Nevermind Watchdown: S18E7, or DALE! JUGGLE THOSE CARDS, BITCH!

Onto our last guest-hosted episode until Simon leaves. Onto Dale Winton, a Radio DJ and television presenter who I’d describe as the Tom Bergeron of the UK. However, if he sucks tonight, he’ll be the Ryan Seacrest.

Dale, judging by the first few seconds on the program, is quite the character. Very gay, and not especially hiding it.

Suzi Quattro’s making another appearance, and she’s the only carry-over. Sally Lindsay was on Coronation Street forever. Ben Fogle is an adventurer-type TV presenter. Andy Fairweather Low’s a founding member of 60’s band Amen Corner

Sally: “Is it a rude answer?”
Dale: “Oh, I’d say”
Phill: “I’d bet you’d say a few things. Dale can say absolutely anything, and if he says it with the right inflection, it sounds filthy. What did you have for breakfast this morning? And use the voice.”
Dale: “What voice? COTTAGE CHEESE?”
Phill: “There you go!”

Sally, on the bit in the Scissor Sisters video where a big guy in a suit spanks a younger guy: “It should be some beautiful gorgeous supermodel slapping him, and it’s just a ropey old fat bloke in a suit.”
Phill, wearing a suit, dramatically turns to Sally.
Sally: “I’M SO SORRY…”
Phill: “A gig’s a gig…”

Phill, on Bill’s panel: “Can I just say, because I keep looking over there and squinting. It looks like I’m in a quiz with Lenin, Gandalf, and Prince William.”

After an intro from Andy
Phill: “Is it the people’s hymn of the soviet republic”
Cut back to Andy, who still looks like Lenin

Phill during the ID Parade is too funny to write down, because he’s just going one by one and screwing with all the ladies, back and forth. He keeps getting sillier and sillier.

#2 in Bill’s ID Parade, intro’d as ‘I am the Walrus’ is just Al the Pirate in a snazzier suit. Glad to see they’re still getting uses out of him.

Overall: A quieter end to the series. The panel was less together, though there were some nice moments from Suzi and Sally. Dale I’m not a huge fan of so his style of humor didn’t work for Buzzcocks, or me.

Guest Host ranking: 7/10
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Sally
Best Runner: Scissor sisters

SERIES 18 SUPERLATIVES!
Best Episode: Episode 2, featuring the premiere performance of Simon Amstell (and the reason why he got the gig in the end), Russell Howard and Simon giving Kenzie shit about his song about ‘anal in a truck’, and Nick Knowles taking the requisite amount of hits.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 3, featuring Ricky Wilson having an amazing time (and accidentally making fun of Stevie Wonder), and the immortal panel of Phill, Jeff Green and Bez going for an episode-long gutter ball.
Worst Episode: Episode 4. Not a whole lot going on, despite Lauren Laverne and Rhod Gilbert’s best efforts.
Best Regular: Phill, for having a number of strong episodes playing off the guest hosts.
Best Guest Host Performance: Simon Amstell, Episode 2. The man absolutely killed it, taking down Kenzie and Nick Knowles like it was his job…although in a year’s time, it would be.
2nd Best Guest Host Performance: Huey Morgan, Episode 6. Huey, with his honest enthusiasm and inability to hold back, gave one of the most natural, fun performances of the season. Phill looked like he was enjoying himself a ton with Huey on the host panel.
Worst Guest Host Performance: Dale Winton, Episode 7. He’s better suited for being on the panel, or…just Supermarket Sweep, I guess.
(To be fair, literally everyone but Dale and possibly Clarkson had a nice time presenting, so additional props to Jonathan Ross, Ricky Wilson and Lauren Laverne for also giving some stellar performances)
Best Comedian Panelist: Rhod Gilbert, Episode 4, for being on fire in his show and giving a depleted panel some life. Jeff Green, Jim Jeffries, Russell Howard and Alan Carr came close.
Best Musician Panelist: By a hair, Ryan Jarman (Episode 3) over Rick Wakeman (Episode 5). Ryan’s stuff was fresh, unhinged and legitimately hilarious. Antony Costa and Suzi Quatro come close.
Most Confused Panelist: Bez, Episode 3. But he was under the influence of some stuff, I think.
Most Annoying Panelist: By far Sheila Ferguson, Episode 6.
Best Dartboard: Kenzie, Episode 2, over Antony Costa (Episode 5). They’re both fantastic sports, but Kenzie was having more flung at him by Simon and still coming out on top.
Best Runner: Everybody thinks Jeremy Clarkson is really Jeremy Paxman, Episode 5. Though the ‘Phill’s team tries to get 0 overall’ one from Episode 3 is also a classic.

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Nevermind Watchdown: S18E6 or That Shit Ain’t Funny…

Not sure what to make of this episode. On one hand…Huey Morgan. On the other, Phill’s panel might end with Phill stabbing his eyes out in agony, because Reginald D. Hunter and Sheila Ferguson are annoying enough on their own, but TOGETHER?? Ugh.

Already, Huey as the ‘laid back MC’ is very smooth, very cool and collected. Yeah, he seems pretty pumped to be back, and he’s giving it a lot of class. His auto cue reading is a bit slow and dry, but other than that he’s all charm.

Natalie Cassidy is an actress from Eastenders. Andy Rourke played bass for the Smiths.

