the bat.

The very first question of the show concerns people with long hair, so the behind-screen shows two pictures of Ross bordering a photo of a woman’s legs and skirt, with a sad banked right between the legs. Ross even goes “the sad part is I’m wearing the exact same shirt.”
Jack: “I’ve gotta hand it to you Ross, you’ve got lovely legs.”
Ross: “Oddly enough, that suppository was the oddest shaped one I’ve ever used…”

Stephen: “The full question is why do bankers like long-haired men and short-skirted women?”
Phill: “bi-curious.”

Stephen: “What do bankers want more than anything else?”
Phill: “TA BE ROLLING IN MONEH!”
Stephen: “And when do bankers make the most money?”
Jack: “Summertime?”
Alan: “In the 60’s?”

Stephen: “What starts with H and means you’ll always be the bridesmaid and never the bride?”
Phill: “Hepatitis C?”
Stephen, composing himself: “Oddly enough, you’re surprisingly close in a kind of way…”
Phill: “Herpes.”
Stephen: “You’ve got the right first and last letter.”
Jack: “Halitosis?”
Stephen: “Yes, that’s the right answer.”
Jack: “Is that right? I could have come up with that and gotten a laugh in the first place…”

On the conversation about breath ailments
Alan: “I had a picture taken once with a koala…”
Ross: “You could just leave that there…”

The whole conversation on koala’s breaths, how people can suck on Koalas if they’re suffering from asthma, is hysterical, because everyone on the panel is joining in, even Jack. It helps that Ross and Phill are so great at connecting people’s jokes.

Jack, voicing his disgust on the left-handed pencil sharpener: “They should have adapted when they were younger..Like, what’s wrong with having a stutter?”
Stephen: “It’s not a condition, being left-handed…”
Jack: “Well, you SAY that…”

Jack next gets the left-handed can opener, and he’s still really pissed off, and tries to open a can, right-handed, and just puts it down.
Ross: “The only thing that could annoy jack more now is if he opens that can, and it’s all left-handed peaches.”
Man, Ross’s humor is just the right kind of lovable absurdist.

Ross gets a question right about motorcycles and cameras, and he dodges a klaxon and gets points. After he’s graciously thanking people for the applause, he goes, perfect “I’d just like to point out…that is the only thing I know. And as you started to say that, in my mind I was going “…I know what he’s going to say here…I can use me one bit of knowledge.”

Stephen asks for what kind of gun his german word means. Someone from the audience shouts out “assault rifle”, which is correct.
Jack: “Uh, that was slightly scary there, wasn’t it?”
Alan: “Yeah, you know you said that out loud. You didn’t think about it…”
Phill, thick voice: ‘AH’VE GOT EIGHT IN MAH BUNKAH. CAN’T TELL YOU WHERE, IT’S A SECRET LOCATIUHH…”
Alan, holding up the can of peaches: “Ah’ve got hundreds of these as well…”
Phill: “COME THE DAY….COME THE DAY….”

Stephen reads out the Urban Dictionary definition for ‘hoplophobe’, which is the liberal fear of weapons, and has words such as “sissy” in it.
Phill, pointing to the guy in the audience: “I’ll tell you something…he wrote that.”
Ross: “I tell you what, I bet he wrote it with a left-handed pen.”

Alan goes over to the assault rifle, to try to set it up over the desk, but Stephen says that he’s the only one in the studio allowed to touch the rifle.
Ross: “I love the fact that somewhere there’s a memo that just says: “MACHINE GUN; FOR STEPHEN FRY’S USE ONLY.”

Stephen talks about bomb defusers using silly string to test the trip-wires.
Phill: “It’s nice that that’s a real thing, but I just prefer them leaning over a bomb going [party whistle noise]”
Alan: “With a Margaret Thatcher mask and a rubber chicken…”
Ross: “I have to say…that would have improved that film the Hurt Locker…”

Jack, on the ’round drill doing a square shape’ question, gives an answer that narrowly dodges a klaxon, even though it is wrong.
Ross: “That would have been brilliant, if it had gone ‘WOOP-WOOP-WOOP’, and EVERY WORD YOU SAID…was up there.”
Stephen: “ONE DAY!”

Stephen describes ‘a circular triangle’ that can be used to make a square shape.
Ross, confused: “A circular triangle??”
Phill: “Oh, no no no. This is your first time. This sort of thing happens ALL THE TIME on this show. [Stephen voice] IT’S A SORT OF CIRCULAR TRIANGLE…”
Alan: “And it makes a square…”

Ross: “It’s not the fact that I’m boggled by that…it’s the fact that I now realize that there’s a possibility that you could have a Toblerone-Rolo combo! A Roblerone!”
Stephen: “D’you know what will freak you out completely, Ross Noble? The name for this form of triangle is a Rolo.”
Phill: “You know the fact that we come on this show, and discover things? I feel like tonight is that I’ve just discovered that the best three words to hear in a Geordie accent is ‘toblerone rolo combo.’
Ross: “THANKS. Now everyone I meet’s gonna go ‘could you say Toblerone please? Poor Geordie man, dance for us.’
Phill: “You’ve got to form a band now, called THAT.”
Ross: “Alright, me and Cheryl Cole. Her, me, and Jimmy Neil.”
Jack: “And maybe I’ll play the trombone.”

