Continuing the countdown, knocking out another post’s worth of the back half of the all time greats. I don’t know how it worked out that both my Rich Hall picks wound up back in the 50s, so I’ll tease that both picks of a NMTB legend wind up here. And that’s all I’ll tease, as we get right into it with #50:
Host: Mark Lamarr
Captains: Phill and Sean Hughes
Panelists: Boy George, Jo Brand, Suggs, Lisa Scott-Lee
First of all…THAT is a panel right there. Literally all four proved on multiple occasions that they could work with Mark, and work with NMTB stuff. Plus, any team with Suggs and a comedian is kind of like having two comedians, because Suggs is hella funny (On Rod Stewart and The Damned: “Can they both be repelled with garlic?”), and putting him on a panel with Jo Brand is perfect for both of their senses of humor.
But…another thing about the panel stacking is that I feel like they stacked Phill’s team with two separate kinds of great Mark dartboards: a member of Steps (Lisa) and an actual Boy George (Suggs, lol). Yes, Sean’s team here is great because Jo and Suggs are cracking jokes with Sean all night, and that alone is hysterical, as well as their ability to also throw stuff at the dartboards.
But…it’s really about Phill’s team. And more specifically, it’s really about Boy George. This was his best panel performance of his three episodes, and the fact that he gets along so well with Mark (in a very bitchy sort of way) elevates this tremendously. Like, when I saw that Boy George made some appearances, I was thinking it’d be more like…2008-era Boy George. Like, drunk, burnout, dialing-up-escorts Boy George. Forgetting, of course, that popstars have burnout periods and don’t always have their shit together (and now he’s a Celebrity Apprentice finalist, which is nice).
Boy George, especially in this episode, was jovial, quick, and having loads of fun. I still love the visual of George bopping his head (very faintly) back and forth as Lisa and Phill do their first intro (with Lisa on top of the desk). And…obviously the amount of good-natured gay jokes is sky-high, starting from a Rod Stewart fisting slam early on (Mark: “Well, we have an expert on the subject in the studio, so…”), going right through the rest of the show, comparing George’s spotted hat to something Cruella De Vil would wear, to…Mark and George just ending up flirting more than halfway through the show.
The thing is, even if the show is very Mark-George centric, there’s still time for a great Jo story involving Old Dirty Bastard, a ton of Steps jokes from Phill and Mark, a really funny ID Parade including an early appearance by Al the Pirate, and some really funny stuff from Phill. It, like a lot of S6 episodes, is PACKED. But it doesn’t feel overwhelming, thanks to Boy George just being super laid-back.
George: “Is it the ‘ion sleeps tonight?”
Mark: “THE IRON SLEEPS TONIGHT! You know, from ‘The Iron King.” While they all sat around drinking ginger beer…GEORGE…YA BIG POOF!”
Host: Mark Lamarr
Captains: Phill & Bill Bailey
Panelists: Ricky Wilson, Ortis Deley, Jim Jeffries, Keisha White
Series 16 was around the time where Mark Lamarr would be a bit burned out by Buzzcocks, hence his departure. The thing is, of his last two series on the show, it was S16 where he really tried to keep things together and have a good time, whereas S17 was a bit less controlled and bit more lackadaisically-put-together. Plus, Mark was supposed to come back after Series 18, according to interviews, but Simon Amstell’s star was rising too quickly for anyone to contain. So he didn’t.
…If he had come back, I feel like it would have been a lot like this show. Because this show is very much rooted in the NOW, in the modern 2005-era scene, with Ricky Wilson and Keisha White, and 2005-era comedian Jim Jeffries. Like…there are no safety nets for Mark. No Mike Read or Barry Cryer or even Suggs. He had to make a show work with mostly new personalities that he didn’t have a huge connection to. And if he’d done Series 19, with new people like Lily Allen, John Barrowman and Vanessa Feltz (who he would have had a BALL making fun of), it’d be a lot like this one.
