Series / Never Mind the Buzzcocks
British Panel Game
(1996-2014) based around pop music, named after the Pop Punk
and the album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols
. The most recent lineup consists of host Rhod Gilbert, with Phill Jupitus
and Noel Fielding
as captains of the two teams of three. Previous team captains were Sean Hughes (Series 1-10) and Bill Bailey (Series 11-21), each time taking the opposing side to Phill Jupitus. The two other members of each team are whatever musicians, comedians or other recognisable faces the producers can secure at the time — there has been Lampshade Hanging
about the poor quality of the guests on numerous occasions... which some guests
take more good-naturedly than others
The show debuted in 1996. Mark Lamarr was the original host, and after his departure there were a series of temporary hosts
, including Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs and Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear
before Simon Amstell took over until 2009. The show returned to using guest hosts
until 2013. In 2014, Rhod Gilbert took over as the regular host, and exchanged the show's often vitriolic atmosphere for a format in which both he and his guests have as much fun as possible. However, this would be the final year of the show as the BBC chose to axe it in 2015. Whether or not they bring it back remains to be seen.
The format was exported to VH-1 for American viewers
This show provides examples of:
- Actor Shipping:
- Noel and Paloma Faith, in-show, largely for both being Cloudcuckoolanders.
- Simon Amstell and the late Amy Winehouse. They were good friends and got on so well - both here and on Popworld - that viewers shipped them together. This despite Simon being openly gay.
- Author Appeal:
- Mark Lamarr is a big fan of reggae; when Jimmy Cliff was on the show he kept awarding his team points for "just having Jimmy Cliff in".
- Similarly, Simon Amstell is a fan of Patrick Wolf. When Wolf appeared on the show, Simon was ridiculously nice to him (by Simon standards) and didn't mock him once.
- Bait and Switch: A regular feature of the presenters' jokes. In a Christmas special when Mark began the show by doing the usual spiel about not forgetting that Christmas is really about one remarkable man, before adding that, unfortunately, they couldn't get that man, Noddy Holder, as a panelist.
- Bat Deduction: Used by Rick Wakeman to try and find a connection between Annie Lennox and Jarvis Cocker via a chain of celebrities' names (paraphrased): "Annie Lennox, Lennox Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and there was a carol service on at a Jarvis hotel...in Cockermouth".
- Berserk Button:
- Don't talk to Mark Lamarr about Chris Moyles. Or Noel Fielding about Coldplay.
- Don't insult Michael Jackson in front of David Gest.
- Phill tends to get keyed up whenever the person in the lineup is very famous and he doesn't want to make any jokes at their expense.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Whereas Mark Lamarr tended to make jokes at the expense of his least-favourite artists, frequently concocting mock evil schemes to get them killed, Simon Amstell spends much more time chatting to his guests of the week. Which in effect means that he spends much more time mocking them personally than Mark ever did, and much less time mocking the team captains, which Mark used to love doing.
- Big Eater: Phill Jupitus, at least according to Mark's intro jokes.
Mark: Phill cooked Christmas dinner for eight, but before he could eat it, some people turned up...
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Sean rattled off a garbled Irish Gaelic phrase ("Thanks very much to the toilet, please.") in one episode as a Batman Gambit to pick one of the Nolan Sisters out of a lineup (she being the only one who understood it and couldn't keep a straight face).
- Bill Bailey speaking French while discussing The Kooks' criminal record.
- The Board Game: Only one round from the TV show survived in the board game adaptation.
- Briefer Than They Think: As presenter, Simon Amstell lasted four series compared to Mark's seventeen. This hasn't stopped his tenure being just as popular.
- British Accents: Mark occasionally talks in an exaggerated "yokel" form of his native Swindon accent, as does Bill with his West Country speech.
- Butt Monkey:
- Bill Bailey under Mark Lamarr's tenure, being called everything from 'a beast-man' and 'a Klingon nonce' to 'something found in a jar in Arthur C. Clarke's basement'.
- At least one guest tends to bear the brunt of the host's wrath:
- Dappy, rapper from N Dubz who invites a lot of mockery.
- Jedward, who swim in it. See Comically Missing the Point.
- Tony Hadley, both when he's present and not. Most of the jokes are about him supposedly being homeless after being bankrupted by the breakup of Spandau Ballet.
- Donny Tourette. Not that he noticed.