Huey: “Foo Fighters like to have lingering smells backstage dealt with immediately. This is because Dave Grohl learned his lesson after waiting outside Kurt Cobain’s house for three days wondering when they were going to pick up the bins.”
Andy: “I’m not even gonna laugh at that one…”
Huey: “You know, I gave it a shot…”
Phill: “You know, when he’s on now, it’s all Sopranos, but when he’s offstage [really gay voice] SO, I’LL TELL YOU…I was out there, I was having kittens…oH, IT WAS MURDER. So, did it go alright?”
Huey, in a similar lispy gay voice: “STOP. STOP….He’s so MEAN!”

Bill, looking in Andy’s glass: “What is that in there?”
Andy: “Methodone!”
Huey: “Damn, that shit’s expensive!”
Bill: “Oh, hang on, it’s burning through the desk…”

During a demonstration of how much the second intro sounds like Heat Wave, Sheila ends up hitting Phill in the face head on, which is pretty amusing. Bill’s team demands an instant replay, which happens. Huey, perfect demeanor, goes ‘that shit ain’t funny…’

Huey: “Justin Timberlake has said that he often sings himself to sleep. Now, Justin. You’re in bed with Cameron Diaz. Why the fuck do you want to go to sleep? I’d be awake for days on that ass…”
Suddenly the director comes on and asks Huey to do it again. Huey embarrassedly recoils.
Phill: “I think he feels very strongly about this…”
Huey: “It came from the heart…From the bottom, baby.”
Director: “IN THREE…TWO…ONE…”
Huey: “Now Justin has a large collection of candles and sports jerseys. Justin, you’re going out with Cameron Diaz, put the fuckin’ candles down.”
He then realizes his mistake, and motions to do it again.
Huey, aside: “The one shot I get to be on TV, the LAST you ever see of me…”

Phill: “He’s doing news night tomorrow…”
Huey, in a very New Jersey accent: “Now for the news…you guys is fucked…the weather’s fucked…Scotland’s fuckin’ cold…Brighton, YOU CALL DAT A BEACH? It’s a buncha fuckin’ rocks! (back to lispy gay voice) But they have really nice clubs there…

Huey, in a very stereotypical radio voice: “That was the Birdy Song, just missing out on the #1 spot in 1981!” He cracks up after that.
Andy: “That was great! Do that again! That’s a proper crock of shit DJ over here”
Huey: “Actually it’s a strip club DJ. CANDICE, TO THE STAGE!”
Phill nearly dies laughing. He’s having a hell of a time this show.

On the circus performer ID Parade
Reg: “#2 looks like an Arch nemesis for Batman”
Phill: “Yes, the orange ball fondler…enemy of Dale Winton”
He better be careful…because Dale’s on next week.

Next Lines, Huey: “You’re all I’m living for, your love i’ll keep forever more.”
Phill: “OH, STOPPIT!”
Huey gives him a cheeky look back.

Huey: “Bill’s team, you need six points to win.”
Bill: “SIX POINTS, ON THE DIZZLE!”
Huey: “…are you talking like Snoop Dogg?”
Bill: “NO, NO…”
Huey: “Did he just say DIZZLE?”
Sheila: “He did…I think you should take a point away…”

Overall: Not the greatest panel, but the show didn’t especially suffer. This is really based on preference. I don’t like Sheila, and I don’t like Reginald. They’re a bit too annoying for me. Reg had his moments, but not enough of them. Bill’s panel was more palatable, but there was less time for them, save for Andy.

Thoughts on the Guest Host: Huey is definitely a character, and I love that he didn’t tone himself down for a hosting gig. His auto cue reads weren’t perfect, and he even admitted that he wasn’t great, but he was having a hell of a time, and got along with the panelists pretty damn well. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great ride.

Guest Host Score: 8/10
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Andy

Nevermind Watchdown: S18E5 or STICK IT UP YOUR ASS, PAXMAN!

Unfortunately youtube doesn’t have the Lauren Laverne one, so we’re right onto…oh, no.

Friggin’ Clarkson.

This could be a good episode, because Jim Jeffries and Rick Wakeman are on Bill’s panel, and also Antony Costa from Blue is here (for everyone to make fun of). But…but Clarkson. Ugh.

Already I’m annoyed with Jeremy, as he’s reading the jokes off the auto cue way with this plummy, announcery voice, without any regard for when the punchline is. It just sounds so fake. Yes, it’s his usual presenting voice, but it doesn’t especially fit Buzzcocks.Yes, the jokes are fine…I just don’t like the way Jeremy reads them.

Trisha Goddard is an agony-aunt of sorts, hosting her own talk show where she aided people with domestic problems, and then went to work with Maury Povich in the US.

After some off-color jokes from Jim, Trisha: “Is it gonna be chauvinist stuff the whole night?”
Jim: “Just on this side. You can do what you’d like…”
Phill: “THIS WEEK, ON TRISHA. People who put Yogurt on themselves with vegetables…”
Jeremy: “…Trisha’s feeling right at home here.”
(Bill and Phill do some high-pitched indecipherable yelping, like people on Trisha’s show)
Trisha: “We’re above this, aren’t we Jeremy?”
Jeremy, deadpan: “No.”

Jim, to Bill: “You ever been arrested on a plane?”
Bill: “No, but I avoided it, by…taking all the drugs before we got to the gate…”

Jim tells a story about doing a gig in South Africa, and getting tricked into following a guy into the men’s room, thinking he’s just gonna do some cocaine with him, only for the guy “pulls off this great big cock”.
“He then says, d’you want some coke first?, to which I said, ‘I ONLY want coke…”
The whole panel’s in hysterics, even Jeremy.
Rick: “Well we’ve got a real treat for you. He’s here tonight!”

