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- For Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath's first ever "Feel the Sportsman", Rory declared "I hope it's Sharron Davies!" as he put on his blindfold. The actual sportsman couldn't have been further removed from Sharron Davies: 48 stone professional wrestler Martin "Giant Haystacks" Ruane. Nick Hancock, David Gower, Lee Hurst, guests Rory Bremner and Roger Black, and the studio audience could barely breathe for laughing throughout the round.
Rory McGrath: [as he first finds Giant Haystacks] It's not Sharron Davies!... it's huge, it's my overdraft! [finds Giant Haystacks' bushy beard] Oh my God! He's chewing a squirrel!
Nick Hancock: I'll give you a clue: he's not a jockey!
- For "Feel the Sportsman", David Gower and Lee Hurst had to identify footballing hard man Vinnie Jones, who came on stage wearing a big pair of comedy ears to give to Gary Lineker... who shook his hand and said, "Hi Vinnie!" while David and Lee were still blindfolded. Fortunately, neither David nor Lee heard the giveaway, and were inevitably alarmed when they removed their blindfolds to see whom they'd just been groping. As they had been given a clue that their guest was Welsh (albeit only by ancestry rather than birth), Lee did guess that their guest was named "Jones", and protested not being given any points:
Lee Hurst: Didn't I say Jones? [audience murmurs in agreement]
Nick Hancock: Well, I didn't hear you, bad luck.
Lee: No! No, come on - cheer if you want us to score some points! One, two, three... [audience cheers]
Nick: What's it got to do with you!?
- This episode finished level after "The Name Game", so for a tiebreaker, Nick Hancock produced a copy of Gary Lineker's Soccer Quiz Book and declared that since Gary had written the book, he should know the answer to any question in it, so he asked for the name of the Airdrieonians captain who had missed the 1992 Scottish Cup final against Rangers after being booked for pulling a face in the semi-final. Gary didn't admit in so many words that although his name was on the book, it had been written by researchers, and attempted - vainly - to save face by guessing "Mr McTaggart."note
Nick Hancock: What, you don't mean Jock McTaggart, do you?
- In "Sing When You're Winning", Gary Lineker's team were tasked with supplying the next line to David Gower's teammate John Gordon Sinclair's poetic homage to the Scottish national side as they geared up for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. However, Rory McGrath started with a Call Back to David's team's question from the same round (a poem by John Toshack about Kevin Keegan's dismissal in the 1974 Charity Shield) that snowballed into a series of jokes about the panellists' careers in commercials:
Rory McGrath: He's doing ads at the moment, isn't he, Kevin Keegan, for Sugar Puffs, with the, er, Honey Monster. It's funny, he always takes Peter Beardsley wherever he goes.
Gary Lineker: Is it- Lee's doing ads, what about Lee's new ad?
Rory: Oh, he wants to talk about ads.
Lee Hurst: What's that?
Rory: Apparently you're doing an ad, Lee.
Lee: Am I?
Rory: For toilet paper.
Lee: Really? [Gary and Rory's teammate, Kriss Akabusi, does his infamous laugh]
Gary: You not happy with it?
Rory: We're just wondering whether- how they film it, do they sort of, make you put your head up against a mirror and get someone to wipe down the middle? [audience laughter and applause]
Gary: Lee? Don't you think your street cred's just going down the toilet?
Lee: [sarcastically] All right, Crispy Boy!
Gary: Ah, shut up! [lobs two toilet rolls at Lee]
Lee: There you go, lads, clean up your gags. [throws one of the toilet rolls back; Gary heads it away]
Nick Hancock: First time you've ever headed anything!
Lee: I can hold my head up high!
Nick: Weren't you on Noel's House Party?
Nick: And you can hold your head up high.
Lee: All right, Sudafed Man on the radio!
Nick: What? Ooh, excuse me, I apologise for trying to cure ill people!
Lee: Well, I apologise for cleanin' up after 'em!
- During "Electronic Pencil", the teams had to determine where the tennis ball went in a veterans' match between Jimmy Connors and Guillermo Vilas. When David's team were given a turn, Lee Hurst decided to make John feel at home by writing "7-0" on the screen, a Call Back to the "Excuses" round in which David's team had to explain why Scotland lost to Uruguay by that scoreline in the 1954 FIFA World Cup, according to Tommy Docherty.note John grabbed the pen and wrote an F and half of a U before Lee grabbed the pen back.
Nick Hancock: We're not having anybody write "FOOLISH CHAP" on the screen!
- Both teams' answers in "Electronic Pencil" were so wide of the mark that Nick decided to Take a Third Option and award the round to Ian Hislop's team.
- For "Feel the Sportsman", David Gower and Lee Hurst had to identify greyhound Mick the Miller. Which was made slightly easier as the dog had died in 1939 and been subsequently stuffed. The bizarre tone of the game was set when Nick introduced the game as the team's chance "to molest a stranger without fear of arrest"... and Lee made a beeline straight for Gary Lineker's teammate Gaby Roslin.
Nick Hancock: And your time starts now.
[David and Lee inch tentatively forward; David accidentally bumps Mick with his leg and jumps back in shock, then inches forward again, while Lee discovers Mick not long after, and places his hand on the dog's backside]
Lee Hurst: Oh, God! Is it Rory McGrath?
Nick: I'll give you a clue, he's either very, very well-behaved or dead.
David Gower: Oh, thank God. Hey, I'll tell you one thing... [feels Mick's muzzle]
David: Hold it - hang on...
Lee: Hang on... [knocks on Mick's body, making a hollow sound] Yeah, right.
David: [feels Mick's underside] It's, erm... oh! It's a him.
Lee: Well, thank God you checked that out! I'd just like to say, this is a really-
Nick: It'll react to two commands, "stay" or "decompose".
David: Not too many clues, apart from the fact it's got a muzzle on.
Nick: Well, and it's a sports quiz.
Lee: [feeling around Mick's front leg] I'm sorry, if this- if this is a greyhound, it's shit, it's only got one leg in the front! [feels around vainly for the other front leg] I think I've- I think I've lost money on this dog!
Nick: Well done Lee, it is indeed Hoppy the greyhound. No, it is a greyhound, we want the name, [claps his hands] he's very famous, come on, you've got five seconds...
David: Ballyregan Bob, Mick the Miller, Lee Hurst...
Nick: Mick the Miller, well done, three points!
David: Yes! [raises his arms in triumph; he and Lee remove their blindfolds and return to their seats as a production assistant takes Mick offstage]
Lee: Why... why'd you put a muzzle on a dead dog? I mean, that is like-
Nick: To stop Rory kissing it.
- The producers were clearly trolling Lee with their choices for "The Name Game". After six fairly run-of-the-mill names, the seventh name was a bit of a change of pace...
Lee Hurst: [gets his first look at Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan's name] Oh, God Almighty!
David Gower: Try it! Try it! Try it, son!
Lee: I think it's a small town in Wales, I'm not sure! Where they do a lot of van driving. But I can't...
David: Van driving?
Lee: Yeah, it's, er, it's like, an Indian or a Sri Lankan cricketer...
Lee: It's got a really immensely long name.
David: Van, van... Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan!
Lee: I'll take your word for it! [laughter and applause from the audience and Nick Hancock; Lee's next name is... Tim] Er... [mimes talking into a phone receiver] It's a Brazilian footballer, you phone him up to get the time.
Lee: No! [laughter from Steve Davis]
David: The speaking clock?
Lee: No! Erm, erm, erm...
Steve Davis: Tim!
Lee: Yes! [throws card down]
Steve: Tim what?
Lee: [reads Laxman Sivaramakrishnan's name] Oh, God, what I need right now!
[later, after the whistle has blown]
Nick Hancock: Go on, say that name again, that was brilliant.
David: Which one? Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan?
Nick: That's brilliant. That's- that's actually longer than some of your innings!
David: [takes card from Lee] D'you want the second innings, then?
Nick: Yeah, go on then.
David: [reading card] Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.
Nick: Yeah, don't get too excited about it, it's only reading out loud.
- In "The Name Game", Rory McGrath and Lee Hurst had to give their clues as impressions.
- Lee's names included Eric Cantona, and he started by kicking David Gower in the chestnote ; when this didn't trigger a name, he vaulted over the opposite desk and kicked Gary Lineker's teammate Frank Skinner in the chest. David and Lee's teammate, Teddy Sheringham, still guessed Jean-Claude Van Damme before he thought of Eric Cantona.
- With David's team trailing 20-13 with 25 seconds left in the round, Lee cranked up the pace of his impressions to hilarious effect:
Lee Hurst: (Monica Seles) Eugh! Ow! [mimes being stabbed in the back] Tennis player!
Teddy Sheringham: Monica Seles.
Lee: (Paul Gascoigne) [sobs theatrically while miming tears streaming down his face, then cups his hands over his chest] Big tits, big tits...
Teddy: Gazza. Gazza.
Lee: (Kriss Akabusi) [taps David's arm] He was on- he was on last week - [imitating Akabusi's signature laugh] A-ha, a-ha, a-ha, a-ha! [points at Gary's team]
David Gower: Kriss Akabusi!
Lee: (Emlyn Hughes) [falsetto] Em! Em! Em! Em!...
David: Emlyn Hughes, Emlyn Hughes!...
Lee: (Gladstone Small) [hunches his shoulders] Er, I look like Clive Anderson! [mimes bowling a cricket ball]
David: Gladstone Small, Gladstone Small!...
Lee: (Duncan Goodhew) [rubs his bald head] I've got more hair than him and he swims!
David: Lee Hurst! Erm... Duncan Goodhew!
Lee: (Jimmy Greaves) [takes a swig from his water bottle and falls backwards out of his chair]
David: Jimmy- Jimmy Greaves!...
- As the episode finished level, another tiebreaker was called for, and this time Nick asked a question from David Gower's Cricket Quiz Book: "Who wrote David Gower's Cricket Quiz Book?"note
Lee Hurst: Can we have a clue?
Nick Hancock: Yeah: it wasn't David Gower.
- With David Gower and Gary Lineker having won three episodes each and having finished level at the end of the seventh episode, Nick Hancock announced that the series would be decided by Paper, Scissors, Stone. Gary and Rory McGrath spent a few moments discussing tactics, to Nick's immense amusement.
Nick Hancock: Can I just point out the tragedy of Rory and Gary discussing tactics? That is pathetic! That is so sad!
- Lee Hurst stumbled out of the gate in "The Name Game" when his second name was Tim Henman and he accidentally began reading the name and tried to turn it into "Tim-mis player" (leading Nick Hancock to dock his team a point), and things got worse when he had to give David Gower and Alistair McGowan a clue for Indian prince and cricketer the Nawab of Pataudi:note
Lee Hurst: [sees the name "Nawab of Pataudi"] Oh... piss off!
David Gower: Er... tick off!
Lee: [laughs] No, that wasn't a clue! Right, this one. He's... [David makes a couple of inaudible guesses] I haven't got a clue how to do this... look!... [shows David the card]
David: [reads the card] Oh, the Nawab of Pataudi! Why didn't you say so? Get on with it.
Lee: [throws the card over his shoulder] Of course, how silly of me!
- The idea that Gary Lineker was terrified of Vinnie Jones was a Running Gag in the series. However, its use when Gary and Rory McGrath took their positions for "Feel the Sportsman" in this episode misfired hilariously. After Gary and Rory donned their blindfolds, Nick Hancock shouted, "In you come, Vinnie!" Gary immediately removed his blindfold - just as the guest, who was not Vinnie Jones but rugby player Victor Ubogu, was taking the stage. Nick hurriedly asked him to back up out of sight, but the cat was out of the bag, and when Victor properly took his place, Gary didn't even bother putting on his blindfold, and Nick declared that their goal was to see if their guest really was Victor Ubogu.
- David Gower and Lee Hurst were probably happier with their "Feel the Sportsman" guests, the British women's Olympic beach volleyball team. When David realised that their guests were two women, he declared that they should introduce themselves first and shook their hands while saying, "Hello, my name's David, this is Lee." When he successfully identified the duo, David followed them offstage, assuring his and Lee's teammate, Kelly Holmes, that "The Name Game" was very easy.
- "The Name Game" had a team theme for this episode, and one of the names for which Rory had to give clues to Gary and Curtis Walker was Scottish football club Queen of the South. However, his reference to the name being tangentially related to Elizabeth II prompted Gary to guess Mary, Queen of Scots. The next team name was Sporting Moron, for which Rory's first clue was that the name described Gary very well.
Nick Hancock: Before I give out the points, there's a late football result in. ["reads" off card] Cowdenbeath 1, Mary Queen of Scots 2.
- This episode saw the birth of a Running Gag that lasted until the Christmas episode. David Gower and Lee Hurst's teammate, Neighbours actor Mark Little, revealed that he had sandals on his feet during the recording. Lee said that David instead had his feet on a small Filipino boy named Manuel.
- For "Author, Author", the quote given to Gary Lineker's team was "Today I recorded an episode of the quiz show They Think It's All Over. Well, now it really is all over, the recording I mean, I've got to admit that I cheated." Gary and Rory McGrath immediately pointed at each other, then also accused their teammate Brian Moore, who pointed at both of them in reply.note
- For "Celebrations", Gary Lineker's team had to explain why Scunthorpe United celebrated a goal against Carlisle United by kicking their legs forward as they ran back to their own half.note The question was de-railed by a series of Side Bets.
- First, Jo Brand suggested that the players' bizarre running gait was due to sexual excitement. Nick asked her to curb her liberal use of the word "hard-on", as his parents were in the audience. Jo proceeded to ask which words were acceptable, and went through "poo", "bum", and "Mariella Frostrup" - which got an audience laugh, forcing Gary to pay her £10.
- Next, Rory McGrath suggested that the players were showing off their freshly shaved legs, and he and Gary asked Jo if she shaved her legs. She claimed not to do so, and rolled up her trouser leg and allowed Gary to receive tangible proof, then asked if the experience had given him a hard-on. He claimed it had done, forcing Jo to pay him £60.
Nick Hancock: I'm just really, really frightened about the £500 Rory's gonna get if he gives him a blow job!note
- "Injury Board" tasked David Gower's team with explaining how an envelope had kept cricketer Derek Pringle out of a 1982 Test against India.note
Lee Hurst: Was it from Reader's Digest saying "You may already have won a place in the England cricket team"?
Nick Hancock: "Dear Mr Prongle"!
David Gower: No! No! Don't knock it! I got over a hundred of those letters saying "Dear Mr Davis Grower, you've been picked to play for England."
- In "Publicity Photo", David's team had to explain why Eric Cantona had posed for a publicity photo clad only in a pink shower cap and carrying a safety razor.note David suggested that he was auditioning for the remake of Psycho, "Le Psycho", prompting Rory to call him a "posh twat". In a nod to the episode's Running Gag of Lee claiming that Gary had threatened Vinnie Jones and/or challenged him to a fight, Rory promptly said that Gary was the one who had called David a posh twat, and Gary said he could handle David. David began to stand up - and accidentally knocked off the perspex pane covering the monitor in his team's desk. Lee picked it up and began swinging it toward Gary's team.
Lee Hurst: God, you're so hard when you're angry! [hands the perspex pane to David] Fix that for us, will you. [David pounds the pane back into place with his fist] Blimey, upper class people working!
- For "Feel the Sportsman", Gary and Rory had to identify rugby league winger Martin Offiah (who was also David and Lee's mystery guest in his capacity as a rugby union player). As Rory moved behind Martin and felt the top of his head, he said their subject was wearing an Astroturf bathing cap. Martin responded by elbowing Rory in the stomach, causing him to double over in pain.
Nick Hancock: Rory, at least you know it isn't Frank Bruno!
- "The Name Game" featured a team theme. With Gary's team trailing 19-15 with seconds to go, Rory had to give Gary and Jo a clue for Vietnamese football team Cong Nghiep Ham Nam Ninh. He stared at the card in utter disbelief for almost 10 seconds, then gave up and began launching into a mock British Telecom voiceovernote until time ran out.
- The episode featured a further continuation of the Running Gag started two weeks earlier regarding Manuel, the Filipino boy David Gower had under the desk. When Gary Lineker's team were unable to answer their "Excuses" question for why Mike Atherton had missed England's disastrous second innings in a Test against the West Indies in Trinidad in 1994,note Nick Hancock passed the question across.
David Gower: [looks under desk, stage whisper] Have you got the answer?
Lee Hurst: He can't speak, his mouth's full!
- In another demonstration of how timing is everything in comedy, even for reactions, Nick delivered an autocue gag after David's team answered their "Excuses" question regarding why Newcastle United had not signed Alan Shearer as a teenager and instead paid £15 million for him years later (he had tried out as a goalkeeper instead of a striker). The audience took a few seconds to start laughing, to Nick's frustration:
Nick Hancock: Shearer was just like any other Geordie teenager: he had his first trial at 12. [Beat] Alan Shearer- [audience laughter] Take your time! [annoyed look]
- Gary Lineker and his teammates were given an "Injury Board" question regarding how an elephant had hampered Scottish runner David Strang.note Rory McGrath had a... creative first suggestion for how Strang had met with misfortune:
Rory McGrath: To improve his short-term memory, they fed him the pituitary glands of elephants in his diet.
Nick Hancock: This is turning into Call My Bluff!
Rory: It didn't improve his memory, but he can now shove currant buns up his arse with his knob!
Nick: And that's my "bun up his arse with his knob" joke gone!
Phill Jupitus: So, er-
[Lee Hurst tears up several pieces of paper, crumples them up, and throws them away in mock anger]
Nick: [facepalming] Bloody hell!...
- When Gary's team couldn't explain how the elephant had impaired Strang, Nick pased the question to David Gower's team. David summed up his The Points Mean Nothing attitude to the series by saying, "What makes you think we give a fuck, anyway?"note Nick answered, "Well, nothing you've said in the three series so far!"
- David and Lee Hurst's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was former England ladies' cricket captain Rachael Heyhoe Flint, who took to the stage in full cricket attire - including, unaccountably, a groin box which she handed to David after he successfully identified her. As Gary and Rory McGrath took their positions for their guest, Lee held the box over his mouth and pretended to be a fighter pilot, then he threw it to Phill Jupitus, who used it for a Darth Vader impression (inevitably choosing "Luke, I Am Your Father" as his dialogue for the impression). Phill threw the box back to Lee, who emptied some water from his water bottle into it and then emptied it over the blindfolded Rory's head.
- Nick Hancock's desk was decorated with flashing coloured lights. Then he began his introduction...
Nick Hancock: Hello, and welcome to this special Christmas edition of- [the lights short circuit and explode in spectacular, if harmless, fashion] ... They Think It's All Over. [rips the lights from the desk and throws them to the back of the stage]
- As David Gower's team were preparing to select a number on the Injury Board, the series' Running Gag about David having a young Filipino boy named Manuel "servicing" him under the desk reached its payoff:
Voice: Mr Gower! Mr Gower!
David Gower: [impatiently] Oh, what now!? [scoots his chair back]
["Manuel" climbs out from under the desk, holding his back]
"Manuel": I'm sorry, I just cannot keep doing this... [hobbles off stage to the laughter of the audience and David's other teammate, Steve Backley]
Lee Hurst: Well, that's bad news-
Nick Hancock: How long have you two been cooking that up?!
Lee: I was gonna say, that's bad news for me! [begins to climb under the desk]
- David and Lee Hurst's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was... Lee Hurst. Not the comedian, but a Southend United player who shared his name. The tone for the round was set when comedian Lee began feeling footballer Lee's left arm, found his watch, and removed and pocketed it.
Nick Hancock: Be careful what you say, people wince at the very mention of this man's name.
David Gower: Wince? Is that a clue, Nick? We're not very good at those.
David: We're not very good at clues. Can we have another one?
Nick: It's a name that makes people feel ill.
Lee Hurst:note Makes people feel ill?
David: Doctor. Nurse.
Lee: [grinning] Mr Poo?
David: E. coli... [trails off laughing at Lee's guess; he and Lee are unable to speak for laughing for a few seconds]
Nick: You've really grown up today, Lee!
- For "The Name Game", the guests had to give the clues rather than the comedians, and the answers were all nicknames of famous athletes. One of the names David Baddiel had to give Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath was golfer John "Wild Thing" Daly, and he tried to clue his teammates in by singing the guitar riff from The Troggs' song of the same name. In a moment of genre confusion, Gary began singing the next phrase of the guitar riff instead of identifying the song.
- After the scores were announced, the panellists exchanged gifts with each other, which all happened to be copies of the They Think It's All Over Christmas video No Holds Barred. All except for Nick's gift from Lee, a much smaller video cassette entitled David Gower's Greatest Innings. An unamused David raised his copy of No Holds Barred as if preparing to throw it at Nick.
- At the end of the episode, a blizzard of fake snow blew onto the set for nearly 30 seconds, as the panellists sat there looking nonplussed. When the snow stopped, Nick drily remarked, "I see Diego Maradona's cold hasn't got any better!"
- For "Celebrations", David Gower's team had to explain why Sunderland's players were patting themselves on the head while making "growing nose" gestures after scoring a goal against Arsenal.note In the broadcast version, David's immediate response was, "Christ knows." However, in the unedited version compiled into Below the Belt, his response was more obscene: a casual "Fuck knows." Later in the round...
Nick Hancock: David, you've got to replace "Fuck knows."
David Gower: [indicating Lee Hurst] But he's on the team! He's booked for the series!
- In "Publicity Photo", David's team had to explain a publicity shot of rugby union international Will Carling wearing big feet.note When Nick Hancock was poised to hand the question across to Gary Lineker's team, David and Lee Hurst's teammate, Steve Collins, objected to not having been given enough time. Nick pretended to back off, and as Steve turned to look at the monitor with David and Lee, Nick began giving him the two-fingered salute behind his head; when Steve heard the audience laughter, he turned around, and Nick quickly sat back in his chair, trying (and failing) to look innocent.
- David and Lee's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was champion angler Bob Nudd, who took the stage complete with a chair, a net, and a rod with a fish at the end. He strategically positioned the fish between David and Lee so that as they stepped forward, the fish was the first thing they felt. After David successfully identified Nudd, Lee, his hands still smelling strongly of fish, walked over and shook hands with Rory McGrath and Gary Lineker, rubbing his hands on Gary's face for good measure.
- Often in "Feel the Sportsman", the captains and the comedians would end up grabbing each other before they found the mystery guest. In this episode, as Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath were tasked with identifying the Arsenal Ladies team, the duo found each other first and began waltzing, with Gary providing a snippet of musical accompaniment.
- David Gower and Lee Hurst's teammate in this episode was football manager Dave Bassett, and one of the episode's Running Gags was his poor track record at preventing the clubs he managed from being relegated. This proved a problem with Lee's clue for Wimbledon FC during "The Name Game" (for which he decided to make the first few clues fish-themed):
Lee Hurst: These are like fish, 'cause fish go down in the water, and this team goes down when he manages them. [points at Dave Bassett] Not Nottingham Forest, the other one. The earlier one.
Dave Bassett: Palace?
Lee: No, the other one.
Dave: Sheffield United?
Lee: Oh, shit, how many have you done?!
- In this episode's "Feel the Sportsman", David Gower and Lee Hurst had to identify the Cambridge University Boat Club (who had won that year's Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge), who appeared on stage with their oars and arranged themselves as they would do in the boat (with the eight rowers sitting single file and the cox at the front facing the others). After being told their time had started, Lee took two steps forward and immediately tripped over one of the rowers, literally falling head over heels.
- As Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath took their positions for "Feel the Sportsman", Rory decided to engage Lee Hurst in small talk, asking him what he was doing at that moment, and so on. He ended by "confusing" Lee with equally famously bald 1990s TV personality Richard O'Brien, saying he thought Lee was good on The Crystal Maze.
- David Gower and Lee Hurst's teammate for this episode was rower Matthew Pinsent, while Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath's teammate was Camp Gay, Double Entendre-loving comedian Julian Clary. During "Injury Board", rather than explain how Diego Maradona had been injured by Miss Universe,note Lee turned to Matthew and asked what the point was of a cox during rowing, causing him to give Julian an almost perfect set-up:
Matthew Pinsent: A lot of people think that they, er, they just sit there saying, "In, out," or "Stroke, stroke," or whatever...
Nick Hancock: [gestures to Julian Clary, who looks thoughtful] If not now, when?
