Way back in Series 10, Never Mind the Buzzcocks did a Eurovision Song Contest special, featuring 3 veterans of the ESC, as well as a boisterous Terry Wogan (who, sadly, we’ll be getting next series). It was harmless enough, but as an American, I didn’t get a ton of the references.
Now, here we are in Series 23, and as the finale to the incredibly fantastic series, we have David Tennant hosting a Doctor Who special…which is great, except I don’t watch Doctor Who.
Still, I will try my best to soldier on and hopefully Tennant will be a nice enough guest host.
Literally the first second of the show, Tennant jumps into the scene out of a cloud of white smoke, from under the desk. He then asks, aside to the producer ‘and you’ll do the materialization effect in post, right?’ before going right in. All charisma, though.
Jamie Cullum’s a jazzy-pop singer. Catherine Tate’s a sketch comedy legend, known for roles on Doctor Who and the U.S. Office. Bernard Cribbins voiced the Wombles and was present for TWO DIFFERENT incarnations of the Doctor. Jo Whiley’s a DJ and….sigh…TV presenter, who was last on the program alllllll the way back in Series 1, with Adam Ant.
Tennant is, obviously, keeping the Doctor Who puns flying, describing McFly as ‘what happened when Busted regenerated’
The joke in the opening round is that David actually enjoys Coldplay, and everyone, including Jo, Phill, Noel and SURPRISINGLY BERNARD are all taking the mick at them.
Noel: “Their manager phoned me up and told me ‘you both were very mean to Coldplay’…but then texted me and said ‘but I know it’s very “cool” to hate Coldplay.’ So I texted her back. “Just wanted to say…I wasn’t trying to be cool…I genuinely hate them…just for the record.”
David, singing along with a clip: “IIIIII WILLL TRYYYYY….AND FIX YOU…”
Jo reveals she’s a pretty big Doctor Who fan, so David just randomly stops the round and asks her a trivia question, which she nails. She then asks Catherine if she wants one.
Catherine: “I only realized you shouldn’t called the daleks ‘robots’ about a week ago…”
David asks Catherine what TARDIS stands for, and she’s writhing around, trying to remember, all the while Jo’s pogoing in her seat, knowing the answer.
Noel: “Isn’t Davros the small one…with the weird face? Looks like a prawn?”
David: “…a bit like a prawn, yeah…”
Bernard: “…I like prawns. They’re nice.”
David asks if Jamie did indeed headbutt Natasha Bedingfield, and Jamie reveals it was an accident, piano-related injury.
David: “Were you trying for Daniel?”
Phill: “We had Daniel on this show once, and you mustn’t give him sweets. It’s a big thing, he goes mad if you give him sweets. And he arrived here, in the green room, and someone put out a big basket of mars bars, ate them all, and it took us about an hour to get him off the ceiling. We had to get one of those things you open school windows with and just try to get him down…”
Noel: “…I probably would have left him up there, to be honest…”
David: “McFly’s song has a lyric: “there’s nothing on earth that could save us when I fell in love with Uranus”…which, as it happens, was a line REMOVED from the pilot episode of Torchwood.”
David: “Dougie once recieved a thong in the mail, which had the words ‘turn your erection in my direction’ written on it….BARROWMAN!!!”
Noel: “I’d like to imagine that the pilot went “Robbie, I’ve left my wallet out on the plane. Pop out and get that for us, would ya? Yeah, just down the end. WWWWRRRRR….”
Bernard: “That was actually taken at 30,000 feet, and they drew the ground in afterwards.”
Bernard just has a very funny way of looking at things. He can be a bit odd sometimes, but he’s still got the right idea. Heck, even Noel says, right after that line “…d’you want to come and write for the Boosh?”
Phill, on the ‘shoulder-brushing’ move Robbie does: “He’s mental, he probably just brushing an imaginary hawk off his shoulder. ‘IT’S BACK AGAIN…THE HAWK….IT’S GOT THE FACE OF GARY BARLOW!”
There’s something to be beheld how much of a mess Catherine is currently, how she didn’t even notice there’s a TARDIS behind her, or how she mistakes Robin Hood and Kate Bush. Either way, this is reaching Bill Oddie levels of meltdown, but luckily Bernard’s there to screw with her, even saying to the audience “if you’ve brought any sandwiches, this is the time to eat them…”
Noel: ‘I did an interview for a Dali documentary, and it wasn’t half as weird as this…”
David says that during the Intros round, if people need help they can invoke the TARDIS. Sure enough, Jo needs help immediately, so an Ood just pops out.
Noel: “…it’s Andre Agassi…”
David: “Matt Bellamy has been plagued with numerous fans who’ve written letters saying they’d commit suicide unless he’d sleep with him….”