Because look at how much fun he was having with Ricky Wilson. Look at how hard he was laughing. And this is just the kid from the Kaiser Chiefs, the supposed heirs apparent of rock in 2005. He could have smacked him back to his own level, but Lamarr knew that Ricky had something. So he let him have a phenomenal night. And he definitely did, cracking Blue jokes like the best of them, and coming off as much a comedian as a musician.
That isn’t to say Mark’s hosting took a backseat. No, he was just as active as ever, making Ricky restart an intro for doing a ‘Bobby Darin count off’, and predicting how Bill’s team will immediately make a joke at Marilyn Manson’s expense. Plus, there’s Phill’s team’s entire ID Parade, where Phill, Ricky, Ortis Deley and Mark are all riffing on how they all look like lesbian cowboys (with Mark eventually adding “you know, I don’t mind lesbians. it’s COWBOYS i’m worried about). It’s a classic bit, one that kept building as the round, and the show, went on.
Still, even the littlest things worked. Even Bill screwing with HIS ID Parade worked. Even some solo lines from Jim Jeffries worked. Even Ricky Wilson insinuating the five male panelists could easily romance five lesbian cowboys. It all worked, in a way I don’t even think Mark expected it to.
So…I’d say that this was the last great Lamarr show, but…there’s one more from later than this coming up.
Best Moment: Bill, with this ID Parade of younger guys, gets a sudden inspiration, and runs up to them saying “there’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
He enters from the side, crosses in front of the lineup, and goes “looking to meet guys in your area?”
Host: Mark Lamarr
Captains: Phill and Sean
Panelists: Toyah Wilcox, Adam Bloom, Kele Le Roc, Tom Gray
What I’ll point out firstly about this episode’s success is that it didn’t even come from a particularly great panel. Tom and Kele didn’t do a great deal in this one, and Adam was only partially successful. Really, only Toyah Wilcox, the survivor of the punk scene, and of a few Derek Jarman films, had any bit of expertise and material…and thankfully she was able to stretch it out.
And before I even get to the Toyah bits with this one, note that this episode proved how on Phill and Sean, and Mark, were during this stretch. In the Bjork Freeze-Frame round, the jokes are flying from all cylinders (after Bjork’s teeth grow to huge heights, Mark: “The answer is she turns into Jack from ‘On the Buses’.”), Phill does the one effective impression he has all series with his loud, indecipherable Bjork, and they did manage a few really good Intros in this.
But…this is the Toyah show. Like the #50 pick, this was not Toyah’s first Buzzcocks, yet the main Toyah-bashing really began with this one, rather than her S3 appearance, which only had a few Teletubbies jokes. The Toyah-bashing was in the air from the very beginning, as nearly everything she said in the first round was essentially a set-up for a Mark joke.
Then, in Intros, Kele and Phill start going into ‘I Want to be Free’. While Toyah looks on. Now, they’d do this bit with other artists, like David Essex, but it arguably works the best here because the second Toyah hears her song, she immediately knows what they’re doing, and facepalms, giving herself away. Yes, Adam praises the song upon guessing it, and yes, she does get a fun moment as she sings along to the playback, but this worked so well for whoever set this up.
And then…in the newly-super-sized Band Names round, where there was already a running gag about a bunch of monkeys in a factory typing up ‘Chumbawumba’ (which, for the record, is one of many fake origins for the band’s name, as Danbert Nobacon kept like 50 of them in circulation), Toyah managed to completely bungle a train of thought about JFK, thinking an oddhanded Mark joke has to do with the answer. It’s one of those embarrassing blunders that would have to go right up there with Jessica Garlick asking which of the ID Parade looks foreign, or Josie D’Arby legitimately thinking that ducks go moo.
Mark, with the golden response: “…d’you know those chimps that typed up Chumbawumba? You wouldn’t even have gotten that far, would you?”
And so, the rest of the show, we embarked on the visual of An Infinite Number of Toyahs typing up Chumbawumba somewhere in a factory. And while a passerby could see this as ‘hey, they spent all show making fun of her’, I mean…they did, but she’s got enough self-awareness to be at peace with her joke status. I mean, why else did she keep coming on, LITERALLY UP UNTIL MARK’S LAST SHOW? She knew that she’d get insulted, but she enjoyed the fun environment of the show. And it was most evident here, I think.