- When Gary's team chose their Injury Board number, they had to explain how Newbury RUFC had been injured by a tub of Vaseline.note Once more, all eyes were on Julian:
Julian Clary: ... shall I go first? Maybe there was sand in it. [Gary and Rory wince]
- Both teams were on their guard during "Feel the Sportsman" when they heard their mystery guests before they even entered the studio. Gary and Rory's guests were the British dog sled racing team, who could be heard barking offstage (prompting Nick to admonish Gary to keep his blindfold on). David and Lee's guest was veteran racing driver Stirling Moss, who drove onto the stage; the sound of his engine revving up offstage caused David and Lee to jump up on the desk in alarm.
- After four series, the inevitable happened during "Celebrations": David Gower's team were shown footage of Cambridge United celebrating a goal against Welling United by imitating a line of elephants, and the explanation was simply that they wanted the celebration to be shown on They Think It's All Over.
Nick Hancock: So, they thought they could get on this programme if they looked like an elephant. Wonder where they got that idea. [looks at Gary]
- For "Excuses", Gary Lineker's team had to recall the excuse given by boxer Mike Tyson for biting off part of Evander Holyfield's ear in their 1997 fight.note However, Nick Hancock claimed that Don King had phoned the producers and demanded £20,000 for the use of a 10-second clip from the fight. So instead, they rendered the ear-biting incident using a flip book.
- The third round of the episode tasked the teams with naming events in less well-known "___ Games" competitions. Gary's team proved unable to name any events in the Redneck Games, so Nick passed the question across to David Gower's team. David, only just cracking a smile, suggested "pig fucking".note Lee Hurst nearly fell out of his chair laughing, as did the audience.
Nick Hancock: David Gower has obviously just earned enough money to want to retire!
- A round of "Sporting Bluff" about cyclist Chris Boardman quickly went off the rails:note
Tony Banks: [reading card] Chris Boardman is allergic to lycra... aren't we all, dear?
David Gower: [reading card] On, er, long cycle races, Chris Boardman suffers from "numb penis" syndrome, which is probably why he ends up with an odd-shaped helmet.
Lee Hurst: I get a lot of that "numb penis" syndrome as well, and I find it affects my wrist at the same time.
John Moloney: It certainly wouldn't affect anyone else's.
Lee: You're so bitter since I dumped you, John.
Nick Hancock: So! Chris Boardman! [grins at the camera]
Lee: [reading card] Chris Boardman's bike...
Lee: [bends fingers back in "preparatory knuckle crack" gesture, then winces and shakes his hand] That hurt!...
John: Yeah, that's what you said last time.
- For "Celebrations", David Gower's team had to explain why Arsenal had celebrated an FA Cup goal against Sunderland by covering their mouths.note David started moving toward the correct answer, but not without cracking a joke at his teammate's expense:
David Gower: Is this a police thing? Because they're so used, that lot, to getting their rights read by the... [turns to Lee Hurst] You'll know about this, what's the words they say when they're reading your rights?
Lee Hurst: "Stay down there or I'll give you a kicking."
Nick Hancock: "We know what you said, just sign it."
- After five series, Lee Hurst's tendency to ask the guest athletes ridiculous questions about their sport had become an established part of They Think It's All Over. In this episode, Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath's teammate was impressionist Alistair McGowan, who decided to beat Lee at his own game during "Sporting Bluff" by imitating his voice (complete with vocal mannerisms) and asking Frankie Dettori a silly question about why jockeys tend to stand up in the saddle if their horses relieve themselves during a race.
- When Gary's team had their turn in "Sporting Bluff", they had to determine whether footballer Luther Blissett, at the time in the middle of an unsuccessful spell at AC Milan, shared his name with an anarchist urban guerrilla movement, a top class restaurant in Milan, or Graham Taylor's cat.note However, the Italian-born Frankie had trouble reading the words "anarchist urban guerrilla movement", so Lee stepped up behind him and fed him the words a few at a time; Nick then started feeding him the words "We were knocked out of the World Cup" a few at a time, causing him to laugh uproariously. David then tried to affect an Italian accent to read his card, but also started tripping over the words, and shrugged it off by pretending to need Frankie's help reading the card. Finally, Lee knelt down in front of Alistair, who read the third card in Lee's voice while Lee mouthed the words.
- For "The Name Game", Lee and Rory had to draw Pictionary-style clues for their names.
- Lee's names included British swimmer Duncan Goodhew, who is famously unable to grow hair; Lee, who is also bald, drew an arrow on the giant pad and positioned his head next to it, then pantomimed swimming. His next name was 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Charlton, and when a stick figure rendition of Charlton's famous combover didn't trigger anything in David and Frankie, Lee drew a combover on his own head.
- Rory's first name was retired footballer turned pundit Jimmy Hill, for whom he drew a profile with an enormous chin and glasses. His second name was sprinter Linford Christie, leading him to use the sketch of Hill but re-frame it so that Hill's chin became Christie's groin, a reference to his famously large "lunchbox".
- In "Excuses", David Gower's team had to explain why snooker player Darren Morgan suddenly playing hilariously badly in a match against Stephen Hendry was the fault of boxer Prince Naseem Hamed.note The round soon devolved into insults based on personal appearance:
Lee Hurst: This is very fortunate, actually...
Rory McGrath: Oh, God!
Lee: I was actually there, at that match. And, er...
Gary Lineker: You were the cue ball! [audience laughter]
Nick Hancock: And Gary, you were two of the pockets, weren't you?
- Radio and TV presenter and perennial Take That target Noel Edmonds was name-dropped in a "Sporting Bluff" round when David Gower claimed that golfer Nick Faldo burst into tears on live television when he discovered his wife was having an affair with Edmonds.note The kicking Gary Lineker's team began giving Edmonds sparked a mention of Lee Hurst's ill-considered appearance on Noel's House Party.
Phill Jupitus: How low would you have to be in your life to turn around to Noel for comfort!?
Rory McGrath: Nick Faldo's wife-
Lee Hurst: Listen, he's a very attractive man, and I want you to leave it alone. [looks indignant as audience laughs]
Phill: That- that must have been a really great episode of Swap Shop, I wonder what Faldo got for her?
Gary Lineker: It could be the Noel Edmonds one, couldn't it. Why don't we ask Mr Blobby? But which one... [looks back and forth between Phill and Rory; Phill stands up in mock offence]
Lee: [off Phill's bright orange shirt] Phill, could you sit down, I'm runnin' out of sunblock.
- The "Sporting Bluff" for David's team revolved around a football tournament organised by Cameroon international Roger Milla; Phill Jupitus claimed it was for one-legged players, Gary claimed it was for cannibals, and Rory McGrath claimed it was for pygmies. Lee put it to the audience, who voted for one-legged players, but David overruled them and opted for pygmies, prompting Lee to storm into the audience and claim David was biased against the working class, vowing not to return until he had led the workers in a revolution. The funniest part? David was right.
Lee Hurst: I refuse to rejoin until I lead my people in a revolution!
Phill Jupitus: Lee? Lee, Lee, when Lenin talked about joining the working classes to attack people, I don't think he was talking about game shows.
Lee: ... oh, fair point. Yeah, right. [returns to his seat]
- David Gower and Lee Hurst's teammate in this episode was boxer Chris Eubank, who was rather renowned for talking at great length if given half a chance. During Gary Lineker's team's "Celebrations" question, he went on an extended tangent about how growing up with three older brothers who "kicked hell out of [him] every day" led to him becoming very independent-minded, and hence a good boxer. He went on for so long that Gary and Rory McGrath's teammate, Arthur Smith, was slumped over the desk.
Arthur Smith: I've not been on this programme before, and I seem to have misunderstood the nature of the game... as I understood it, a question was asked, and then some attempt was made to answer it.
- It wasn't just Gary's team who found entertaining ways to express their frustration with Chris' long-windedness. When he went on another tangent after Rory suggested that a boxing ring is so named despite being square because during a fight, "that's the first thing to go," David and Lee put on their blindfolds and pretended to be asleep (in David's case, leaning so far back in his chair he was almost lying down).
- The episode included a classic "David Gower is very posh" joke from Rory as part of an attempt to stop Chris from going on yet another long digression during "Sporting Poetry":
Rory McGrath: David went to a very posh school, in fact, David's school was so posh, the gym was called "James".
Chris Eubank: Okay, I can tell you a few stories-
Nick Hancock: NO!!
Arthur Smith: [to camera] Thank you for spending December with us.
- When Gary's team were asked to complete the New Zealand All-Blacks' haka chant during "Sporting Poetry", Rory sneered that the All-Blacks were soft; Chris insisted "that big lad", Jonah Lomu, wasn't soft. Rory countered, "He's a poof!", to which Chris replied, "He's a big poof," prompting Nick Hancock to insist that it was now on record that Chris Eubank thought Jonah Lomu was a big poof. When "Feel the Sportsman" rolled around, Gary and Rory had to identify... Jonah Lomu. (Although Lomu didn't quite seem to understand why his appearance was so funny.) After Gary and Rory successfully identified Lomu, Nick claimed that the production assistant in charge of booking had originally misunderstood their request and tried to book Joanna Lumley.
- Lee Hurst was absent for medical reasons for this recording, so Phill Jupitus took his place. However, the panel decided not to let Lee's absence prevent the episode from being de-railed by knowingly silly questions posed to the episode's guest athlete. During "Sporting Bluff", after being asked whether former Liverpool and Scotland striker Kenny Dalglish had acted in Brookside, been sponsored by Wet Wet Wet, or been arrested for staging an illegal cockfight,note David Gower decided to make up for Lee's absence, and soon half the panel joined in:
David Gower: D'you think this is the right time for the Lee Hurst interview?
Nick Hancock: Could be.
David: [turns to Iwan Thomas and affects a Cockney accent] Er, Iwan, you're, er, you're a runner, mate, aren't you... [audience laughter and applause] Are you, er, full-time, mate, full-time...
Iwan Thomas: Yeah, that's right.
David: What, you run all day, twenty-four hours a day, is that, yeah, you don't stop, never stop...
Iwan: Never stop, mate.
David: Don't you get tired, then? D'you ever have a shit? D'you have a shit when you're running?
Phill Jupitus: [also affecting a Cockney accent, overlapping with David] Iwan, Iwan, Iwan, you're an athlete, you're an athlete, you're an athlete - d'you ever get athlete's foot? 'Cause that'd be funny, wouldn't it, if an athlete got athlete's foot.
Nick: [also affecting a Cockney accent] 'Ere, Iwan, when you're runnin' round, right, when you're runnin' round, right, when you're runnin' round, you're doing, what is it you do, the 400 metres? Yeah, I know, you do the 400 metres, you're runnin' round, right, like, if you fart, is that wind assisted?
Phill: No, no, no-
Rory McGrath: [also affecting a Cockney accent, overlapping with Phill] When you're doing, like, a relay, right, when you're doing a relay-
Nick: [overlapping with Phill and Rory] No, shut up, no, shut up, no, shut up... [puts his hand over his forehead to imitate Lee's baldness] If you're an athlete, right, you're runnin' round, right, you're an athlete, you've got your shoes on, you're runnin' round...
[David, Phill, and Nick put their feet up on the desk and continue to talk over each other]
Phill: You're doin' the 400 metres, right, if Gazza, like, was an athlete, would he do the 400 litres?
Rory: You know when you're doin' a relay, right, so you put your hand behind you and someone gives you a long, thin thing... [mimes grabbing what he thinks is a relay baton and looking at it] "Ooh! Funny, it's a poo!" Does that happen, does that happen?
Phill: [to the camera] Can- can I just say, er... get well soon, mate!
- The panel were in costume for this Christmas special, most of them dressed like extras from a Charles Dickens adaptation - Nick Hancock, David Gower, and Rory McGrath had bushy fake sideburns, while Gary Lineker was dressed as the title character from Oliver Twist - apart from Gary and Rory's teammate, Graeme Le Saux, who was dressed in a bright blue and white shirt with a pencilled-in moustache and sideburns, and Lee Hurst, who was dressed in a comedy prisoner's costume.
Nick Hancock: [West Country accent, reading from card] Thankee, good gentlefolk, and welcome to our humble Yuletide diversion. We trust our offering will both delight and entertain you, and fill you with festive cheer! [normal voice] Right, that's enough seasonal bollocks. [tears card in half and throws it behind his chair]
- David and Lee's teammate for this episode was Sooty with the "assistance" of Matthew Corbett (his then-puppeteer). For "Excuses", David's team had to identify javelin thrower Steve Backley's explanation for ending up with a suitcase full of women's underwear after returning from the 1997 World Championships in Athletics in Athens.note Matthew claimed that Sooty knew the answer, but wanted to whisper it to Nick (Sooty famously only being able to "communicate" by whispering in a person's ear), which Nick allowed... and then declared Sooty's answer correct and gave David's team three points.
- Matthew tried his luck again in "Sing When You're Winning" when David's team had to complete a song first heard on the terraces at Norwich City in 1902 and sometimes still heard even now, and claimed that Sooty's friend Sweep (who only communicates by making a squeaking noise), who was sitting at his feet, knew the answer. This time, Nick refused to give him the points... prompting Sooty to produce a gun and point it at Nick, squirting him with water. Nick responded by upending his bottle of water over Matthew's head. The fracas continued into the beginning of "Feel the Sportsman".
Nick Hancock: David and Lee, you're first, you have 90 seconds [Sooty begins firing his water pistol at Nick again] to tell us who your mystery sportsman is, while I go and get a gun.
- Gary and Rory's "Feel the Sportsman" guests were gut-bargers Fred Zeppelin and Mad Maurice, who had featured in David's team's "What's Going On?" footage and were accompanied by enormous-breasted model/adult actress Linsey Dawn McKenzie (ordinarily, a very unlikely person to share a studio with Sooty). Rory was standing just in front of Linsey; when he realised that he was between a man with a very large stomach and a woman who was very large somewhere else, he spent most of the 90 seconds feeling her and leaving Gary to identify the real guests, shoving him backwards when he tried to make his way across the stage to where Rory and Linsey were standing. A Running Gag ensued in several later series in which Rory would wax nostalgic about the encounter.
Gary Lineker: [as Graeme Le Saux passes Rory his cards for "The Name Game"] You must know! I said, "Did you get hold of 'em?" He says, "I don't know!" [audience laughter] How would you not know!?
Nick Hancock: He doesn't get out much!
Rory McGrath: I don't know whether it was them or one of them!
- For "The Name Game", the names were from the "Corinthian" age of sport, meaning the late 1800s. The names for David's team included celebrated cricketer W.G. Grace and his brothers, E.M. Grace and G.F. Grace. Lee had problems after the first name:
Lee Hurst: [reads W.G. Grace's card] Er, cricketer, big beard, just like yourself, Mr Gower!
David Gower: W.G. Grace!
Lee: [upper class voice] Yes, marvellous effort!
David: William Gilbert.
Lee: [reads E.M. Grace's card] This is another one with different initials, bugger! Erm...
David: Arse bandit!
Lee: Arse bandit, yes! No, "bugger" wasn't a clue. [audience laughter]
Nick Hancock: Come on! Same name, same name!
Lee: Yes, same name!
Nick: Different initials!
Lee: What do they call ecstasy?
Matthew Corbett: W.C. Fields?
Lee: No! A-B-C-D-
Lee: E, yes, [muttering] A-B-C-...K-L-M... M - oh, fuck it!note [throws down card, reads G.F. Grace's card] Oh, bugger this! Now that was a clue! [starts to leave his seat, then sits down again] His first initial is the same as Graeme's.
David: Er... Guh.
Lee: And his second name is the one after E.
Nick: [laughs] Well done!
David: Er, F.
Lee: And his surname is after W.G. [no reaction; Lee laughs in disbelief and despair, then clasps his hands] Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed... [dissolves into gibberish]
Lee: Correct! [whistle blows]
Nick: [solemnly] I'd just like to say to any youngsters out there, you can muck about with a bat and a cricket ball all you like, but you should really learn your alphabet.
- After Lee Hurst left the series, his seat was filled by various comedians for Series 6 and 7. The first occupant of his seat was Alan Davies, who was joined on David Gower's team by Frank Leboeuf, who had been on France's FIFA World Cup-winning side the previous summer. Though he may not have had much of a sense of humour about himself, that didn't stop the panel from getting laughs at his expense (to which he generally replied, "I don't care, I won the World Cup!").note Rory McGrath got things rolling with some Gratuitous French during "Celebrations" by asking if Leboeuf had ever used Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain on his bald head, telling the audience, "Il fait exactement qu'il dit sur l'étain!"
- Alan, meanwhile, was more puzzled by what Lee had left under the desk after the previous series, producing a curly blond wig (which Frank tried on for size; the similarities to David's hairstyle in his younger days did not go unnoticed), a framed picture of Margaret Thatcher, and a voodoo doll with Gary Lineker's face pasted on it.
- During "Sporting Bluff", Arthur Smith claimed that he had a guaranteed way to get French people to laugh, and if Frank didn't laugh, he'd give everyone present £100. His "foolproof" method: referencing the fact that cockerels say "Cocorico!" in French, but "Cock-a-doodle-do!" in English. And Frank... sat there in total silence, forcing Arthur to reach for his wallet.
- Gary's team's "Sporting Bluff" question concerned whether Glenn Hoddle had played a CD of hymns, Kenny G, or Céline Dion while telling Ian Walker and Paul Gascoigne that he was not choosing them for England's 1998 FIFA World Cup squad. The correct answer was Kenny G, and Nick Hancock proceeded to cue a recording of Kenny G, prompting David to Facepalm in disgust.
Nick Hancock: David, you're fired.
David Gower: Turn it off! TURN IT OFF!!
- David and Alan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was boxer Jane Couch, who aimed a few punches at the hapless guessers as they tried to identify her. Just as Alan had commented about being punched in the head twice, she punched him rather lower down. He fell to his knees to defend himself against further attacks, whereupon she pretended to bite his ear off.
David Gower: There aren't many around, are there? Does it rhyme with "ouch"?
Alan Davies: I'll bite her on the ear, watch this. [attempts to bite Jane's ear]
Nick Hancock: It does, it does!
David: Rhymes- rhymes- rhymes with "ouch". [Jane punches him in the stomach] OH, C-OUCH!
- In the same vein, Gary and Rory's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was boxer Nigel Benn, who punched Gary in the stomach as soon as he walked on stage, before Nick had even given the signal to start guessing. When Gary felt Nigel's dreadlocks, his first guess was that it was another lady boxer - which earned him another punch.
Gary Lineker: It's not Eubank, is it??
Rory McGrath: It can't be. He's been on ten seconds and not said anything, how can it be Eubank?
- After Gary Lineker's team had correctly answer an "Excuses" question regarding why Sue Barker had accompanied Paula Radcliffe into the toilets at Balmoral after her record-breaking five mile run,note Nick Hancock noted in his autocue gags that Sue Barker had unfavourably compared They Think It's All Over to A Question of Sport (of which she had become the chair a year before this episode was recorded), saying that it contained too many remarks that weren't witty. Nick declared, "Like this, for example: piss off, Sue!"
- In this episode, David Gower's comedian teammate was Phill Jupitus, and "The Name Game" had a Name's the Same theme to it; all of the sportsmen shared their names with other famous people.
- One of the names was Southend United's Lee Hurst; Phill decided to resurrect his impression of Lee from Series 5 by putting his feet on the desk, speaking vaguely Cockney-accented gibberish, and miming shaving his head (with sound effects).
- Another name was Leeds United forward Allan Clarke. When Phill offered the clue that the person on the card was also a Conservative MP who kept diaries (though his name was spelled Alan Clark), Roger Black guessed Anthony Wedgwood Benn.note
- This episode was the first to feature Jonathan Ross on David Gower's team; their other teammate was Jeffrey Archer, at the time planning to run as Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.note When David's team were given a "Sporting Bluff" question regarding whether the Queen had been unamused by Sol Campbell's late winner against Argentina in the 1998 FIFA World Cup being disallowed, Frankie Dettori being suspended from horse racing for overuse of the whip while racing in the royal colours at Goodwood, or Tim Henman losing to Pete Sampras in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, Jonathan decided that they had an expert in royalty on the team in Jeffrey:note
Jonathan Ross: You would know this, you know the Queen, don't you Jeffrey? You're always round there, aren't you? "Blah blah blah, crumpets, corgi, blah blah blah, Thatcher, nuts, yes she was, blah blah blah, Blair, got him in me pocket, blah blah blah, wanna be the Mayor, give us the hat and the-" why do you want to be Mayor, anyway, that's no job for an adult, is it?
- Gary Lineker was frequently squeamish if the sportsman in "Feel the Sportsman" were somehow messy or slimy, so he was none too happy when he and Rory McGrath had to identify the very muddy bog-snorkelling champion Craig Napper. Gary proceeded to march over to Nick and wipe his muddy hands on his blazer (after Nick quickly covered his face with his sleeves).
- In a harbinger of the trouble he would have for the next fourteen series coming up with clues for "The Name Game" that his teammates would recognise, video game enthusiast Jonathan definitely chose the wrong audience for his clue for Indian snooker player Sonic Multani, but what his clue lacked in clarity, it made up for in enthusiasm:
Jonathan Ross: This bloke, named after a hedgehog, ran very fast, second name, possibly a chicken dish in a restaurant, I don't know, I've never heard of him. [blank looks from David and Jeffrey] Hedgehog! Bing, bing, get the rings, go on, mate, [mimes Sonic going around a loop, complete with sound effects] you must have played it!
Nick Hancock: Come on!
Jonathan: Come on! Hedgehog bloke, cheeky little fella, not Nintendo, the other one, [mimes pressing buttons on a controller while singing a snippet of game music] whoa, there he goes, 3-D, whack, get the ring, YOU KNOW! [David and Jeffrey cannot speak for laughing]
Nick: Wrong audience here, mate! These two... [whistle blows]
Jonathan: Aaagh! I am so demoralised by your poor performance!
Nick: It was a great clue, Jonathan, but you're dreaming if you think either Lord Archer or David Gower are gonna go, [eager voice] "Is it Sonic?"
- In "Excuses", Gary Lineker's team had to give the excuse Glenn Hoddle had offered for allowing the headling "GAZZA TRASHED MY ROOM" to appear in The Sun. Hoddle claimed that he had been unable to recant the story in time as the fax machine had broken, as recounted in a video by Guardian journalist Martin Thorpe, who broke the story. Thorpe joked that, of course, there was no other way to communicate - just as his desk phone and mobile phone both began ringing, a motorcycle courier handed him a yellow envelope, the word "E-MAIL" flashed up on his computer screen, and someone brought in a carrier pigeon with a message attached to its leg.
- For "Feel the Sportsman", David Gower and Gary decided to let their guests, Gabby Yorath and Pauline McLynn, replace them as the feelers. Jo Brand was sitting in Lee Hurst's old seat for this episode, and when Rory McGrath and Pauline began feeling their guest, professional wrestler Jayne Porter AKA Klondike Kate, Rory jokingly asked Jo to say something, implicitly comparing Klondike Kate's considerable frame to Jo's. Jo responded by walking around the desk and hitting Rory's backside, startling him but also prompting him to joke, "I'd recognise Gary anywhere."
- Nick Hancock declared at the beginning of the programme that in response to complaints to The BBC from Golden Wonder over Gary's attempts to curry favour with Walker's Crisps after being replaced as the face of their advertising by Michael Owen, every mention of the word "Walker's" would be treated as a swear word and bleeped. When Gary objected to Nick being allowed to mention Golden Wonder while he couldn't mention "[bleep]", Nick claimed that the BBC would assume he was referring to Gary himself when he used the term "golden wonder" - or "wanker".
- For "Excuses", David Gower's team had to identify the excuse given by the German national football team for losing 3-0 to Croatia in the 1998 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals.note An audience member shouted, "Gary Lineker!" Nick Hancock was not as amused as the rest of the audience.
Nick Hancock: I'm sorry, is it panto season!? It's not The Price is Right, y'know! Take him out, please. [sotto voce] Tosser. [normal volume] Sorry, mate. You pay your licence fee. [accusingly] Do you?!
- David and a returning Jo Brand were accompanied by then-British tennis #2 Greg Rusedski, who was born in Montreal and competed for Canada until 1995. The paradoxical nature of a Canadian being Britain's second-best male tennis player was not lost on Rory McGrath:
Rory McGrath: Whereabouts are you from in... erm, in England, Greg?
Greg Rusedski: From Chelsea.
Rory: Do they have Canadian Cockneys? I mean...
Greg: Uh, no, they don't.
Rory: Do you eat jellied seals and... a plate- a plate of elks!
Greg: Well, that's probably why I moved over here!
