Down to our last two episodes of a rocky-but-still-enjoyable Series 25. This one thankfully features an old friend, someone who can DEFINITELY host an episode, and that’s Rhod Gilbert. In terms of the panel…not a ton of people I know, aside from Charlie Baker, Austin Powers’ brother, Jimmy “Long-Haired Lover from Liverpool” Osmond, and Tom Parker, who sang lead for 2010’s One-Hit-Wonder The Wanted. Caroline Flack’s a TV presenter, doing a ton of aftershows and now the X-Factor.
The cold-open doesn’t even utilize Noel and Phill, but features Rhod only agreeing to host the show if he can do it commando…giving us an unneeded shot of Rhod’s bare bum. Hey, it’s his humor.
The first round gives the team’s props, including a live, adorable dog, which Noel holds. After the audience gives a nice ‘AAAAWWW’, Noel, knowing fake sympathy when he sees it, goes “oh, shut up…”
Jimmy, on working with Michael Jackson: “He was always very kind to those animals…”
Charlie: “He had to be, they knew all the secrets…”
[Jimmy, here, gives the most insincere laugh I have ever heard from a human being. Just ‘ahahahahaha’ in this monotone. It’s truly horrifying]
Charlie: “D’you ever see the Tales of the Unexpected beekeeper one? Where he was giving his son the beekeeper honey…and his son turned into a bee?”
Rhod: “…certainly unexpected…”
Rhod, to Caroline: “Did you go out with Prince Harry?”
The whole audience: “OHHHH”
Charlie: “THAT’S A YES! THAT’S A YES!”
Rhod: “DID YOU REALLY?”
Caroline: “We went out together, but we didn’t…GO OUT.”
Rhod: “Come on. Have you seen the crown jewels?”
Rhod: “Madonna recently turned down a reported 1 billion dollar deal for a Vegas residency. It’s probably for the best- the last time I played roulette with her, the croupier shouted ‘BLACK, SIX!’, and Madonna went ‘I’LL TAKE HIM!'”
Rhod asks Tom for an anecdote about upsetting a fellow performer, and he tells a story about texting something horrible to Nicole Scherzinger.
Rhod: “Tom…that wasn’t the incident I was talking about. I was just talking about your falling-out with Blue…”
Tom: “…oh shit…”
Rhod: “It’s like me saying ‘oh, tell me about that incident!’ ‘I KILLED A MAN’ ‘No, not that one…”
Noel: “You KNOW this is going on telly, do you?”
Phill, to Tom: “Have you ever played pranks on someone when you’ve been on tour with the boys?”
Rhod: “Remember that time you killed Britney Spears?”
Rhod, to Jimmy: “You must have got up to some great times in the Mormons!”
Jimmy, not understanding Rhod’s accent: “Can one of you translate for me?”
Rhod: “YOU KNOW, THE MOOMINS?”
Jimmy: “Oh, the MORMONS. Oh. Yeah, you’re Welsh, aren’t you?”
After Noel and Jimmy’s ‘Californication’ intro
Rhod: “I have to say, in your defense, that that was absolutely appalling…the percussion was alright from Jimmy, but Noel you were-”
Noel: “OHHH HERE WE GO…”
Rhod: “Be honest, did you completely forget the track before you stood up…”
Noel: “D’you know what’s happening now? D’you know when someone’s mean to someone because they slightly fancy them?”
Jimmy: “…I’m gonna get out of the middle of you two, okay?”
Again, just like the rest of Series 25, when they try too hard, it suffers. Jimmy and Noel’s 2nd intro is ‘Crazy Horses’ by the Osmonds, which is accompanied by everyone on the panel wearing Osmond bowl-cuts and teeth. Yeah…a bit too much, there, and the intro is pretty annoying.
I will say that the benefit about having Jimmy Osmond on the show is that it gives a new perspective on a generally hated band- he talks about how Crazy Horses was a metaphor for pollution, and how they stood up for real issues when nobody else in the business were doing that. It gives you a ton of respect for a group once referred to by Arthur Smith as “a bunch of grinning nutters.”
I may be slightly biased because it’s one of my favorites, but Phill and Tom’s intro for ‘One Vision’ was pretty damn good. Even better is Charlie getting it immediately and singing along to it, something we really haven’t had since the early days of the show.
Phill: “CHARLIE BAKER SINGS FREDDIE MERCURY IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE SHOPS! Do another one.”
Phill, going on the Devonshire theme: “FLASH….OOOH-ARRR!”
(Bill Bailey must have been summoned somewhere)
Rhod gives Charlie noise-cancelling headphones to make the 2nd intro trickier, as Charlie has been described as ‘Devon’s Answer to Frank Sinatra’
Rhod: “Tom’s a musician, but he’s also in the Wanted, so he’s got a slight disadvantage…”
This leads to another nice moment- Rhod says that Heatwave’s Boogie Nights was the 2nd single he ever bought, so they start talking about their firsts. Noel reveals his was Prince Charming by Adam Ant, which is so true to character.
Even better- Noel rules out #2 because he thinks he’s Athelston, saying ‘#2’s been on the series a billion times before…”…and it ends up being him.
Rhod: “Tom, I heard that you once bedded five ladies in one night…”
Phill: “Nono, he was coaching a small football team.”
Rhod: “Was it the Saturdays”
[Hindsight: No, it was not the Saturdays. Just ask Ruby Rose.]
Noel: “Was it the Osmonds?”
Charlie: “By the fifth one, were you like ‘uuuughh…I don’t think I’ve got it in me, to be honest…d’you mind just…folding it up and putting it in?”
[The whole room reacts]
Phill: “….DEVON’S ANSWER TO FRANK SINATRA???”
Next Lines: “My universe will never be the same”
Audience member: “I’M GLAD YOU CAME!”
Tom: “I’m glad you came. She got it!”
Rhod: “Well, actually, no, it was ‘I’M GLAD YOU CAME I’M GLAD YOU CAME’
Charlie: “Was she one of the five?”
Rhod: “She came twice, don’t put yourself down…”
Rhod: “I know that it’s a little bit frightening”
Phill: “But I need a chlamydia test after this show…”
Rhod: “Things are getting strange, I’m starting to worry”
Noel: “Is this a song, or is it just you writing diaries?”
Overall: Good enough show, though it’ll likely be placed near the middle, despite Rhod’s best efforts. The panel didn’t do a ton of working together, save for Charlie, though he’s a comedian so it’s understandable. Caroline and Tom took some good barbs from Rhod, and Jimmy had some good moments, though he was a bit out-of-place. Rhod, obviously, was a fantastic host, in the same take-no-shit vein as Mark Lamarr, and of COURSE he did well here.
Guest Host Rating: 9/10
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Charlie
Best Runner: Devon’s Answer to Frank Sinatra