After Alan masters the round peg-square hole: “Let me play with the gun! I want to play with the gun that shoots ’round corners!”
Stephen: “No, you can’t play with the gun.”
Alan: “Special instructors don’t let Alan play with the gun…”
Phill: “Police in London were BAFFLED tonight by a series of murders committed ’round corners.”

Stephen: “What is the roundest thing in the universe.”
Phill, raising his hand: “Just saying…”

Phill: “The earth is…thingy…it’s not round.”
Stephen: “No, it’s not round, it’s an…oblique spheroid.”
Phill: “WHOA NELLY FURTADO! He’s got a word for EVERYTHING.”

Alan, about the neutron star: “They’re really round.”
Phill, noticing a definitely-not-round object on the behind-screen: “THAT’S NOT *ROUND!*”
Stephen: “That’s a supernova I think-”
Phill: “THEN SHOW US THE ROUND THING!!”
Stephen: “He’s very upset, aren’t you?”
Phill: ‘YES!!”

Stephen: “It’s only got a diameter of 15 miles or so, and there isn’t one near enough that you can see it-”
Jack: “Y’ever notice how we always have to take Stephen’s word for it?”

Stephen: “If I had a thimble-full of neutron star, it would weigh more than a mountain.”
Phill: ‘YEAH, BUT YOU *DON’T*.”

Stephen: “What’s made entirely of jelly and lives forever?”
Phill: “Shark-infested custard- WRONG JOKE.”

Stephen: “After it sexes- no, after it-”
Ross: “I’M GONNA SEX YA! LET’S SEX!”
Stephen: “Sorry…after it’s HAD SEX.”
Alan: “I have sex.”
Ross: “MARGAREY. SHALL WE SEX? WE HAVEN’T SEXED FOR A GOOD WEEK.”
Alan: “I can’t talk now, I’m sexing.”

Phill: “Monkey glands? Royal jelly?”
Stephen: “Monkey glands, and what do they MEAN by monkey glands.”
Phill, a la Stephen: “THE GLANDS….OF A MONKEY.”

Stephen: “They weren’t glands, actually, they were testicles.”
Phill: “Av…NO!”
Stephen: “They started as human testicles I’m sorry to say.”
Alan: “THEY’RE PERFECTLY ROUND.”
Ross: “If you were to scale them up to the size of the earth…they’d take HOURS to scratch.”

The conversation they have about pirates at the bank, I didn’t write all of it down, but it’s fantastic, and everyone’s getting in on it.

Stephen: “There’s an International Talk Like a Pirate day, isn’t there?”
Jack: “Yeah, but Somalian.”

Overall: A wonderfully perfect opener to Series H. All four panelists were on and willing to collaborate, which is a rarity these days. Phill had the best night of the four, but Ross was wonderful and bizarre in his debut, making me very excited to see more episodes of his. Jack was more talkative than he’s ever been on QI, and was more willing to branch out and collaborate jokes. A ton of great moments, and a definite rewatch value.

MVP: Phill
Best Guest: Ross
Show Winner: Jack
Best QI Fact: Monkey testicles
Best Runner: Sexing

Nevermind Watchdown: S14E2, or HE’S ALICE COOPER! HE *KNOWS!*

Every once and a while, NMTB will book a guest that’s so huge, and out of the show’s league, that I’ll just watch in awe, thinking “how the hell did they get them”. Slash was like that. Lemmy was like that. Jimmy Cliff was like that.

Tonight, Alice Cooper is in the building. Yes. THE Alice Cooper. Prince of Darkness. Star of Wayne’s World. I’m already freaking out.

Good news is Tony Hadley, lead singer of Spandau Ballet, is also here, and he gave a very fun showing last time he was on, so I’m optimistic. Katie Melua is a jazz singer/songwriter. Jane Moore’s on Loose Women.

The whole beginning starts out as a joke about Stephen Hawking “shagging his nurse”, but it just turns into everyone doing Hawking impressions saying random song titles.
Phill: “NOWADAYS…EVERYBODY WANT TO TALK…”
Mark: “STOP…HAMMER TIME.”

Alice talks about a riot in Toronto that made him have an asthma attack.
Alice: “People were wearing buttons saying ‘Alice, you’re a riot’, ‘I survived the Alice riot'”
Mark: “To have a riot named after you, how fantastic is that…”
Alice: “That’s how you know you’ve arrived.”
Phill: “That’s such a breathing image, “WELL THEY GOT NO NOISE” [Asthma Inhaler]”

Alice: “Although there is a band in Denmark that ate their lead singer. Just killed him and ate him. That’s going pretty severe…”
Phill: “Whoever heard of ‘Musical Differences’…”
Mark: “It’s very hard to tell someone they’re fired…”
Alice: “How do you get the NEXT lead singer? That’s what I wanna know. Do they put an ad in the paper going ‘lead singer wanted; we ate the last one.'”
Bill: “‘No time wasters, no cannibals’…”
Mark: “That’s what Bill’s family did to Sean Hughes.”