Rory: To lose your accent?
Greg: Can't- can't you tell it's improving?
Rory: It is, it's very good...
Greg: [sounding as Canadian as ever] I say!
- For "Sporting Bluff", Gary's team were given a question about why Alloa Athletic's Willie Irvine had missed a match against East Stirlingshire. However, Nick announced that the Scottish FA were so convinced that the programme would use footage of Alloa in action for mockery that they tried to charge double the going rate for it. So instead the BBC raided their own archives for free footage of the Scottish national team making a series of embarrassing gaffes during FIFA World Cup tournaments, conceding soft goals against Peru in 1978, against Brazil in 1990 (as irate Scottish fans chanted "Whatta loada rubbish!"), and against Brazil (again) and Morocco in 1998. Nick concluded that they didn't need to mock Scottish football: they could just let it speak for itself.
Fred MacAulay: Those were some of our better games!
- Nick claimed that after "The Name Game" had featured gimmicks for several episodes in a row, they were going to play a perfectly normal round for this episode. Which was a case of Blatant Lies, as every sports figure Gary and Fred MacAulay had to name was called Walker (goalkeeper Ian Walker, Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker, cricketer Max Walker, footballer Des Walker, etc.) - which was not only bleeped when they gave the answer, but asterisked out in the subtitle for the audience (as W*LKER). The theme continued until the ninth name, Malagasy footballer Tahina Randriamananantoandro.
Rory McGrath: This is the... North American aboriginal Arahapoe [sic] word for a crisp...
- For this episode, David Gower's comedian teammate was Julian Clary, who wasted little time launching into a series of Double Entendres during an "Excuses" question about why David Coulthard had been penalised during the 1995 British Grand Prix and dropped from first to third as a result.note
Julian Clary: I think he was cruising round... [audience laughter] When all of a sudden, he was shunted up the rear... [more audience laughter] And then, all of another sudden, someone was lapping him. [more audience laughter and applause] And he couldn't concentrate.
Nick Hancock: He couldn't concentrate. Well, no, you wouldn't be able to, would you. In a perfect world, that'd be true, but no.
Julian: It's not true?
Nick: No, it's not true.
Julian: Am I warm?
Nick: I don't know, you tell me!
Jeff Green: I'm moist!
David Gower: I'm in deep shit, then.
Nick: Not yet!
Julian: You know who I am, do you?
David: I've heard.
Julian: You know I bat for the other side.
David: Yeah. Seriously, at times like this, we'd actually take anyone to bat for us, don't worry.
Jeff: Julian, are you gay??
Rory McGrath: No, he's Australian!
- Jonathan Ross made a second appearance as guest comedian for this episode, and his and David Gower's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was explorer-adventurer Ranulph Fiennes - or, to give him his full name, Sir Ranulph Twistleton Wykeham-Fiennes - who took to the stage dressed in a full body parka and dragging a sled full of polar exploration gear, while plastic snow fell from the studio ceiling. Jonathan and David initially spent more time feeling the sled rather than Fiennes, leading Jonathan to deduce that their guest was dead.
- Phill Jupitus returned as David Gower's comedian teammate, while their other teammate was famously violent footballer Vinnie Jones; Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath's teammate was The 11 O'Clock Show presenter Iain Lee.note During "Celebrations", as Gary's team pondered why Northampton Town's Carl Heggs celebrated a goal against Bristol Rovers by pretending to kick his teammate in the face,note Vinnie joked that the suit-and-tie-clad Iain looked as though he'd come straight from school, leading to a hilarious "confrontation" between the two which even Iain knew would end badly for him if it were real:
Rory McGrath: Smack him in the mouth, smack him in the mouth.
Iain Lee: I'm gonna smack him in the mouth-
Gary Lineker: [putting his arm in front of Iain] Don't stand for that!
Iain: I'm gonna smack him in the mouth in a second, I just wanna have a chat with him first so we can work this out - Jones, WHAT DO YOU WANT??
Phill Jupitus: I'll start writing your obituary now.
Iain: God bless.
Phill: [writing] "Appeared on half of an episode of They Think It's All Over before his tragic death."
Vinnie Jones: I think you'd better remind him he's only got two mates with him.
Gary, Rory: No! [they quickly move to the far end of the desk from Iain and make "We're not with him!" gestures]
- For this series, Jo Brand and Jonathan Ross took turns in the comedian's seat on David Gower's team; it was Jo's turn for this episode. For an "Excuses" question in which David's team were asked why one of the judges at a Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield fight had declared the event a win for Holyfield and then changed her mind later,note Nick Hancock revived the joke about Don King asking too much money for use of a clip of the fight, saying that they thought he said "a nominal fee" rather than "a phenomenal fee". So instead, they recreated the fight with two scrawny Caucasian men with masks of Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield tied over their faces.
Clive Anderson: Now I realise why you asked me to put on a Lennox Lewis mask!
- As David's team deliberated over their picture in "Photo-fit", they made the obligatory jokes that they were looking at a picture of one person instead of a composite of three, until Steve Davis asked, "Isn't it supposed to be three different people?" Nick sarcastically congratulated him on spotting the key to the puzzle, to which Steve replied, "They don't call me Steve for nothing!" The remark was so unexpected that Nick could barely stop laughing for almost 30 seconds, evidently finding it so unfunny that it became funny again.
Clive Anderson: That's the best joke I've ever heard in my life!
Nick Hancock: Brilliant! And it's stupid!
- David and Jo's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was Italian pool player Fabio Petroni, who had featured in Gary Lineker's team's "Excuses" question when he took to the table during the Mosconi Cup with tears streaming down his face, as he was overwhelmed at playing alongside Steve Davis. He was therefore armed not just with a pool cue but with "tear ducts" either side of his face, with which he repeatedly squirted David and Jo throughout the round.
Jo Brand: Is it- is it, erm, Gwyneth Paltrow? And if it is, can I punch her in the face?note
- For "The Name Game", one of the names for David's team was Barry Hearn, who at the time was Steve Davis' manager. Steve misinterpreted the reference to his manager to mean that the name sounded like "Hearn" instead of actually being Hearn, and guessed boxer Thomas Hearns.
Nick Hancock: So, the big news there is that Steve Davis thinks he's managed by Thomas "Hitman" Hearns. Well! No wonder the old career's been going a bit like this! [makes undulating motion with his hand]
- For "Excuses", Gary Lineker's team had to identify the excuse given for Northern Irish jockey Richard Dunwoody falling off his horse during a race at Doncaster,note during which Rory McGrath mused on the suitability of his ideal name for a horse, with contributions from Nick Hancock and guest comedian Jonathan Ross:
Rory McGrath: What rules- are there any rules guiding what you can call a horse? 'Cause I always wanted to call- if I owned a racehorse, I'd love to call it My Knob.
Nick Hancock: "My Knob coming first again!"
Rory: "My Knob, way out in front!"
Nick: "There's a stewards' inquiry about My Knob."
Rory: "Oh, My Knob is being beaten! Not for the first time today!"
Jonathan Ross: "I'm very sorry, sir, we're gonna have to put My Knob down."
Nick: That's something he's heard before!
Rory: "They're just nailing a shoe to My Knob!"
Nick: This is gonna go on all show now, isn't it? Now that's something I'd like to see!
David Gower: Oh, no it's not!
[as Rory and Gary Lineker take to the stage for "Feel the Sportsman"]
Rory: "My Knob is carrying a few extra pounds today!"
Nick: You've not left the vacuum pump on again, have you?
Jonathan: "As ever, My Knob is happy when the going is wet!"
Clare Balding: Good to soft!
Jonathan: Good to soft, no good when it's soft.
- This episode saw the introduction of "Temper, Temper", in which the teams had to explain why a sports personality had a blowup during an event. David Gower's team had to explain why England cricketer Darren Gough got into a fight with Roshan Mahanama during a one-day international against Sri Lanka in Adelaide, and Lee Mack took the opportunity to expose Jonathan's Hypocritical Humour:
Jonathan Ross: I- he must have been- you know, you'd be cross, he's- they make 'em dress, these days, when- the good old days of the cricket whites, where've they gone, now they make 'em dress like a bunch of QuikFit fitters! He got in for the glamour, the prestige, the stylish trousers... he came out looking like a buffoon in one of those shell suits Gary used to flog.
Lee Mack: Says a man who's dressed like Fu Manchu's rent boy! [audience laughter and applause]
Jonathan: Oh, you're clapping that.
Gary Lineker: [to Lee] You can come again!
Lee: I bet you've heard that before!
- As deliberation continued, David's team exploited the similarity of Mahanama's name to the title of Piero Umiliani's song "Mah-Na Mah-Na", made famous by The Muppets:
Lee Mack: I think what it was, was that, erm, the... what's-his-name, McManama, or whatever his name was...
Nick Hancock: McManaman?
Jonathan Ross: What's his name?
David Gower: Mahanama.
Jonathan, David, Lee: [singing] Doo DOO do-do-do!
[later, after David has correctly explained that Gough and Mahanama bumped into each other when the latter played a short ball and the former tried to grab the ball to run him out, and video of the incident has been shown]
David: [singing] Dee DEE de-de-de!
Gary Lineker: [singing] Da-DA-da, da-DA-da...
Nick: [headdesks, then looks at the camera in despair] MUM!... So, Darren Gough-
David: [singing] Dee deedle-eedle-ee dee dee!...
- David Gower and guest comedienne Jo Brand's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was former New Zealand cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee, who took to the stage with a bat and ball and wearing cricket whites and the sort of ermine robe usually worn by members of the House of Lords, which misled David since Sir Richard was a knight of the realm, but not a member of the House of Lords. And, indeed, when he failed to identify Sir Richard and took off his blindfold, David's first words were, "You're not a [bleep]ing lord!"
Nick Hancock: Ah, tell you what, you can read that in Debrett's. "How to meet a knight of the realm: 'You're not a [bleep]ing lord!'" [...] Imagine you going for a knighthood: "You're not the [bleep]ing Queen!"
- In a Call Back to David's "What's Going On?" question, Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath's "Feel the Sportsman" guests were the Shrovetide football team of Ashbourne in Derbyshire, who played a version of football dating back to the reign of Elizabeth I with goals three miles apart and teams of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. For this episode, several dozen of them took to the stage, completely engulfing the terrified Gary and Rory before Nick gave the signal to start guessing.
- "Feel the Sportsman" combined a Call Back with a Bait and Switch to hilarious effect. During "What's Going On?", David Gower's team were shown footage of cowboy poker, in which a poker table and chairs are set up in an arena into which a raging bull is released; the winner is the last player still seated. Nick Hancock claimed that the most feared bull in the sport was named El Diablo, who had a habit of kicking the players rather than headbutting them. When Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath took their places for "Feel the Sportsman", a poker table and two chairs were put in the middle of the stage, and the guessers were given cowboy hats to put on with their blindfolds. They heard what sounded like a bull grunting as Nick asked the mystery guest to take the stage, and Gary grabbed the table to use as a shield, convinced El Diablo was waiting offstage. The guests were... British arm-wrestling champions Robert Brown and Dean Watson.
- For "Sing When You're Winning", the teams had to identify the first lines of rhyming couples used to introduce the national teams at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. David Gower's team had to supply the line that preceded "By the conquering heroes who come from Great Britain."note
Jo Brand: "Eddie the Eagle's got a face you can sit on."
Nick Hancock: "By the conquering heroes who come from Great Brit-on." Yeah, okay.
David Gower: "There's not much snow where they train in Thames Ditton, for those conquering heroes..."
Nick: Is Thames Ditton, like, the most working class place you can think of? "Let's think of somewhere that people will know... Thames Ditton! They don't have a Waitrose there!"
Fred MacAulay: "At the top of the ski jump, some bricks we'll be shittin'."
Nick: All of these, I must say, are better than the actual ones.
David: There's a Winter Olympics, "I wish the council would start the grittin'."
Jo: "Their names in the snow with piss will be written." "Your heads'll be punched and your legs will be bitten."
Nick: If you get... if you get close, I'll give you one point.
David: "Look at Grandstand, there's nothing but shit on." [Gary Lineker looks offended]
- "Excuses" featured a classic insult exchange between Rory McGrath and Jonathan Ross (the latter in his last episode before joining the series as a regular):
Jonathan Ross: You see, once again, here we are, being mocked by a bloke with what appears to be, what is that, an unfurled golf ball for a hat!
Rory McGrath: At least I didn't scrape my clothes off an Indian restaurant wall.
- This episode's "Feel the Sportsman" was one of the series' funniest:
- David Gower and Jonathan had to identify retired Middlesbrough and Republic of Ireland forward Bernie Slaven, whom Gary Lineker's team had already seen in "What's Going On?"; after a bet earlier in the year, Slaven had appeared in the window of Middlesbrough department store Binns with a kilt raised over his backside on which was painted "3 2" in honour of his old club beating Manchester United at Old Trafford by that scoreline. He assumed the same pose for "Feel the Sportsman", complete with "3 2" painted on his behind again. Jonathan's reaction when he realised that the mystery guest whose mostly bare backside he had just felt was not, as he initially thought, a young lady was hysterical, as was David returning to his seat, blindfold still in place, leaving Jonathan on his own with Slaven.
Nick Hancock: [as Slaven lifts his kilt, prompting the audience to cheer loudly and Jonathan to begin moving toward Slaven] Wait! Wait!...
Jonathan Ross: I can't wait! I dunno what it is, but it's gonna be good! They're goin' nuts, it's gotta be a girl! I tell you, I've been looking forward to this all series!
Nick: It almost certainly is, Jonathan!
Jonathan: [moving his hands over Slaven's backside] What is this? It's like an arse - it's an arse, innit? Aw, Christ, I think it's a bloke. It's a bloke's arse! Sweet Christ! [sniffs his hands in dismay] It's the smell of a man! It's the smell of a man's arse! I didn't agree to this! What did I do to deserve this?!
David Gower: Right, you're on your own! [feels his way around the desk and back to his seat]
[later, after David has correctly identified Slaven]
Nick: So, how can you recognise the smell of a man's arse so easily?
Jonathan: I wonder if there's any possibility I could just have a moist towelette.
- However, this was topped when Gary and Rory then had to identify rally drivers Colin McRae and Nicky Grist, who pulled up in a rally car which launched a shower of oil all over the unsuspecting guessers, as well as Nick Hancock and guests Jeff Green and Gary McAllister. (The oil cannon was more powerful than originally intended, but when it failed to work properly during preparations for the episode, the producers decided too much oil would be funnier than not enough oil. The stunt had the unfortunate side effect of completely ruining Gary's £600 suit, which he had received from Jonathan as a gift two episodes earlier.)
Nick Hancock: [holding up a completely oil-covered card] How am I meant to do the next round, for God's sake!?
Jonathan Ross: It's like Gary's done a dirty protest in here or something.
Jeff Green: I've got a wedding tomorrow...
Jonathan: You know, Nick, when I was younger, this was evidence of a bloody good night out. I mean, if the room wasn't like this, we hadn't had a good night, it was simple as that.
- David Gower and Jonathan had to identify retired Middlesbrough and Republic of Ireland forward Bernie Slaven, whom Gary Lineker's team had already seen in "What's Going On?"; after a bet earlier in the year, Slaven had appeared in the window of Middlesbrough department store Binns with a kilt raised over his backside on which was painted "3 2" in honour of his old club beating Manchester United at Old Trafford by that scoreline. He assumed the same pose for "Feel the Sportsman", complete with "3 2" painted on his behind again. Jonathan's reaction when he realised that the mystery guest whose mostly bare backside he had just felt was not, as he initially thought, a young lady was hysterical, as was David returning to his seat, blindfold still in place, leaving Jonathan on his own with Slaven.
- During a pause in "Author, Author", Rory McGrath decided to ask his and Gary Lineker's teammate, retired England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott, about an incident involving a certain fellow cricket commentator:
Rory McGrath: The only question I'd quite like to ask you while there's a lull in the conversation, Geoffrey, is: did you ever leave a really expensive hat in the commentary box one day, and when you were out, did somebody else put it on the floor and jump up and down on it and said, "That bloody, pompous, arrogant, bigoted, Yorkshire wanker!" [Geoffrey shakes his head] And when you came back, you put it on, and walked out without realising it.
David Gower: Yeah, I didn't use the word "wanker", to be honest.
Rory: Sorry, David, have I misquoted you there?
David: Only by one word, let's be fair.
Nick Hancock: Did you get it straight away, or did you jump and miss for a few times?
- During "The Name Game", Rory had to give Gary and Geoffrey a clue for 1950s British hammer thrower Peter Allday:
Rory McGrath: First name, same as Beardsley.
Gary Lineker: Peter.
Rory: Second name, how long it took Geoffrey to score a run.
Gary: Ooh, all... all day. [audience laughter as Geoffrey gives Gary a Dope Slap]
- Between "Celebrations" questions, Nick Hancock produced Gary Lineker's mobile phone from his blazer pocket, and asked Jonathan Ross to dial it. The phone's ring tone was the theme from Match of the Day, which prompted much derision from Nick and Jonathan. As Jonathan had Gary's number in his mobile's address book, he declared that he would now call Gary at 4am and pretend to be Vinnie Jones.
Gary Lineker: At least I get phone calls.
Jonathan Ross: Yeah, but 0800 numbers don't count.note
Gary: Oh, they call you, do they?
- David Gower was away for this recording, so his place was taken by Steve Davis (in the first of eleven appearances as guest captain). For "Feel the Sportsman", he and Jonathan had to identify world orienteering champion Yvette Baker, whose props included a wooden control point. Halfway through the round, Steve sniffed the control point and declared, "I smell pine!", thoroughly confusing and amusing the rest of the panel and the audience. The line became a Running Gag for the next several episodes as someone, usually Gary or Rory McGrath, would get close to a prop which their "Feel the Sportsman" guest had brought on stage, sniff, and announce, "I smell pine!"
- The "Excuses" question for David Gower's team involved an incident at the 1999 Ryder Cup, which had been broadcast on Sky. Unfortunately, the reciprocal agreement between The BBC and Sky of exchanging sporting footage as needed had been scrapped earlier in the year, so They Think It's All Over had no footage of the incident. However, Nick Hancock insisted that it should never be said that the BBC weren't prepared to spend whatever it took to bring viewers top quality sports action... and produced a miniature model of the golf course with tiny figures of Justin Leonard and Jose Maria Olazabal on the green. He explained that after Leonard sank a 50-foot putt, Olazabal needed to sink his putt to keep Europe in the competition - at which point the green was invaded by the American players and their managers and wives, which Nick simulated by emptying several dozen figures out of a box.
Nick Hancock: It's almost as if you were there, isn't it. Naturally, the US Ryder Cup captain, Ben Crenshaw, had an excuse for this disgraceful behaviour, but David's team, what was it?
David Gower: Were the wives complaining about being kept in a bucket?
- During discussion of their "Excuses" question, Jonathan Ross forgot that his and David's teammate, golfer Sam Torrance, was still an active player:
Jonathan Ross: When you used to play, didn't you used to have that weird thing you-
Sam Torrance: When I used to play??
Nick Hancock: When he used to play!
Sam: Didn't you used to be funny?
Jonathan: Heyyy! [audience laughter and applause]
Nick: No, no, no, no, he was never funny.
- When Sam finally gave the correct answer - according to Crenshaw, the Devil made them do it - Nick noted in his autocue gag that Sam, interviewed at the time, described the display as the most disgusting thing he had ever seen. "Yes Sam, but that was before you saw this," said Nick, the picture cutting to a publicity photo of Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen in two adjacent baths with the FA Cup between them.
Jonathan Ross: Sweet baby Moses in a rush basket! That's an abomination! That's clearly been used as an advert for one of those 0898 numbers,note isn't it. "Football chat line. Clean boys, ready to talk to you. Fill our Cup, why don't you!"
- During "The Name Game", one of the names for which Rory McGrath had to give a clue to Gary and Sean Lock was French tennis player Sebastien Grosjean. He looked at the card and said, "This is a card from your uncle saying he can't make your wedding, many apologies." He then put the card down and moved on to the next name. Nick docked them a point for passing, costing them the episode.
- In a Call Back to Gary Lineker's phone having the Match of the Day theme as its ringtone, returning guest captain Steve Davis (replacing David Gower) produced a mug which played the MotD theme tune when he drank out of it. It took less than a minute for Nick Hancock to get so annoyed with it that he asked Steve to hand it to him, then hurled it across the studio, smashing it to pieces. (As he moved his arm back for the throw, he spilled the contents of the mug all over his desk.)
Jonathan Ross: There's a child being led from the studio with a bleeding eye. But it was worth it!
Steve Davis: That's my little boy's mug! We bought him that, he's a Manchester United fan - I think!
Nick Hancock: I don't feel so bad about it, then.
- In another Call Back, Nick apologised to the viewers for saying the photo of Gary and Alan Hansen shown in the previous episode was the most disgusting thing ever seen on British television. The title had been passed to a photo of Steve sat on a toilet, trousers round his ankles, reading a magazine.
Jonathan Ross: Steve, what are you- what are you doing there, you looking to see where your snooker career's gone?
- David Gower and Jonathan Ross' teammate was Soccer AM presenter Helen Chamberlain, who had had the Torquay United crest tattooed on her backside after they reached the Third Division playoffs the previous season; Jonathan baited the audience into getting her to show the tattoo. Rory McGrath claimed that he had an Arsenal tattoo on his backside and began unfastening his trousers. Thankfully, he stopped before he got too far; however, he forgot to re-fasten his trousers until he and Gary Lineker got up for "Feel the Sportsman".
- David and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was cricketer Mark Ramprakash. When Jonathan had established that they were trying to identify a cricketer, he decided to see if he was wearing a groin box. To Jonathan's horror, he wasn't.
Jonathan Ross: [jumping back as though he's touched a hot stove] Ah, Jesus! You could have worn your box! What kind of cricketer comes on this show without a box on!? I just got a handful of meat and veg! [...] I was hoping for the smoothness of Action Man!
- The set was decorated with a tree with a stuffed bird, complete with tweeting noise. After Nick Hancock asked the first question, David Gower produced a hunting rifle and "shot" the bird to silence its tweeting. Scripted, of course, but still hilarious.
Nick Hancock: Classic Gower timing. Played the shot long before he needed to. And got a duck!
- The hunting rifle re-appeared after "Sing When You're Winning" when Nick read an autocue gag regarding World War II-era Grimsby-based fishing trawlers being named after first-class cricketers and taking part in the war effort. The Bradman, the Hammond, and the Larwood acquitted themselves very well, according to Nick, but the Gower got three minutes out of port, misjudged an easy iceberg, and went down with all hands. David produced the rifle and pointed it at Nick.
- The Running Gag regarding the most disgusting photo ever seen on British television reached its payoff; Nick announced that rather than the photo of Steve Davis on the toilet or Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen in the bath, the title belonged to a photo of Rory McGrath wearing nothing but a diaper and a baby bonnet.
- "Guess the Grunt" was a one-off round played for this episode in which Gary's team had to guess which of three grunts was produced by Monica Seles on the tennis court, while David's team had to guess which of three grunts was produced by Steve Backley while throwing the javelin. While Gary's team were poring over their options, Jonathan and Rory gave a variant on the Running Gag that Jonathan was having an affair with Gary's then-wife Michelle.
Clare Balding: She definitely was playing tennis when this was recorded?
Nick Hancock: Yeah.
Clare: Just checking.
Rory McGrath: When else do women grunt?
Gary Lineker: When they get stabbed.
Nick: The secret life of Gary Lineker!
Gary: Could we hear that again, because I've never heard a woman groan like that before.
Jonathan Ross: Actually, you know, it's funny you should mention that because, erm, as you know, my dressing room's next to Gary, and earlier on today I saw Michelle going in there and I heard just those noises coming out.
Rory: Er, Jonathan... your dressing room's next to David's.
Jonathan: ... well, what was Michelle... oh, Gary, mate, I'm sorry. For you to find out in this way.
Gary: But it's Christmas!
David Gower: Well, that's okay, then. Good.
- Between "Sing When You're Winning" and "Guess the Grunt", Nick read an excerpt from a magazine in which gay cabaret artist Paul Hull declared Gary Lineker his celebrity crush. Inevitably, he was Gary and Rory's "Feel the Sportsman" subject; Rory was clearly in on the joke, as he hurried off to David's desk and left Gary to do the identification on his own. As if sensing the impending chaos, Gary put on a pair of gloves before putting on his blindfold (partly because David and Jonathan's guest was former gymnast Olga Korbut, and Gary reasoned that they never had two women for "Feel the Sporstman").