The repetition is indeed working for this gag, btw.
Catherine, before intros: “Are these songs people have heard of?”
Noel: “…people, not you…”
Catherine can’t get the ‘Final Countdown’ one, so she invokes the TARDIS, while Noel and jamie keep on going with the intro.
Catherine: “I’M GOING TO ASK THE TARDIS…FOR GOD’S SAKE…It won’t be any help, but…”
David, reading a joke: “Kylie’s favorite bra fetched a staggering 6,000 pounds on ebay.”
Bernard: “Wanna see it?”
Man, I am just loving his stuff tonight.
David: “Any idea?”
Phill: “I’ve got a number of ideas…”
Bernard: “Can we concentrate on this, for the moment?”
Great moment- Phill’s ID Parade leaves, only #1 keeps standing there. It takes a push from Catherine to make him realize the rest have gone, he gives an embarrassed expression, and leaves promptly. David even gets a kick out of this one.
Great punmanship in the Dr. Feelgood ID Parade
#3: Feel Jupitus.
And, as per the theme, #5, “I feel like we’ve met before”, is in fact a real live working Dalek. I dig how much fun the production team had with this one.
Noel: “I don’t think it’s #5…”
Jamie: “If it is #5, someone’s gonna pop out of it. It’s a trick question.”
Noel: “What, Davros? The king prawn?”
Great moment in Next Lines
David: “Knock knock?”
Bernard: “Who’s there?”
Bernard: “Doctor who?”
Phill howls at the simplicity of that one.
David: “Whoooo are you?”
Bernard: “…this is Phill Jupitus, I’m Bernard Cribbins…”
Overall: Fantastic way to end the series, even if it was a bit quieter than some of the major highs. A ton going on here, thanks to Catherine’s absolute battiness and the gallons and gallons of Doctor Who stuff poured in by an incredibly game production team. David was a wonderful guest hot who kept the game, and jokes, going with ease. Bernard easily had the best night, having the best lines and keeping the demeanor high. Jo was game and Jamie was fun but neither had many great moments. Very nice icing on the cake of this exceptional series.
Guest Host rating: 9/10, excellent job David.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Bernard
Best Runner: BARROWMAN!
SERIES 23 SUPERLATIVES!
Guest Panelists, Ranked Best to Worst:
Martin Freeman, Episode 8
Dermot O’Leary, Episode 10
Frankie Boyle, Episode 11
Rhod Gilbert, Episode 2
Frank Skinner, Episode 5
David Tennant, Episode 12
David Walliams, Episode 9
James Corden, Episode 1
Alex James, Episode 3
Claudia Winkleman, Episode 6
Mark Watson, Episode 7
Jack Whitehall, Episode 4
Best Episode: By a hair, Episode 8, featuring Martin Freeman holding court, Dappy being himself and causing Phill to walk off, Charlie Brooker trying to keep things PG, and Simon Bird more than making up for being a fill-in for David Mitchell.
2nd Best Episode- Episode 10, the most fun show of the series by far, featuring Dermot O’Leary pulling everyone together, Aston Merrygold nearly injuring himself breakdancing, an INCREDIBLE duet from Phill and Michael Ball (bungled by Russell Tovey), and David O’Doherty’s facts about pandas.
3rd Best Episode because this season was that good- Episode 6. I was torn between this one and Episode 11, but 6 gets it solely because Harry Shearer’s dynamic with the rest of the panel, including Jamelia and Tom Basden, was electric, and there were some fantastic moments, even spurned by a nice enough hosting job from Claudia Winkleman.
Worst Episode: Episode 4. Jack Whitehall was trying to be too much like Simon, and the show didn’t really need to go back there.
Best Regular: Noel Fielding, for fitting into the dynamic immediately and bringing out some great moments in people.
Best Comedian Panelist: Harry Shearer, Episode 6. I know there’s more competition, like Tim Minchin, David O’Doherty, Charlie Brooker, Jon Richardson, Greg Davies and, yes, Bernard Cribbins, but Harry was just on fire in a way I never expected from him.
Best Musician Panelist: Michael Ball, Episode 10. I was THIS close to giving it to Basshunter from Episode 9, but Michael was just in it 100%, and his dynamic with Phill was absolutely wonderful to watch. Jamelia, Tinchy Stryder, Dappy and, yes, Basshunter came close.
Best Sport: Carol Vorderman, Episode 11. I honestly thought she’d be a ton more horrified at some of the stuff Frankie Boyle threw at her.
Most Annoying: Are you honestly expecting me to put anyone other than Dappy? I mean, he had a nice show, but he’s Dappy. Don’t worry, there’ll be a nice Most Annoying for next season (get ready, because Jack Dee won’t be.)