The phone on Mark’s desk goes off twice during the round.
Katie: “There it goes again…it could be someone’s mobile backstage.”
Mark: “Or it could be this SOUND EFFECT BUTTON I have under here…THE MAGIC OF TV!”

Mark, after announcing the real answer, that the Darkness cancelled a gig after the lead singer cut his finger. This is a huge diatribe here:
“Yeah, it must be really difficult, playing with a cut finger. Last week I was at a charity gig with Tony Hadley. Stinky flu…STILL did the raffle. Def Leppard’s drummer LOST HIS ARM…CARRIED ON GIGGING. Curtis Mayfield, I kid you not, was in a coma…STILL MADE ANOTHER ALBUM. Otis Redding crashed into the dark, bleak, unforgiving waters of Lake Minona, and after he drowned…he did a gig…he did three encores, and he gave every member of his band a foot massage. Shane Ritchie has NO TALENT WHATSOEVER. HE CAN’T SING, HE CAN’T ACT, HE CAN’T TELL JOKES. HAS IT STOPPED HIM? HAS IT *BUGGERY*! [dramatic pause] STING…IS *SHIT!* A cut finger? Yeah, YOU’RE rock…so-called Darkness! [another pause] Sorry, I meant to say…two points!”
And with that, he cracks up and collapses onto the desk. This is just the first round.

Katie, in the 1st intro, does some melodic piano, then basically says “piano” in the middle. Mark has to stop all of this to yell at her.
Mark: “EITHER HE GUESSES IT FROM [Piano Motion]…”
Katie: “I have to give him some clues…”
Mark: “HE’S ALICE COOPER! HE *KNOWS*!”

Next intro, Katie mimes holding a guitar.
Mark: “hold on…WHAT COULD THIS BE? Could be a guitar, could be a bass.”
Phill: “She’s holding Alice’s snake.”
Mark: “That’s an image I don’t wanna pursue…”

Alice guesses the intro five seconds in, so Mark has them do it again so they can actually hear the intro.
Mark: “Alice, you ever done any acting, in films?”
Alice: “Yeah, I have.”
Mark: “Well, let’s see it put to the test.”
They do the intro again, and Alice is more thoughtful, does a chin-stroking thing. Then, after they finish, Alice goes “wow”, and before he can answer, Mark goes “I’ll have to pass it over then…”

Mark’s phone rings again. This time he answers it, and says to Alice “It’s the casting director at EastEnders. They’ve given you a part.”

Mark: “Patsy Cline recorded “I Fall to Pieces” right before she died in a plane crash. But before you read too much into that, Tony Hadley recorded “Gold” right before he went bankrupt.”
Tony tells Mark to fuck off, playfully.

Tony: “Shall I do the drums?”
Bill: “You do the drums. I’ll provide some eye-candy.”
He just starts posing joyfully all of the sudden.
Mark, phone ringing: “It’s the black lagoon. They’re wondering when you’re getting home.”

Mark, in introing the ID Parade for Counting Sheep, Mark realizes he doesn’t know how to pronounce the guy’s last name, and “I was about to ask. And that would really give the game away, wouldn’t it? So for now, I’ll say Sam…Kesterman, but I’ll find out in a minute. And that might have given you a clue by one of ’em going “that’s not my name!”

Mark knows it’s #4, because he keeps cracking up, but Jane keeps insisting he’s too young, and that it’s really #1. Sure enough, when #4 is revealed, Jane asks “How old are you, then?”
Mark: “HANG ON, HANG ON. “How old are you?” Do you think you’re gonna convince him he wasn’t in the band?”
Jane: “He looks about 17.”
Mark: “Alright, then it wasn’t him. Apparently you weren’t in the band…the piper that never lies has just told you you’re younger than you thought you were…”

Oh, no. Oh, nononononono. For “I’m a Man not a Boy” ID Parade, not only is Athelston there as #5, but the Pirate guy from last episode is #3. So already I’m dying.
#3 is introed as “I’m about to singe the King of Spain’s beard.”
#5, Athelston, is “I’m hoping to shake this coma off this year…”

Katie: “Well, it can’t be 3 and 5.”
Phill: “WELL WORKED OUT YOUNG LADY!!!”

Alice: “#4 seems to have melancholy syndrome. He looks so depressed.”
Mark: “Yeah, because #5 looks so joyful by comparison…”

Next Lines: “His son is working for the daily mail.”
Tony: “Oh, bugger…”
Mark: “The beatles would hardly have that for a next line, would they? “His son is working for the daily mail….oh, bugger.”

Overall: Jesus, two fantastic episodes in a row. Series 14 is already a classic one. Man, it helps that everybody was on, but Alice fit in well with the panel, Katie was gonzo enough to be funny, Jane and Tony gave good funny answers, and there were some great runners with Jane not believing the ID Parade was correct, Athelston and the Pirate, Katie pointing out what a piano sounds like, and Alice guessing the intro again. Just a wonderful episode all around.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Alice
Best Runner: Phone calls.