- During "The Name Game", the wheels came off completely for Jonathan Ross when he had to get the posh David Gower and the extremely posh James Hewitt to guess the name of Leicester City and Wales midfielder Robbie Savage, and gave "Lily" as the clue for "Savage". James' first guess? Early 20th century actress Lillie Langtry. Things deteriorated from there:
Jonathan Ross: Okay, this is a footballer, I think... I think he's from boring Leicester City.note Erm... first name is like Someone the Robot, second name is like Lily... [no reaction] If you were wild, ROAR, really...
James Hewitt: [under Jonathan] Langtry. Langtry.
Jonathan: No- Langtry!? [laughter from audience and Gary's team renders his next few sentences inaudible] No. First name is- the pop star-
Nick Hancock: [overlapping with Jonathan] That'll be right!
Jonathan: The pop star- SHUT UP! The pop star, Williams! What's the first name? Someone Williams!
David Gower: Robbie! Robbie!
Jonathan: Right, okay, second name, Lily...
Rory McGrath: [off-screen] Langtry.
Jonathan: NO! Not Langtry! [more audience laughter]
James: Robbie Lillee?
Jonathan: It's a perfume, Eau de...
Jonathan: Eau de- NO, not Eau de Cologne!
James: [laughs] You're not helping here.
Jonathan: I am helping! You're too bloody posh, that's your problem! You should get out more! Lily... Lily... [as David and James have an inaudible conversation with Gary's team] LILY, WHAT- AM I ALONE ON THIS TEAM!?
James: Next one!
David: [to Gary's team] You win! You win! You win!
Nick: Brave New World!
Nasser Hussain: On Blankety Blank!
Jonathan: [almost scarlet with exasperation] WHO DOES BLANKETY BLANK?!
David: [overlapping with Jonathan] Blankety- what do you mean!? What do we- WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT BLANKETY BLANK!? WE'RE POSH!
Jonathan: YOU NEVER WATCH THE BLOODY TV LIKE THE REST OF THE COUNTRY!
Jonathan: I'VE GOT NOTHING TO WORK WITH HERE!
Jonathan: YES, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! [hurls the card onto the desk to massive audience applause]
- Gary Lineker's team were caught cheating again when, during "The Name Game", Rory McGrath began to give a clue for George Cross, and Rich Hall suddenly called out "Andrew McClardy!" Rory turned to the next card, then told Rich the name was coming up, and a stunned Nick Hancock confirmed it. There were more questions to answer at the end of the round...
Nick Hancock: So. Andrew McClardy, then.
Rich Hall: Yes.
Nick: Rich, where did that come from?
Rich: Uh... it was the only name I memorised from the, uh, British Book of Encyclopaedia of Sports of South Africa...
Nick: [Gestapo-like] ANSWER THE QUESTION!
- After Gary Lineker's team had been caught cheating during the previous episode, which was retroactively awarded to David Gower's team, Nick Hancock spent the entire episode referring to Gary by various insulting nicknames, including "Cheaty Boy", "Charlie Cheat", "Sir Cheatalot", and "Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang".
- For "Feel the Sportsman", Gary and Rory McGrath had to identify Droylsden FC tea ladies Stella Quinn and Julia Roberts, who had taken over managing the club for a Manchester Cup match against Abbey Hay when the club's manager refused to participate after the club had been disqualified the previous year for fielding an ineligible player. The duo took to the stage carrying plates of tea and cakes, and Rory began helping himself to a cake and a cup of tea - until Gary bumped into him, causing Rory to spill tea all over his teammate's arm.
- During "The Name Game", Rory almost ran out of time giving clues for the third name, American football linebacker Dick Butkus. When he saw that the fourth name was St. Kitts international footballer Osagyefo Sagi Lenin Ernesto Burton-Goodwin (who more commonly went by Sagi Burton), he stared at the card incredulously for a few seconds, then gave up and asked Gary and Jo Brand to name the player who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final. When Gary answered "Geoff Hurst", Rory said, "That's good enough for me!"
- For "What's Going On?", Gary Lineker's team had to explain why Reading fans were waving giant pairs of underpants during a 2-1 home defeat to Wrexham. Rory McGrath decided to have a bit of Fun with Acronyms:note
Rory McGrath: I think it's an acronym, because Plymouth Argyle... erm, wave their pants, and it's an acronym, d'you know what an acronym is, Gary?
Gary Lineker: Yeah... [begins gesturing as if pointing at the first letters of words in a sentence]
Rory: [sarcastically] "It's that building in Greece." An acronym, when the letters stand for a word, I think it means "Plymouth Argyle, Notoriously Terrific Supporters." I think- er, 'cos Cambridge United have something similar. But they don't hold up pants.
Jonathan Ross: What do they hold up, Rory?
Rory: They haven't thought of anything yet!
Jonathan: Will you call me when they do?
Rory: They'll probably hold you up, Jonathan!
Jonathan: Well, I'm available!
- In "Feel the Sportsman", David Gower and Jonathan Ross had to identify Glenn Ross, the winner of the World's Strongest Man competition for Britain and Ireland. Jonathan was stunned by the size of his arms and thought he was carrying a pig on his shoulder, then when he suggested that it might be American tennis player Venus Williams, Glenn grabbed Jonathan and lifted him up over his head, then lowered him back to the floor. Jonathan, blindfold still in place, claimed that he was so startled by being thus lifted that he had accidentally broken wind on Glenn's head.
- David Gower and Jonathan Ross' mystery guests for "Feel the Sportsman" were the British white water rafting team, who took to the stage with a full size raft on a wooden ramp painted to look like rapids, while production assistants hurled the contents of buckets of water at them - and, inevitably, at Jonathan and (to a lesser extent) David. After Jonathan took several direct hits, Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath ran around their desk and shoved Jonathan into the raft, where he was hit by several more buckets of water.
Jonathan Ross: [after getting hit with the first bucket of water] WHAT WAS THAT!?... who was that? [gets hit with more buckets of water through the following] It's - is that - Rory, are you thinking about Anna Kournikova again? [one of the rafters bonks him on the head with his paddle] What's that!? What are you... what's going on, I'm being attacked by a bloke with a big- [gets hit by another bucket of water] what's going on here?!
David Gower: We've got paddles... there's a lot of rubber, Jonathan, is this your spare room?
- Before their "Feel the Sportsman" guest took the stage, Jonathan Ross took issue with David Gower's fashion choice:
Jonathan Ross: David...
David Gower: Jonathan.
Jonathan: No-one... tucks their shirt in like that anymore. Sorry, mate. I'm sorry, but that's like some sort of pre-war thing, [David puts his hands on his hips in indignation] why don't you just go the whole hog, and, like, put the belt under your armpits? 'Cause that is... that's like Grandpa, isn't it.
Nick Hancock: Blindfolds on.
Jonathan: You are sweating, though.
David: I am! I'm so close to you I've been sweating for the last eight weeks! [puts on his blindfold]
Jonathan: [puts on his blindfold] I've told you the price. [David pushes his blindfold up and walks across the stage toward the still-blindfolded Jonathan]
Nick: Okay, can we-
David: I've paid you! [grabs Jonathan's crotch]
Jonathan: Daugh! [pushes up his blindfold in shock] That was horrible...
Nick: Eh? Gower actually gets to ball!
- When this episode was recorded, David Gower had just returned from commentating on a Test series between England and Pakistan, and Gary Lineker interrupted "Author, Author" to read a quote that appeared in that week's Sunday Times: "I watched England's first innings on television and it bored me. It's all very well for David Gower to talk a lot of crap." David correctly identified the unimpressed writer as former West Indies all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers, or, to use his words, "that twat Garry Sobers". He continued his hilariously over-the-top petulant response to Sobers' quote by describing him as a "talentless bastard", then glaring at him through the camera and giving him the finger.
- For "Feel the Sportsman", Jonathan Ross and guest captain Ian Wright (replacing David, who had returned to Pakistan to commentate on another England Test) had to identify British Olympic gold-winning clay pigeon shooter Richard Faulds... while being repeatedly pelted by clay pigeons fired from offstage by production assistants. After Faulds had been identified, Nick Hancock called one of the production assistants back onto the stage and gave him £20 for hitting Jonathan five times. Jonathan, however, was upset at having been hit in the genitals by one of the clay pigeons, and proceeded to unzip his trousers to show off the bruise to a horrified Ian and an equally horrified Nick.
Ian Wright: AAAAGH! I SAW HIS WILLY!
- During "What's Going On?", Jonathan Ross turned to his and David Gower's teammate, cyclist Jason Queally, for advice on a problem he encountered while riding exercise bikes:
Jonathan Ross: But Jason, when I'm cycling, occasionally, which isn't often, I admit, but occasionally I go to the gymnasium...
Jason Queally: What sort of bike have you got?
Jonathan: It's a, it's a gymnasium one, it's got no wheels! [audience laughter] But when I'm on that, I'll tell you what I've noticed - I occasionally get what can only be described in medical terms as a clammy arse crack. Now presumably, you, being a bicyclist, have encountered this - not just a bicyclist, a medal-holding bicyclist - is there a specific cream or product one can recommend?
Jason: Yeah, well, K- KY jel- jelly comes to mind, that's a pretty good product.
David Gower: What about his problem, then? [loud audience laughter]
Jonathan: That transfusion he had in Karachi worked the business, didn't it?
- For "Feel the Sportsman", David and Jonathan had to identify world conkers champions Mark Tracy and Richard Weaver, who each had a conker on a string and proceeded to engage in a conker fight, with David and Jonathan getting their hands caught in the crossfire. After Jonathan took a conker to the head, he threatened to expose himself as he had done the previous week - which earned him a conker to the groin. David, meanwhile, took a conker to the hand and pretend-punched his assailant in retaliation. As an indignant Jonathan walked over to Nick to show off the supposed bruise to his nether regions again, Nick threw the contents of his water bottle at Jonathan's groin.
- This year's Christmas special was pantomime-themed. When Nick Hancock, dressed as Captain Hook, announced the scores at the end of each round, the audience would cheer David Gower's team and boo Gary Lineker's team.
- In "Feel the Sportsman", David and Jonathan Ross - dressed respectively as Mother Goose and a pantomime cow - had to identify British mashed potato wrestling champions Lisa Donner and Lienka Hanzeloba (a Call Back to the previous round, when David's team had to name events at the Potato Games). The duo, inevitably, were demonstrating the sport as David and Jonathan tried to guess who they were, and dragged both of them into the vat of mashed potato that had been brought on stage for the round; in the confusion, Jonathan grabbed David instead of one of the guests and shoved him into the potato. Rory McGrath, meanwhile, decided to sneak up for a taste of the mashed potato.
- Gail Porter, dressed as a pantomime fairy, delivered rhyming couplets between each round, generally referencing the regulars in unflattering terms (describing Gary as "that twat from Football Focus" and Jonathan and David as "a mouthy fop and a silver-haired old dear"), and she referenced the subject of Country Matters for her final couplet about Rory:
Gail Porter: [waves her wand, complete with sound effect] It's nearly time for me to go and join the Fairy Hunt!
The last one left for me to rhyme's that fat big hairy... Rory!
- The episode finished level after "The Name Game", so Nick declared that David and Gary would wrestle each other in the vat of mashed potato left on stage after "Feel the Sportsman", and the audience would decide the winner. In a departure from their loyalties for the rest of the episode, the audience cheered louder for Gary than for David. After the tiebreaker, Gary scooped up a big handful of potato and threw it in Nick's face.
- For "Feel the Sportsman", David Gower and Jonathan Ross were tasked with identifying serial sport streaker Mark Roberts - who appeared nude with censors' pixellation over his reproductive area and "Only the balls bounce" written on his torso.note It didn't take long for David to shy away from touching Roberts, and Jonathan gave up not long after - but not before accidentally touching Roberts' bare backside.
- For "Feel the Sportsman", guest captain Steve Backley (replacing Gary) and Rory McGrath had to identify Olympic gold medal-winning yachtswoman Shirley Robertson, who was sat in a sailboat, the atmosphere completed by a wind machine (which prompted Rory to yell "Jonathan! Shut your mouth!"), a water sprayer (which prompted Rory to shout "Jonathan! Put it away!"), and Nick Hancock throwing fish at the blindfolded guessers, who ended up thoroughly soaked by the end of the round.
- In "What's Going On?", David Gower's team were shown footage of the World Snuff-Taking Championships, held in Bavaria in southern Germany. Part of the footage showed contestants expelling the snuff from their nostrils into a barrel after the competition. Linda Smith asked to see the footage again, then grimaced and asked, "That's not how they make Marmite, is it?"
- A clip of cows re-enacting the Euro 2000 semi-final between Italy and the Netherlands set off a downright painful Hurricane of Puns:
Gary Lineker: That's one of Rory's dreams, wasn't it? Cowdenbeath versus Uddersfield! [audience cheers]
Nick Hancock: It's Frisian out there! [mix of laughter and groans] I'm giving an example of the sort of stuff he would do, obviously I wouldn't choose to do that joke.
Jonathan Ross: But Nick, that wasn't a bad joke, but then you had to go and milk it.
Rory McGrath: Come on, come on!
Nick: Well, at least I have the bottle! [thumps desk] That's enough!
Dion Dublin: Did we see Steve Bull in that clip, maybe?
Jonathan: You're joking, but that clip frightened the life out of me! That was like a frightening vision of the future where cows rule the world! Playing football with a giant ball made out of human skin! And watch a lovely light-hearted TV sports quiz like this one where everyone is a cow! Apart from me, because even in that world I could still get the cow ladies to lactate lovingly. [licks lips suggestively, then winks]
Gary: Jonathan! Did you get the horn?
Ralf Little: They watch They Think It's All Clover.
Nick: Oh, please, God, let me die now!
- For "What's Going On?", Gary Lineker's team were shown footage of a football mascot race at Huntingdon racecourse. As self-explanatory as the clip may have been, the sight of several dozen runners dressed as human-sized Anthropomorphic Animals including lions, dragons, cows, hornets, swans, owls, moose, elephants, eagles, monkeys, etc. was one of the most hilariously bizarre the round had ever featured.
- In "The Name Game", Jonathan Ross' clue for Australian tennis player Nicole Pratt didn't go according to plan, even though his and David Gower's teammate was Pratt's fellow Australian tennis player Pat Cash:
Jonathan Ross: [reads card] Oh, blimey. Okay, here we go, er, first name's a car advert.note "Papa?" [pauses to indicate reply] "Papa?"
David Gower: Nicole. Nicole.
Jonathan: Nicole. Second name is, erm... there's a UB40 song. [David laughs as if to say "Here we go again..."; Jonathan begins singing] "There's a ... in the kitchen what am I gonna do / There's a ... in the kitchen what am I gonna do / I'm gonna kill that ..."note
Pat Cash: I dunno...
David: "Pass the Dutchie",note what is it?
Jonathan: NO, NOT "PASS THE DUTCHIE"! [hysterical laughter from audience and panel] Was that the last time you bought a single!? Blimey! Of course, he's down with the ragamuffins!
[later, after the whistle has blown]
Nick Hancock: Ahh, joyous moments in your life to hear David Gower go, "Was it 'Pass the Dutchie'?" You can't think things like that!
Jonathan: David thought- David thought "Pass the Dutchie" was when they made you a duke!
- One of Rory McGrath's names for Gary and Mick Miller in "The Name Game" was Dutch footballer Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. He balked at the name, then said, "They're in Egypt, and they're sort of triangular shaped, like that," with motions to match. Gary guessed "Pyramids", and Rory congratulated him and moved on to the next card. Unsurprisingly, they didn't get a point for this dodge, and they lost by one point.
- An autocue flub from Nick Hancock during the "Injury Board" round led to a variation on the Spit Take from Gary Lineker.
[Gary's team have correctly guessed how decathlete Dean Macey injured himself during the 2000-01 foot-and-mouth crisis]
Nick Hancock: Dean normally trains by running on the fields near his Essex home, but these all became closed off during the foot-and-mouth crisis. And when he started training on tarmac roads instead, he ended up with shin splin- shit splints... [begins Corpsing, but recovers] And when he started training on tarmac roads-
Gary Lineker: I think he'll get it right this time. [takes a swig from his water bottle]
Nick: -I knew you'd do that. Look, he's gonna do it while drinking a bottle of water now! [Gary, his mouth full of water, struggles to contain his laughter] Don't you dare. Swallow. You've heard it before. Swallow. Swallow! [Gary appears to swallow the water]
Jonathan Ross: That's how he got Match of the Day. [Gary double Face Palms but noticeably does not open his mouth]
Nick: And when he started training on tarmac roads instead, he ended up- [water sprays in from off screen]
Jonathan: I tell you, it's gonna end in tears...
- With Dead Ringers' Jon Culshaw on Gary's team, it was inevitable that the episode would feature multiple impressions of sporting personalities, but, with prompting from Rory McGrath, Jon also turned his attention to impersonating Nick with the line "Hello, I'm Nick Hancock, every joke told the same way. Start on a high inflection, pause, and then go down to deliver the punchline." Nick spent a few seconds absorbing this, then turned to guest captain Steve Davis and, his voice randomly changing pitch with each word (with motions to match), began, "Now - Steve - you're - not - the - on-ly - for-mer - World Snooker Champ..." before reverting to his usual delivery.
- In "The Name Game", Jonathan Ross' names included Nigerian footballer Bimbo Fatokun. His first clue for the surname was "Until you get to know him, this is what people think of Rory."
- For "Lip-Reading", David Gower's team had to translate the phrases being shouted by the competitors in a Japanese shouting competition. David decided to invoke Japanese Ranguage for his first suggested translation:
David Gower: Those were Grampus Eight fans, weren't they, saying, "Get that Rineker off, he's clap!"
- After David's team were shown footage during "What's Going On?" of a Delaware pumpkin-chunking competition, Jonathan Ross produced a copy of The Guardian which rated TV personalities and gave favourable reviews to David's screen presence. David said his favourite part of the review was the observation that he shouldn't be so laid back about "Jonathan Woss", and that if he would "sock the smug so-and-so on the nose once in a while, he could earn the nation's grateful thanks." He promptly grabbed Jonathan by the scruff of the neck and pretended to punch him on the nose.
Jonathan Ross: Thank God he aimed for my nose, that means he's only caught me there! [indicates his cheekbone]
- For "Feel the Sportsman", Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath had to identify Da Vinci parachute pilot Adrian Nicholas, who descended into the studio under a parachute designed to Da Vinci's drawings - which then descended further and completely obscured Gary and Rory from view. Nick described the motions under the parachute as "an Iranian porn film", while at one point the parachute lifted just enough to reveal Rory's trousers around his ankles, for which Rory blamed Gary.
- For "Sporting Bluff", Gary Lineker's team had to determine if Cliff Richard, Kenneth Clarke, or Prince Philip claimed a share of the credit for England's 1966 FIFA World Cup victory.note The possible answers were preceded by footage of Geoff Hurst's two extra time goals in the final against West Germany, including the goal over which Kenneth Wolstenholme announced, "And here comes Hurst, he's got- some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over! [Hurst fires the ball into the goal] It is now!" After the video ended, Nick Hancock immediately launched into his opening spiel:
Nick Hancock: Hello, and welcome to They Think It's All Over, with Gary and Rory- sorry, that's just habit.
- In "Excuses", David Gower's team had to identify the excuse given by Sri Lankan cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga for allegedly detaining and assaulting a group of students.note David took the opportunity to reveal a cricketing acronym, and implied that it could be applied to Nick:
David Gower: He's 5 foot 8 and 15 stone, he's what they call in the trade an FLF: fat little [bleep].
Nick Hancock: Oh, is it?
David: His teammates- [chuckles] How tall are you?
Nick: [unamused] 5 foot 8, 15 stone. You're what we call in the trade a C.
- The footage for "What's Going On?" for David's team showed a ballet dancer on an otherwise empty football pitch combining dance moves with miming running into position to score a goal and celebrating.note The clip led to another landmark example of Hypocritical Humour from Jonathan Ross:
Jonathan Ross: D'you know what? I take umbrage to that clip, and I'll tell you why. You know what I resent about this programme, ladies and gentlemen, is the growing, swelling tide of homophobia that I am forced to endure sitting next to these people very week, week in, week out! We've heard- [loud and derisive laughter from Nick Hancock] I'm down with the gay brother and sister! And I... am deeply offended - that's right - by the homophobic nonsense that you fellas spout every week. When we know the reason for it is that almost all sportsmen are actually just themselves gay and unable to come to terms with it. [to David Gower and Allan Border] Why else would you stand there, dressed in your flamboyant white clothing, a box to enhance your private parts for your fellow player, holding a large stick which us Freudians refer to as "the cock staff", and look at the language of the game! There's the "crease". There's the man showing you the finger. [holds up his middle finger] What's it all about!?
David Gower: This is just a smokescreen, Woss!
Nick Hancock: Yeah!
David: You fop, you cottaging dandy, you! Look at this horrible suit you're wearing! [gestures to Jonathan's bright red suit and black dress shirt over loud audience applause] You're just- you are just-
Nick: Go on, David! Go on, son! Finish him!
Jonathan: Can you sense the repressed anger?
Sean Hughes: You've sold the game of cricket to me for the first time, it's not boring at all!
- For "Handbags", Gary's team had to explain why Manchester City's Alf-Inge Håland and Manchester United's Roy Keane were feuding.note The mention of Håland unleashed an assortment of bad jokes about him from Gary, Sean Hughes, and Nick:
- Gary's joke was "Alf-Inge Håland goes into a bar, the barman says, 'Why the long face? Play for Man City?'"
- Sean offered, "How many Alf-Inge Hålands does it take to change a light bulb? Three. [after an extended pause] One to change the bulb and two to hold back Roy Keane."
- And Nick wound things up with, "Knock knock. / Who's there? / Alf-Inge Håland. / Alf-Inge Håland who? / I didn't know you could yodel!"
- Gary and Rory McGrath's "Feel the Sportsman" guests were the British Lions Australian Rules football team, who took to the stage with an Aussie rules ball. When Gary got hold of the ball, he drop-kicked it into the audience - and accidentally kicked one of the players in the shin as he did so.
Gary Lineker: [through embarrassed laughter] I'm very sorry, whoever that was.
Nick Hancock: "Gary gives ball to someone else" shock!
Gary: I've hurt me toe!
- For "The Name Game", Rory and Jonathan had to give their clues as impressions again.
- Rory's names included Jonathan Ross, whom he impersonated by declaring, "I weaw a wed thuit!" ("I wear a red suit!"), which was enough for his teammates to get the correct answer.
- David's team were trailing 26-6 when their turn came, and David had already resigned himself to defeat, but Jonathan's terrible impressions didn't help their chances. His Mike Tyson impression was so unrecognisable that he finally shouted the name and gave up on getting a point for it, his Mark Lawrenson impression referenced his supposed relationship with Gary during their tenure on Match of the Day but sounded so little like Lawrenson that David guessed Gary instead, while for Dwight Yorke, he simply did a speech about Yorke's implication in sex tape scandals in his own voice.
Jonathan Ross: [as the whistle blows] I tell you, Alistair McGowan, watch out! [to David] I know that one, I know that one!
Nick Hancock: Somewhere out there, there's a filmmaker who's gonna make a biopic of Mike Tyson, he's watching this, he says, "I think we've found our Mike Tyson! We found him!"
- But as David and Gary had won four episodes each in the series, they had to play a tiebreaker of pseudo-sumo, in which they donned inflatable sumo wrestler suits. Rather than the object being to knock each other out of the ring, the object was for one of them to pin the other. The sight of David and Gary staggering around in the enormous pink spherical suits trying to knock each other over was a hilarious way to end the extended series finale.
- "Feel the Sportsman" featured a variation for this episode: the teams had to identify animals instead of sportsmen in a Call Back to a "What's Going On?" clip showing the then-manager of the England national football team, Sven-Goran Eriksson, identifying a zebra and a llama while blindfolded on a programme Nick Hancock identified as the Italian version of They Think It's All Over. David Gower and Jonathan Ross had to identify a zebra (of which their teammate, Ed Byrne, said "I can't believe we got a zebra into a TV studio and it didn't even shit on the floor!"), while Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath were given not a llama but an alligator, much to the delight of Jonathan and Nick. Neither actually got anywhere near the alligator (Gary in particular was on his guard because of the reactions of Nick, the audience, and his teammate Shane Warne) until they took their blindfolds off - and promptly fled the stage in terror.