Jeremy: “Actually, I’ve changed my mind about that car being a volvo…”
Jim: “D’YOU KNOW *ANYTHING* ABOUT CARS???”
Jeremy: “You thought I was Jeremy *Paxman* when I got here!”

Trisha, criticizing the woman’s dress in the G’NR video: “What, she’s practically showing off her front booty…”
Phill: “Trisha,on your show you have people who knob animals…”
Trisha: “NO WE DON’T-”
Phill: “I HEART BADGERS…THE TRISHA SPECIAL!!!”
Bill: “When was that on? Must have missed that one…”

Jeremy, as Phill’s team has no idea what happened with Guns n Roses and the toy drum, passes it over to Bill’s team.
Bill: “Did they dress the toy drum up as Mohammed?”
Jeremy completely breaks down.

Antony: “Come on, let’s do ’em Phill..”
Phill: “…you don’t win anything at the end of the night…”
Antony: “Yeah, but my pride.”
Phill: “YOUR PRIDE….YOU’RE IN *BLUE*!”

So, for Bill’s intros, Jeremy thought they were so atrocious that he didn’t even pass either of them over to Phill when Jim didn’t guess. But when Trisha can’t guess Phill’s first intro, which is really good, Jeremy passes it over and Jim gets it instantly. Phill, in jest mostly, rips up his cards, and demands “some cello tape and some WD40” before he does the next one.
Jeremy, playing his own game, pulls out a cigarette and smokes it, waiting for Phill to get back up. “I’ve got all the time in the world…”

Jeremy on Get Ready by the Temptations: “I had that one on Desert Island disks. That’s one of my favorite all-time songs.”
Antony: “We did that one, when we were-”
Jeremy, channeling Mark: “No, you fucked it up…”

Next Lines: “I drove all night, crept in your room…”
Jim: “AND TOUCHED YA!”
Jeremy: “…it’s not Gary Glitter.”

For Phill’s team’s next lines, Antony is getting, like, 9 in a row, with Trisha. After a while, Phill just watches them go. He turns to Antony and goes “you alright? Cause I’m gonna pop off…” And with that he legitimately leaves, yelling at Jeremy “YOU PACK ON PAXMAN YOU’RE DOING LOVELY!”

I will say that Antony knew every single one of those next lines, which was pretty amazing.

Jeremy: “It’s amazing. You had three when Phill was on your team. Now you’ve got TWELVE.”
Trisha: “Do we even need Phill?”
Jeremy: “No. He’s already at the fish-and-chip shop down the street…”

Overall: Superbly solid show, with a really nice panel of people, and a good enough guest host. Jim improved greatly on his last appearance, Trisha and Antony were having so much fun, amid the barbs, and Rick, as usual, took the game seriously enough to be a great support system in Intros. The one downside was Phill’s demeanor- I can’t tell if he was actually pissed at Jeremy or not, and whether or not that led to his early departure is hard to tell. He could have just been deep in character, but for him to leave and now come back like that is kind of strange.

Thoughts on the Guest Host: Jeremy Clarkson does some things right, and he can be very funny and raw, but his presenting style is too polished and uppity for Buzzcocks. it doesn’t help that he can be a prick at some points, too.

Guest Host Rating: 7/10
Best Regular: Bill
Best Guest: Jim
Best Runner: Jeremy Paxton.

Nevermind Watchdown: S18E3 or COME ON KAISER BITCH!

Another exciting one up on the slate. The guest host is someone we know is great on Buzzcocks, Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs. Phill’s panel is populated by a hero of the early Mark era, Jeff Green, of ‘sweet Roland falls in brie’ fame, and a recent favorite, good old Bez.

Ryan Jarman sang lead for The Cribs. Colin Murray’s a Radio 1 DJ emphasizing in sport.

Early impression- Ricky’s just really excited to be back, and even if his autocue-reading isn’t amazing, he’s got a ton of energy. Plus, Ryan’s a friend of his, so he pumps him up.

Bill, trying to comprehend the third option: “Trademark…ostrich feather…cloak?”
Ricky: “Don’t laugh, we’ve all got one…”

Phill: “Should we go with the drummer breaking his wrist, Bez?”
Bez: “…..naw, it sounds too obvious…”

Bill, to Ricky: “It’s funny, the last time I saw you, you were shitfaced. You came into Heathrow Airport “HEY HOWS’ GOIN..AHM RICKKY WILS’N DA KIEEZZ CHIEFFHS…”
Ricky: “…I LUH YOU”
Bill: “I LOVE YOU, BILL!”
Ricky: “Actually, I thought you were Hulk Hogan”

So Bez is even more strung out that usual tonight, making me think that he got severely inebriated before the show. It’s even funnier watching Phill and him do Jump Around by Kris Kross, him lackadaisically doing the scream a bit late while Phill does the rest.

Ryan, guessing the intro: “It’s not me mate Bob Geldof, is it?”
Bill: ‘YOUR MATE? How do you know Sir Bob?”
Ryan: “Well…I think he knows me, so….and you don’t wanna know how…”
Bill: “OHHHHHH I THINK WE DO!”
Colin: “We gotta hear this…”
Ryan: “If there’s any legal implications from this….I invented Live 8, by the way…”

Ryan fails to get Family Affair by Mary J Blige, to which Ricky responds ‘yeah, but that’s a tough one. I wouldn’t have gotten that one. Would any of you [Phill’s panel] had gotten that?”
Jeff: “I knew it!”