Nevermind Watchdown: S14E1, or He’s not REALLY a Buccaneer!

And now…what may be the finest 30 minutes in Nevermind the Buzzcocks history.

I’m not going to give anything away. I just know that the latter half of this episode is stuff of NMTB legend.

In terms of cast, you wouldn’t have known it. Dave Fulton, last seen head banging with Bill and Sebastian Bach, is back. Terry Hall, who Mark was prone to make fun of with a simple “AAA-AAHHH” is also back. Kwame, meanwhile, was in Fame Academy, and Brandon Block’s another DJ, this one specializing in Ibiza gigs.

The series begins exactly as Series 13 left off, with Mark still holding that incredibly long trumpet note. He stops, panting out of breath.

Phill: “Terry’s met Bono.”
Mark: “You have? Isn’t he a bit dull?”
Terry: “I always thought he was a twat before i met him.”
With nothing to follow that sentence, he takes a drink.

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Mark: “Man, that Perry Farrell is an ugly man. He’s got the look of his face being pressed up against glass without actually doing it.”
Phill: “Perfect example as to why never to have your photo taken at Turkish customs.”
Bill: “I don’t have anything up THERE!”

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Kwame: “I like Will’s pose! What’d you think?”
Brandon: “He’s just come OUT of Turkish customs…’phew, that was close…'”
Bill: “WOOO!”

On the SOLAR POWER sign in the Jane’s Addiction video:
Kwame: “I heard that this video was banned for sending a message to terrorists.”
Bill: “What, ‘stop using proper power and get solar power’?”

Mark: “I mean, presumably he was doing a rude gesture.”
Bill: “What, d’you mean like this?” [he does this clawing gesture]
Mark: “That’s not rude.”
Bill: “It is in the badger world!”
Mark: “Is there anything outside the animal kingdom that interests you?”
Bill: “Yes. You, bearing the kiss of the Karducian Leach.”
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After Phill and Dave’s atrocious 2nd intro
Terry: “It felt like an outro. It was an intro that felt like an outro, know what I mean?”
Mark: “It felt like a series not being recommissioned, that’s for sure…”

Brandon: “I thought it was Showaddywaddy.”
Mark: “Just by looking at [Dave]? Can you imagine Dave in Showaddywaddy? ‘Let’s go for a little walk’-“NOOOOOO!”

Dave: “It’s not my fault that your crappy songs didn’t make it over to the US all the time..”
Mark: “Yeah, the British, we’ve been generally rubbish at the music business, over the years- *BEATLES! STONES! PISTOLS!* Yeah, we didn’t have Achy Breaky Heart, I’m sorry…”
Bill: “I’m sorry, you said ‘Beatles, Stones, Pistols.’ All items in my shed.

Mark dresses Phill’s panel down…and then realizes he was reading the wrong card all along. He then goes “Brandon, it’s gonna be easy for you to guess this later on…”

Mark: “No, it was actually Killer, by Adamsky..”
Dave, knowing what was on the card: “NO IT WASN’T!”
Mark, realized he’s made the exact same mistake again: “Oh, alright.”
Then he just whispers over at Brandon: “KILLER, BY ADAMSKY.”

Mark: “Bill and Kwame, here are yours to do towards Brandon.”
Bill, having already seen Brandon write down both wrong intros: “Phwoar! FINGERS CROSSED!”

And then when Mark does Intros for Bill’s team, who already knows both the answers. It’s ridiculous, because Brandon has to pretend he doesn’t know, and Kwame has to disguise the guitar parts.

Okay, here we go. Phill’s ID Parade is ‘Sailor’. This is what it looks like.
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Mark gives the lineup sail-related names. #2 is ‘Shipman’.
Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 6.54.05 PM.png#3 is ‘Harold Shipman’. It should be noted that #3’s Scooby-Doo-villain-esque expression always cracks me up here.
Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 6.54.41 PM.png #5, who’ll go onto become Al the Pirate, is “Adam Ant’s let himself go, hasn’t he?”

Phill: “Isn’t #2 a Cockney Barrel boy from Mary Poppins?”
Dave: “He’s a Portugese fisherman, in’t he?”
Mark: “He looks a little Greek resistance, doesn’t he? I DON’T MEAN THAT… ‘GET AWAY'”
Dave: “You know, if you’d just relax, you wouldn’t have to resist.”

Dave: “I keep waiting for #5 to punch my ticket to get on the ride at Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Terry: “I just bought a Sailor album 3 months ago, so I know who it is, so we can cut the…”
Phill, “Cut to the chase with Terry? Cool!”
Mark: “You see, even when he knows the answer, HE WON’T TELL ME!”

Terry decides it’s #2.
Dave: “I think #5’s arm’s getting tired, so you better come up with something.”
Mark, cracking up: “You know what? Let’s see how long he can hold that pose for…”
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Mark then gets Phill’s entire panel to get up, and face #5, staring him out until he drops the sword. So, sure enough…
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Mark: “HE’S TRYING TO INTIMIDATE US!”