- David Gower and Jonathan Ross' teammate for this episode was England cricket captain Nasser Hussain, and his appallingly bad luck when calling coin tosses at the beginning of matches had become a Running Gag for the series. When the scores finished level after "The Name Game", Nick Hancock declared that the only way to settle things was with a coin toss, with Nasser the caller. Inevitably, he guessed wrong again.
- This episode featured The Swear Jar on Nick Hancock's desk and each team's desk, ostensibly because The BBC were cracking down on the programme's use of profanity and donating the proceeds to Children in Need. Unsurprisingly, the panel's use of profanity actually increased, and they simply paid the penalty each time.
- Nick set the tone by describing the swear jar concept "a [bleep]ing good idea" and making the first donation, and went on to make a second donation when his autocue gag for Fiona Allen observed that she had asked to be put on Gary Lineker's team since she didn't want to sit next to "a public schoolboy and a gobshite", but was apparently happy to sit next to "a beardy lard-arse and a jug-eared [bleep]".
- Rory McGrath emptied a pile of coins onto the desk in preparation, and during "Excuses", he observed that he, Gary, and Fiona all spoke Spanish, and led his teammates in a torrent of Spanish profanity and donations to the swear jar on their desk.
- After saying he felt like a "[bleep]ing [bleep]hole" after a dismal performance on a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Jonathan Ross took out two stacks of banknotes, one for F-bombs and one that he referred to as his "[bleep] money", a term Nick said the people who paid Jonathan used to describe said payments. During "The Injury Board", Jonathan even gave Nick his bank card.
- For "Excuses", David Gower's team had to explain why Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt believed that cutting his long hair had improved his tennis game, allowing him to win the 2001 US Open. David looked at the photo of the long-haired Hewitt and asked if he had been "sick and tired of being mistaken for Jonathan." Jonathan took in the similarity between his hairstyle and Hewitt's former hairstyle, then announced that he had shared a night of passion with Martina Navratilova twenty years earlier (true to form, he claimed that he had so thoroughly ruined her for other men that this was why she came out as a lesbian), and she had claimed to be on birth control pills at the time. He then looked at the camera and solemnly declared, "Lleyton, if you're watching... son... it's not too late. Give me a call, we can make up for those lost years. I'll take you to the zoo and we can watch Pete Sampras sittin' in his tyre."
- Before Nick Hancock could begin his introduction, Jonathan Ross interrupted him to say something was terribly wrong: his pen was out of ink. He was selectively oblivious to the fact that an elderly woman with similar hair and dress sense to David Gower was sat next to him. David then entered and excused the woman, explaining to his and Jonathan's teammate, Alec Stewart, that she was his body double.
David Gower: Before you ask, that hundred at Sydney in '91? That was her. That 0 at Melbourne? That was me.note
- Gary Lineker's team were given a "Sporting Bluff" question about Chelsea's then-manager Claudio Ranieri, who could only give interviews through an interpreter when he first took the job but who, by the time this episode aired, had managed to learn enough English to begin giving interviews himself. However, his name had a hilarious collision with Jonathan's Elmuh Fudd Syndwome:note
Alec Stewart: [reading card] Mr Ranieri... well, he learned his English from watching EastEnders.
David Gower: [reading card] Claudio Ranieri learned English from Chelsea fans.
Jonathan Ross: [reading card] Claudio Waniewi learned English... [gets cut off by laughter from audience and Nick Hancock; looks around in mock confusion] Claudio Waniewi learned... [gets cut off again by more laughter]
Nick Hancock: Say "Gianluca Vialli", you'll be all right.
Jonathan: That bloke learned English by going to see West End musicals.
- For this episode (the series' hundredth), David Gower and Gary Lineker swapped places on the panel after Gary and Rory McGrath were accused of cheating in the previous episode (see Cheaters Never Prosper on the main page for details). The scores finished level after the final game, so David, Rory, Gary, and Jonathan Ross had to play a tiebreaker game of musical chairs (the music being the theme from Match of the Day). The ensuing fights over the chairs each time the music stopped (ignoring instructions not to pull the chairs out of position) were priceless, especially David and Jonathan's fight over the final chair.
- For "Handbags", Gary Lineker's team had to explain why Paula Radcliffe, who was on David Gower's team for this episode, had fought with her trainer and husband Gary Lough after finishing fourth in the 10,000 metre race at the 2001 World Championships in Athletics.note Gary had a rather creative suggestion, which was equally creatively misinterpreted by the panel:
Gary Lineker: Was he just saying, "What are you doing, going on that laddish quiz show with that overdressed poof, the fat lech, the geriatric cricketer, and that rather good-looking footballer?"
Jonathan Ross: Are you a footballer, Nick?
Nick Hancock: Yeah, I used to play a bit of football, yeah. [audience laughter and applause] I wondered why he'd left out the phrase "jug-eared [bleep]"!
- In a nod to the fact that Nick Hancock had been a teacher before moving to a career in light entertainment, Gary and Rory McGrath's teammate, Ben Norris, gave Nick an apple. Nick commented that it was the first gift he'd ever received from the panel, apart from one from Jonathan Ross - after which he'd had to drink orange juice for two weeks.
- For "What's Going On?", David's team were shown footage of the Loudest Laugh event from the World Laughing Championships. The panel inevitably decided to interpret the footage using a few Take Thats:
David Gower: Has someone just tried to sell them a house in Stoke? [Nick shoots David a Death Glare]
Jonathan Ross: Gower, you're out of line! Couple of weeks ago, I mistakenly made similar kind of remarks after reading in a newspaper report that Stoke was considered the worst place to live in Britain, and believe me, the Stokies have wasted no time in making their strong opinions be felt by me. So I actually did pop up under cover and visit Stoke. And may I say how delighted I was by the place. What a wonderful place to visit it really is. [looks at Nick, who is twirling the apple Ben Norris gave him on the desk] You wanna put that apple down, or are you-
Nick Hancock: No, no. [holds up apple and turns to Ben] Thanks for this!
Jonathan: Really, seriously, I recommend - if you wanna go and see an example of how people used to live fifty years ago, there's no finer working museum in the country!
Paula Radcliffe: Were they watching Jonathan take delivery of his wardrobe?
- Gary and Rory's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was British archery champion Simon Needham. As an archery target was brought onto the stage, Ben decided to pay homage to the legend of William Tell by balancing the apple he had given Nick on Gary's head.
Nick Hancock: You should know Gary doesn't like anything near his head!
- "The Name Game" in this episode required Rory and Jonathan to give their clues as impressions again.
- Jonathan's names included David Gower, and he inevitably affected an "old man" voice for his performance:
Jonathan Ross: [quavering voice] When I was first playing cricket, [David points to himself as if to say "Is that supposed to be me?"] Queen Victoria said to me, "Why don't you hit the bloody ball, stop wafting, young jackanape!"
David Gower: So it's either W.G. Grace or me, then.
Jonathan: It's obviously you! [tosses card aside]
Nick Hancock: D'you know your own name, David?
David: Sorry? No.
Nick: No. Okay.
- Halfway through the round, Jonathan forgot he was supposed to be doing impressions, and when he was forced to revise his clue for then-British tennis No.1 Tim Henman ("Tennis player, absolutely no bloody good but very posh"), he affected an exaggerated RP accent and simply repeated, "Tennis player, I'm very posh, not very good."
- Rory's names included American tennis player Lindsay Davenport, his first clue for whom was to mime smoking a pipe. Gary's first guess? Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
- Rory's final clue of the round, for Canadian-born then-British tennis No.2 Greg Rusedski, was to sing "I chop down trees, I wear high heels..."
- Jonathan's names included David Gower, and he inevitably affected an "old man" voice for his performance:
- For "What's Going On?", Gary Lineker's team had to explain why the British ladies' 4x200 relay team had finished third at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships behind the Australians and the Americans, and yet won the gold medal.note Rory McGrath had a rather shocking explanation:
Rory McGrath: The Australians were disqualified, weren't they, because they had vaginal propellers.
[huge audience laughter; Jonathan Ross looks shocked]
Paul Ross: And I think- I thought I'd seen all of Jonathan's videos!
Nick Hancock: [his hand on his cheek] I didn't think I'd missed that many days at school, but there's stuff going on here, I haven't got any clue what's going on!
- As Gary and Rory took their positions for "Feel the Sportsman" and put on their blindfolds, Jonathan Ross poked fun at Gary for not having bothered to iron his jeans. Rory declared that Gary had a personal iron: Mark Lawrenson. Gary removed his blindfold and took advantage of the fact that Rory still had his in place by walking across the stage and kicking him in the groin.
Nick Hancock: There's a first! Lineker actually runs five yards to kick ball.
- For "The Name Game", Rory and Jonathan Ross had to give their clues in mime.
- One of Rory's names was Mark Lawrenson, so he mimed someone with a moustache, made mincing gestures, and then sat on Gary's knee and kissed the side of his head.
- One of Jonathan's names was South African cricketer Hansie Cronje, so he mimed someone playing cricket, but while it didn't take long for David to guess Cronje's name, he wasted the rest of the round criticising Jonathan's terrible cricket posture, which he said was so bad he didn't even know the mystery person was a cricketer at first.
- As Gary and David Gower had both won four of the previous eight episodes (though only because Gary forfeited three episodes for cheating), a tiebreaker was played between Jonathan and his brother Paul Ross: whoever managed the longest time on the surfing machine that had been brought on for David and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest, European surfing champion Russell Winter, would win the series for his team. The Ross brothers' turns on the surfboard were made slightly more difficult by their opponents throwing water at them from their water bottles.
- Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath's teammate was Gary's fellow Match of the Day pundit Mark Lawrenson, and the Running Gag that he and Gary were in a romantic relationship reached a climax at the beginning of this episode. Before the first round, Nick Hancock revealed that that month's issue of Quick and Easy Cross Stitch magazine had published a "how to" guide for creating a cross stitch of Gary in their "Stitch a Star" feature. So, naturally, they had stitched Gary's face onto a sweater, which Nick gave to Mark to wear.
Nick Hancock: Gary Lineker on your chest - that'll make a change!
- Continuing the theme of gag Christmas presents, Jonathan Ross gave Gary a T-shirt with the Walker's Crisps logo on the front - but with the L replaced with an N. However, Gary didn't notice the change at first:
Gary Lineker: Shall I wear it?
Steve Davis: Go on, put it on!
Gary: For the rest of the show?
David Gower: Yeah, go on.
Nick Hancock: No.
David: No, go on, do it.
Gary: Can I?
Nick: No, you don't have to, we all know you're a wanker. [Gary checks the front of the shirt] You've only just noticed that, haven't you?
Gary: Yes! [loud laughter from the audience and the panel, especially Jonathan Ross]
Nick: Well, you don't want to read the whole thing all at once.
- Gary Lineker was on holiday when this episode was recorded, so his place was taken by the series' replacement captain of choice, Steve Davis.note His and Rory McGrath's teammate was David Gower's former England teammate Mike Gatting, whose weight had been the subject of many jokes over the years. The jokes continued apace once he was actually on the panel; for example, when Steve's team had to explain why David and Jonathan Ross' teammate, Ronnie O'Sullivan, had been unable to fill a specimen jar after being pulled over by the police for driving erratically,note Rory took the subject of drugs tests in a new direction, and David found a way to press one of the Cornwall-raised Rory's Berserk Buttons:
Rory McGrath: 'Cos Mike, you once tested positive for something - you once te-tested positive for pies, didn't you.
Mike Gatting: Yeah. The meat variety.
Rory: I'm a fine one to talk, I know!
David Gower: Pies, pasties, there's no difference, is there.
Rory: There's a hell of a lot of difference between a pie and a pasty, thank you, David.
David: It's hard to tell looking from here!
Rory: [to Steve Davis] You're the thinnest person on this side of the house tonight...
Steve Davis: I tell you, I feel like the airbags have gone off in my car. I feel like a single McDonald!
- As deliberation continued, Steve noted that it had been alleged there were four women in the car with Ronnie at the time, and he didn't know any of their names. Jonathan decided to defend Ronnie against the allegations:
Jonathan Ross: I think it's very unfair of you guys to try and paint him as a wild man of snooker - Steve, we know you had your day. I know in your prime, I remember once reading a story about you in the paper. He took eight items through the "7 Items or Less" till. He never apologised! Ronnie was fitted up for it!
Rory McGrath: Come on, what were they called?
Jonathan: Any questions for Ronnie, go through me from now on! I'm his brief!
David Gower: You have never been brief in your life, come on! [audience applause]
Nick Hancock: Eh? Who- who has upped the dosage?
- For "What's Going On?", Steve's team had to explain why David and Mike's former England teammate Graham Gooch was filmed being given a head massage and then dunked in a swimming pool by two models, followed by being filmed washing his hair in the shower. The answer was that he had undergone hair replacement, but his advertisement for the company responsible, Advanced Hair Studios, was pulled after an ex-customer claimed their service amounted to simply gluing wigs to their customers' heads. Nick Hancock claimed that the producers had asked Graham Gooch to appear on the programme, but he declined; however, he had supposedly sent a wig in his place, and Nick put it on David's head to show how natural it looked, and proved that it survived showering by emptying his water bottle over David's head.
- As Steve and Rory took their places for "Feel the Sportsman", Steve engaged in a bit of Self-Deprecation regarding the decline of his performances at the snooker table and declared, "This is a first - me standin' up and Ronnie sittin' down sippin' water!"
- For "The Name Game", one of Rory's names was Korean golfer Charlie Wi. Unfortunately, as he was sometimes prone to doing, Rory decided to go straight from too lowbrow to too highbrow in his clues, leaving Steve and Mike utterly lost:
Rory McGrath: This is a Korean golfer... erm...
Steve Davis: Su-lu Pak.
Rory: [points at Ronnie O'Sullivan] It's what he can't do when he's depressed.
Mike Gatting: Pissed.
Rory: Wi, and the first name is - er - something that - er - he probably d- er - something, erm... [looks thoughtful] Prince Harry- Prince Harry doesn't do this, er, but if he did, he'd have to go to the toilet and, er, and import it from Colombia... [blank looks from Steve and Mike] And, erm... Harry's father... is called.
Rory: Very good. And a nick- an apocopation of that?note
Steve, Mike: Chas.
[laughter from audience and panel, Nick Hancock pumps both fists in delight]
Rory: Technically it's not an apocopation, it's a hypocoristic.note So that's what put you off.
Steve: [sarcastically] Oh, sorry, yeah.
Rory: Chas is an apocopation of Charles, but the word I'm looking for is in fact a hypocoristic.
Nick Hancock: You've given up, haven't you.
Rory: Jazz trumpeter, Charlie Parker- oh, [bleep]!
- Gary Lineker was still on holiday for this episode, so Steve Davis was back in the captain's seat again, and his and Rory McGrath's teammate was broadcaster Beverley Turner. For "Sporting Bluff", Steve's team had to determine whether frequent club-hopping manager Steve Bruce was a Samaritans telephonist, a spirit medium, or a novellistnote when he was between jobs, and Rory got sidetracked by recalling a story which appeared in The Sun in which Beverley had supposedly claimed that her ex-boyfriend, Top of the Pops presenter Jamie Theakston, was rather underendowed downstairs. Beverley insisted that she had never actually made such a claim, but it had been printed anyway, and "it got a little bit out of hand." The audience and panel fell about laughing at her choice of words.
Nick Hancock: Well, that counts as big for me!
- David Gower, meanwhile, was also away for this recording, commentating on the England cricket team's tour of India, and his replacement was rower Matthew Pinsent. During "Excuses", Matthew's team had to explain West Ham defender Hayden Foxe's excuse for standing on the bar at a nightclub and relieving himself during the club's Christmas party,note and Matthew decided to take aim at his opposing captain:
Matthew Pinsent: Steve, did you not have something similar happen to you when you went to a club called the Crucible, and Ronnie O'Sullivan pissed all over you?note [audience laughter and applause]
Nick Hancock: Well... you're not gonna get a knighthood that way.note
Rory McGrath: Steve, snap back with one of your one-liners, go on.
Steve Davis: Bollocks.
- This episode saw the debut of "Rules of the Game", in which the teams had to identify some of the rules of obscure sporting events. Matthew's team were tasked with identifying the rules of the Eton School's Wall Game (which Old Etonian Matthew had little trouble doing).note Matthew and Jonathan's teammate, second generation Formula 1 champion Damon Hill, had a creative suggestion for one of the rules:
Damon Hill: I think one of the rules is, erm, that, er, they mu- they mustn't let Jonathan Ross within, erm... about a couple of miles of the, er, the- the game.
Jonathan Ross: No, that's Jonathan King you're thinking of.note
Damon: Listen, I'm not the one wearing a KY jelly outfit!
Jonathan: [feigning offence] But you spotted it with alarming speed!
- David Gower was still in India and Gary Lineker was still on holiday for this recording, so Matthew Pinsent and Steve Davis took over as team captains again. Steve and Rory McGrath's teammate was Jo Brand, and their "Sporting Bluff" question concerned whether then-Watford manager Gianluca Vialli claimed to get an orgasm from gambling on horse races, watching Manchester United, or his mother's cooking.note A series of digressions led to Jo expressing admiration for snooker player Stephen Lee:
Jo Brand: I like that chubby one, what's his name?...
Steve Davis: Chubby one?
Jo: The little chubby one that looks about 12.
Steve: Er... Stephen Lee.
Jo: Oh yes.
Rory McGrath: Why do you like him?
Jo: Because it looks like we could have a good time at dinner together.
Jonathan Ross: Jo, I'm tellin' you now, if you went to bed with him, he'd just think he was on a bouncy castle! You would get no satisfaction! [indicating Matthew Pinsent] You want a real man like this, a big fella!
Jo: Jonathan, can I just say something? Rory and I can check out of Fat Club, but you can't check out of Twat Club.
- Rory and Jonathan Ross had to give their clues for "The Name Game" in mime again. One of Jonathan's names was Croatian tennis player Goran Ivaniević, who had become the first wild card to win the Wimbledon men's singles the previous year and had famously doffed his shirt during the final to receive treatment for muscle aches. Jonathan mimed playing tennis and then ripped his shirt open (revealing his navel piercing), although it was not enough for Matthew and guest John Francome to guess the name, and their team lost by one point.
Nick Hancock: I've gotta tell you, Jonathan, you've lost, but you've retained your dignity.
- David Gower had returned from India for this recording, although Gary Lineker was still on holiday and was replaced by sprinter Linford Christie.note Before the episode began, Nick Hancock noted that in the previous episode, he had been suspicious that Rory McGrath knew that Swedish tennis player Jonas Bjorkman's "silly walk" celebration of his straight sets victory over Tim Henman in the 2002 Australian Open was a homage to Swedish comedy collective Galenskaparna and After Shave (his mispronunciation of whose names provided much amusement to David and Jonathan Ross' teammate, Ulrika Jonsson). He announced that "an independent investigation" had concluded that although there was no obvious evidence of cheating, precedent suggested that "Rory McGrath is a big fat cheating git," and retroactively awarded the episode to David's team.
- Before David's team began deliberating over their "Sporting Bluff" question concerning whether Paul Merson put Vicks Vapo-Rub, moisturiser, or Nicoret patches on his body before a match,note Jonathan declared how pleased he was to have Ulrika on the team, and praised her hosting stint on Dog Eat Dog, describing her as "a female Anne Robinson". Nick Hancock was in the middle of a swig from his water bottle during this remark, and struggled valiantly but unsuccessfully to keep from doing a Spit Take.
Nick Hancock: [massaging the back of his neck] I've hurt me neck now!
- For "Excuses", Linford's team had to give Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's excuse for the club's poor disciplinary record (between Wenger taking over as manager and the recording date for this episode, Arsenal had racked up 43 red cards).note Rory digressed into nicknames, noting that Linford's nickname was "The Horse" and their teammate, Phil Tufnell, was nicknamed "The Cat":
Rory McGrath: What's your nickname, Ulrika? D'you have a nickname? We've got the Horse, the Cat...
Ulrika Jonsson: [bleep] off!
Nick Hancock: What a lovely nickname! Isn't that charming? Who gave you that, your mother?
Rory: Is that Swedish?
Ulrika: No, it's not Swedish!
Rory: No, it's not.
David Gower: What is it in Swedish?
Ulrika: What were you getting at?
Rory: No, I was just wondering if you had a nickname! You know, we've got [indicates Linford Christie] the Horse, [indicates Phil Tufnell] the Cat, I thought the Fox might be a good thing for you.
Ulrika: Yeah, and?
Rory: David, the Fossil.
David: I'm already the- [trails off laughing]
Rory: Dunno an animal for Jonathan, is- is there a gibbering blue-arsed baboon?
Jonathan Ross: [shrugs] I'll take it!
Nick: Anyway David, you must know what "[bleep] off" is in Swedish, you've been there!
- David's team, meanwhile, had to identify the excuse given by Lazio and Netherlands full back Jaap Stam for failing a drugs test. Jonathan insisted several times over that he had been sucking the teat of a steroid-injected cow, while Ulrika observed that the transliteration of Stam's name was "Jack Tree Trunk". When neither team could guess the correct answer, Jonathan, Rory, Linford, and David continued to insist that it had something to do with a cow (David insisting that the cow be brought on to be interrogated), even as Nick yelled at them to shut up so that he could read the autocue. By a bizarre yet hilarious coincidence, as well as explaining that Stam had claimed his body naturally produced banned substances due to the stress of being dropped by Alex Ferguson while he was at Manchester United, the autocue featured a gag about Stam's mother being angry at him for trading the family cow for a bag of magic beans.
- For "What's Going On?", David's team were shown footage of a Scottish piper leading a haggis into a reception room full of well-dressed people, followed by a boxing match in the middle of the same room.note Jonathan asked to see the first part of the clip again to get a closer look at the haggis:
Jonathan Ross: Frank Bruno's bollocks!
David Gower: I know he is, but what is it?
- David and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was British downhill mountain biking champion Tracy Moseley. During the round, David and Jonathan were pelted from offstage by clods of earth, and Jonathan picked up one of the clods and turned to the panel while holding it up as if to throw it at them, causing Linford, Rory, Phil, and Ulrika to scatter from their seats.
Jonathan Ross: [feeling the prop mountain brought out with Moseley] This reminds me of my grandma's house, David, she used to have a wockewynote out the front.
David Gower: Really? Wockewy? What's a wockewy? What was she, was she a Chinese chef or something?
- For "The Name Game", one of the names on Jonathan's cards was John Fashanu, who co-presented Gladiators with Ulrika. Jonathan described Fashanu as "one of the ones [Ulrika] didn't sleep with":
Ulrika Jonsson: One of the ones I didn't sleep with!? You [bleep]!
Nick Hancock: So, what are you- what are you telling us, you did sleep with John Fashanu??
Ulrika: Yes, absolutely! [mouths "No" to the camera]
- David Gower and Jonathan Ross' teammate in this episode was American soccer player turned broadcaster Kevin Flynn, whom Nick Hancock accidentally addressed as Mike twice before Kevin corrected him. David then addressed him as Mike (facetiously rather than as an honest mistake), then a "Sporting Bluff" question that led to a digression on Through The Keyhole led to Jonathan suggesting that Gary Lineker's house had a shrine to his Match of the Day co-presenter "Mike Lawrenson" (another honest mistake). Even the production team joined in the joke, with the scores at the end of the first round being displayed as "03 Mike - Mike 03". Nick addressing Kevin as Mike became a Running Gag for the rest of the episode.
- For "Sporting Bluff", David Gower's team had to determine whether Cameroon's goalkeeping coach, Thomas N'Kono, had been arrested by the Malian police before their 2002 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final tie against the host nation for being involved in a bank robbery, casting a spell on the pitch, or smuggling bush meat.note Jonathan Ross' claim of boredom while watching the tournament took an unexpected turn:
Jonathan Ross: I watched some of that African Nations Cup on TV, and bloody hell it was dull, wasn't it? How bor- it was so boring, I even turned over to watch the Winter Olympics! And by the end of it I was so mind-numbingly bored, I even phoned David up just for a chat! That's how bored I was!
David Gower: Was I in?
Jonathan: No, it was Tuesday night.
David: Ah, Tue- I was [bleep]ing your wife that night, it was fantastic! [audience laughter and applause as Jonathan looks shocked]
Jonathan: Tuesday night?
Nick Hancock: Jon- Jonathan, don't worry, he's traditionally only in for about three minutes.
Gary Lineker: That's much more than she normally gets!