Such a fun bunch of runners in this one. May not have had the ingredients for the best show, but it certainly turned out a charmer.
Best Moment: after some more ‘An Infinite Number of Toyahs’ jokes, Toyah, reaching her near-breaking point, goes, to Mark and Phill, “I’m gonna come over there and fist you both in a minute…”
Mark, taking this the exact wrong way: “ME FIRST!”
Host: Nick Grimshaw
Captains: Phill and Noel Fielding
Panelists: Joe Lycett, Fred Macpherson, Nancy Dell’olio, Conor Maynard
Special Guests: Pat Sharp, Mike Read, Tony Blackburn
Sometimes, when Buzzcocks tries a show-long gimmick, it doesn’t exact work…especially in the Guest Host era. David O’Doherty tried to bridge a runner that Shakira was supposed to host instead, but it could only stretch so thin. Stephen Mangan tried to make his episode the World Music Special, but the episode wasn’t strong enough to keep it up. Tim Westwood tried to implement the Wheel of JLS, but it didn’t work because Tim Westwood sucks [insert hutt-esque Big Narstie laugh here]
This one, the ‘Hey Mr. DJ’ special…definitely worked.
It helped that Nick Grimshaw was a strong, sharp, if slightly pedestrian, guest host pick. But also, the gimmick was that at any time, the panelists could call upon the help of legendary DJs Mike Read (who was a hero of a Mark Lamarr show in S12), Pat Sharp (who had become a running gag of his own during Series 24), and Tony Blackburn (who’d made his name as a legendary, fun presence on Buzzcocks after 3 appearances). They could aid in an opening round, join in on Intros (like Blackburn did with Joe Lycett), help out in ID Parade, or just…be along for the ride. It’s an intriguing idea, and it helps that all three are insanely good people AND good Buzzcocks presences.
So all it needed was a good episode to be based around. And…this was definitely one of those.
First of all, the team of Joe, Phill and Fred was a very fun, very goofy little team. Fred’s really funny on his own as well, and was a great intros presence. Joe Lycett is…Joe Lycett. Like, of course he’s gonna do funny shit. What else is he gonna do? His interactions with Tony were also wonderful and wholesome.
But…honestly, the only reason a lot of people remember this one is because of Nancy Dell’olio on Noel’s side. Someone who wasn’t especially aware of a lot of the jokes at her expense, being a professional TV personality, and…most of the show was just Noel, Conor and Phill just lambasting her. Nancy, not very familiar with the show obviously, eventually just said “I’m, uh, learning”. Which really just summed it all up.
Eventually it just turned into Noel and Nancy plotting to kidnap Dalmatians, adopt Conor, then Nancy wanted to take Nick out for dinner (Phill, giving my favorite line of the show, replied: “I can see it now: “FOUR HUNDRED HAPPY MEAL.””). It just got funnier and funnier, and I can only imagine that eventually Nancy cooled down about being the butt of everyone’s jokes. The eventual joke that she’s actually dating Tony Blackburn now felt earned, and…fit with this episode’s insane yet cordial mood.
But…just so many funny things happened this show. So many good DJ interactions. So many good moments for Phill and Noel. Even if Nick could have been slightly stronger as host, it was just a successful, very funny show in a murky era of Buzzcocks.
Best Moment: After Joe correctly guesses the first intro, of What Makes You Beautiful by 1D, as ‘Bollocks’, his whole panel ends up turning the playback into ‘Summer Nights’ from Grease. It’s as funny as it is wholesome.
Host: Mark Lamarr
Captains: Phill and Bill
Panelists: Dara O’Briain, Fatman Scoop, Gary Jules, Wes Butters
For those of you not from America, which has to be a great deal of you, I’m going to educate you on a type of reality show character called a ‘Rupert’.
