How do we follow a painstakingly-bad episode, that not even Paul Foot could save? With the RADIO DJ SPECIAL of Buzzcocks.
Hosted by Nick Grimshaw, the young hip DJ of the time, the gimmick tonight is that whenever the panelists need help, they can call over one of DJ (and NMTB) legends Mike Read, Tony Blackburn (of Blackburn and Slash) and the Ubiquitous Pat Sharp. It’s a nice gimmick, one that hopefully won’t overstay its welcome like the WHEEL OF JLS from a few years ago.
Rounding out the panel tonight are, well, a bunch of newbies. I do know Joe Lycett as a collaborator of Katherine Ryan’s, but the rest are new to me. Fred Macpherson’s the lead singer of Spector, a rock-ish/indie-ish band. Conor Maynard was, in 2012, ‘the UK’s answer to Justin Bieber’. Nancy Dell’olio is an Italian, uh, ‘TV personality’, who came up as a football manager’s wife and now kicks around the D-list celebrity TV circuit.
Nick introduces the runner, of the three DJ buzzers.
Joe: “Can we use them afterwards? Because I need someone to help paint my kitchen.”
Tony: “…I’m always available!”
Joe: “SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!”
Noel: “Nancy just whispered in my ear ‘which one’s the most experienced?'”
Nick’s buzzer: “TONY BLACKBURN!”
Noel: “….in mullets?”
Nick’s buzzer: “PAT SHARP!”
Pat nods, approvingly.
Joe and Noel are making jokes about Pauline Quirk’s evil laser eye, when suddenly, Nancy goes “are you talking of me?”
Joe: “HAVE YOU JUST WOKEN UP??? When you’re not talking, do you have to go to sleep like a laptop, and just…”
Nancy: “NO, I’M LISTENING, JUST MIND YOU BUSINESS…”
Phill: “Wow, this laptop’s got claws!”
Fred: “If it is a laptop, Noel’s shirt looks like the screensaver.”
Nick: “Who would you rather walk in on? Your mum with Tom Jones, or your mum with David Bowie?”
Phill: “Have you met my mum?”
Noel: “What’d be disturbing is a threesome…”
Phill, as Tom Jones: “OH, GO ON LUV. GIVE IT A GOO…”
Noel, as Bowie: “Oh, Jesus…Tom, please, you’re getting in the way…”
Phill: “OUT OF DE WAY, BOWIE, YA IDIOT, I’m tryin’ ta have sex with this laydee…”
Noel: “D’you know Elton John.”
Nancy: “Yes, I do.”
Noel: “Is there anyone you didn’t know?”
Nancy: “Well, of course. I didn’t know you…”
Nancy: “Listen, I was the first lady of football…”
Noel: “Who called you that?”
After the umpteenth Nancy slam
Nick: “Nancy’s texting her agent under the desk…”
Nancy: “No, I’m just, uh, learning…”
Nick: “Elton once said that he should have died in the 1990’s….mmhm.”
The whole audience REBELS against this joke.
Fred: “Who’d have played piano at Diana’s funeral?”
Noel, to Nancy: “Can you play piano?”
Pre-intros, Nick: “You excited about this, Joe?”
Joe: “The most current song I know is the National Anthem, I think, so…I feel like I might struggle.”
Joe decides to bring down Tony Blackburn to help him with the first intro, which leads to a really cool moment of Joe Lycett meeting LEGENDARY RADIO PERSONALITY TONY BLACKBURN. It’s just really nice.
As this is 2012, Phill and Fred have to do ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, by One Direction.
Tony knows it’s One Direction.
Nick: “D’you know the name of the track?”
Nick: “YES! BOLLOCKS IS THE RIGHT ANSWER!”
A legendary NMTB moment happens here- at the tail end of the 1D song, Fred notices it has a familiar melody, and starts singing ‘Summer Lovin’ from Grease along with it. THE ENTIRE REST OF THE PANEL, INCLUDING TONY AND NICK, start singing along, until the audience is joining in.