Jonathan: I thought- I thought she said it was Rory's turn.
David: No, I do him on Wednesdays.
- With Madness' Graham "Suggs" McPherson on Gary Lineker's team, a Running Gag developed in which, if a joke fell flat, the panellists would start singing snippets of Madness songs, usually "My Girl". For example, during Gary's team's "Sporting Bluff" question in which they had to determine whether Enrique Iglesias had refused to kiss his then-girlfriend Anna Kournikova when he included her in a video because she had zits, bad breath, or a tongue piercing,note Rory McGrath made a terrible pun and Jonathan tried to bail him out:
Rory McGrath: He's known as the "Spanish love machine", apparently. Not to be confused with the "British love machine", Tim Henman. [ripple of audience laughter]
Jonathan Ross: [singing] My girl's mad at me...
Nick Hancock: [under his breath] No [bleep]ing surprise there.
- David Gower and Jonathan Ross' "Feel the Sportsman" subject was British ladies' sumo wrestling champion Jackie Bates, who began the round bent over as though about to begin a sumo bout. Inevitably, Jonathan and David gravitated toward her back half, and Jonathan was delighted to discover that their guest was female. David tried to push Jonathan away to keep him from getting too familiar with Bates, but when he discovered her mawashi (the belt worn by sumo wrestlers), Jonathan exclaimed, "They put a harness on for better grip! I'll tell you what, I'm going in!", to a Big "NO!" from Nick Hancock. Of course, being a sumo wrestler, Bates was more than able to defend herself, and she simply picked Jonathan up and dropped him off at the side of the stage - then began doing so again after leading Jonathan back to centre stage, all while Nick repeatedly shouted "Don't do this!"
- This episode featured another occurrence of Pictionary-style clues in "The Name Game". Rory McGrath's names included referee David Elleray. Rory drew a pair of women's breasts with an arrow pointing to the right one, prompting Gary Lineker and Dominic Holland to guess "right tit"; this, coupled with a referee's whistle, was enough for them to guess Elleray's name.
- Rory McGrath was rather infamous for looking at the answers to questions before recordings, ostensibly to help him prepare to make jokes about them (see Cheaters Never Prosper on the main page for details). This reached a peak in this episode; the chaos began during "What's Going On?" when Rory somehow knew, in extensive detail, the circumstances surrounding Bournemouth Reserves being allowed to score an easy goal in a match against Millwall Reserves. Nick Hancock had his feet propped up on the desk while listening to Rory's answer, then announced that although he was correct, rather than award Gary Lineker's team three points, he was docking them three points and giving twenty points to David Gower's team.
- During "Celebrations", Gary's team simply refused to explain why Exeter City players celebrated a goal by holding out a cap as though asking for donations from the crowdnote on the grounds that Nick would accuse them of cheating. When David's team were shown a goal by Jose Antonio Reyes of Sevilla against Real Valladolid in which a fellow player actually bit his groin area during the celebrations, David simply declared they didn't need any more points (to Jonathan Ross' frustration) and the question was passed over. To much eye-rolling from Nick, Rory explained that it was a literal interpretation of a Spanish idiom for congratulations, which transliterates as "kissing [your] bollocks". An unimpressed Nick awarded them 1/2 of a point.
- "Feel the Sportsman" had a Winter Olympics theme:
- David and Jonathan had to identify champion British speed skater Sarah Lindsay, who was given a circular patch of fake ice to stand on. Before putting on his blindfold, Jonathan removed his jacket to reveal that his shirt and trousers were matching shiny black leather. When Lindsay bent over in the typical speed skater's stance, Rory and Gary offered to help identify her, prompting Nick Hancock to shout "SIT DOWN!" repeatedly until they obeyed. Finally, when David and Jonathan successfully identified Lindsay, Jonathan followed her off stage, holding up his hand in an "I'll be back in five minutes" sign. Nick joked that it would be a lot less than that.
- The ice was left out for Gary and Rory's subject, Olympic bronze medal-winning skeleton bobsledder Alex Coomber, who had a skeleton bobsled upon which she proceeded to lie face down. At one point, Rory ended up behind her, grabbed one of her legs in each hand, and began pulling her towards himself, prompting Nick to shout "STOP IT!" repeatedly until he obeyed. Gary then claimed that Coomber had said in a newspaper interview earlier that week that she would be a guest on They Think It's All Over that week; Nick, clearly sceptical, nevertheless awarded them three points.
- With Gary's team trailing 33 points to 3 1/2 entering "The Name Game", victory was more or less impossible, but this didn't stop Gary from knowing the name of PSV Eindhoven player Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (whose goal had eliminated Leeds United from the UEFA Cup earlier in the week), or that the Greek word for "peace" was "ειρήνη" ("eirini"), a clue for the name Irina Slutskaya. At this point, Nick was doing so much eye-rolling that it's a wonder his eyes didn't end up in the back of his head.
- But since this meant that David and Gary had won four games each in Series 13, a tie-breaker was set up in which David and Gary had to ride tea trays with skateboard wheels (which Alex Coomber used to train for the skeleton bobsled owing to the lack of courses in Britain) to a finish line at the front of the stage. Though David reached the finish line first, he was too far from the finish flag to touch it, and Gary touched the flag first to win the series. Rory attempted to re-enact the "bollock-biting" goal celebration from "Celebrations", while a frustrated David tried to throttle Nick, who exclaimed that he'd already given them 33 points, what else did he want?
- For "Celebrations", Jonathan Ross decided to fully embrace his case of Elmuh Fudd Syndwome during the banter before answering the questions.
- David Gower's team had to explain the South Korean football team's pantomiming of speed skating after Ahn Jung-Hwan's equaliser in their 2002 FIFA World Cup group match against the United States.note Jonathan took the opportunity to express his admiration of the Brazilian team and their front line, "the three Ws [...] Wonaldo, Wonaldinho, and Wivaldo."
- Gary Lineker's team had to explain why Nasser Hussain had gestured to the number 3 on his uniform with three fingers after scoring a century in the NatWest tournament final against India.note Jonathan suggested he was making an analogue of the Bat signal, except this one was intended to summon Jonathan for help: the Wossy signal.
Gary Lineker: [referring to Jonathan's bright yellow suit] It's Bananaman!
Jonathan Ross: For more reasons than one, Gary! [audience laughter] Apparently, the bend doesn't interfere with the pleasure, though.
David Gower: I rea- I can imagine you as a superhero.
Jonathan: I'd make a great superhero!
David: What do you think- you must have been bitten by a radioactive twat.
- During "The Name Game", Jonathan's attempt to give a clue for Senegalese footballer Aliou Cissé didn't quite go as planned.
Jonathan Ross: All right, remember, from the Staines massive, who leads the Staines massive, someone G.
Brad Friedel: Ali.
Jonathan: Ali, okay, Ali, and the second bit is, [suggestively, to David] when you're servicing your old lady...
David Gower: [points to audience] She's here.
Jonathan: [pause; to Brad] When you're servicing your old lady-
Brad: [points to audience] She's here.
Jonathan: [to Nick Hancock] When you're servicing his old lady... [points to David]
- Following a question about whether their teammate Mark Waugh had "twin telepathy" with his brother Steve, Rory McGrath and Gary Lineker attempted to invoke Finishing Each Other's Sentences. It took three attempts to get it right; the first attempt was proof that timing can be everything in comedy. (As was Gary turning shouting "Finish each other's sentences!" at random intervals into a Running Gag for the rest of the episode.)
Rory McGrath: Gary and I have worked out this sort of telepathy, we've been on this, er, show so often together, that we actually...
Gary Lineker: ... finish each other's sentences. [muted audience laughter]
Nick Hancock: That was pathetic! That was really awful! The only way you could have made that worse, Da- er, Gary, was to have said, "Is it now? Do I say it now?"
- In the previous week's episode, Jonathan Ross had compared David Gower to Alvin Stardust and said he'd like to see him in tight leather. David agreed that if Jonathan supplied the leather clothes, he would wear them, and so for this recording, he wore a studded, short-sleeved black leather jacket, and Jonathan was likewise dressed in black leather. The results did not go uncommented on by the other panellists:
Sharron Davies: I keep looking at these two and wanting to do [sings, complete with arm motions] "Y-M-C-A..."
Nick Hancock: I look at the two of them and I think, "I want to put on the other porn channel."
- After years of Jonathan making jokes about having an affair with Gary's then-wife Michelle, Gary finally turned the tables on Jonathan:
Jonathan Ross: You've won gold medals for swimming, haven't you?
Sharron Davies: Yeah, Commonwealth. Few years ago.
Jonathan: You won a Commonwealth gold. That must- that must be better than sex, I thought, well, not better than sex with me, but better than sex with Gary, surely. Although actually, winning a pound on a scratchcard is better than sex with Gary. [Gary looks offended] And yet- and you've been a-
Gary Lineker: That is not what your lady wife said! [cheers from the audience]
Nick Hancock: He's back! He's back! [claps on each word of the following] Cat fight! Cat fight! Cat fight! Cat fight!
Jonathan: That's 'cause you gave her the pound afterwards!
- For "What's Going On?", David Gower's team had to explain why Gary Lineker's Match of the Day co-presenter Mark Lawrenson had been filmed having his moustache shaved off.note Gary's feigned ignorance of one of the series' Running Gags led to a hilarious Precision F-Strike from David:
David Gower: Just - just want to ask Gary, was that an emotional moment for you, watching that come off? It must be like an old friend that you're losing as well.
Gary Lineker: Why would you say that, David?
David: ... Have you not been paying attention to the last fifteen [bleep]ing shows!?
- In "Sporting Bluff", David's team had to decide if Pope John Paul II, George W. Bush, or Mike Tyson was an honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters.note Jonathan Ross took the opportunity to tell a joke that he claimed had been told to him by David Bowie about the Seven Dwarves visiting the Pope, and Dopey asking if the Catholic Church had any dwarf nuns; His Holiness said they didn't, prompting the other dwarves to sing, "Dopey shagged a penguin, Dopey shagged a penguin..." Far funnier than the joke was the hilariously bad Italian accent Jonathan affected for his Pope imitation (overlooking the fact that John Paul II was Polish), of which Nick Hancock said, "I didn't know that Joe Dolce was Pope!"
- David and Jonathan were given pairs of gloves along with their blindfolds for "Feel the Sportsman". Jonathan claimed that the gloves must have been intended as safeguards against getting too familiar with an attractive female guest, and deduced that their guest must be Anna Kournikova, so he removed his gloves. David decided to do likewise. The guests turned out to be the East Coast Ferret Racing team, complete with two ferrets and two plastic tubes for the ferrets to race down. When one of them got to Jonathan's end, it bit him on the thumb, drawing blood and causing a Minor Injury Overreaction from him.
Jonathan Ross: [holding one ferret as the other emerges from the tube, dangerously close to the front of his trousers] Hey! There's another one! [instinctively puts his hand over his groin; the other ferret bites his thumb] OW! [shakes his thumb] It bit me! I just got bitten! Is it... is it Frankie Dettori? I just got bitten by the... little thing!
Nick Hancock: Yeah, you can have three points for being bitten!
Jonathan: Why didn't you give us some gloves!?
David Gower: Well, what have you got? [makes his way over to Jonathan]
Jonathan: I got blood comin' out me [bleep]ing thumb, that's what I got! Look at that! [David ends up feeling Jonathan's head instead of the guests; whistle blows]
Nick: It's the East Coast Ferret Racing team!
Jonathan: It bit me! [shows one of the ferrets' handlers - and the camera - the blood coming out of his thumb] Look at that! [David shakes the ferrets' handlers' hands, and he and Jonathan return to their seats] I can only imagine I was six inches from suddenly being Jewish!
Nick: Are you all right?
Jonathan: Well, why didn't you give us some protective hand wear? What were you thinking, Hancock?
- For "The Name Game", Jonathan and Rory McGrath had to give their clues as impressions again.
- One of Jonathan's names was Pope John Paul II, so he did a Call Back to Nick's comment about Joe Dolce being Pope by saying "Whatsa matta you?" in a bad Italian accent.
- One of Rory's names was Alan Shearer, for whom he affected a Geordie accent and muttered, "People think I'm dull because I'm... dull." Which was enough for Gary to guess correctly.
- With Gary Lineker away and Mick McCarthy in his place, Jonathan Ross decided, during his team's "Handbags" question concerning a feud between Manchester United's Gary Neville and Oasis' Noel Gallagher,note to shift the implication that he was shagging one of his fellow panellists' wives to David Gower instead. David wasn't as quietly accepting of the implication as Gary usually was:
Jonathan Ross: She also presents, you're, er, aren't you, do the sport on RI:SE, the, er, the, the new Channel 4 breakfast show.
Kirsty Gallacher: Yeah.
Jonathan: I've only seen it occasionally. That's when Mrs Gower has it on when she's doing my eggs and bacon.
David Gower: [chuckles and rolls his eyes] Yeah, she- she mentioned it. She said the RI:SE on the telly was the only one you could manage in the morning.
Nick Hancock: Eh?? [massive audience applause and cheering] Go on! Go on! Go on! Go on!
David: [shaking his head and gesturing to Jonathan] It's fine.
Nick: Go on, hit him, he's worth it!
Kirsty: Is it a rivalry thing, 'cos the Gallaghers are Man City fans.
David: What, and Neville's a music fan? [more audience laughter and applause]
Nick: Eh? Eh? He's cooking on gas now!
Jonathan: David's like one of those rare desert flowers that blooms once every seven years, isn't he? But when he comes out, it's a beautiful thing to behold!
- David and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning gymnast Kanukai Jackson, who had a set of parallel bars on stage and who, when Nick Hancock gave David and Jonathan the order to start guessing, was balancing upside-down on them, so that David and Jonathan could only feel his hands. Undeterred, Jonathan decided to climb up on the parallel bars with Jackson. His dismount was rather less dignified than Jackson's as he gradually fell between the bars until he was hanging upside-down by his ankles, lacking the same leg strength with which Jackson was supporting himself.
Nick Hancock: [after Jonathan succeeds in climbing onto the bars] What I'd do for a ferret now!
- For "Handbags", David Gower's team had to explain why tennis player Anna Kournikova was feuding with The BBC.note Jonathan Ross noted that after he had insulted Tim Henman on the programme several episodes earlier, many angry viewers had written in, and he admitted that Henman had at least led Britain to glory in the Davis Cup... except that he blanked on the name "Davis Cup" and simply referred to it as "the Tennis Cup", to the loud amusement of Nick Hancock and the audience.note
- During "Celebrations", Gary Lineker's team had to explain why Thierry Henry celebrated a goal against Manchester City by raising his shirt to reveal an undershirt on which was written "FOR THE NEW BORN KYD". After Rory McGrath correctly explained that it was a tribute to Henry's friend, Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, who had just given birth to a daughter, Nick Hancock was unimpressed by the autocue gag he had to read:
Nick Hancock: Being a professional footballer, Thierry Henry is obviously mates with pop star Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer of Texas. The message was to congratulate her on the birth of her daughter, full name Misty Kyd Heath. David Seaman did a similar tribute in the World Cup to a child called Misty Cross. [grimaces, then Facepalms]
Gary Lineker: Aw, Jesus! If I did a joke like that-
Nick: We've got to sack the Chuckle Brothers from writing on this show!
- For "The Name Game", one of Jonathan's names was American soccer player Eddie Pope. He took the opportunity to revive his Joe Dolce impression from two weeks earlier to give a clue for "Pope" by saying "Whatsa matta you? I'm-a runnin-a da Church!"
- As David and Gary had won three episodes each in the series, all six panellists - David, Jonathan, Gary, Rory, and guests Ashia Hansen and Suzi Perry - played a tiebreaker game of round-the-table table tennis in a Call Back to Gary and Rory's "Feel the Sportsman" guests, the England table tennis team (who had won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games). Jonathan made an exaggerated show of stretching before taking his place at the table - and was eliminated almost immediately. His mood improved dramatically when the next two players eliminated were Ashia and Suzi, and they both accepted his invitation to sit on his knees.
Jonathan Ross: I now realise I wish I'd played more sport when I was little!
- The Christmas festivities began with an exchange of Christmas presents ostensibly bought for the panellists by Nick Hancock.
- Rory McGrath's present was a What's the Time, Ref? children's book from the Manchester United club shop.
Nick Hancock: These are genuine things from club shops, Manchester United actually do sell a "tell the time" thing.
Rory McGrath: Oh, "What's the time, David?" - this is Beckham - "Three-nil."
- Gary Lineker's present was a pair of Leicester City boxer shorts.
Gary Lineker: You're not saying they're pants, are you?
Nick Hancock: No no no - just full of shit.
- Gary and Rory's teammate, Steve Cram, got an authentic brass miner's lamp, a nod to the Stadium of Light in his native Sunderland being built on a former coal mine site.
Nick Hancock: That's why they're going down, then.
Steve Cram: Yeah.
- Jonathan Ross' gift was a box labelled "Play Tennis the Tim Henman Way", the sole contents of which were a white surrender flag.
- David Gower was away commentating on the Ashes (Nick quipped that he could do that from the studio: "England are shit!"note ), so guest captain Steve Davis was given a pair of flight socks, a travel pillow, and a sleep mask.
Nick Hancock: That's for when you're sitting down, er, watching Mark Williams do a break.
Jonathan Ross: Actually, that'll come in handy, 'cos I- I'm trying to get you the present you really wanted, Steve, that you asked me for - first class trip, all expenses paid, back to the '80s.
- Steve Davis and Jonathan's teammate, Phil Tufnell, was inevitably given a glass marijuana bong with a "Middlesex C.C.C." sticker.
Phil Tufnell: I can add it to my collection!
- Rory McGrath's present was a What's the Time, Ref? children's book from the Manchester United club shop.
- The festivities also included Christmas crackers, complete with jokes... which inevitably proved to be at the expense of the panellists.
Nick Hancock: There's jokes in there. Rory, what's yours?
Rory McGrath: [reading joke] "Doctor, Doctor, I keep thinking I'm a pair of curtains." "I'm afraid those are the long-term side effects, Mr Tufnell."
Nick: Mr Cram.
Steve Cram: [reading joke] What goes red, black, red? Steve's highest break of the year.
Steve Davis: ... Me?
Jonathan Ross: No, the other bloke called Steve sitting over here, who do you think!?
Nick: Well, Steve never thinks it's his turn, does he?
Steve Davis: Hold on. [puts in the earplugs he got out of his cracker, reads joke] What's yellow with big ears?
Gary Lineker: Don't start...
Nick: Phil, have you got a joke in there?
Phil Tufnell: I've got a football, a little football in there, [bounces tiny plastic football on the desk] but I don't seem to have a- oh yes I have, here you are. [pulls joke out of cracker] It's in there. There you go, right, okay, hold on.
Jonathan: You were saving that to make a roach with later, weren't you? We know your game, Tufnell!
Phil: Yeah, it's nice material there. [flicks the paper with his finger, then holds it by his ear and flicks it again, then reads it] Erm... what has... what has four legs and flies? Rory's girlfriend.
Nick: Anyone else got a joke left?
Jonathan: [reading joke] "Knock, knock." "Who's there?" "Mrs Lineker. The bedroom's upstairs, you know the way, Ross. Please don't wipe your cock on the curtains like last time." I'm sorry about that, by the way, I am sorry about that.
Gary: She blamed the kids!
Nick: [shocked] ... WHAT!?
Gary: Jesus, was it you!?
Rory: When I was there, it was Venetian blinds. I was nearly Jewish.
- Further party games included "Pin the Ponytail on the David Seaman", hide-and-seek (each team hid in the studio audience in turn, and Rory and Jonathan had to find their opposing team members; Rory baited Phil into giving himself away by simply calling, "Tuffers, where are you?", while Steve Cram fooled Jonathan by borrowing an audience member's glasses as a disguise), and a "Test Your Strength" machine (a tribute to Steve Davis and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest, UK "Test Your Strength" champion Joby Carter; Steve Cram could barely lift the hammer, while Steve Davis treated his turn as though he was lining up a snooker pot, complete with chalking the handle of the hammer - and still missed the button completely).
- Gary and Rory's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was Mike Read, who had swum across the English Channel a record 32 times and took the stage smeared in animal fat. After identifying Read, Rory wiped his hands on the fur cuffs of Jonathan's jacket, while Gary wiped his hands on Nick's hair.
- For "The Name Game", Jonathan and Rory had to give their clues in mime again.
- For someone who professed to know little about sport, Jonathan was surprisingly adept at coming up with funny mime clues for his names once he had mimed the sport they played. Examples included drinking endless pints for Alex "Hurricane" Higgins, pretending to beat the tar out of Steve Davis for Roy Keane, indicating a ponytail and then miming watching a shot go over his head and into the goal for David Seaman, indicating a monocle for Chris Eubank (which sparked Phil to guess Admiral Nelson), making a "shagging" gesture then putting a finger on his lip and doing a Nazi salute while goose-stepping for Boris Becker, squeezing pimples for Luke Chadwick, and losing a coin toss for Nasser Hussain.
- This was topped when, having been docked ten points for looking at the names for "The Name Game" during the "Test Your Strength" game, Gary revealed that he had actually written down the names on Rory's list (Nick initially assumed he had memorised them) when, as Rory mimed driving a race car and then put his finger on his lip and did a Nazi salute as a clue for Michael Schumacher, Gary admitted he couldn't read his handwriting. The producers immediately blew the whistle even though they had only had 50 of their 90 seconds, and they lost by one point.
Episode 1 ('70s Special)
- The hijinks for this episode began with the costumes the regulars were wearing as part of the episode's theme. Nick Hancock was dressed in a 1970s kipper tie and brown jacket, David Gower and Gary Lineker were dressed as themselves at the beginning of their careers (David in cricket whites with wide collars and flared trousers and a curly blond wig, Gary in a late 1970s Leicester City strip and red wig), Rory McGrath was dressed in an Afro wig, grey flares, and a yellow and brown shirt (Jonathan compared him to Hair Bear from Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!), and Jonathan Ross was dressed as his friend David Bowie from the Aladdin Sane era. David and Jonathan's teammate, 1970s tennis ace Ilie Năstase, was wearing a bright yellow-green shirt; Gary and Rory's teammate, 1970s Manchester City striker Francis Lee, was the most mundanely dressed member of the panel.
[as Jonathan offers to show Ilie his tennis moves]
Gary Lineker: Jonathan!
Jonathan Ross: What?
Gary: Why have you got no arse?
Jonathan: [stands up, turns his back to Gary, and bends over, grabbing his own backside] It's firm!
Nick Hancock: NO!!
Gary: Just stand up straight!
Jonathan: Here, have a feel, tell him what's there! [moves toward Ilie, who has a feel] Look at that!
Ilie Năstase: Very good!
Nick: How many times, Jonathan, I do not want to be in your gang!
Jonathan: I'll tell you what - there are peop- there are people in Stoke watching, saying "Blimey, they must be the new fashions down south!"
- For "Excuses", Gary's team had to explain the reason given at the time for England going from 2-0 up to 3-2 down in their 1970 FIFA World Cup quarter-final against West Germany, a match in which Francis played.note In the run-up to his team's first goal, West German defender Klaus Fichtel fired the ball against Francis' groin, causing him to double over in pain and causing the rest of the panel (and many male members of the audience) to groan in sympathetic agony.
Francis Lee: He was playin' a one-two off me bollocks.
Nick Hancock: Only a one-two?? That's something we've learnt already tonight.
Gary Lineker: I'll tell you what, though, if that had been me, I'd have still got up and ran back and tackled him.
Nick: That's 'cause you've got no bollocks.
- While David's team were mulling their "Sporting Bluff" question concerning whether Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fell out because Ali was seen sticking pins in a voodoo doll of Frazier, Frazier insisted on addressing Ali as Cassius Clay, or they had argued over whose daughter was prettier,note Jonathan decided to return fire regarding Gary's criticism of his costume.
Jonathan Ross: With that hair, you look like Phillip Schofield's waxwork model in Madame Tussaud's! [audience laughter gives way to scattered booing] Well don't boo!... yet.
Audience member: Boooo!
Jonathan: Thank you. Rory, your date's here.
- For "What's Going On?", David's team had to explain why Dennis Lillee violently threw his bat aside during a 1979 Test against England (not officially considered part of the Ashes) at the WACA ground in Perth.note In the lead-in to the incident, David was seen running across the pitch to catch up with a ball hit by Lillee before it could cross the boundary, leading to a classic exchange of insults between the two team captains.