Ryan has a whole story about sending Bob Geldof a text saying ‘three words, lad. Live Aid 2.’, and then Live 8 coming out months later, and taking credit for it.
Even after the next round, Colin turns to Ryan and goes “Do you REALLY think you were responsible for Live 8? I can’t get it out of my head!”

Colin’s talking to Ricky about Live 8: “After you went on, it got to shit. Stevie Wonder came on, and he’d put on loads of weight, and he looked like how Homer Simpson looked when he put on loads of weight.”
Ricky: “Yeah, that was bad. Yeah, sorry Stevie…if you’re watching”
He immediately cringes, and the whole place blows up. He knows it’s a terrible, stupid joke, but he goes with it anyway.

Ricky: “You guys wanna hear the scores? Bill’s team has 12 points……anyway, onto ID Parade.”

Ricky has some good ID Parade names for Single Bed.
#2- Wet the bed.
#4, a very old guy- Death bed. He even gives the guy a look, as if to say ‘yeah, but I’m right you know…”

Phill: “Jeff, you remember the band.”
Jeff: “I remember the band.”
Phill: “But do you want to ruin our perfect zero score, though?”
Jeff: “I don’t actually, there’s a certain beauty-”
Phill: “Okay, it’s #4.”

For next lines, Ricky gives the line from Crazy Frog
Colin: “Die ya cunt?”

The whole Next Lines with Phill is amazing, because they’re trying to stay at 0 the whole time, and Phill’s giving the most ridiculous answers to foul it up. One’s even a Kaiser Chiefs song, to which Ricky goes “we only have one album….we’re gonna do MORE, but…”

Ricky: “Take on me.”
Jeff: “Had a farm, EIEIO.”

Ricky: “I’m getting tired of this, should we let them talk for a bit?”
Phill: “I…DEMAND…QUIZ! COME ON KAISER BITCH!”

Ricky eventually gives Phill’s team one point for a melodic HAAAALEEEELUUUIIAAA for a next line.

Overall: Slow start but it definitely picked up thanks to a surprisingly wry panel. Ryan was the standout, being just unhinged enough to work, and Colin did warm up as the show went along, providing some great quotes. Jeff was his usual self, which always helps, but Bez was definitely off, and I presume some narcotics were involved, because Bez wasn’t this tuned out the last time he was on.

Thoughts on Ricky: It’s obvious that he was having a blast, even if his auto cue reads were a little wooden, and he sort of digressed about himself a few times too many. He still managed to make some pretty off-color humor, which is a NMTB standard, and still come out unscathed. Plus, he had fun with the panel. Not as great as Simon, but still a fun one.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Ryan
Best Runner: Ryan invented Live 8

Nevermind Watchdown: S18E2- Simon Takes the Throne

Youtube didn’t have Episode 1, so sadly we’re missing a Jonathan Ross appearance, but at least we’re onto someone we know can anchor the show.

Series 18, a transitional year in NMTB history, tried to find a successor for Mark Lamarr after his departure by getting guest hosts, like Have I Got News For You did, hoping to either continue with guests or land on a successor. In episode 2…they landed.

Simon Amstell was hosting Popworld before his trial run on Buzzcocks, and that was a nice warmup for the big stage.

Panel wise, this one’s pretty amazing, as not only is Phill playing with Kenzie, but RUSSELL HOWARD, of Mock the Week and Good News fame, is in the building! This could be pretty amazing.

Simon’s opening line: “I’m Simon Amstell, and if you think I’m a poor booking, let’s meet tonight’s guests.”
Fantastic. Gets the panel on his side immediately.

Aaron Gilbert plays keyboard for indie band the Delays. Nick Knowles is a TV presenter and DIY star.

Bill: “Ah, right, there is some kind of…tenuous connection…is there?”
Simon: “…it’s ME who hasn’t done this before, Bill…”
Yeah, this works pretty damn well.

Bill: “This bloke on the right, I reckon he’s got his hand up a cow. Just out of shot.”
Phill: “I’ll be honest, that’s quite a tall cow, when you look at the fella.”
Nick: “Naw, it’s on a box.”

Aaron: “Could the connection be that Tina Turner’s a hard carrier, and Britney Spears’ house is made out of bricks?”
Simon: “That’s correct, let’s move on…”

After Bill’s team completely waffles the first answer, Simon goes “I can see why Mark gets angry all the time.”

Simon: “When Tina Turner’s ex-husband Ike Turner was sent to prison, he was so scared of being held with the other prisoners, that he got himself transferred to the hospital wing. Oh, sorry, can I start that one again?”
Nick: “That went very well, I thought…”
Simon: “Why can’t I be a pro like Knowles?? It could be worse- I could be Kate Thornton. “WHEN TINA’S EX-HUSBAND…RETURNS…AFTER THE BREAK.”

Kenzie: “This is the same Wet Wet Wet that did Love is All around?”
Phill: “YEAH! SEVENTEEN WEEKS AT #1, A THIRD OF THE YEAR!”
Kenzie: “oh, fuckin’ hell…”
Phill: “AH, THE WISDOM OF YOUTH!”

Simon: “How old are you?”
Kenzie: “I just turned 20.”
Simon: “Isn’t Kenzie sweet?”
Audience: “YEEEAHHH…”
Simon: “Why don’t you tell the nice BBC viewers what your song Flip Reverse It was all about.”
Kenzie blushes. Then he goes “It’s about…women.”
Russell, saying his first line of the episode: “WOMEN?? It was about anal in a truck!”
Kenzie tugs at his collar a bit.
Russell: “Offended by 17 weeks, but the idea of bumming a lady in a Mazda- fine.”