- Antony Costa, especially when Simon was host.
- Call Back: In the earlier seasons, the incident of Lemmy walking off the show is often addressed whenever a Motorhead related question comes up.
- Similarly, in the Series 27 Christmas Special, temp host Johnny Vegas made fun of Huey Morgan, who had smashed his coffee mug and stormed off in an earlier episode, after Vegas asked a question where a possible answer included a pair of mugs.
- Camp Gay: John Barrowman embraced this role during his appearance.
Simon: John will not be able to help you with this question, because tonight he is playing the part of a stereotype.
- Cannot Tell a Joke:
- Mark Ronson's complete lack of comic timing during his episode as guest host.
- During Tim Westwood's turn as guest host, Phill pointed out that his bizarre speaking rhythm made it hard for people to tell when he'd said the punchline.
- Captain Obvious: In a discussion about John Paul II:
But the Pope's a good man. Mark: ...Yeah, he is
He's a holy
Yes Sean, we know that, he's the Pope
- Mark Lamarr's introduced the quiz in a number of ways during his run as host:
"Hello and welcome to Never Mind The Buzzcocks, the pop quiz that says [insert pun based on a line from a song]."
"Hello, and welcome to Never Mind The Buzzcocks, a [insert alliterative phrase, like: rumbuctious ransack through the rainforest of rock.]"
"Hello, and welcome to Never Mind The Buzzcocks, the comedy equivalent of..." [insert something painful, or in one case, landfill]"
- Seasons 9-10 featured a different catchphrase in each episode:
"I'll be the judge of that, cheeky chops."
"That's rich coming from you."
"I can't work under these bloody conditions!"
- When furious at a guest or someone in the ID Parade Lineup:
"You've made a mockery of this show!"
- He would do monologues which started with a positive statement about a popstar, followed by "And what I mean by [X]", making the statement more insulting. This would continue until the original statement was turned into a total burn.
- "I really enjoyed this show. I say enjoyed, I tolerated... I say tolerated, I [insert extremely painful torture or self deprivation]. Still I quite liked the [something positive]... I SAY liked..."
- Censored for Comedy: "Explicit Content" has guests asked to identify which songs are this trope ("Do you really want to *** me?") and which are genuinely censored.
- Christmas Episode: Several.
- Bill Bailey was the resident strange mind during his tenure as team captain.
- In series twelve, episode four, Kathryn Williams proved to be as much of a cloudcuckoolander as Bill. Scott Mills tried to keep up with the two of them by saying "Fishcakes! D'you know what I mean?!"
Mark: Are you two related?
- In series twelve, episode eleven, Dave John's first joke of episode managed to make Bill roll his eyes and say "yeah", which made Mark laugh at the prospect.
- Lauren Laverne came across as this on her appearance, first insisting that David Bowie was violently pursued by Avon ladies and then, when trying to figure out some indecipherable lyrics, came out with 'He's relating bananas to rock bands... from the seventies. It's just a thought...'
- Rick Wakeman of Yes, especially when he and Bill Bailey do a live Intros round. In wizard outfits.
- Bill Oddie. From his bizarre insistence that Shakira was "sacrificing a kitten" to his attempts to sing "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" in the next lines round. Heavily lampshaded in the closing titles which were, as Stewart Lee had suggested "a series of slow fades, suggesting the passage of time", which made Oddie look utterly mental.
- Noel. In season 23, he found his queen: Paloma Faith, who many viewers ship with Noel because they're both just so crazy.
- Bernard Cribbins on the Doctor Who episode.
- Diana Vickers fell into this halfway through her episode during the "Next Lines" rounds. It's as if her brain blacked out mid-sentence:
Lee Mack: Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, IM. What does "im" mean, at the end?
Diana: I, M! "im!" —Wha?
- She also somehow skipped a beat during "Intros" round. It's gotta be with her being too "Northern," even being given attention by Lee Mack.
- Stacey Solomon was gleefully loopy during her episode. Offering her suggestion as to how a box of baubles and tinsel might have caused Wyclef Jean to break his hand:
: Maybe Christmas fell on him...
- Even Phill had to comment on the "secondary weird" being inflicted on her by co-panelists Noel and Tony Law during the episode.
- Comically Missing the Point: One episode had Noel pointing out one of his favourite Jedward quotes on the reality show X-Factor.