A Rupert is a character that is big, brash, and has very simple principles, something like ‘do what’s right’ or ‘make eye-opening music’ or something like that. And…ultimately there’s nothing more to this character than just those simple principles. So when other characters bounce off of them, they really don’t have many cards to play with other than what we know of them. It’s also easy for anyone else to make fun of them, because they’re always really going to do the same thing.
There are contemporary examples, like Horst, the ‘I Killed a man with THIS thumb’ guy from Ratatouille, or Dr. Loomis in Halloween II, who gives the same speech seven times. But I call this a Rupert because of a character on Survivor, Rupert Boneham, who was a big, strong bearded guy from Indiana whose goals were to be big, loud and heroic the entire game. Ultimately, this did not amount to a win, but the audience sure loved him.
Fatman Scoop…is a Rupert. He’s probably a better Rupert than Rupert is. His schtick is that he’s a big, fat, black American rapper from Jersey. And that’s it. He’s like Pitbull if he didn’t have any self-awareness. He was placed on the show because he was making hits in the UK, and his agent thought it’d be a good idea. It…sort of was? I mean, he got exposure..?
But, Fatman Scoop did manage to take the game of Buzzcocks very seriously. Not unlike another American east-coaster, he was pointing out pragmatic flaws in the game, like angrily announcing that Bill and Gary’s intro sounded nothing like Dilemma by Nelly, or decreeing that the producers should just put Athelston back where he came from. Most flagrant of all, at the end of the show:
Mark: “So the final scores are, Phill, you got 9…”
Scoop: “What did they get?….WHAT DID DEY GET???”
(Mark’s trying to hold it in)
Mark: “….We’ll find out after this break…”
Scoop’s thing is a lot of the times, he saw the show kind of literally, and didn’t see that some things didn’t need to be taken so seriously, especially in Intros and Next Lines. This…made it easier for people like Mark and Phill to screw with him. My favorite is Mark asking what to call him, Fatman or Scoop, and Scoop saying he doesn’t care.
Mark: “Alright, I’ll call you Jeremy.”
Scoop, as if he’s aping Mr. T: “NOOO!”
Phill, smirking: “Scoop. Kill him.”
And the rest of the show works just as well around him. Gary Jules is a very patient American guest, jokingly confused by Mark asking if they have anal sex in the states. Dara improved upon his too-forward first appearance, and balanced his team with Scoop very well. Bill and Gary’s intros round was great, as Mark kept trying to distract them with singing The Passenger. And…Athelston wound up in full Scottish garb, with a kilt and hat. Mark even admitted, “I’m gonna put you on my mantlepiece tonight”
But having Fatman Scoop and his slight naivety there…enhanced matters especially. It was a banner series for Buzzcocks, and this one was even stronger than anticipated.
Best Moment: Learning that ‘Combine Harvester’ by the Wurzels is actually Bill’s national anthem. As the playback comes in, he subconsciously stands and monotone-ly adds in the ‘ooh-arr ooh’arr’s. Then…literally the whole panel starts bobbing up and down to it.
Host: Mark Lamarr
Captains: Bill and Sean
Panelists: Keith Chegwin, Tom Robinson, Neil Hannon, Emmy-Kate Montrose
I’ve talked a bit on here about banner series for Buzzcocks. Series 14 is a legendary one, Series’ 5 and 6 are both fantastic, and Series 20 has some definite pull as well. But..upon a recent rewatch, it SHOCKED me how good Series 4 was. Like, there’s only one weak show in the bunch, episode 5, and even that one has Jah Wobble’s drum noises (“BUMANUMANUMANUMA SLAG!”). But…pretty much every show in this series is either really good or a direct result of an episode that was really good. It’s just good shit.
And this one is no different. The show stacked two NMTB veterans (Tom Robinson and Neil Hannon), and brought in an Atomic Kitten member and…Keith Chegwin. Who was having the time of his life. Really, everything sprung naturally from all of that.