Kenzie: “You can’t put me on the spot like that…”
Simon: “YOU WROTE A SONG ABOUT BUMMING!!!”

Kenzie: “I’ve got a girlfriend at the moment, what’s she gonna think of this?”
Phill: “I dunno, CAN SHE SIT??”

Simon makes a joke about heroin, then looks over at Kenzie and asks if he got it right.
Kenzie: “I DON’T DO IT!!! Don’t look at me. I don’t do that, I do anal sex…”

Simon: “During the last series of American Idol, there were s…THERE…WERE..”
Kenzie: “Scurrilous.”
Simon: “Scurrilous, thank you very much.”
Kenzie: “…just tryin’ta help…”
Simon: “OOOOH…I CAN *READ*!”
Phill: “one of ’em had to… ‘TOILETS, DIS WAY GUYS, FOLLOW ME…'”
(Kenzie is losing it here, too. He’s an amazing sport in all this)

And the clip used for the Napalm Death ID Parade intro-clip is indeed the one Phill’s panel had to transcribe in Indescipherable Lyrics back in the first few series.

Even Simon’s names are funny
“Is it #1…UUUUUUUURRRRGGHHHHH
#2….AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!
#3….Mmm!
#4…EEEUUGGHH!
or #5…oooOOOOOOOoooohhh!”

Kenzie: “#5’s boots are impressive, if you like…treading on people’s faces…”
Phill: “I think YOU’RE in line for a little visit…”

Next Lines: “Bob the Builder, can he fix it?? Come on, Nick, this is your area…”
Nick: “I don’t know…”

Simon signs off with “I’ve been Simon Amstell, and before I go back to youth television…BOLLOCKS! Thank you.”

Overall: Solid panel thanks to some great work from Kenzie and Nick. Russell kept on the defensive for most of the night, but had some pretty nice lines every now and then. Aaron was also a quieter favorite, like his last appearance. Kenzie was the real star–not only was he a big personality, but he was a good enough sport to really work on this program. He was great putting up with Simon who, to his credit, wasn’t hitting him too hard.

Thoughts on Simon: Very polished here, especially compared to Mark’s NMTB. Some of his deliveries were kind of straight, and he did mess up a few auto cue lines, which Kenzie aided him on. He wasn’t perfect here, but did enough tonight to get the gig after the season.

Guest Host Score: 9/10
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Kenzie
Best Runner: Kenzie’s anal.

Nevermind Watchdown: S17E9–Mark Lamarr’s Last Hurrah

I thought I was ready.

I really did.

But, after 17 series of Mark Lamarr completely destroying people on Nevermind the Buzzcocks…I’m not. I’m incredibly sad to see him go, because he was the driving force behind this show from the second he realized the control he had. Yes, Simon Amstell’s coming in soon, but he’s not the same. Mark was raw, unfiltered power. Simon’s a bit too cheeky for me. Though I’ll get my taste of him eventually.

Tonight’s panel is tailor-made for Mark. Ben from A1 is here, as he’s one of Mark’s favorites. Toyah Wilcox is here, as she’s one of Mark’s LEAST favorites. AnnieMac, an Irish EDM DJ is here, to remind the viewers of Mark’s upbringing as a DJ. And Alun Cochrane is here, as he’s a comedian i’ve seen on Mock the Week that’ll at least give Mark an easy enough hard time.

This is also the 150th episode of NMTB. Mark even says “It was actually 156, but legally we weren’t allowed to include the number of times Richard Fairbrass has been on.”

Tonight’s episode brings back Freeze Frame, which is cool, since it’s been awhile. However, it’s given a multiple choice element, which I can get behind, as it’s worked well for them lately.

Bill asks Ben a question to get him into the conversation, but this gets them into a long, winded conversation that pisses the hell out of Mark. He then breaks it up by saying “Bill, ask me if I like cheese sandwiches”, but it gets Bill going even further.

Alun: “The Who are, uh, quite famous. I don’t really know too much about music. Should I have?”
Mark: “HEY. You know the Who are quite famous…”

Alun: “No, but my brother knows music, he plays guitar, he’s in a band.”
Mark: “Did Bill ask you if your brother was in a band??”
Alun: “No, but I do love a sandwich.”
Mark: “Hold on. Is your brother in the Who? Because if so, that’ll come in handy.”
Alun: “No, he’s in university. Gary, if you’re watching, good luck.”
Mark: “ANYONE, if you’re watching, good luck.”

Toyah: “It’s Adam Ant. Antmusic.”
Mark: “You’re quite right. You were in a film with him, weren’t you?”
Toyah: “Yes. He likes sandwiches.”

Toyah does this tonguing thing for an intro, then goes “Steve Coogan taught me how to do this.”
Mark swivels over, going “THIS IS A STORY WORTH HEARING.”

Mark: “Phill, I’ll give you a point if you know it.”
Phill smirks and looks back at the card, completely forgetting.

ID Parade brings us our last ID Parade appearance of Athelston, for the robot from Pointer Sisters’ automatic. He’s surrounded by much-more impressive robots, while he’s just wearing an antennae.

Alun: “Are #4’s tattoos real, or are they…clown tattoos?”
Phill: “Yeah, he got them in clown prison.”

The Next Lines will be performed by 2 rejects from the X Factor, which is a nice change of pace.

The second guy they bring out for Intros just yells all the lyrics off key, which Phill’s panel relish by just yelling everything back at him. It’s a hell of a sight to see.

For his last moments as the host of the show, Mark shoots himself in the head with a prop gun. Couldn’t have gone out in a more fitting manner.

