Well…I’ve waited long enough…time to start the LAST EVER SERIES OF NEVERMIND THE BUZZCOCKS.
The good news is that they got the bright idea to add Rhod Gilbert as the permanent, full-time host. Rhod’s episodes were wonderful, as he let his trademark dour-with-a-sunny-side mood infiltrate the show, and it led to some really nice moments. Here, he’s got a whole series to play with, and I’m very excited to see what it looks like.
Well…about 15 seconds in, I’m already won over. In a cold open (man, haven’t seen one of those since S25), Rhod is filmed waking up, and walking to the studio, set to Hall and Oates’ ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’…and with the addition of animated birds, a flash mob, a jazz band, and well-timed fountains, it’s a complete send-up of the scene in 500 Days of Summer, which I have even more props for the crew for sending up. It’s fantastic, and shows exactly who Rhod is…culminating with Rhod pummeling an intern for getting his coffee wrong.
Even better, this episode marks a return for rap battler and Cluedo character Professor Green, sports presenter Gabby Logan, and a debut for two people I have heard of- comedian and BFF of Katherine Ryan, Roisin Conaty, and LEAD SINGER OF HUGE GLAM-POP BAND THE 1975, MATTY HEALY!
Rhod introduces a new round, called Rumor Has It…whose audio-intro-clip is just Rhod’s voice interspersed into Adele’s ‘Rumor Has it’. Which is quite the sound, as Prof just doubles over laughing.
Phill: “WATCH OUT, PROFESSOR GREEN! HERE COMES THE COMPETITION!”
Rhod explains this round is about celebrity rumors, including “Was Cee-Lo Green the first man on the moon?”, and “Is Rhianna a Horse?”. Even he can’t get through that one without laughing.
(This also reminds me how great it is to hear the word ‘rumor’ in Rhod’s accent. Not since his MTW ‘is it, RUMOR, Flooding has begun?’)
On James Blunt, a turkey, a coffin and a microphone.
Phill: “James Blunt moved to Norfolk, and started East Anglier’s first…necrophiliac turkey karaoke night!”
Rhod says that Blunt was #4 on a list of most annoying things, and asks what else he was more annoying than.
Prof: “Stubbing your toe?”
Rhod: “STABBING YOUR TOE? You’re the real deal, man…”
(Prof laughs for about 15 seconds at this. Hell, I don’t think he laughed this hard the whole Frankie Boyle show…)
Rhod, during the intro-clip for Van Halen: “In Welsh, their name means Salt Van, but what…”
The amount of cracking up THIS FAR IN proves we’ve hit upon a great dynamic here.
Roisin: “Did he chop a man’s legs off with a guitar, put him in a tent…and that man said ‘NO MORE OF THAT!'”
Noel: “Was that tent getting a new pair of shoes?”
Phill: “Those are SHOES? I thought it was a rabbit taking a bad selfie…”
Matty: “Mick Jagger liked to get blowjobs when he was in the recording studio…”
Noel: “Wow, you won’t be supporting THEM again, will you?”
Matty, in character: “NO! IT WAS A NIGHTMARE!”
Matty: “I didn’t even get to talk to Mick or anything-”
Noel: “PRETEND YOU DID!”
Matty, changing immediately: “So Mick comes over to me, and he’s like ‘LOVE THE BAND’…”
Noel, as Jagger: “But I REALLY like to get a blow when I’m doing vocals, so if you could just…”
He even bends Matty’s head towards his crotch.
Noel: “This is the rudest show I’ve ever been on…[to Rhod] YOU’RE a pervert!”
Rhod: “Sorry, mate…”
Prof: “His name is ‘Rod’…”
Matt ends up leading the whole panel in the Potato Lattice game, which is a quick fire back and forth, having everyone say names of foods without hesitating. Rhod is eliminated quickly, which he protests.
Rhod: “GUYS, GUYS! This has TOTALLY backfired. I thought this was gonna be a shit game, and you’re all loving it!”
Phill and Prof’s first intro is just a long, repetitive, alarming-sounding one, with Prof constantly doing a singular-toned ‘AAAAAAH’ every few seconds.
Gabby: “Is that the whole thing?”
Phill: “No, he’s just very good at that bit.”
An exhausted Prof slumps down onto the desk, near Phill’s crotch.
Phill, quick as hell: ‘OOOH, I FEEL LIKE SINGING!”
Gabby: “Is it Prodigy?”
Phill: “OOOOHHHH No…”
Rhod: “I’ll pass it over.”
Noel: “NAAN BREAD! Oh, wait, that’s a different game…”
Rhod, Simon-esque: “YOU’RE WRONG.”
Noel: “What’dyou mean, we didn’t even say anything!”
Phill: [Guitar riff from ‘Should I stay or Should I Go]
Phill, to Prof: “….really?”
Rhod’s standup jokes, rather than being scathing put-downs, are just fun little puns, which sums up his era of the show quite nicely.
Noel and Matty’s intro is reminiscent of a Sean Hughes round- Roisin gets it from Matty’s bit, and not from Noel’s more-accurate guitar riff. He just slumps over as Matty hugs him and fives Roisin.
Noel and Matty’s quibbling continues on the Galvanize intro, which Noel can’t quite get the main synth bit from. They eventually get it, but not without more arguing.
Rhod: “The video for Papa Don’t Preach marked the unveiling of Madonna’s 2nd look: short, cropped platinum hair, and a more muscular physique. For anyone who’s counting, she’s now on her 37th look: Unconvincing Malawian Ice Cream Man with net.”
And THERE’S THE SCATHING BUZZCOCKS WRITERS AGAIN!
Rhod has a nice little put-down of Gabby’s blogs, and while it does take away from the quiz, Gabby’s enjoying it, and Rhod’s still in his element as host.
Rhod, still on the blogs: “Can you tell me a bit more about the green drink?”
Gabby: “…NO, YOU TWAT!”
Rhod, doing ID Parade Intros: “IS IT…”
Rhod: “…have I got to say something funny about him?…WHAT’S IN HIS ARMS? Okay, it’s not #1…”
He even gives #3 a copy of the book of Gabby’s blogs, and he’s reading them as they do the ID Parade intros. Gabby’s semi-amused.
Matty, still on #1 arms: “He’s gotta have legs like shrubs.”
Noel: “What’s ‘shrubs’ in Welsh?”
Rhod: “…we don’t have shrubs.”
Other thing I’ve noticed about this series is that there are a ton of sweeping camera shots of the set, wider shots, less static. I understand they’re trying to blend in with other programming, but it’s a bit odd.
Rhod is spicing up Next Lines by introducing a category theme each week, which is a nice idea, and works better than replacing it with other, lesser rounds.
Overall: Fun way to start the series, even if it had a few moments of lulls. Rhod obviously proved his worth as host, though the runner with Gabby didn’t work as well as he planned. Matty had so much fun, both in doing intros with Noel and taking barbs from Rhod. Gabby and Roisin had a few good lines, and Prof, despite laughing up a storm in the early part, stuck to a quieter edit, like usual.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Matty
Best Runner: The sex-tent.