David Gower: Gary, did you see that? That's called "running". That, to you-
Gary Lineker: You should have tried it between the wickets!
David: Didn't need to, hitting fours... anyway, I get the staff to do that.
- As David and Jonathan took their places for "Feel the Sportsman", giving the audience a good look at Jonathan's full Aladdin Sane costume, Gary revived his earlier criticism.
Gary Lineker: No arse!
Jonathan Ross: [bending over, his arse pointed toward the audience] Have I got an arse, ladies and gentlemen?
Nick Hancock: Oh, for goodness' sake, Jonathan!
Rory McGrath: Jonathan, we know you've got an arse, we've heard you talk.
- As with the previous episode, the laughs began with the regulars' overdone 1980s fashion. Nick Hancock sported a mullet wig, silver jacket, and bootlace tie, David Gower and Gary Lineker were dressed as themselves at the peaks of their careers (David in cricket whites with shoulder pads and a blond 1980s wig, Gary in a late-1980s Barcelona kit and black and white wig), Rory McGrath was dressed as Boy George from the Culture Club era, and Jonathan Ross was dressed as Adam Ant. Gary and Rory's guest, Kriss Akabusi, was wearing a garish, multi-coloured shell suit; David and Jonathan's guest, Stephen Hendry, was the only sensibly dressed member of the panel.
Jonathan Ross: Before we start on that, Nick, may I just explain my appearance: I'm meant to be Adam Ant today, so later on I'll be singing "Prince Charming" for you, "The Ant Rap", then I'll be throwing an exhaust manifold through a window and trying to kill you all with a starter pistol. Rory, I'm not quite sure who you're meant to be.
Rory McGrath: [sarcastically] Yeah, neither am I, actually.
Jonathan: Is it-
Rory: Let's throw it over to the ladies and gentlemen. [turns to the audience] Any ideas?
Various audience members: Boy George!
Jonathan: Ah, I know who it is - it's Miss Greece 1984! I tell you, I don't know the size of the bird that's shat on your head, Gary, but you're due for a lot of good luck!
Gary Lineker: [off Jonathan's make-up] Same one that's shat on your face!
Jonathan: And it's nice to see David looking magnificent, and Steve Hendry made no [bleep]ing effort whatsoever.
- For "Handbags", David's team had to explain the reason for a feud between British distance runners Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett.note Jonathan got straight to the point regarding his problems with the upper classes Coe - and David - represented.
Jonathan Ross: The problem I've got with Sebastian Coe is a problem I have with a lot of posh people, I know they can't help being born posh, [to David] you couldn't help being-
David Gower: What's wrong with it?
Jonathan: Well, because you're twats, basically. [audience laughter and applause] It's true, isn't it. It is true. Where did you go to school?
David: King's School, Canterbury.
Jonathan: Is that a posh school?
David: One of the oldest... [chuckles] probably poshest schools in the country.
Jonathan: You didn't stand a chance, did you.
David: I was fine 'til I met you.
- While David's team were deliberating their "Sporting Bluff" question concerning whether Ian Botham's affair with Miss Barbados Lindy Field became public because they broke the bed during a bout of energetic lovemaking, Mick Jagger walked in on them, or they were photographed together at a barbeque hosted by Mike Gatting, Jonathan took the opportunity to show why he is considered without peer - for all the wrong reasons - as an impressionist:
Jonathan Ross: I do a very good Mick Jagger impersonation. [borderline incomprehensibly] "Waagh! Look o' there! Wha' you doin' with that quee'? Waahh can' ge' no sa'sfaction!" [laughter from the other panellists] And then, Beefy says-
Gary Lineker: What was that!?
Jonathan: What? That was Mick Jagger!
Nick Hancock: He's gone now!
Jonathan: That is like - there are blind people at home thinking they're watching Top of the Pops 2. "Whoo! Jum'in Ja' Flaaash!"
Nick: I wanna give you 10p for a cup of tea!
Jonathan: Can you imagine Mick Jagger, David-
Nick: No! Stop it now!
Jonathan: I'm after Alistair McGowan's job!
Nick: Come on, David, you must know the answer.
David Gower: Well, the allegation was the bed. The bed story.note
Jonathan: Hold on!
Jonathan: We haven't examined the third clue! The barbeque! Have you lost leave of your senses, old man?
David: No, I've just lost the will to live.
- As Gary and Rory took their places for "Feel the Sportsman", Rory was holding a masquerade party-style blindfold - which he made little effort to keep in place as their guest, 1980 Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Allan Wells, took the stage. Eventually, Rory dropped the pretence of playing fair and gave Wells his blindfold while saying, "Here, Allan, hold that." (Nick understandably refused to award them any points for the round.)
- Gary Lineker's team's "Excuses" question concerned why then-Manchester City striker Nicolas Anelka had turned down the chance to play for France.note Rory McGrath turned to their guest, boxer and City fan Ricky Hatton, who apparently anticipated where Rory was going with his line of questioning:
Rory McGrath: Now, Ricky, you are a big Blues supporter, aren't you. You've got a box at Maine Road, haven't you?
Ricky Hatton: I have, yeah. I've got a box, I've had one there for the last two seasons. Sometimes me dad lets me stand on it.
- David Gower was away for this recording, so swimmer Sharron Davies took his place. For "Feel the Sportsman", she and Jonathan Ross had to identify triathlete Jodie Swallow; however, Jonathan found Sharron before finding Jodie, and she responded to his "advances" by kneeing him in the groin.
- A returning David Gower and his teammates were given a "Celebrations" question in which Dagenham & Redbridge celebrated an FA Cup goal against Plymouth Argyle by sweeping the ground with a (real) metal detector and miming digging up the findings.note For "Feel the Sportsman", David and Jonathan Ross then had to identify the Dagenham & Redbridge players, who took to the stage with a metal detector. The noises made by the detector, which was surrounded by all manner of metal objects, made for a bizarre yet hilarious round.
David Gower: [pointing the metal detector at Jonathan, whereupon the detector beeps into life] No, it's a bullshit meter!
- During "The Name Game", Rory McGrath's clue for cricketer Brian Brain didn't quite go as planned:
Rory McGrath: Second name, what you've got inside your- well, not- not what you've got inside your head, what most people have inside their head.
Gary Lineker: [rolls eyes] Brain.
Dominic Cork: [overlapping] Brain.
Rory: And his first name, an anagram of "brain".
- Jonathan's clue for cricketer Doug Bollinger likewise didn't go as planned:
Jonathan Ross: This is a cricketer, an Australian, second name, it's a cheap champagne, I believe.
David Gower: There's no such thing, surely! Bollinger?
Jonathan: [overlapping] Champagne- Bollinger! There you go! And the first name would be...? [no reaction] How many [bleep]ing cricketers are there called Bollinger!?
David: [counting on his fingers] There's Remy who runs the firm, there's, erm-
Jonathan: NO, CRICKETERS! I'm gonna have you put back in that home, and this time I won't come and visit!
- For "Handbags", David Gower's team had to identify the reason behind a fight between West Ham United and children's TV presenter Timmy Mallett.note Jonathan Ross gave what could charitably be described as a stream of consciousness answer.
Jonathan Ross: Anyway. Mallett. I bet you he- they were angry at him - he was mocking... the hammer. To us, a simple rudimentary tool. To them, a clarion call to arms. The hammer.
Nick Hancock: Is the sentence finished now?
Jonathan: No. I'm letting it hang-
Nick: It just seemed like random words thrown up.
Jonathan: Hammer, fish, clog.
Nick: Is the correct answer. [David and Jonathan's teammate, Barry Fry, cheers as the audience applauds] No, no, no it's not! How could "hammer, fish, clog"...! [Facepalms] Oh, God!
Jonathan: This isn't Question of Sport, y'know, this makes sense!
- During "Celebrations", Gary Lineker's team had to explain why Farnborough Town's Danny Carroll celebrated a goal against Darlington in the FA Cup by miming playing snooker.note Over the course of their deliberation, Rory McGrath noted that the pitch was covered with snow apart from the 18-yard box and asked if Mark Bosnich was in goal, while his and Gary's teammate Phill Jupitus suggested that the celebration was a secret Farnborough signal for "I crave man love", thereby baiting his teammate into hugging him. Then Jonathan's Elmuh Fudd Syndwome cropped up...
Jonathan Ross: It's quite a waucous evening tonight, isn't it?
Gary Lineker: [eagerly] Walker's?
- David and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was 2001 European powerboating champion Sarah Donohue, who was wheeled on stage in a powerboat. David and especially Jonathan were repeatedly sprayed with water as they tried to identify Donohue, and eventually Jonathan insisted that it was their guest, not him, who didn't want to be sprayed with water - and removed his blindfold to ask her to confirm what he had said. He proceeded to identify her as "world champion bikini-wearing boat lady!" David, meanwhile, climbed into the seat behind Donohue in the boat, made himself comfortable, and left the actual guessing to Jonathan.
- In "The Name Game", Rory McGrath had to give clues to Gary Lineker and Fred MacAulay for Scottish footballer Emmanuel Panther. He had to dumb down his clues a bit:
Rory McGrath: Oh, easy one here. First name, my old college at Cambridge. I'm trying to raise the intellectual level of this.
Fred MacAulay: Imperial?note
Rory: It's Hebrew for "The Lord is with us." [no reaction] Okay, '70s porn film with Sylvia...
Rory: Thank you.
- David Gower was in Africa for the last four recordings of this series commentating on the Cricket World Cup for Sky, so Steve Davis took his place for this episode. His and Jonathan Ross' other teammate was Grandstand presenter Steve Rider, and when his team were deliberating a "Sporting Bluff" question concerning whether golfer Colin Montgomerie had ambitions to climb Mt. Everest, save the Ugandan mountain gorillas, or star in a film,note Jonathan asked Rider if Colin took exception to the regular panellists' jokes that he had breasts. Rider proceeded to relate an anecdote that provided two classic examples of That Came Out Wrong, one from Rider himself and one from Colin:
Steve Rider: It was my job as, as the BBC golf presenter to try to steer clear of all this sort of stuff when we were talking to Monty, er... and I interviewed him off the- the 18th green at Wentworth during the, er, the PGA Championship a few years ago, and it was just after he and his wife have had- had their second child - didn't have a great round, and I thought, "Well, this is an opportunity to portray Monty as the sort of... [mimes running his hands around a sphere] rounded individual," that's the wrong expression... [laughter from the audience and panel] So I said, erm, "Colin, not your greatest day, er, today, but, erm, y'know, things must be tough at home, with the new baby, how's the sleeping pattern been disrupted?" And he said, "Oh, we've got all that sorted out." He said, "My wife breastfeeds up until 9:00 and then I take over." [laughter from the audience and panel] And you think, "You try and help a fellow..."
- For the lead-in to Gary Lineker's team's "Sporting Bluff" question, which was about Steve Davis, Nick Hancock cued footage of Steve being interviewed by Janet Street-Porter in 1979, when his professional snooker career was just taking off. During the interview, he began sliding his hand up and down his snooker cue obsessively and more than a little suggestively.
Jonathan Ross: Was that the first time you'd ever spoken to a real woman?
- Gary Lineker's team were penalised for cheating yet again when, during "Excuses", Dave Fulton gave the fake scripted excuse the producers had dreamt up for Wales losing their 2003 Six Nations clash with Italy. Gary and Rory McGrath decided to rebel against the decision when delivering answers to returning guest captain Sharron Davies' team for their "Sporting Bluff" question concerning solo transatlantic sailor Seb Clover almost abandoning his crossing:note
Dave Fulton: [reading card] Seb Clover nearly quit because he missed his mum.
Gary Lineker: ["reading card"] Er... Seb Clover nearly quit because he got accused of cheating when he hadn't. [laughter from audience and Nick Hancock]
Rory McGrath: ["reading card"] Seb Clover...
Nick Hancock: Read it out properly.
Gary: That's what it says - that's what it says on here.
Nick: If you can.
Gary: That's what it says on here.
Rory: Seb Clover nearly quit because he couldn't understand why Eriksson didn't pick Le Saux on the left-hand side of the midfield. [reaction shot of a chuckling Graeme Le Saux]
Nick: Okay, sulky boys, let's start again. [no reaction] Gary?
Gary: ["reading card"] Seb Clover nearly quit because he knows Nick Hancock's a wanker. [more laughter]
Nick: Gary. Read yours again, please.
Gary: ["reading card"] Seb Clover didn't quit.
Nick: It's the first time he's done more than he has to do for money. Come on!
Gary: [reading card, mumbles inaudibly] Sebclovernearlyquitcausehesscaredofpirates.
Nick: Oh, you big sulky boy! COME ON!
Gary: [Julian Claryesque camp voice] Seb Clover nearly quit 'cause he's scared of pirates.
Nick: Finally we hear the real voice of Gary Lineker.
- Steve Davis was back in David Gower's seat for this recording; Gary Lineker was also away and was replaced by golfer Sam Torrance. Sam's team's opening "Sporting Bluff" question concerning whether David Beckham, the horse Rock of Gibraltar, or Catherine Zeta-Jones had been named Welsh Sports Personality of the Yearnote got off to a stumbling start:
Nick Hancock: What do you have to say, Steve's team? [Rich Hall clears his throat loudly] You have to read the card, Rich.
Rich Hall: What? [picks up envelope and opens it] Oh.
Nick: Who's your president again?
Rich: His name is [bleep]wit. [audience laughter and applause]
Rory McGrath: That's the same name as our prime minister!
- Steve and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guests were Team Bath FC, who earlier in the year had become the first university football team to reach the First Round Proper of the FA Cup since the 1800s. Two production assistants brought on a giant, foam-filled tub into which they climbed after removing their shirts so that they were wearing nothing but towels around their waists, and they wasted little time in dragging Jonathan into the tub with them; he was none too happy to discover that he was in a bathtub full of half-naked men. Steve attempted to rescue him, but was dragged in as well.
Jonathan Ross: I reached down, I thought I'd find a lady, I felt what I thought was an eel!
- When Gary Lineker's team were tasked with naming events in the Naked Olympics, Rory McGrath took the opportunity to invoke Everything's Sexier in French:
Rory McGrath: How can you have nude Olympic doughnut-eating? If you have ringed doughnuts, an Olympics, and nudity, you don't eat them hanging off strings, do you? I mean, come on! It's an event for the ladies! I mean, you... n'est-ce pas?
Nick Hancock: That gave it a bit of class!
Jonathan Ross: That made it classy, yeah! And we can sell this show to France!
Nick: Put the doughnuts on your cock - n'est-ce pas?
Jonathan: I shot me load over her tits - comme ci, comme ça! Next thing I know, I'm [bleep] - pourquoi pas?
Nick: He was a right [bleep] - c'est vrai!
- Returning guest captain Sharron Davies' team, meanwhile, had to identify events at the Eskimo Olympics. Jonathan Ross proved none too adept at this:
Jonathan Ross: Fishing.
Nick Hancock: No.
Jonathan: They must fish, the Eskimos fish all the time! You seen the amount of fish-
Nick: It doesn't mean it's one of the sports in the Eskimo Olympics!
Jonathan: Fish eating.
Jonathan: Fish catching.
Jonathan: Fish... juggling.
Jonathan: Fish smelling.
Jonathan: Fish skinning.
Jonathan: Fish wearing!
Nick: No, nothing to do with FISH!
Jonathan: There must be! Their whole culture is based on ice and fish! I've given you any number of ice-based events, you've turned them down because you're in a bad mood, I'm now giving the fish room, and you're not giving me space to work here!
Nick: No! No! No!
Jonathan: [overlapping with Nick] Give us a chance! It's clearly fish-based!
Nick: It's a distraction! It's not the-
Jonathan: Fish riding! A big fish!
Sharron Davies: No!
Nick: NO! No, not a big fish!
Jonathan: They make clothes out of fish!
Nick: No, not making clothes out of fish!
Jonathan: Trinny and Susannah, they say, "Don't wear that fish, it doesn't suit you, you're too fat for that fish!"
Nick: No! No!
Jonathan: "The scales make you look fat! Make the scales go that way!"
Jonathan: Fish, er, cooking!
Jonathan: Are you seriously telling me there's not one fish-based event at the Eskimo Olympics!?
Jonathan: You're crazy. You've lost the support of the audience, you've lost their respect. There's gotta be a fish-based [bleep]ing sport at the Eskimo Olympics, or I will-
Nick: I'LL GIVE YOU A POINT IF YOU'LL SHUT THE [bleep] UP! [Jonathan makes "lip-zipping" motion] One point!
- Gary and Rory's "Feel the Sportsman" guests were the England Ladies' rugby team forwards, who were arranged in a scrum formation.
- Just before the hooker and prop forwards lifted a startled Gary into the air, Sharron had some advice for the players on how to deal with Rory:
Sharron Davies: If he touches your breast, hit him.
[as Rory moves behind one of the flankers, she aims her elbow backwards at him and hits his arm]
Rory McGrath: OWWW! I didn't even touch your [bleep]ing breast yet!
- After Gary successfully identified the team, Nick had a revelation about the Number 8, Claire Frost:
Nick Hancock: The one at the back pulled down her shorts, and she had "HI NICK" written on the cheeks of her arse! And I'm not being rude if I say she could have put "Nicholas", actually.
Gary Lineker: [gets up from his seat and walks around the edge of the set] Frostie!
Rory McGrath: Frostie??
Gary: [returns to his seat as Frost returns to the stage] I think you should show us all, not just him!
Nick: [as Frost turns her back to the camera] No, don't do it! [too late; Frost bends over and pulls her shorts down far enough to reveal the words "HI NICK" on her behind]
- Just before the hooker and prop forwards lifted a startled Gary into the air, Sharron had some advice for the players on how to deal with Rory:
- Sharron and Jonathan, meanwhile, had to identify Douglas Thompson and Paul Ivens, Britain's freestyle wrestling champion and runner-up, respectively. A mat was brought out for the "bout", which was very ill-suited to Sharron's high heeled boots, as was Ivens' chest when she accidentally stepped on it (as Thompson had pinned him before guessing began), leading Nick to quip, "That is how to get your nipple pierced!" Inevitably, Thompson and Ivens soon turned their attention to grabbing and pinning Jonathan.
- In "The Name Game", one of Jonathan's names was former East German striker Ralf Minge. As "minge" is British slang for the female reproductive area, Jonathan was immediately concerned at how to phrase his clues delicately - leading his and Sharron's teammate, Roger Black, to guess "fish" in a Call Back to the Eskimo Olympics round (a disgusted Jonathan replied, "No, don't start there!"). Eventually, having successfully given a clue for "Ralf", he asked Sharron to go through synonyms for the female reproductive area... only for her to refuse on the grounds that her mother was watching.
- But as Gary (and Sam Torrance) and David (and/or Sharron and Steve Davis) had won five games each for the series, they had to play a tiebreaker: each team had to guess how many sexually depraved acts Nick had accused Rory of committing over the previous fifteen series, with the winner being the team that guessed nearest. Gary guessed 427, Jonathan guessed "high 50s"; Jonathan was closer. The full list, presented in a credits-style crawl and accompanied by mellow guitar music:
23 acts of perversion with women
16 acts of perversion with himself
31 acts of bestiality, including:12 sheep
1 rodeo bull
1 Christmas turkey1 sexual assault on a football mascot
2 acts of indecency with an inflatable woman
1 act of indecency with a full ashtray
- This was the first episode with Phil Tufnell and David Seaman as captains, and Phil got a baptism of fire for "Feel the Sportsman" as he and Jonathan Ross had to identify the Manc Union champion paintball team. Their blindfolds were wrapped over safety goggles, which already had them on their guard (meanwhile, David, Rory McGrath, Nick Hancock, and guests Graeme Le Saux and Ed Smith also donned safety goggles); however, Jonathan assured Phil that the producers wouldn't try anything funny, like pulling him into a bath, as he was wearing a nice suit. Halfway through the round, two further members of the Manc Union team emerged from the sides of the stage...
Phil Tufnell: I've got a gun there. What's that, that's- I know what that is! [one of the paintballers shoots him in the backside twice] AAGH! [yelps and hops around in pain]
Jonathan Ross: Where are you?
Phil: I've been shot! I've been shot up the arse!
Jonathan: Who? [wanders towards David Seaman's team desk]
Rory McGrath: This way, Jonathan. Follow my voice. [takes Jonathan's hand and manoeuvres him into position for the other paintballer] Here you are, mate. I'm here. I'm here for you. [the other paintballer fires two shots into Jonathan's lower back]
Jonathan: AAGH! [turns around as though looking for his assailant] NOT the suit! It's a Vivienne Westwood suit!
Phil: Paintballing champions of the world.
Nick Hancock: Errr...
Phil: And I'm not gonna sit down for a week now!
- Phil Tufnell and Jonathan Ross' teammate for this episode was sprinter Katharine Merry, who at the time was coached by Linford Christie. During a "Handbags" question concerning a fight between distance runner David Bedford and communications company Infonxx,note Jonathan inevitably took the opportunity to ask about Linford's "lunchbox" - which led to a hilarious misunderstanding:
Phil Tufnell: [off David Bedford's early 1970s shorts] Just as well Linford Christie didn't wear those shorts when he was running, innit?
Jonathan Ross: Well, you mention him, let's, let's welcome Katharine to the show properly, because I believe you are, you are coached by Mr Christie, are you not?
Katharine Merry: I am, yeah, luckily, yeah.
Jonathan: The, the, the lunchbox... [audience laughter] Have you... have you had a peek?
Katharine: In Linford's lunchbox? No, no, I've never eaten... [the audience falls about laughing as Katharine realises what Jonathan really meant and covers her mouth in embarrassment]
- For "Photo-fit", Phil's team were given a bizarre composite with masses of dyed bright red hair and an unshaven chin. Jonathan had a creative suggestion for the owner of the eyes and nose:note
Jonathan Ross: The bit in the middle, is that the lead singer from the Communards?
Katharine Merry: Oh, Jimmy Somerville!
Phil Tufnell: Jimmy.
Jonathan: [singing] Run away, run away, run away, run away, run away, run away... [Phil sways back and forth in his seat roughly in time with the music while waving his hand; Jonathan stops singing] What's that? [imitates Phil's hand-waving] He wasn't in the Black and White Minstrels!
Nick Hancock: Jonathan, just to keep you on point: if in doubt, it's gonna be a sports person.
Jonathan: Well he might have played sport! Just because he's gay doesn't mean he can't play sport, you know! You are so homophobic!
Nick: It's somebody who is predominantly famous for sport!
Jonathan: [sarcastically] Is it Miss Stoke 2003? [snickers]
Nick: [through clenched teeth] It's a sports person!
Jonathan: She m- just because she's a beauty queen doesn't mean she can't play sport! [Nick turns his back to Jonathan in disgust]
- Phil and Jonathan's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was European ladies' flyweight boxing champion Cathy Brown, who had a punching bag on stage with her. As she moved into position, she punched Jonathan in the chest, and after Phil and Jonathan spent an inordinate amount of time feeling the punching bag instead of Brown, they finally moved over to her, and she told Jonathan, "You touch my tits, I'll knock you out!"
Jonathan Ross: By a simple matter of deduction, I believe it is Her Royal Highness the Queen, who said the same thing to me backstage at the Royal Variety Show in 1987!
- The team captains let the episodes' guests, Kirsty Gallacher and Jodie Kidd, participate in "Feel the Sportsman" in their places. Kirsty and Jonathan Ross' mystery guest was polar explorer Pen Hadow, who was accompanied by a fake snowstorm throughout the round. By the time Kirsty and Jonathan successfully identified Hadow, the set was covered in white powder:
Nick Hancock: Good lord! It's like being in Phil's dressing room! And your time starts now!
Jonathan Ross: It's freezing!
Kirsty Gallacher: God!
Jonathan: Did someone leave the door open on David's cryogenic chamber again? [feels the powder sticking to his clothes] What's all this? Are we in the Blue Peter studio by mistake?note
- David Seaman and Rory McGrath's teammate in this episode was former Chelsea, Tottenham, and England striker Jimmy Greaves. For their opening "Excuses" question concerning the reasons given by Rio Ferdinand for missing a drugs test that led to him being dropped for an England match against Turkey, Jimmy had a surprising revelation about substance consumption when he was an active player in the 1960s:
Jimmy Greaves: I'll tell you what we used to take, actually, and, and it- it was passed illegal many years ago, was that amyl nitrate.note [hysterical laughter from the audience; shocked looks from Phil Tufnell and Rory McGrath]
Nick Hancock: No, no, that... actually is a performance-enhancing drug, strictly speaking!