: (imitated by Noel)
We really wanted to be Ghostbusters
but we weren't brave enough.
Noel: Like that was the biggest barrier.
- Country Matters:
Mark: When he left The Skids, Stuart Adamson went on to become a Big Country member. And we all do remember.
- Country Mouse: Occasional jokes about Mark Lamarr being one due to his origins in Swindon, complete with Mark "slipping into his natural accent" (an exaggerated rural yokel accent).
- Cross Over: For Comic Relief in both 1999 and 2001, the series crossed over with Have I Got News for You and They Think It's All Over for a special entitled Have I Got Buzzcocks All Over. Phill Jupitus appeared on both specials, accompanied by Jo Brand and Meat Loaf in 1999 and by Sean Hughes and Moloko singer Róisín Murphy in 2001. Both specials featured variations on the Identity Parade, with Jupitus' team having to pick out Hungry Eyes bassist and singer Peter Kilfoyle (better known at the time as MP for Liverpool Walton and Minister for Public Services) in 1999, and indoor bowls streaker Tracy Sergeant in 2001.
- Crowning Moment of Indifference: James Acaster tries to do this in Series 28, when Rhod says that James dances to George Harrison, even if he doesn't want to. Then he plays "Got my Mind Set on You" by Harrison, and James's face looks completely apathetic while the rest of him starts dancing to the song.
- Country Matters:
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone. Simon Amstell didn't quite meet the 'deadpan' requirement as he would smile gleefully as he destroyed your ego. Mark Lamarr, however, was the embodiment of a deadpan snarker, and his comedy was heavily based on this.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: In the early-Noughties series, Mark Lamarr had a Running Gag of doing this deliberately with his faint-praise "compliments" for a group that had just been mentioned.
: People criticised (group's song
), but I quite enjoyed it. I say I enjoyed it...I tolerated it. I say I tolerated it...what I actually did was (horrible description of him torturing himself rather than having to hear the song
). Having said that, I thought the B-side was quite tuneful.
- The Ditz: Tony Wright from Terrorvision came across as this, especially in his second appearance. Phill and Mark seemed to find his inability to remember the letters of the alphabet more adorable than mockable.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Noel's androgynous appearance is brought up occasionally:
Frankie Boyle: You look like a raven that a wizard has turned into a beautiful young lady.
- And the time Frankie called Noel a bisexual Doctor Who.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Along with whatever the hell was going on with Mark's hair, the first few episodes featured four songs in the Intros round for each team.
- Freudian Slip
Simon: Now you've heard what the other Jew... the other Jew... the other two judges have said...
- Fun with Acronyms:
- One from the first episode:
Mark: ABBA comprised of Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid and took their name from their initials. Four English singers tried repeat ABBA's success, but unfortunately William, Annie, Nigel and Keith - yes I said William, Annie, Nigel and Keith - couldn't think of a name.
- And from the later years:
: For their second album, Love Affair shortened their name to LA. The same change to initials worked for ELO, but not quite so well for Val Doonican, and it spelled the end for folk legends Cuddly Uncle Ned's Trio
- The International Federation for the Universal Care of Rabbits.
- Gag Penis: LL Cool J, according to himself and Mark:
Mark: LL Cool J likes to boast that his penis is "half a block long"; however, it's also just an eighth of an inch wide. It does, however, become very useful when he gets locked out of his car.
- Genre Savvy: In series fourteen, episode nine, Phil addresses Mark's tendency to award more points to guests he particularly liked, such as Martha Reeves and, along with the rest of his team, decides to deliberately give wrong answers in the "Next Lines" round:
Phil: With Martha Reeves being on the other team, we're not gonna win are we?
Mark: Then you should throw the game.
- Guest Host: There was a series between the hosts Mark Lamarr and Simon Amstell of only guest hosts, and as of Amstell leaving they are going down the Have I Got News for You route.
- Hypocrite: Invoked with this joke:
In his autobiography, Marc Almond strongly attacked this programme for making references to his sexuality. That's Marc Almond who once released an album called "This Last Night In Sodom" — oh, sorry, let the cat out of the bag
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Trope Namer for the older Mark-era round, where the teams are played a song with difficult-to-make-out vocals and have to guess what the lyrics are. Only occasionally do they try to guess correctly.