Overall: Not the best of the season, but a solid finisher. Quieter panel, especially Bill’s but Toyah and Alun had the right idea. Mark didn’t seem like he was leaving, so the decision must have been made after the season had wrapped, but it was still a tough loss, and a fitting sendoff.

Best Regular: Bill
Best Guest: Toyah
Best Runner: Sandwiches

SERIES 17 SUPERLATIVES!!
Best Episode: Episode 7, featuring Lionel Blair dancing with Mark, an adorable old guy in both ID Parades, and Lionel’s inability to get a James Bond theme.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 6, featuring a killer panel, Nihal being ultra-British, Kathryn’s looniness, and Mark’s obsession with her pregnancy.
Worst Episode: Episode 2. So boring. Not even Tony Livesey’s scottishness could save it.
Best Regular: Phill, surprisingly, for coming out of the woodwork and dominating some panel-heavy episodes.
Best Musician Guest: either Kathryn Williams being crazy or Aled Jones being surprisingly game with all the insults.
Best Comedian Guest: Lucy Porter for, once again, taking control of her episode. Though Alun Cochrane comes close.
Best Dartboard for Mark: Yvette Fielding, and her ghost-catching.

Nevermind Watchdown: S17E8, or That was the theme tune to A Very Al Qaeda Christmas

Well, for one last time under Mark Lamarr’s tenure, IIIITTTT’S CHRIIISTMAAAAASSS!

Tonight features Kate Garroway, Tony Christie and David Grant, all of whom have been on before, and all of whom were great panelists but were overshadowed by a true anchor. Also on the panel tonight is Aled Jones, a Welsh singer-turned-TV-presenter.

Mark’s intro for Ronan Keating: “The man who is to talent what elves are to the triple-jump.”

Kate: “I like him, he’s good boyyy…”
Mark: “But can he sing?”
Kate: “I DON’T KNOWWW…”
Mark: “There you go. David, can he sing?”
David: “People who like this kind of thing find it the kind of thing they like.”
Mark: “There you go.”

Early observation- Aled’s having a hell of a time, laughing at just about all of Mark’s lines.

Bill, to Aled: “You must have had a lot of that fake snow, then?”
Aled: “I’ve swallowed tons of it.”
Aled grimaces, as that line’s been taken way out of context.
Mark: “IT’S A PERFECT EXCUSE, KATE MOSS! YOU DIDN’T KNOW THE SEASON!”

Like the Coolio show, Intros will be done with various musical instruments. Unlike the Coolio show, I doubt anyone’s gonna fall into the box while showing Mark their ass.

Phill tries putting on the accordion, and struggles, yelling “JESUS” while accidentally setting off a note.
Mark: “That’s what he sounds like walking up the stairs…”

Aled talks about his Christmas single, Walking in the Air, how kids at school would dub in horrible lyrics that didn’t even rhyme. For Phill’s 2nd intro, which is Walking in the Air, Aled, once he realizes what it is, chimes in with the fakey lyrics.

Aled’s big instrument is a digeridoo, which Bill helps him play. Aled holds it high, and Bill looks into it: “Oh, bloody hell, it’s Aled Jones.”
Mark: “Is that how the Australian 007 starts??”

Bill, getting Aled to relax: “Happy thoughts…relaxing thoughts…I’M WALKING THROOOUGH THE AIIIR…”
Mark: “In a minute you’ll be walking through the exit…”

Bill and Aled’s round with the instruments is one of the most amusing things i’ve ever seen, because they manage to screw up every single one. It’s glorious, and can’t be described in words. Bill drops a triangle, and keeps blowing into the wrong ends of a bagpipe.

For the ID Parade, Phill’s team has to pick out a heavily-disguised Sheila Ferguson, which is a nice change of pace.However, Sheila is so under-disguised compared to the rest of the panel (including a head-and-rear horse costume) that it’s so obviously her. Mark even goes “how’ve you been, Sheila?”, and she has to fight saying it’s her.

Kate, stating the obvious: “But…uh…isn’t she black?”
Phill: “Wouldn’t it be terrible if it was the other 2 degrees in the horse?”

Phill: “I’m afraid to say her number, because she’s gonna go off like a fucking car alarm…”
Mark, getting out a bullhorn: ‘I’m ready, let’s drown ‘er out!”

Next Lines is performed by actual performing artists tonight, which is nice. Phill’s is a reggae band. Bill’s is a death metal band.

Right after the first death metal next line, which is Winter Wonderland, Bill’s team just stares in befuddled silence. Out of nowhere, Bill just starts singing Walking in the Air again.

Overall: A solid Christmas episode, but brought down by the general Series 17-ness of it all. Aled was a great sport, but the rest of the panel didn’t do a ton, though they were having a lot of fun.

Best Regular: Bill
Best Guest: Aled
Best Runner: Walking in the Air

Nevermind Watchdown: S17E7

Three episodes of Mark Lamarr remain. What better way to send him off than with another Lionel Blair appearance? He was so much fun his first time out, too. Liz Bonnin is also back, which is nice, I guess.

Nate James was an up-and-coming R&B artist. Steve Mason was fronting King Biscuit Time.

Mark, in Lionel’s intro, mentions the fact that for The Farm, he had to suck turkey semen and blow it through a straw. Bill, during the first round, brings it up again, which Lionel cracks up at. Lionel, to get a cheap laugh, goes “that turkey never stops phoning.”

After Lionel explains how turkeys are inseminated, Mark: “I heard Lionel had to get that turkey drunk.”
Lionel: “Yeah, with a date-rape drug.”
The entire audience “OHHHH!”‘s. Mark can’t even believe it.