Jimmy: You know, they used to, erm, it used to come in a little phial, didn't it, and [mimes along with his description] you'd break it, and some of the lads would sniff it a bit.
Rory McGrath: They're called "poppers" now, aren't they.
Jimmy: That's it, poppers. And you'd sniff it, and I tell you what, you'd make sure you were last out of the dressing room!
Rory: Jimmy, popularly, it's, it's thought that you- you were left out of the, erm, 1966 World Cup-winning side, and as a result of that, you just left the game, erm, that day and, and hit the bottle...note
Jimmy: I didn't hit the bottle straight away, I mean, it was the '70s. Same sort of time as George.note And we're thinking of doing a book on our drinking experiences, you know.
Rory: Oh, really?
Jimmy: So if anyone can tell us where we were in the '70s...
Rory: Did you have to give, erm, urine samples or anything like that, Jimmy, when you were playing?
Jimmy: No, we didn't. Er...
Rory: 'Cause your urine would have been fantastic, wouldn't it? '61 was a particularly good year, I think!
Jimmy: It was! No, we didn't have any drug tests, it's amazing, though.
Nick: You don't really need a test to see that someone's on amyl nitrate!
- In a scripted, but still hilarious, moment after David's team correctly answered that Ferdinand claimed to have been distracted by moving house and suffering from a kidney infection at the time he was supposed to undergo the drugs test, Nick Hancock announced that the panel knew they couldn't criticise sporting figures for failing drugs test unless their own record on that subject was beyond reproach, and he announced that the six panellists had all been required to give urine samples. He produced a measuring jug of yellow liquid and announced that five had come back looking just like it, but he said that the sixth sample, marked "Tufnell", had come back "looking like this", and produced another jug with purple liquid, bubbling and giving off dry ice smoke.
Nick Hancock: So... there may be one or two questions that need answering there, Phil, I dunno.
Phil Tufnell: I'd had a lot of Ribena that week.
- When Phil Tufnell, Jonathan Ross, and James Gibson's "Treble" question involved someone who attributed their success to urine,note Jonathan took the cue for a Toilet Humour digression:
Jonathan Ross: [to James] May I ask you, sir, do you urinate freely in the pool while swimming?
James Gibson: Freely, yeah. All the time. I think I've urinated in pretty much every swimming pool in the world.
Jonathan: And proud of it, young man!
Nick Hancock: [sarcastically applauding] Well, well done, I think! And people- no, people say that youngsters in this country have nothing to offer! There's a young man who's been around the world pissing in other people's swimming pools!
Phil Tufnell: [looking at Jonathan's yellow clothes] You look like you've pissed in that suit, to be honest.
Jonathan: It was white when I bought it, as a matter of fact!
Nick: [despairing] Can we move on!?
- During Phil Tufnell's team's "The Treble" question, Jonathan Ross revealed to their teammate, former boxer Barry McGuigan, that he had stayed in such good shape thanks to Barry's "boxercise" campaign encouraging people to keep fit through boxing. Barry invited Jonathan to punch him in the stomach as hard as he could, which inevitably did more damage to Jonathan's hand than to Barry's stomach. Later, as David Seaman and Rory McGrath took their places for "Feel the Sportsman", Rory likewise invited Jonathan to punch him in the stomach...
Jonathan Ross: You're like- it's like a- he's swallowed a whole pig over Christmas, I can feel its little tail down there as well!
Rory McGrath: Go on!
Jonathan: You don't want me to punch you!
Rory: I'll hit you. [punches Jonathan in the stomach, knocking him back]
Jonathan: Aagh!... [moves back into a boxing stance] That hurt!... Right, I'm gonna do it back, you ready? [punches Rory in the stomach]
Rory: Ow!... Nothing at all. [moves back to the stage, grimacing and mouthing an obscenity to the audience]
- David Seaman - whose left arm was in a sling for this recording after a flare-up of a recurring shoulder injury that ultimately forced him to retire from football (prompting a parody In Memoriam segment with Nick Hancock at the opening of the episode) - and Rory McGrath's teammate in this episode was Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? presenter Chris Tarrant, who was already on edge after the producers used the "Question incoming" music and lighting cues from Millionaire as Nick Hancock began asking why then-England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward and The BBC were at odds for their "Handbags" question.note So when the question was finally asked, he decided to take aim at one of his fellow panellists - who, for this episode, was dressed in a flat cap, dark tinted glasses, a bright pink patterned shirt, and was pretending to smoke a long pipe; he also had his left arm in a sling, although it was purely cosmetic.
Nick Hancock: What is Sir Clive's beef with the BBC?
Chris Tarrant: He's sick to death of turning on his television every time of day or night and finding bloody Jonathan Ross on it!
Jonathan Ross: No, I- first of all, a bit of respect, please, Tarrant!
Chris: You look like a French tart!
Jonathan: Unlike some people- I've injured myself, I still turn up for bloody work!
[David Seaman begins chuckling, and Chris indicates the black sling on his left arm]
Rory McGrath: That's not- that's not a sling he's wearing 'cos he got injured, that's the black armband that all Man City players now have to wear.
Jonathan: I hurt my arm earlier knocking my dressing room through to Kilroy's old space.note D'you know, I've got a lovely gaff now, and I found some great Nazi memorabilia as well! I've got a fine collection!
Rory: You snagged it getting the ball out of the net, did you?
David Seaman: No. No, I... no, when I went off, it was actually 0-0. You know, so I'm, I am gonna claim the clean sheet.
Nick: Yeah, but you did go off in the fourth minute.
Rory: Twelfth minute!
Chris: He can't actually do the ponytail, can you?
David: I can't.
Chris: He has to have "people" do the ponytail for him.
Chris: It's true! Until his arm's better, he has to have people who do ponytails- it's not a sportsman's look, is it.
Nick: It isn't, really. But then again-
David: What, that? [points to Rory]
Rory: It is! Come on! Don't you ever watch darts?
- With Top Gear's Richard Hammond on David Seaman's team, it wasn't long before the conversation turned to cars, with Richard mocking Jonathan Ross for buying a Chrysler Crossfire (Rory McGrath joked that he wanted a Reliant Robin, but couldn't pronounce its name). As Jonathan was wearing a bizarre jacket that looked as though it had been fashioned from a bright blue garment bag (and led Phil Tufnell to say he looked like "a camp Thunderbird"), Richard had plenty of ammo with which to return fire when Jonathan rubbished the Top Gear obsession with performance:
Jonathan Ross: What car do you drive? You're a small fella, you've probably got one of those little Smart cars, haven't you, nippin' round town.
Richard Hammond: No, I've got a - I've got an elderly Porsche 911.
Jonathan: That's nice.
Richard: It's - yeah, yeah, it's a driver's car.
Rory McGrath: It is, actually, yeah.
Nick Hancock: [scoffs] "It's a driver's car!" What does that mean!?
Richard: It's a car-
Nick: You do talk some crap on that show!
Jonathan: What you don't seem to realise is, most of us don't care about an extra... bleughb of torque, or how many extra... zan-tons of power in the silver thing at the front-
Richard: Yes, but-
Jonathan: We don't care! We want to know, what colour is it, is it pretty, and how loud's the CD? That's all we want to know!
Richard: Plenty of people don't care about expensively-tailored clothes, fine, you don't have to care about your clothes, but go too far and that's what you end up with!
- One of Jonathan's names for Phil and John Virgo in "The Name Game" was South African rugby player Wylie Human. His clue for Human's surname didn't get the expected response:
Jonathan Ross: All right, this is, er, I dunno... his second name is what we all are.
Phil Tufnell: Twats.note
- For "The Treble", Phil Tufnell's team had to identify which of footballer Jonathan Woodgate, golfer Tiger Woods, and former footballer George Best had wooed his partner with the help of a game preserve, Federico from Big Brother, and a circle of fish fillets.note Jonathan Ross began musing on the difficulty of making romantic gestures to his wife when suffering from Elmuh Fudd Syndwome, and soon Phil joined in:
Jonathan Ross: Valentine's Day is... not an easy time for me. 'Cause I want to please my wife. I try to do what's right, I wanna get her the flowers she wants and the chocolates, but you try asking for "wed woses" and "Fewewwo Wocher", it doesn't - I'm there for hours sometimes!
Phil Tufnell: What happens if you make- if you want to make a weservation for the westauwant? [laughs]
Jonathan: I've had it with you! You can push a man so far!
- David Seaman and Rory McGrath's guest for "Feel the Sportsman" was British solo pedal car champion Darren Carter, who took to the stage in a pedal car. As David and Rory explored the car, David managed to accidentally roll the front wheel over Rory's foot. Twice.
- Nick Hancock declared that as long as they had pedal cars on the show, it would be a shame not to have a grand prix race pitting David and Rory against Phil Tufnell and Jonathan Ross: the comedians would do two laps of the stage, then hand over to their captains for two more laps. Highlights of the race (which was accompanied by Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain", then the theme of The BBC's Formula 1 coverage) included Jonathan picking up the front of Rory's car and turning it sideways after he had already climbed into it, Rory crashing into the back of Jonathan's car at the end of the second lap (conveniently leaving Phil with a much shorter journey to his car than David), and David going off the track completely at the end of the final lap, prompting Nick to administer a breathalyser test.
- This episode saw the return of Lee Hurst after six years and twelve series, partnering David Seaman and Rory McGrath. During a "Handbags" question concerning triathlete Jodie Swallow's trouble with sporting authorities,note Lee had a war of words with his successor, Jonathan Ross, who was dressed in a black suit with white stripes, a black dress shirt, and a white tie:
Jonathan Ross: It's good of you to sit next to Seaman, because, you know, thanks to people like yourself giving up your fair share of hair, that people like him can have more than enough for, for him.
Lee Hurst: And there are, there are Trappist monks who never speak to allow you to talk all the time! [laughter from audience and panel] Jon, why did you choose that particular suit tonight?
Jonathan: This outfit, this evening, I was thinking I wanted to be sober yet smart, I wanted to be presentable and yet still have the ladies gag for it. So I went for the... [is cut off by audience laughter]
Lee: When you say "gag for it", d'you mean "be sick"?
Jonathan: No, there are ladies out there right now who haven't thought about sex for years and suddenly, find themselves being-
Lee: Led away!
- Lee was invited to take part in "Feel the Sportsman" with Rory; in a Call Back to their "Handbags" question, Rory told Lee it was probably Jodie Swallow. Unfortunately for the duo, their guest was instead a Call Back to their "Treble" question, English light heavyweight boxing champion Steve Spartacus (who credited his success to a visit to a Norfolk medium who recommended he change his professional name), who proceeded to punch first Rory, then Lee in the stomach after Nick gave the signal to start guessing.
Rory McGrath: [feeling Spartacus' Roman skirt] I think I've been out with this girl!
Lee Hurst: [feeling Spartacus' boxing gloves] No, you've got to grab the hands. Check the hands out.
Rory: [finding the boxing gloves] Oh, he went to the same boarding school as me!
Lee: Exactly. It's just... whoever it is, I bet they're blind!
- For this episode, Jonathan Ross personally chose the wardrobes of the other regulars. Nick Hancock had a head full of hair gel and was attired like a refugee from The Sex Pistols with a red and black Queen Victoria T-shirt and a brown leather jacket with a Union Jack on the front, David Seaman had a black T-shirt with Japanese writing on it and a leather biker jacket and trousers with matching cap, Phil Tufnell sported a frilly pink shirt under a grey suit with a matching skirt over the trousers and animal print shoes, Jonathan himself was wearing a frilly white shirt with jodhpurs and riding boots, and Rory McGrath was dressed in a cowboy hat and a loose-sleeved yellow shirt with a kilt (under which, as he revealed when taking his place for "Feel the Sportsman", he was wearing black and red shorts), matching tartan waistcoat, and tights.
Nick Hancock: Now, before we start, the more observant of you will have noticed that we're unusually dressed, and that's because it's the last show of the series, and Jonathan has insisted on styling us. Okay Jonathan, explain, explain.
Jonathan Ross: Well, I'll tell you why, I'm sitting here, surrounded by a bunch of people dressed like off-duty policemen, so this week I've gone, I've dug in my own wardrobe, and I've come up with a look which I think suits everyone, everyone's joined in, apart from David, of course, who's just come in his weekend gear. [David chuckles] But you like it, don't you?
David Seaman: I like it!
Nick: He does like it!
Jonathan: He really looks all right!
Rory McGrath: His trousers-
David: [to Rory] I've seen what's under your skirt, mate!
- In one round of "The Name Game", Phil Tufnell got his own name wrong, costing his team the game. Nick Hancock said of the result, "But think of how different things might have been, if only Phil Tufnell had known his own name."
- Jonathan Ross had to give Alastair Campbell and Phil Tufnell a clue for former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain during "The Name Game". His clue led to a hilarious pseudo-Freudian Slip from Campbell:
Jonathan Ross: This is, er, a cricket captain, [points to Campbell] same name as the bloke you put out of work.
Phil Tufnell: Blair!
Alastair Campbell: Bush!
Alastair: I mean... [his answer suddenly registers with everyone; the audience laugh and applaud]
Jonathan: Hullo! That's good news! You heard it here first!
- One of the names for which Jonathan Ross had to give clues in "The Name Game" was Dutch cyclist Erik Dekker. Phil Tufnell proved to be down to his usual guessing standards:
Jonathan Ross: [giving a clue for Dutch cyclist Erik Dekker] You know the song "Israelites", it's by Desmond...
Phil Tufnell, Beverley Turner: Tutu! [audience laughter]
Jonathan: NO, NOT DESMOND TUTU!!
Phil: Dekker! Dekker! Dekker!
Jonathan: Yes, Des Dekker, first name is... is a Viking's name, he's a cyclist...
Jonathan: Similar to Derek, but not quite the same...
Nick Hancock: Del Dekker!?
[later, after the whistle has blown]
Nick: D'you think there'd have been as much fear in Saxon villages if the cry went up, "Watch out - Del the Viking's coming!"
- Ian Wright and Rory McGrath's teammate in this episode was broadcaster Beverley Turner. During a question about a fracas between Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, Beverley admitted to fancying Mourinho, but implied that she was really only interested in tall men. Boris Becker immediately stood up to his full 6'3" height, and when Jonathan Ross tried to outdo him by standing on his chair, Boris climbed up on the desk. As Lee Mack ordered the two and their teammate, Frankie Dettori, to sit down, the camera showed that Frankie had anticipated the height jokes by pretending that he could barely see over the desk even while standing.
- As he later revealed on Would I Lie to You?, when he was younger, Lee worked in the stables in which champion racehorse Red Rum was housed. He noted to Frankie that he was required, as part of his job, to clean the horses' genitals; Frankie pretended that this was unnecessary and that someone had told Lee to do this as a prank. Lee went on to explain that he got the job as Red Rum's stables were in his hometown, and he had to lie about his weight to be accepted, leading to the following exchange:
Jonathan Ross: So you wanted to be a jockey?
Lee Mack: Well, I didn't just like wiping horses' cocks! I wasn't going [mimes talking into phone] "Is that the stables? Listen, I know it's probably a long shot, but I've got this thing I really like doing..."
- For "Claim to Fame", the mystery guest for Ian Wright's team was "John from Northamptonshire", better known as former jockey John Buckingham, who rode 100-1 outsider Foinavon to victory in the 1967 Grand National. After establishing that the sport involved horses and was flat "between the jumps", Rory McGrath suggested that they were talking "National Hunt", which he said was rhyming slang for "Jonathan Ross". Lee Mack added that "flat" was also rhyming slang for "Jonathan Ross".
- Boris Becker's team's "Claim to Fame" guest was "Tommy from Motherwell", more familiar as former Celtic and Scotland left back Tommy Gemmell, who scored the first of Celtic's goals in their come-from-behind victory in the 1967 European Cup final against Inter Milan.
- As part of the facetious early questions, Jonathan Ross asked Tommy if he wished he'd gone to Specsavers. Tommy said no, but told Jonathan, "By the way, my wife adores you." Lee quipped, "I think she should have gone to Specsavers!"
- After establishing that Tommy was a retired footballer, Jonathan asked a very long-winded question about how much less footballers earned forty years earlier, partly because wages were proportionally lower and partly because of the lack of sponsorship deals. Not only did his question go on for so long that Lee grumbled, "Oh, shut the [bleep] up!" while Face Palming, but Tommy drily remarked that if he'd made as much when he was a player as footballers made in 2005, he wouldn't be sitting there talking to them. Lee rewarded his candour by running around the desk and planting a kiss on him.
2006 and 2011 Specials
World Cup Special (2006)
- During "The Name Game", Sean Lock had to give Boris Becker and Steffen Freund a clue for Mexican footballer Germán Villa, leading to the following:
Sean Lock: Mexico, '98, a player, his first name is what you two are.
Boris Becker: Idiots.
- Later in "The Name Game", Rory McGrath was tasked with giving Ian Wright and Glenn Hoddle a clue for Ecuadorian footballer Wellington Sánchez:
Rory McGrath: They're boots, named after the Duke of...
Ian Wright: Kent!
[laughter from audience and panel]
Rory: That's very... that's very close to the word I was just thinking then.
- Ian Wright and Rory McGrath's "guest" for the last ever "Feel the Sportsman" in a regular episode was... The World Cup. Which was accompanied by two burly security guards who kept pushing Ian and Rory away when they got close to the trophy, and then when they spent too long handling it (although when Rory successfully identified it, they let the duo pose with their teammate, James Alexandrou, and the trophy for a few seconds).
Ian Wright: [feeling one of the security guards] Oh, God, look at his arm!
Lee Mack: That's not his arm!
- For "Excuses", the team of Dave Berry, David Walliams, and Lee Hurst were given a question concerning the excuse given by Ukrainian defender Vladyslav Vashchuk for his team's 4-0 defeat against Spain in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.note However, Nick Hancock stumbled over the phrase "Ukrainian defender", and Lee complained that the questions so far had been very long. Nick decided to make the question shorter:
Nick Hancock: At the 2006 World Cup, a bad thing happened to Ukraine. Why?
- Dave and David's "Feel the Sportsman" guest was swimmer Mark Foster, whom David knew after having trained with him when he swam the English Channel several years earlier, and who took to the stage wearing only a pair of swimming trunks. As Nick declared, "And your time starts now!", and Phil Tufnell added, "Get in there, boy!", David walked toward Foster - and put his hand straight on the front of his swimming trunks.
- Richard Bacon and Gabby Logan probably thought themselves less fortunate with their "Feel the Sportsman" guest, controversial horse racing pundit John McCririck, whose characteristic bushy sideburns, deerstalker hat, and wool suit made him easy for the blindfolded duo to identify. As Gabby began feeling his chest, McCririck jokingly reached out towards hers, prompting Nick to remind him of the restraining order against him, and marking perhaps the first time in the series' history that it was the guest who was trying to get overfamiliar with the guesser. The tone was set by the other panellists' reactions to McCririck's entrance:
Richard Bacon: All I can hear is Phil Tufnell behind me going "Oh, no. Ohhh no."
Nick Hancock: Well, I think we've all heard that before.
[later, after Gabby has successfully identified McCririck]
Nick: So, how do you follow John McCririck? Well, usually with a brush, a shovel, and a hosepipe.
No Holds Barred (1996)
- The special opened with "Excuses", for which Gary Lineker's team had to identify the excuse given by Tommy Docherty for Manchester United being relegated at the end of the 1973-74 season.note As Nick Hancock was well-known as a Stoke City fan, Gary spent his English playing career at Leicester City, Everton, and Tottenham Hotspur, Rory McGrath was a devoted Arsenal fan, and their teammate Neil Morrissey supported Crystal Palace, the three panellists and the host took great joy in delivering an extended Take That to the club that supporters of almost every other club in Britain were starting to love to hate.
Nick Hancock: Gary's team, you're first, your excuse features that golden year for sport, 1974, when Manchester United were tragically relegated. [archive footage is shown of Liverpool's Steve Heighway scoring a goal against Manchester United at Anfield in December 1973] Here's Liverpool sticking one in the United net, and remember, as it's a video, you can play this bit back as many times as you like. So, Gary, Rory, and Neil, what was manager Tommy Docherty's excuse for Manchester United's glorious relegation to Division 2 that year?
Rory McGrath: Was there a postal strike that year which meant the referees didn't get their cheques on time?
Neil Morrissey: Was it... did he give his excuse as... he was too busy shagging the physio's wife, perhaps?note [audience "ooh"s] Thank you, good memory.
Gary Lineker: Excuse for Man U being relegated? They wanted to bring pleasure to millions? [audience applause]
Neil: I think that's probably the right reason!
Rory: It was a very sad day- sad day for United supporters, they were weeping publicly in the streets of Great Yarmouth, Bournemouth, Cirencester... was it 'cause, erm, that season George Best was in charge of the interval drinks?
Nick: Any final guesses?
Neil: Oh, God, I don't really know for real, erm, what, erm...
Rory: Was it before the rule came in that referees kept playing injury time 'til Manchester United won? [audience laughter] That only came in last season, didn't it.
- The "Photo-fit" picture for David Gower's team showed what looked like a pigtailed woman (with African eyes and nose and a Caucasian mouth and chin) sticking out her tongue, prompting the following analysis:
Roger Black: Is it the World Arse-Licking champion?
David Gower: No, no, that's Gary.note
- During the They Think It's All Over School Sports Day, Gary took Product Placement to absurd levels by taking to the track in athletic gear festooned with Walker's Crisps logos, while for the sack race, his sack was patterned to look like an enormous crisp packet.
- The video special opened with a "They Think It's All Over make-up room" sequence, in which a bald David Gower chose his wig for the episode, Rory McGrath drank from the bottle of wig adhesive when he noticed it had "spirit" written on it, a production assistant opened a panel in the back of Gary Lineker's head and pressed a button to switch him on, and a very long-haired Lee Hurst had his head shaved bald. The montage concluded with a female presenter being addressed as "Nick" and remarking, in Nick Hancock's voice, "Well, time to get into character!"
- For "Celebrations", David Gower's team had to explain why Carl Dale of Cardiff City celebrated a goal against Carlisle United by having his teammates pretend to sit him in a barber's chair and give him a haircut.note The conversation was sidetracked by Lee asking his teammate, John Motson, how long he had had the sheepskin coat he was always seen wearing during his television appearances. When John began to explain that it wasn't actually the same coat, and that there was a man in Hornchurch who had given him four coats many years earlier, such was Nick's despair at the prospect of having to hear the story that he began beating his head against his desk repeatedly. Lee insisted on hearing the story, and eventually Gary, Rory, and Fred MacAulay got up and began to leave the stage, with Fred miming going for a drink.
- The They Think It's All Over Grand Prix was six laps of hilarity, much of it scripted but funny nevertheless.
- The segment opened by showing the four regulars arriving at Silverstone for the race. Gary arrived by helicopter and was immediately mobbed by female autograph-seeking fans. David arrived in a chauffeur-driven vintage car and was likewise immediately mobbed by female autograph-seeking fans. Lee arrived in the back of a police car in handcuffs, and was mobbed by two bald female fans. And Rory arrived in the back of an ambulance on a gurney and had to be revived with a bucket of water over his head before being mobbed by rather amply-proportioned female fans.
- Nick declared in his commentary that the fireproof tape worn by the racers was doing a job of protecting everyone's well-being - as a pit crew member wrapped tape around Lee Hurst's mouth.
- Before the race, Nick explained the coloured flags used during the race: a black flag meant the race must be stopped immediately, a checkered flag meant the race had been won, a red flag meant the beach was unsafe for bathing, a white flag meant Damon Hill had surrended, and a red flag with lion rampant suspended from a cornet meant David Gower was in residence.
- During the race, the announcer declared that there was drama at the Brooklands corner: an actor dressed as the title character from Hamlet walking across the grass, carrying a skull and reciting Hamlet's elegy to Yorick from Act V, Scene 1.
- One of the names for David and John during "The Name Game" was footballer Mark Came. Lee's choice of clue didn't quite get the desired result:
Lee Hurst: You know at the end of sex, you say, "Did you, er..."
David Gower: "Thank you!"
Lee: No, not "Thank you!" [audience laughter]
Nick Hancock: "Thank you- thank you, and here's the money!"
Nick Hancock: "Thank you". "That was charming, darling!"
Fred MacAulay: D'you not normally say "Sorry"?
Nick: "I hope I haven't interrupted your needlepoint!"
Fred: "Don't tell any of the other boys!"