Mark notes that the more they lean in, #5 leans in as well.
Mark: “It’s like when you get a crappy Christmas toy and the batteries start running out…”

Mark: “We’re young, fit and healthy…apart from Terry. We can keep this up longer than you…”
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#5 shifts his expression to this, like a ‘…really?’. PHILL’S WHOLE PANEL LOSES IT. Mark is completely gone.
Mark, to Dave: “DON’T BE SCARED! HE’S NOT REALLY A BUCCANEER!”

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He’s beginning to break himself…

The best part of this is just how giggly and how much fun Mark’s having. He just notices Bill, and says he looks good when he’s off camera, then goes right back into it and says “RIGHT…ATTACK!” He’s never been this loose, and this fun, in the history of the show.

Mark: “It’s become such a grudge match! Like…”YOU’LL NEVER BEAT ME, LAMARR! IF I HAVE TO KILL ALL YE AND MAKE YE WALK THE PLANK! I SHALL HOLD THIS PLASTIC SWORD ALOFT, ON THY POP QUIZ!”

Eventually #5 does indeed drop his sword, coerced by Dave and Phill (“easy, easy…” “let it drop to the floor!”)

Mark, after they get back to their seats: “So…who d’you think it is?”
Dave: “I forgot! What band is this?”
Mark: “Sailor.”
Phill: “Terry, did you know?”
Terry, stonefaced: “#5.”
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Next Lines: “Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about?”
Kwame: “Top Cat!”
Mark: “Are you serious?”
Kwame: “You guys, did I think it was real?”
Brandon: “Yes.”
Mark: “Kwame, [starts humming], THE INDISPUTABLE, LEADER OF THE GAAAANNG!”

Mark: “We plow the fields and scatter, the good seed on the land.”
Bill: “The good seed on the LAND, FOR WEEE ARE FARMERS!”
Mark just throws a card at him.

For the rest of the round, Mark just goes over by Bill with the cards, threatening.

Mark: “Solitary brother.”
Bill, out of spite: “Solitary brother, solitary…WEASEL!”
Mark hits him on the head with a card repeatedly, yelling “I KNEW IT WOULD COME IN HANDY!!!”
He ends up doing the “PETE TOWNSEND BEATING! PEEOPLE TRYYYY TO PUT US DOWN!” and he does the windmill, still hitting Bill.

Mark: “Ben, the two of us need look no more.”
Kwame: “We both found what we WERE LOOKING FOR.”
Bill: “IN THE BURROW!”
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Mark: “I don’t wanna rock DJ.”
Bill: “I’d like a small-”
Mark starts hitting him with a card.
Bill: “WITH A RIVERBANK! A RIVERBANK!”
Mark hits him in the head.
Bill: “FOR THAT IS MY NATURAL HABITAT!”
Mark: “RIGHT, PAPERCUT!”
Bill, while getting a forehead paper cut: “AAAHHH! IT BURNS! IT BURNS!”

The buzzer sounds, Mark, sadistically, looks at Bill and goes ‘YER TIME’S UP, LUV.’

Mark then points to Phill’s team, and goes “If you win…I’m gonna give them some more. In FACT, YOU KNOW WHAT? SAY WHAT YOU WANT!”
Mark returns to his post above Bill.

Mark: “Hey Mr. Tambourine Man.”
Phill: “Uuhuhuhuh, Weasels!”
SLAPSLAPSLAPSLAPSLAP
Mark: “STUPID, STUPID MAN!”

Mark: “All I wanna do is have some fun.”
Phill: “Badgers, dressed up as-”
Mark: “DOWN THE PANTS! DOWN THE PANTS!”

A second after being butt-maced, Bill gets a brainstorm: ‘Sheryl CROW, you see, AN ANIMAL!”
Mark: “Not the first time you pulled a crow out your pants, is it?”

Mark, pacing back to his desk: “It’s alright…it’s alright…it’s alright.”
Phill: “Cheese.”
Mark, to Bill: “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
Bill: ‘I said [lip smacking]”
Mark: “THAT WAS WORSE THAN WHAT YOU SAID!”
Mark goes back to hitting.

Mark: “Horsey horsey, don’t you stop.”
Bill fist-pumps.
Mark: ‘AH, YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT ONE!”

Mark, after the round ends: “A shame, cause the next one was by Seal.”

Mark, summing up the episode: “You still managed to lose, but it probably has saved [Bill] internal bleeding.”

Overall: WHOA. That may be one for the pantheon. Even before the momentum began in ID Parade, this show had a lot going for it, from Dave and Terry talking about Bono, to Mark reading the wrong card, to Terry being generally moody, to Dave arguing with Mark about Britain. But then the pirate showed up, and it became absolutely golden. That entire segment of ID Parade, plus ALL OF NEXT LINES, was so insanely funny that it has to be seen to be believed. So many funny things, aside from what I’ve written down, occurred over the course of this show. I don’t know if the Mark era ever reached this high again.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Terry
Best Runner:
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Nevermind Watchdown: S13E9, or Next Year YOU can book him for your Christmas Party!