Bill, on the nurse noticing the tied up gorilla in the Bjork video: “She gone ‘oh, Mr. Wilkins, they’ve tied you up again, have you…”
Mark: “You know his name, don’t you?”
Bill: “I do!”
Mark: “Oh…Mr. Wilkins…”
Bill: “It’s not working out, this whole ‘gorilla dentistry’ thing, isn’t it?”

Mark, trying to include a mostly-quiet Steve in the conversation: “Have you ever asked for anything backstage?”
Steve: “We kinda went in the opposite direction, and decided to ask for nothing at all. We were trying to be…non-rockstars, so it was very much a case of…some garibaldis and a pint of milk.”
Mark: “So you DID ask for something…”
Bill: “Garibaldis! OOOOHHH!”
Mark: “ITALIAN biscuits…”
Bill: “And milk? You…milk…”
Steve: “We used to inject it, though…”
Bill: “Oh, well in that case…”

Lionel, trying to figure out the answer: “Let’s all- I say puffin…”
Bill: “I say banana, LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF!”

Mark is trying to get Lionel to get the right James Bond theme. He even goes “all he can think of it Goldfinger anyways…”
Lionel responds by flipping him off. And then licking it.

The whole intro of Lionel’s inability to get A View to a Kill is wonderful, because Mark says it, like, 5 times…then Bill and Steve mime sniper rifles. Lionel goes “OH! The Man with the Golden Gun!” The entire panel face palms.
Mark: “…Close.”

Lionel’s second intro, Mark just starts singing along to it. Lionel, knowing it by heart, sings along with him, and it’s the right one. Mark isn’t even there to say ‘yes, that’s right’. He gets up and continues singing it with Lionel, both getting up on the desk and dancing to it. It’s an incredibly sweet moment.

Mark: “Not only did you get the point, but we did have, what I think was a very special moment, and one that I’ll be playing back to the police at some point in the evening.”

The ID Parade features a new classic. Phill’s is for ‘Call on Me’, the video for which features a sexy fitness instructor, who they have to pick out. 1-3 are beautiful women, 4 is an older woman, and 5 is an extremely old bald man in the outfit. It’s like Athelston, but somehow more obvious.

Mark: “You know what, I can help you narrow it down a little bit. It’s NOT #5. Although…it could have been filmed a long time ago. I like him, I bet it’s been many years since he’s walked down the street without someone going [hums the Benny Hill theme]”
Liz: “He’s Snoop Dogg. He’s cute.”
Mark: “It’s amazing, though, he’s managed to have gotten sadder since he came on.”
Phill: “I love the idea of #5 going home tonight, he’s got 4 sweet phone numbers in his pocket…”
#5 breaks his demeanor to smile, loses composure, and then uses his hand to cover his face as he gets back into hangdog character. It’s hysterical.

Bill’s ID Parade is for the goose from a Travis video. #’s 1-3 are various other birds. #4 is #5 from the last ID Parade…intro’d as “Mr. Magoo’s shorter-sighted brother.”

Overall: Definitely an improvement, thanks to a better panel, more consistency through the episode, and an ID Parade worthy of the golden age of NMTB. Lionel was the standout, though Liz had some great moments, and Steve was a quiet hero here.

Best Regular: Bill
Best Guest: Lionel
Best Runner: #5 in ID Parade

Nevermind Watchdown: S17E6, or, I say, Mark, that foreign chap’s having a pop at you!

Adam Hills! Tony “Fancy a Log” Blackburn! Nihal Arthanayake! A very pregnant Kathryn Williams! Can the four of them pool their respective NMTB guesting powers and save Series 17? Let’s find out!

Bill: “Ze Heaven 17s…un ze Molokos…”
Mark: “That’s good, that’ll save on dubbin’ it for the Spanish audience.”

Tony: “Neither of them have won the Eurovision Song Contest.”
Mark: “…I’m not quite sure of that…”
Tony: “REALLY?”
Mark: “Well, neither are you…”

Kathryn: “…is it flies?”
Mark: “I should point out…Kathryn is pregnant, this could be a craving.”

On the clip of John Denver juggling, Adam: “Those were the days of making videos, where you got to the end and just went ‘uhhh…I can juggle! Someone put a camera on me and I’ll juggle!”
Phill: “That was the week where John Denver hosted the Alaskan lottery”

On Lance Bass doing a seek-heil: “If you’re gay and you’re a Nazi, looking to meet singles in your area?”
Adam: “Put one hand in ze air like you just don’t care!”
Mark: “IS THAT HOW IT GOT STARTED???”
Adam: “You’ve gotta fight, for your right, to be in the Nazi Paaaaarty!”

On the NSYNC video, Phill: “This is where 4 of them are working now, which is Oxfam in Didcutt!”
Nihal: “This is the green room at a rent boy auction.”
Mark: “Surely…if you were BUYING a rent boy, that’d be a mortgage.”
Nihal: “Very true.”
Mark: “For that, you get bonus points.”
Nihal, sarcastic Cockney accent: “I’M PROPER HAPPY! COR BLIMEY, LORD LUVVY, CRIPES ALIVE, MARK!”
Mark: ‘SHUT IT, WORKASS!”
Nihal: “But I thought that’s how all you white people talk!”
Bill, over-the-top British voice: “I say, Mark…that foreign chap’s having a pop at you!”

Nihal: “It’s called colonial revenge!”
Mark: “WHAT DID I DO???”
Nihal: “I saw you!”
Nihal: “I’VE NEVER EVEN BEEN TO INDIA! IT LOOKS STINKY!”