I’ll say as a brief criticism that Neil Hannon didn’t say as much as he did last time. Perhaps this was because he was on a panel with Keith, who was saying so much and getting so much air that maybe he didn’t have any breathing room. I’m a fan of Neil’s music, and I’ll say that he had a more fun show when he was paired with Lauren Laverne in S1, but…he’s great in Intros here with Sean.
Really, what we need to talk about this one is Tom Robinson’s pirate fixation, which starts in the opener and stretches through the rest of the show, and Keith Chegwin’s competitiveness, nearly getting in a fight with Tom and Phill after they tried to riff his intro-guessing. Those two moments make up the bulk of the great moments in this.
Not only that, but Cheggers’ looseness led to some fun moments, like his wanking input during the opening round, and everyone reacting to…Keith Chegwin, famed presenter, talking about wanking. That may be why this works so well, this episode: you’ve seen Chegwin in one light, but seeing him joke about wanking and shouting at Tom Robinson completely eclipses the legend. It’s like seeing Richard Madeley joke about Judy giving him oral sex under the desk.
Still, the regulars, especially Sean, had a ton of fun with this one. And seeing as it was S4, it was all really strong and very funny.
Best Moment: Phill, summing it all up: “LET’S LEAVE…AND COME BACK. We turned up in the studio, there was some load of old wank about pirates, and then Cheggers started talking about walloping…what a night!”
To which Sean responds with “d’you call it walloping?”
Then, later, pre-intros, Sean goes “Phill…we’re gonna WALLOP you in this round…”
Host: Simon Amstell
Captains: Phill and Bill
Panelists: Midge Ure, Russell Howard, Nick Hoult, Romeo Stodart
There’s a specific type of Never Mind the Buzzcocks episode that I’ve often enjoyed covering called an ‘Aftermath Episode’. Where a lot of the action of said episode revolves around the events of a previous one. For instance: S04E02, which didn’t make the countdown, is a fun episode because it’s just Mark bashing Chris Moyles for not enjoying himself the week before. S10E06 is great because Mark keeps having PTSD flashbacks to Pete Burns being there the week before. S22E06 is great because Simon’s trying to keep his job after Russell Brand was on amid controversy.
This one takes the cake. Because it follows one of the most iconic shows in Buzzcocks history, the Preston show…and it’s entirely trying to make sure that nobody else walks off.
This show does go back to my theory that Mark Lamarr could have done well with these 2006-era bookings, as he’d have fun with Midge Ure like he did a ton of times. Here, Midge is sort of drilled by Simon a lot, and it’s not exactly as cozy as his time batting away Mark slams. Solely because Simon’s a more intrusive host who makes it a point to call people out; Mark would at least wait until they played into his hand.
But yeah, Midge did enjoy himself enough that he’d repeatedly threaten to walk off. Simon keeps bringing up the fact that Bob Geldof gets all the credit, and the knighthood, for Live Aid, and Midge eventually just does a little finger gesture meaning ‘I will walk off in a second’. But he definitely settled in, somewhere around the point where he couldn’t get his own daughter’s band’s lines right.
Even aside from that, the air of chaos was present. Phill’s ID Parade was great, as it was very obviously #1, as she kept making herself known. Romeo completely missed his own next line, to which Simon responded “this happens at every show, but never so bad…”. Russell Howard was giving off some fun lines all night, and Nick Hoult was getting the most attention from Simon for being on Skins…which Simon himself co-wrote a show for.
But really, the triumph of this show was taking a Mark-era legend like Midge and making his style work with the new show. And for taking an episode like E3 and not completely divebombing afterwards. This is a pretty strong follow-up to a show that’s clearly a Top 10 on anyone’s list.
Best Moment: As Midge contemplates walking off, Phill: “You see this is the seat that Preston left, this is the seat that Lemmy left the show on, admittedly during the retakes. We’re just gonna have to call [Midge’s] the Ejector seat!”