Man, it feels like Episode 1 was only yesterday. Ah, well. Series 13 has come to a close, and it’s a fall series, which means “IIIIIIIIT’S CHHHHRIIIISTMAAAAASSSS!”

The few familiar players here are Sabrina Washington, a Mis-Teeq member, and the wonderfully adorable DJ Sammy. Also, Gloria Hunniford is an Angela Rippon type, a TV-personality and singer. Alison Goldfrapp is a singer with ‘experimental techno duo’ Goldfrapp.

The ‘Sammy is adorable’ runner continues tonight, as Mark promises to give Sammy a chocolate button every time Sammy does something that makes him like him.

Sammy then proceeds to do an outstanding (“ly piss poor”) magic trick, involving an inflatable pistol. Mark then goes “next year you can book him for your Christmas party…”

After the increasingly frog-like M-People video, Mark goes “that was M-People with testicles- I MEAN TESTIFY!”

Then Mark starts doing the frog impression after the M-People options. By the end, he even remarks “I’ve gone from M-People to Mr. Bean!”

Mark: “If only we could make Alison cheer up. What’s your favorite song, i’ll so it as Heather Small.”
Alison: “We’ve only just begun, the Carpenters.”
Mark, Heather voice: “Em yum ne us be BYAAAAAAAHHHRR…”
He keeps going, and eventually Bill and Gloria start going “uh, Mark.”
Mark: “I’M SINGING CARPENTERS CLASSICS…M-PEOPLE STYLE, FOR A GUEST! THANK YOU. BILL. BECAUSE I MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY!”

Gloria: “Also, have you noticed that Bill has a certain Jesus quality about him for Christmas?”
Mark: “I’d rather it was Easter.”
Oooh. Great joke there.

For Intros, the two givers have to give the intro while on DDR boards, which could be hysterical. Just the sight of Sammy and Phill humming songs while on DDR boards ia one of the most amusing, and ridiculous, things I’ve seen on this show in years.

A lot of these have to be seen to be believed, especially Bill yelling notes at Gloria whilst failing miserably at dancing. May not be a lot to type, but it’s still hysterical.

Mark has animated, sung names for all of the Ray Beavis ID Parade.
#2- ‘RAAAAAY-O. RAAAAAAY-O. DAYLIGHT COME AND ME WANT TO GO HOME.”
#3- He does the full Eminem rap, and ends with forget about…Ray.”
#4- “LIFE IS A CAAAABAAA-Ray.”
#5- “BEAUTIFUL SKYYYYYY, A WONDERFUL DAAAAAY, SO WHIP CRACK A-Ray, WHIP CRACK A-Ray…”

Alison: “Isn’t #3 a comedian?”
Mark: “Oh, please, there are no comedians on this show.”

Sammy, animatedly: “GUYS…HONESTLY…I HAVE *NO CLUE*.”
Most of the panel cracks up at this.

On the five trench coated Ernie ID Parade:
Gloria: “Actually, they all look like they’re here to take Sammy back to Spain.”

Like last year’s Xmas show, a choir sings all the Next Lines, and they have to sing back. However, unlike last year, they’re more contemporary classics. The first one they sing is Beastie Boys.

And then, Phill and Sammy and the choir go back and forth on ‘Bohemian Rhapdody’, which is one of the funniest things because Phill’s yelling them, Sammy knows all the words, and Alison sort of knows it and mouths every few words.

Mark tells them to do the last one, which he’s “so looking forward to”. He cues them up, and Sammy just does a “wah wah waahhhhhh” noise, which cracks the choir up before they go into the KLF’s “Justified and Ancient”, which cracked me, Phill, and ESPECIALLY MARK up. Mark is literally dying as a choir is straight-faced singing the KLF.

Bill’s choir goes for Nelly’s Hot in Herre, and Sir Mix A Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’. The former Bill’s entire panel sings in unison. The latter Mark takes over and completely rocks out to. What is it about season finales that bring out the rapper in Mark?

Once again, as the choir does “Ever Fall in Love” by the Buzzcocks, you can hear Mark, out of shot, struggling to compose himself, and literally crying. Then, when it’s the panel’s turn to sing, Bill and Mark start the most melodic, operatic version of that chorus that’s ever been recorded.

Overall: What began as a very weak competitor to last year’s Christmas special ended with one of the funniest rounds of Next Lines in some time, featuring everyone giving it their all, and the choir doing a bang-up job too. I didn’t write down a lot of parts, because a lot was physical, subtle bits, that couldn’t really be written down. This show was about Sammy and Gloria’s bits, as both were having an amazing amount of fun. The other two were quieter, even with Claudia’s wig argument with Mark. Still, a spectacular ending, and enough great moments to make me glad I watched.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Sammy
Best Runner: Heather Small voice.

SERIES 13 SUPERLATIVES!!!!