Adam: ‘The first line of that John Denver song, in that clip we saw, was ‘find me in the fields of grass’…possibly foreseeing his own downfall.”
Phill: “It didn’t say ‘my flaming ass will be just behind where the cockpit used to be…”

10 MINUTES IN, MARK MENTIONS ADAM’S LEG!!!

Tony, for the ABBA intro, talks over it like he’s on the radio, which proves how much fun he’s been on this program. It’s also pretty evident that Mark loves having him on.

#5 in Bill’s ID Parade, who he intros as ‘Julian Clary’ is just really, extraordinarily pouty. Mark even comments “Like Disney couldn’t even draw a puppy that sad!…’never wanted to come on a pop quiz in the first place…”
Tony: “I think she’s trying to mislead us, actually-”
Mark: “What, she’s actually really happy? Cause I imagine, when she lets rip, ALL FUN breaks loose.”

Bill, still narrating over the very-sad #5: “I’m afraid…we can’t give you a refund unless you have the receipt…”

Kathryn, after the umpteenth Mark pregnancy joke: “You keep fixating over the fact that I’m pregnant-”
Mark: “No, I’m over the moon for you! It’s not a fixation…”
Kathryn: “Well you’ve just talked about it a few times-”
Mark: “Yeah. Twice.”
Kathryn: “But I keep seein’ you looking down…you know you wanna rub it-”
Mark: “HUH?”

I’m surprised that there’s an ID Parade for The Pirates…and Al the Pirate is not out there with his plastic sword.

Adam: “#2 keeps staring at me and I’m kinda scared by him.”
Phill: “Is it because you’ve REALLY only got one leg?”

Next Lines: “Quivers down by backbone.”
Nihal, channeling Romesh Ranganathan: “Parkinsons taking over.”

Mark: “Your hip bone connected to your thigh bone-”
Phill: “Your thigh bone connected to your- [to Adam] I’m sorry about this”

The best one of Mark’s discarded punchlines: “The good news is it wasn’t Bailey’s, the bad news is it was Bill’s.”
And Bill just peers around, confused, as the rest of the panel laughs at him.

Overall: Much better, but still hit a snag during Intros. All four were on point, especially Kathryn and Nihal.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Kathryn
Best Runner: Tony’s Big Light sales.

Nevermind Watchdown: S17E5

Sadly skipping past a Rich Hall episode, onto Episode 5. Our only returnee here is Claudia Winkleman, which isn’t too bad.

Rich Archer is the lead singer of rock band HARD-Fi. Katrina Leskanich fronted, yes, Katrina and the Waves. Richard Park, who was on last year, was famous for being a judge on Fame Academy.

Phill, for the first time in a while, brings out one of his world famous Terrible Impressions, talking about Keith Richards’ dead snake.
“Mr. Richards, your snake has died.” “AH GOT A SNAKE? That’s brilliant? Oh, he’s died. Oh, that’s a shame.”
Mark: “You’ve never heard Keith Richards speak, have you? Is he suddenly Jackie Mason? ‘I say, I’ve got a snake!’…sorry, I’ve never heard Jackie Mason speak, so…”

Phill: “The most they would do at the next gig would be Mick would come out and say “I’d like to a poem for Keith’s snake. ‘Oh, snakey, we miss you so…”

Mark points out that this was after Brian Jones had died, “just a point of order, before we get complaints. Brian wasn’t in the band when he died…he was in the swimming pool!”
Phill just bursts out laughing, and eventually Mark sighs and cracks too, both knowing how horrible the joke was.

Claudia: “Keith’s got a whole animal hospital, he does-”
Rich: “It’s probably just a ruse to get discounted morphine.”
Phill, as Keith: “Ah’ve got a very, very ill hamster here, I don’t-”
Mark: “WHO IS HE DOING???”

Mark introduces the Gareth Gates clip, and asks why he failed to show up to an International Stammering Conference. The audience loses it, and even Bill’s confused. Mark has to shout at the audience to ‘GROW UP!’

Richard: “The earlier scene, the girl’s saying to him “I thought you said BILL Gates!”
Absolutely no one laughs. Mark just gets up and panics to the camera.

Claudia, after the Bob Marley intro: “It’s not Bob the Builder.”
Phill: “Close.”
Mark: “It is Bob, though.”
Claudia: “HOSKINS.”
Mark: “YES. BOB HOSKINS.”

Wonderful moment. Bill and Katrina, for their second intro, do a really good version of the theme from Friends, I’ll be there for you by the Rembrandts. Right at the end of the intro, Richard jumps in and starts going “SO NO ONE TOLD YOU- oh, sorry.” It’s hysterical, and a great, fun character moment. Richard has the right idea, definitely.

Bill’s ID Parade is for Black Slate, a reggae band that sang ‘Amigo’. The ID Parade are all wearing serapes and sombreros. Mark even says “I have to point out, our dresser has concentrated more on the word ‘amigo’ than on the word ‘reggae band’.”

Richard: “I like the look of #1”
#1 gives him a look. Mark runs over with his prop knife “Here, use this to ATTACK!”

Next Lines:
Mark: “I’ve got a cousin named Kevin”
Bill: “And…he’s buying a stairway…”
Mark: “Stairway to Kevin?”

Overall: Like the rest of this season, has some good moments, but generally week in the center. Richard was a ton of fun, and Claudia was a great Mark dartboard, but still, Mark’s not putting a lot of effort into this season.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Richard
Best Runner: Star Trek theme