I’ll admit that I went about this SEARCH FOR THE LOST EPISODES because I was becoming disillusioned with how Simon Amstell was turning Buzzcocks into a makeshift Popworld, with more emphasis on interviewing, and humiliating, stars, and less emphasis on the actual quiz. Mark Lamarr’s character would have never HALTED the quiz to care about his contestants- not even in Series 17.
But, to end Series 16, I find myself staring Simon in the face yet again, as well as Bradley Walsh, who saved one of the worst episodes in Buzzcocks history. Estelle was, at the time, the Queen of British Hip Hop, and would eventually chart Stateside with ‘American Boy’. Melanie Blatt is a, according to Mark, allSAINTS survivor.
Bradley Walsh had the right idea- he has a higher-pitched, but still cockney-ish, voice that in no way fits him, like Andy Hamilton or the villain from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
On the Geri Halliwell video:
Bill: “I love the fact that the sheep is so embarrassed that it’s put sunglasses on…”
Mark: “He signed up for the sheep protection program.”
Bill: “If i stay still, no one will notice back at the flock…”
Phill, on the Britney video: “Let’s have a look at this image here…”
Phill: “Thunderbirds, the slutty years!”
Melanie: “Very Easy Jet.”
Mark, applauding: “I’d like to shake your hand…and I’d like to give you this award, on behalf of Buzzcocks…”
Bradley, before Intros: “Is this gonna be pop records?”
Bill: “…no, they’re all Gregorian chants.”
Bradley: “If it’s not classical, I won’t get it.”
Mark: “YOU LISTEN TO CLASSICAL? You’re from Watford, you like the Eagles and Queen.”
Bradley: “But that’s classical, innit?”
Bill: “Nevermind the Buzzcocks Goes Classical!”
Mark: “When the Lovin’ Spoonful lead singer was a kid, he had museum guards let him into the Museum of Natural History after hours so he could climb on the dinosaur carcass. He got the idea by watching Catherine Zeta-Jones’ wedding video.”
So Mark essentially tells Bradley what the second intro is…and he still doesn’t get it. Same thing happens with Simon’s first, so Mark just SINGS THE DAMN SONG and it does nothing.
Simon: “I mean, you’ve already had a go at Brian, so don’t…”
Mark, motioning to Bradley: “Brian?”
Simon: “…Connolly? No?”
Bradley cracks up a bit here.
Then, at Simon’s second intro, Melanie just hands Simon the card.
Simon: “oh, right…”
Mark: “IF ONLY WE WERE FILMING THIS, THEN I’D KNOW HOW MELANIE CHEATED!!!”
Mark, in retaliation, goes over to Melanie, and drinks her water, spilling it on himself. A second later, he comes back with a water bottle and essentially pours it on and around the glass, making an even bigger mess. Melanie just throws some of the water back at him. At least everyone, except maybe Simon, is having a nice time.
Mark’s ID Parade names are still fantastic- #2 is “M T Pants”
Mark: “Estelle, I’m guessing that’s the beating I’m getting after the show, then…”
Mark: “Is it #3, W.C. Loiterer…”
Mark: “…no it’s that one, IT’S THAT ONE!”
Bradley says that 1 and 4 were the Bronx version of Little and Large, so Mark makes Simon and Bradley switch places with both of them.
#4, sitting in Bradley’s seat, actually does a really nice Norman Wisdom, so Mark goes over to Bradley and says “I wouldn’t head back to Coronation Street, you’ve lost the part.”
Bill: “LET’S TRY AND GUESS…WHO ARE THE UNDERCOVER POLICEMEN??”
Mark: ‘I think it was #4- hello, Bradley!”
Bradley: ‘Ask Alan!”
Bradley: “Alan Davies.”
Simon looks confused, but takes the rebuttal in stride.
For Phill’s ID Parade, #1 is obviously the guy, and they all seem to think he’s drunk so everyone’s waiting for the guy to fall over, or go over to Melanie and start hitting on her. Meanwhile, he’s just standing there laughing.
Overall: Not perfect, but definitely had its moments. Everyone on the panel was into it, and even Simon, who started out a bit moodier, possibly as a result of Mark, got better and more game. Bradley was having a wonderful time, cracking jokes and bouncing off a better panel than he had his last go-around. Melanie had some great jokes, Estelle was having a great time, and the bit with Bradley and ID Parade was fantastic- hell, BOTH ID Parades were great. A solid show to end the series with.
Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Bradley
Best Runner: Simon vs. Bradley- wrong names.
SERIES 16 SUPERLATIVES
Best Episode: Episode 9, featuring Kenzie being an AMAZING sport with Mark constantly giving him crap, Lucy Porter’s anecdote about being licked by a hobo coming up in every point in the show, and the presence of Jodie Marsh in Kenzie’s bedroom giving Kenzie even more pain than the thumb up his arse. Solid show all around.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 7, featuring Ricky Wilson channeling Bobby Darin, The Bangles apparently being a fruit-based band, Jim Jeffries being pessimistic, Phill’s team choosing between lesbian cowboys, and Bill going “looking to meet guys in YOUR area?” during ID Parade.
Honorable Mention: The Entire Second Half of Episode 4. Literally EVERY JOKE HIT in the bottom half, ID Parade on. It’s just the first half was pretty vacant, save for a few good jokes.
Worst Episode: Episode 8- other than Bill & Bez on Ice, the dynamic was dead and only Tony Christie doing Morrissey kept it alive.
Best Regular: Mark Lamarr, for being solid and peeling back enough of his character to remain fun in his second to last season on the program.
Best Musician Guest: Obviously Ricky Wilson for almost taking over the show, but Kenzie, Chris Park, Martin Fry, Raghav and Gary Brooker had some nice showings as well.
Best Comedian Guest: Ewen Macintosh, Episode 2, for being so dry and so ridiculous that he nearly took the emphasis off of Mark taking the piss off of Dom Masters. Dave Johns was incredibly close to taking it, for completely taking over Episode 1, and Lucy Porter, Steve Frost, Bradley Walsh and Nihal were considered.
Best Dartboard for Mark: By a hair, Dom Masters, Episode 2. I gave this to him over Kenzie because, unlike Kenzie, Dom deserved it.
Most Annoying Panelist- Mickey Hutton, Episode 5, for almost hijacking the episode and not being very funny while doing it.
Most Befuddled Guest: Bez, Episode 8. But that’s how Bez is.
Best Runner: Mark giving the panelists vodka, Episode 3. It was the gift that kept on giving.