- Inflationary Dialogue: Phill uses a decreasing version when asked to find the connection between Keith Moon and Bryan Adams:
- Insane Troll Logic: Often used in the ID Parade game when nobody has a clue, such as "It'll be the one who's wearing the maddest shoes!" Sometimes Phill or Bill will have an informed opinion but will keep quiet at first and let their guests come up with this stuff just for humour value.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Done in rounds such as the "Explicit Content" round, where the teams are shown four censored music videos and have to guess which one is actually explicit; the last one will usually be something obviously clean that has been censored for fun, such as the music video for Bob the Builder.
- Last-Second Word Swap: The title of the show - a pun on the band 'Buzzcocks' and the Sex Pistols' TV-unfriendly album title 'Never Mind the Bollocks'.
- Long List: Of things Morrissey apparently hates, and what should have won "Best Song of the Last 25 Years" over Robbie Williams' "Angels", among others.
- Long-Runner Cast Turnover: Every cast position except Phill's has been held by multiple people. Phill is the only original cast member still on the show, and he only ever missed one episode which was filled by Frankie Boyle.
- Malicious Slander: Parodied with Mark's "Wicked Whispers" running joke, where he gives 'shocking celebrity facts' such as a rumour that Elton John may be gay.
- Manipulative Editing: Mark threatens to use it on Bill in one episode when Mark stands in the ID lineup and Bill and Sean joke that Mark is actually the mystery guest. Mark is so angered by this he 'has to take their first answer' and doesn't let them guess again. Bill reacts like he's a “Stop Having Fun” Guy and mocks him by trying to shape his hair like Mark's and gabbling gormlessly into the camera. Mark responds by saying they'll use Manipulative Editing to replace Bill's serious answers to other questions with this clip of him pratting about like a loon.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Parodied. Mark claims all of Phill's impressions consist of saying that celebrity's catchphrase (e.g., "Ooh Betty" for Frank Spencer) in the same throaty Bernard Manning voice.
- Phill does, however, do a startlingly good Chewbacca impression.
- This was also used when Bobby Davro was a guest — all his impressions were incredibly cliche ones predating The '90s.
Bobby: It's Tommy Cooper! It's Frank Spencer!
Mark: IT'S NOT ANYONE!!!
- Mark did a pretty good Benny Hill impression in the Series 9 premiere. In a different episode he said he learned many accents from Benny Hill.
- Phill is generally good at impressions, though once he did impressions of practically any foreign country in the same exact voice. He even mocked it himself after Lamarr pointed it out.
Mark (To Sean): Have you been to Zimbabwe recently?
Phill: I've been to Zimbabwe, Mark. 'ELLO, I'M FROM ZIMBABWE!
- Narrowed It Down To The Guy I Recognise: Meant to be the entire point of the Identity Parade, but they're usually such obscure celebrities that it doesn't work out that way. However, when it does, Phill will often explain his choice that way; e.g., "I think number 3 is Wee Willie Harris, because it's Wee Willie Harris!". Also occasionally inverted when the panel rule someone out because they recognise them as a Recurring Extra or a member of the crew.
- N-Word Privileges: Anthea Turner chastised Simon for using the C-word, on the grounds that he can't say it because he doesn't have one.
- Obligatory Joke: The first episode of one series had party poppers go off periodically as Mark made "the first Kurt Cobain joke of the series!" or "the first Tony Hadley joke of the series!"
- Offer Void In Nebraska: An odd but increasingly common internet example. While vast numbers of episodes can be found on YouTube, there are some that are automatically hidden from British internet users because of copyright laws for the music specific only to the UK - despite Britain being the show's country of origin. You can still watch the episodes in other countries, like America.
- Orphaned Punchline: Or, "punchlines we never got round to using during the show" — which are really the last lines of anecdotes you really don't want to hear the start of, such as...
- "The police had to coax it out with a biscuit!"
- "It turned out that, although it wasn't Bailey's, it was Bill's!"
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Occasionally played for laughs:
Christopher Biggins: Joan Collins likes punching people like you.
Simon: What do you mean? What, Jews?
Simon: [to camera, mock-seriously] I should say, for legal reasons, we have no reason to suspect that Joan Collins dislikes Jews.
- Mark once told a joke about Tom Jones dipping his genitalia in mouthwash (don't ask) and then said that their lawyers would like him to tell the joke in a slightly less vulgar way, which Mark did while the words "Legal Obligation" flashed on-screen.