There’s not been a moment like this since Phill and Brinsley Forde singing When Doves Cry back in the much-maligned Series 17. It’s a wonderful moment.
After Fred adds a few too many drumbeats into ‘All Along the Watchtower’
Joe: “…it’s like Where’s Wally having a stroke.”
When nobody, NOT EVEN BLACKBURN, knows the Hendrix one, Nick brings us right back into ‘Summer Lovin’. Initially, Phill wags his finger, then ANGRILY SINGS ALONG.
Nick, to Noel: “It’s like if your hair and shirt made a song.”
Noel, channeling Bill Bailey: “which…they have made an album or two..”
Thankfully there is some sanity in this audience, as Mike Read, called on by Noel’s team, is FINALLY able to guess it’s ‘James Michael Hendrix’ and All Along the Watchtower. Mike is probably doing more here than he did in his episode in Series 12.
Nancy, as the real clip plays in: ‘Your performance was HORRENDOUS!”
Fred: “I’m gonna put that on our CD, on the front cover…”
As the Ronson clip plays in Noel, crouches over towards Nancy and tries to move with the music so she understands.
Phill: “Ya look like two baddies in a Disney film! ‘COME ON, LADY! LET’S KIDNAP DEM PUPPIES!”
Nancy: “That’s good idea for BBC. New show.”
Nick: “D’you reckon? NANCY AND NOEL KIDNAP SOME DOGS…ON BBC3.”
Noel: “We’re gonna drop an atlas on a Dalmatian.”
There’s this whole runner about Noel and Nancy adopting Conor.
Nick: “What’re you doing later, Nancy?”
Noel: ‘STOPPIT, THAT’S MY WIFE!”
Nancy even invites Nick to dinner, and Nick even asks the audience if he should go, basically say he will on account of she’s rich and she’s paying.
Phill: “I can see it now: “FOUR HUNDRED HAPPY MEAL.””
Noel: “Make it quick or the Dalmatian gets it.”
Fred: “I know that two of the S-Club Juniors are in the Saturdays.”
Joe: “Yes, and the rest of them have Saturday jobs.”
Fred: “She’s got a great skull. I sometimes think about what people’s skulls look like inside their heads-”
Phill: “WOW! GO AND SIT WITH THE DARK MISTRESS OVER THERE!”
Fred: “What, d’you think me and Dell’olio should swap?”
Phill, Italian accent: “OHHHH DO NOT DO THAT.”
There’s a brief conversation about who Nancy’s dating now, which Noel takes offense to (“I know you’re out looking at other men, while me and Conor stay inside and play Battleship..”). They’re trying to figure it out.
Joe: “It’s Tony Blackburn!”
Nick’s buzzer: “TONY BLACKBURN!”
Nick: “Tony, are you Nancy’s new man?”
Tony: “…I AM!”
The whole place applauds. It reminds you how great Blackburn was on the program.
Fred gets his own lyrics, then, smirkingly, goes “OUR ALBUM’S OUT NOW!”
Joe jokingly plugs something ridiculous.
Nick: “Anything to plug, Nancy?”
Phill, taking this the wrong way: “Ooofff..”
The audience even catches on.
Nick does an Italian Next Line for Nancy, which she didn’t understand, so he reads it slower, and sexier.
Noel: “…..I’ve got a boner.”
Overall: BACK ON TRACK! This was the NMTB equivalent to the QI Squirrel episode- a runner that worked, and occasionally added stuff to the episode’s greatness, including Tony Blackburn’s usual exuberance, and Pat Sharp’s deadpan. Nick was a great Guest Host, being loose enough to have great lines. Joe had the best day of everybody, and Fred had some nice lines in there, while Nancy stood her own as the episode’s primary punching bag. Conor was a big quieter, but he was still happy to be there. Great show, decent watchability.
Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Solid job for Nick.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Joe
Best Runner: Nancy, Noel and Conor, the family.