Best Episode: Episode 8, featuring Simon Amstell mowing them down, Kym Marsh, Bill as an unwanted hitchhiker on a father-son road trip, and a welcome return for Athelston Williams.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 1, featuring Alexei Sayle yelling names of countries for a laugh, Huey Morgan being stoned out of his mind and giving away Bill’s ID Parade, Dick Valentine being Dick Valentine, and tons and tons of David Gest slams.
Worst Episode: Episode 6. Just the thinnest in terms of quality, but damn if Vic Henley didn’t try.
Best Regular: Again, Mark Lamarr, because his character was fully in-place, and he was ANGRY this year.
Best Musician Guest: Megaman (Episode 3), for having fun and putting up with some Mark slams.Matt Hales (Episode 7) came close.
Best Comedian Guest: Simon Amstell, Episode 8. He was on fire that night.
Most Confused Guest: Normally I’d reserve this for someone who seemed really out of their element, or just didn’t want to be on the show. However, Huey Morgan, in Episode 1, was just really, really crossfaded. So…here he goes.
Best Dartboard for Mark: Megaman again.
Best Runner: Josie D’Arby’s inability to recite a cow’s noise on cue.

Nevermind Watchdown: S13E8, or A Wild Simon Appears!

We have four more series of sweet Mark Lamarr goodness, but there’s nothing like a little window into the future. Tonight’s episode features a panel appearance by the one and only Simon Amstell, the man who will eventually host, and rule, this show. Let’s see how he turns out as a panelist.

Aside from Simon, MC Romeo is, what else, another member of So Solid Crew, Gary Wilmot is a stage actor and TV personality, and Kym Marsh was a member of Hear’Say, sadly.

Mark, introing Simon: “During his brief career, Simon has called Rosie Rivens thick, insulted all of Girls Aloud, and made Britney Spears storm off in tears….HE’S STEALING MY ACT! You touch Moyles, Sweeney and Kielty, and I’m calling my lawyers!”
Well, give him 3 more years, and he’ll be stealing your show too…

Simon’s first ever NMTB line, on whether or not Primal Scream has an electrocution incident with a minibar: “The thing about getting electrocuted by a minibar, is that’s rather expensive. It’s not really worth it.”
Mark: “Also, you’d have to pay for the melted Toblerone as well.”

Phill: “#3 was that Luton Airport wasn’t rock’n’roll enough.”
Simon: “I would say that Luton Airport is pretty rock’n’roll. I believe I once saw Michael Hutchence there. In the tie-rack, I believe.”
And THAT is how he got the job.

Mark: “Nice to see you’re taking notes, Bill.”
Bill: “I just like to be apposite of the fact.”
Mark: “No you don’t. You’d like to say ‘cheese and weasels’ and go “UOUOUOUGH!”
Bill: “Or cheesels as I like to call them.”

Mark and Romeo get in a disagreement about his vocabulary.
Romeo: “I thought you was down with bitches and hoes and all that…”
Mark: “Oh, no, I understand the phrases ‘bitches and hoes’. Disrespectful terms for ladies.”
Bill: “I thought he said DITCHES and hoes. Sort of like a landscape gardening thing. ‘I’M DOWN WITH MY DITCHES, AND MY HOES!”

As Scott Walker passes by a sculpted ass.
Romeo: “Now what did he do in that space of time, that’s what I wanna know.”
Gary: “Well, his fringe is straighter than it was before he went ’round the back there…”
Mark: “You think the bloke’s got a pair of clippers for a cock? Is that what you’re saying?”
Gary: “MAYBE!”

Bill: “This was Noel Coward’s Christmas cards, wasn’t it? ‘HERE’S SINKING OF YOUU!”
Mark: “Yeah, cause he was famously German…”
Bill: “Did I go German there?”
Mark: “Yeah, you went very German. He does ‘MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN’, and everyone knows that’s how he sounded, and you were doing “ACHTUNG! MERRY CHVISTMAS FROM CHERYL TVEEDY!!”
Bill: “GIRLS…ALOUD!”
Phill: “On top of the pops with the glove and everything…”

Mark: “At the height of his fame, Walker’s fan club had more members than The Beatles…five.”

Simon, struggling to guess: “Chaka Khan, I’m every woman.”
Mark: “It wasn’t that, and you knew it wasn’t that you silly boy…”
Simon: “…sorry dad…”

Simon, on the Shamrock ID Parade: “They look a bit like Girls Aloud. Is this your community service?”
Mark: “I think this is Girls No Longer Allowed.”

Simon: “#4 looks like a young Geri Halliwell. She looks like somebody told her the secret to eternal youth…but lied.”
Mark: “Oooh, and we thought [Romeo]’d be putting the smack down!”

Oh…I do believe…for the first time since the Sean Hughes era…ATHELSTON WILLIAMS IS IN THE HOUSE!!!!

Bill: “i just saw us in the playback camera. I feel like an unwanted hitchhiker in a father-and-son outing.”
They pull back, and with Romeo and Gary on both sides…yeah, that’s pretty hysterical.
Romeo: “It’s alright dad…”
Bill: “Yes, uh, shall we put some reggae on, or something?”

Romeo: “I think #4”
Mark: “It’s not #4. #4 is Athelston, who’s been on the show…eight times? He was once in a lineup for the Nolans.”
Gary: “And he was picked, was he?”
Mark: “Yes he was! And they put him in the band afterwards!”