Simon: “We should get some sort of a seatbelt…”
Host: Mark Lamarr
Captains: Phill and Bill
Panelists: Kenzie, Lucy Porter, Chinyere, DJ Spoony
i’d love to show that to someone without context, that above. Mark Lamarr just walking over and licking Lucy Porter’s face, then walking back like nothing’s happened.
Again, even near the end of his NMTB tenure, Mark could still give some good material. This licking, for instance, was in response to an anecdote from Lucy about a tramp licking her one time. So…naturally, Mark wouldn’t let that go at all over the next 30 minutes. Pretty much everyone else was harping on that, with even Bill singing to himself “that’s why the lady…smells of tramp…”
Now, repeatedly mentioning something embarrassing to Lucy Porter is easy. She’s a professional comedian, she takes it in stride and laughs it off all night. But what if you had something embarrassing onhand about someone a lot tougher. Say…someone from the Blazin’ Squad.
Yeah, then you’d have to hope it’s someone like Kenzie, who’ll literally buckle forward in laughter right when he knows something’s coming. And on this show, something was nearly always coming. From the running gags about the 9,000 members of the blazing squad, supplied by Mark (which, to be honest, he was cracking up right with Kenzie at), to the eventual realization that Kenzie’s dating Jodie Marsh. Which he’s very sensitive about. And which DJ Spoony was ABSOLUTELY AMAZED BY.
And…the joke eventually becomes about Jodie’s tendency to stick a thumb up her partner’s ass. Which…Kenzie doesn’t deny. And so, rest of the night, every Kenzie joke involved something being shoved up a rectum. Which…I mean, slightly better than his next time on (where he defended writing a song about, to quote Russell Howard, “doing anal in a truck”), but still hard to come back from.
Yet, to his credit, Kenzie was cracking up, at the risk of near pain, all night. At one point, you can hear him weakly mutter “please…leave me alone”. Which isn’t anything like Preston going ‘that’s out of order’. Like…he’s laughing so hard that if someone else gives him the mick, he might die. That is a new one.
Aside from that nonsense, this show was one of the last few appearances of Athelston, and for once he’s not the center of attention in this lineup, as one of the members appears to nod off in the middle of Mark’s intros. Plus, Mark agreed to give Kenzie a point every time he said it wasn’t Athelston.
This one’s so glorious because of the pile-up of running gags just hitting again and again, and for poor Kenzie being absolutely battered to the point of laughter exhaustion. I felt a little bad for the guy, but not from the brunt of the insults- no, I was worried he’d piss himself under the desk.
Just a really funny show, and possibly the last true knockout of the Mark era.
Best Moment: Phill and Chinyere are doing an intro for House of the Rising Sun for Kenzie. It’s…very clear that he doesn’t know it. So Mark just starts singing the lyrics along with it, passionately, further and further. At the point where he’s about to repeat the chorus, he just looks at the camera and goes “he doesn’t know…”. Such a great Mark moment.
Host: Rhod Gilbert
Captains: Phill and Noel
Panelists: Seann Walsh, Stacey Solomon, Harry Koisser, Ella Eyre
Now, let’s get something absolutely straight here.
A lot of people…don’t like the Rhod Gilbert shows. They think the show was dying out, that there was no cohesion between Rhod and Noel, and production was trying too hard to make events happen rather than make a solid panel show. And I can see those criticisms, but like…there are a few episodes in this series that I laughed too damned hard at. Hell, I’ll mention that one that just missed the cut, Episode 7, featured the visual of Phill and Noel both doing Sarah Millican impressions while reading adult fiction. So much insanely funny stuff in these, even if Rhod’s method of game-running became tedious after a while.
Here…things were still new, fresh, and interesting. And you had onhand two people who’d definitely make things interesting: Seann Walsh, who’d yet to see a Buzzcocks show he didn’t make hysterical, and Stacey Solomon, who was projected to completely bungle the Intros round, as per usual. And also, you had loopy Harry Koisser from Peace playing a guitar from behind his back and doesn’t have a house. Shenanigans were bound to ensue.
Most importantly, this show would feature the first appearance of Rhod’s ball-bongos. Which would only get funnier as the series went on. Also, Seann Walsh’s school friend ended up as one of the options in ID Parade, which was wonderful. This one also introduced the innovation of giving the ID Parade guest a wireless lov mic so Rhod can talk to them afterwards, and in tonight’s case try to hire them both for contracting jobs. There was also a runner about the nonexistence of the concept of time, which is the most Seann Walsh thing ever, and there were just some great moments coming from all three regulars.
This show’s big moment may have been Stacey Solomon’s pathetic showing at Intros, realizing she’s bad at hearing songs, and then short-sighted…so literally Phill and Ella doing Waterloo Sunset to a bewildered Stacey was nearly excruciating, but also entertaining. Not since Tony Wright had someone been so consistently bad at Intros, and she was making a name for herself, not even getting a clue about the sunset and bringing up the movie IT, which at least played into Noel’s wardrobe.
Like with Tony, when she eventually did get an intro it was a momentous, hysterical occasion with much dancing. And also, Stacey’s generally a very fun panel presence despite being horrible at Intros. Phill doesn’t get too annoyed by it either.
A very solid, very eventful Rhod show, and…it’s not the last of those on this list.
Best Moment: Noel running out in a dress with Pennywise on it. Rhod points out that the nose is in a very odd place, though:
Host: Mark Lamarr
Captains: Phill and Sean
Panelists: Noddy Holder, Boy George, Jonathan Ross, Louise Wener
Coming off of one of the most sadistically engineered shows in NMTB, Episode 8 of Series 2 gave us a standard for every subsequent Christmas Show, literally just by starting with Noddy Holder going “IIIIIIIIT’S CHRIIIISTMAAAAAAAS!”
This was the show’s first attempt at a Christmas show, and they pulled out all the stops, getting two high-profile panelists in 80s icon Boy George and Christmas Legend Noddy Holder from Slade. Additionally, they had on Jonathan Ross for his first of like 12 appearances in the first 4 series.
Here, Ross is at his lawful best, as he doesn’t have a panel that he can entirely drown out. He does have some goofy moments, especially in Intros, where he has one given to him so many times that after 4 he just starts doing it WITH Phill and Louise (‘OOMBA OOMBA OOMBA OOMBA’). Also, let it be known that it’s Ross who uses the phrase ‘I IMPLORE YOU, I BESEECH YOU’ before Mark uses it on him during Never Rewind, this time to scare off an ID Parade member.
Hell, even BOY GEORGE is at his lawful best. He’s not making many gay jokes, Mark isn’t taking the mick that much, and he’s honestly the quietest he’s been on this show. True, he does have a few cheeky moments, like saying his religious denomination is the Church of the Poisoned Mind (Mark: “HE’S PLUGGING OLD RECORDS!”), and insinuating that he’s the only one who would know what a drummer is like in ID Parade (Sean: “Could you all just take off your trousers for George?”)
But…really, this one’s about Noddy. Because not only is he game with all the CHRIIIISTMAAAS jokes, but he just seems chuffed to be on. He’s joking with Mark about their outdated hairstyles, doing fun intros with Sean, making great jokes throughout, and even indulging the panel and making fun of Dave Hill’s hairstyle, doing a little sign of the cross (prompting Phill to go “Normally Noddy used to go ‘Iiit’s Christmas!’ But he looks around at Dave and goes ‘IIIIIIT’S CHRISTMAAAASSS!”)
With eight extra minutes, enough breathing room to keep ID Parade live, an incredibly silly Next Lines, and tons of joshing from Mark and Jonathan, this was a generally jovial, insanely successful CHRISTMAAAAS special, one that’d be insanely hard to outdo (and yet…two have)
Best Moment: Sean and Noddy’s first intro sounds a bit too much like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Sean, to that tune: “AAAEHAAAEAAAA….IT’S CHRISTMAAAS…”
The next ten will be up soon. To preview this batch…expect two annoying teenagers, some hair wax, four from the Guest Host era, and two shows featuring Buzzcocks’ most prolific guest panelist.