Mark brings on a staring contest between Athelston and Bill, which is as hysterical as it sounds.

Mark, Next Lines: “Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry.”
Gary: “If they don’t want to end up in a curry.”
Mark: “EVERYONE BACK TO WILMOT’S FOR A NICE DUCK CURRY!”

Mark: “Anything goes- Was that a Cole Porter?”
Gary: “Anything Goes, yeah.”
Bill: “Anything Goats?”
Mark: “For [Gary], that’s a curry. For Bill, that’s another website.”

Phill’s holding back in his musical next lines.
Mark: “Don’t be scared, it’s just a musical. Bing Crosby’s not gonna do a drive-by on ya.”
Phill, a la Bing Crosby: “BA-BA-BA-BOoOoOoOM!”

Overall: Really nice show, with some of the most consistency in a while. Romeo was rather laid back for a So Solid Crew member, but gave good stuff, as well as Gary, who was having fun. Kym had her fair share of great moments, especially nailing that My Fair Lady line in Next Lines, but tonight’s real winner is Simon Amstell, for not only ruling this panel, but showing he can fit in perfectly with Phill and Bill, and make a wonderful case to succeed Mark in a few seasons.

Best Regular: Bill
Best Guest: Simon
Best Runner: Scratch’n’sniff.

Nevermind Watchdown: S13E7, or Needs More Monkey

Three people I’ve heard of on this show- Matt ‘Aqualung’ Hales, Adam ‘One-Legged’ Hills, and Jayne Middlemiss. Additionally, Guy Garvey, singer for indie-rock band Elbow, is also on the panel.

Guy says he knew a runner for the BBC who worked with J. Lo and Elton John on the same day, both being notoriously hard to deal with.
Guy: “Apparently Elton just wanted a bit of salt for his chicken.”
Jayne: “And suckin’ off. Sorry.”
Mark: “Only kidding. Yeah, that’ll save any legal problems.”

Mark says that Shania Twain has to do with the J.lo-Avril connection.
Guy: “Shania Twain could operate them both from her castle.”
Bill: “YES! WITH HER BIG LEVERS…THAT SHE USES.”
Mark: “I never thought they’d guess this one.”
Guy: “DIVORCE! MARRY! DIVORCE! SHIT RECORD!”

Jayne: “Did they both get discovered by Shania Twain?”
Mark: “YES!”
Bill: “Under a rock.”
Mark: *YES!!!*”

Phill’s wearing a shirt with the cover of Rush’s Signals album on it. Very, very cool.

Adam: “I wonder if Morrissey’s been on Sesame Street, or the Muppets, cause a lot of current musicians are on.”
Mark: “Yes, but he’s not the sort, “HEY, YOU’RE ADORABLE, ME…”
Phill: “ONE!! ONE MISERABLE SONG! AH-AH-AHHHH!!!”

Phill does a Luther Vandross voice for a dub-over, but Mark notes: “Hang on, where’s he from, by the way? He’s from the same as every other pop star you’ve ever done a voiceover for! ‘ELLO, I’M BARRY WHITE! ‘AND I’M BING CROSBY! We live next door to each other in Phill’s Imaginary Bad Impression World!”

Mark: “I’d love to see you on Stars in Their Eyes. “AND TONIGHT MATTHEW, I’LL BE ANYONE YOU WANT!!”

Adam trying to figure out Phill’s 1st intro, with Matt doing a weird primate-esque noise: “I dunno, was there a band in the 80’s that had some sort of chimp in it?”
Mark: “I dunno, [to Bill] were you in a band in the 80’s?”
Bill: “I was.”
Mark: “Yes, there was.”

For Phill’s 2nd intro, Matt starts doing the chimp noises, only even more escalated. Mark goes to Bill “HE’S STOLEN YOUR ACT!”
Eventually Phill has to go “TAKE YOUR STINKING HANDS OFF ME…YOU DAMN DIRTY APE!”
Mark: “All of Phill’s impressions are basically Bernard Manning, and all of [Matt’s] instruments are monkeys.”

Matt: “The thing is, multi-instrumentalists are usually very smug, so you have to look for that smug expression as if-”
Mark: “Hey, aren’t you a multi-instrumentalist?”
Matt, smugly: “Yes, I am.”

Adam: “I’d like to think #5 was in Duran Duran.”
Mark: “Yeah, but we’re doing the Human League…”

Jayne: “#1, did we go to school together?”
Mark: “You didn’t go to school, Jayne. You’re foolin’ no one.”
Jayne: “DAMN!”

This week, instead of Next Lines, Mark gives Opening Lines, and the panel has to give the title of the song.

Mark: “I made it through the wilderness.”
Jayne: “Ah, Madonna.”
Mark: “It is Madonna, but it could be Bill’s autobiography.”

Overall: A bit more consistent than the last few, thanks to a tighter panel. Not the most uproarious, but Matt’s chimp noises, Jayne’s fillet a fox, and some nice lines from Guy and Adam made it pretty worthwhile.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Jayne
Best Runner: Monkey noises.