- Overly Long Gag: The spinning of the dreidel to select a song in the Series 19 Christmas Special.
- Overly Long Name: Brian Eno.
Mark: Brian Eno's full name is Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. He's the only pop star with a gatefold birth certificate.
- Pixellation: The round "What Have We Pixellated?" in which guests are shown a music video where an item has been pixellated and must answer the question "what have we pixellated?"
- The Points Mean Nothing: Mocked several times.
- Precision F-Strike: The show doesn't shy away from using profanity, but the jabs and insults are always wrapped in eloquence and metaphor; so when Bill's only comment on UK daytime chart show Loose Women is "Oh God, I hate those bitches", you know he means it.
- Product Placement: Parodied.
Mark: Are you being paid by them to say that?
Phill (Aside Glance)
: No, but it is indeed a tasty sweet treat!
- The Quiet One: Sean Hughes. When he left the show, Mark commemorated him with a montage of 'his contributions to the show', which consisted of clips of Sean's other team members answering questions while Sean sat quietly in the background.
- Ratings Stunt: Parodied in a series 22 episode which claimed the ratings were down, which ended in assorted contrivances such as loan sharks turning up, an explosion in the studio and an anvil falling on Phill.
- Recap Episode: Parodied for series 28, which is set in the year 2044, looking back at how Never Mind the Buzzcocks "changed the world" since Rhod began hosting that series, as well as his supposed Sanity Slippage. It also featured older actors as various guests from the series.
Stacey Solomon, PHD
: It was well weird, he was in a Chinese takeaway, awarding points to customers over their choices!
Rhod, in a flashback: If you get this, I'm going to give you a point. I'm a biscuit!
- Recurring Extra:
- More than one of these has been used as a Running Gag in the "Identity Parade" round; most famously Athelston Williams, the bald, totally expressionless black guy.
- The pirate from series 14 is another noteworthy example, being involved in a stand-off between Mark Lamarr and Phill's team on his first appearance.
- Retraux: The hundredth episode included two segments of the show set in The Edwardian Era and The Sixties (as well as one set in The Future).
- Reverse Psychology: Guest host Lee Mack quite clearly tells the audience not to say "BATMAN!" on cue to a song that sounds remarkably like that theme.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: The "complete the Youtube comment" round during Adam Buxton's episode. In the first outing, one of the comments claimed that magician Dynamo must be "an alien or sutin" to the delight of all involved. It helps that Adam Buxton read all of the comments with the misspellings intact.
- Running Gag:
- Noel's hatred for Coldplay, to the point that David Tennant felt the need to defend the band when he hosted.
- A rather persistent gag regarding R'n'B star Craig David and unspeakable deeds involving small cotton-tailed mammals spanned 4 episodes in Series 22.
- In one of Bill's early appearances, he started defending Star Trek fans, upon which Mark replied "We're not having a go at Star Trek, you fucking Klingon nonce!" When Bill reacted with shock, Mark pretended it was a nickname they'd always called him behind his back—and it went on to reappear many times when Bill became a regular.
- In a series 24 episode, Phill gives Josh Groban, the presenter, an angry look every time the latter sings. Finally, at the end of the episode, Groban tells Phill to fuck off and starts singing a duet of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables with guest Michael Ball, who originated the role of Marius Pontmercy in the London production of the musical.
- In several of Seann Walsh's appearances, he'd guess that the Intro being sung to him is from a band called Anal Danger.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: More than one guest has walked off the show after getting fed up of being mocked. Coincidentally, all three sat in the seat to Phil's left. In the episode after the second departure, Phil labelled it the "ejector seat".
- The first was Lemmy of Motorhead, in series three, episode two. Unlike subsequent examples, he disappeared during the retakes, so it was not evident to television audiences.
- The second was Preston from The Ordinary Boys, in series twenty, episode three. As it was halfway through the show, Bill promptly searched the audience for a lookalike. Throughout the rest of the show, the other guests would feign walking off after Simon "slighted" them. The following week, after no one walked off, Simon gave everyone lollies congratulating them for staying to the end of the show.
- Thirdly, Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin' Criminals in series twenty-seven, episode seven. He stormed off as soon as the show ended, unhappy at the way he was being treated by the guest hosts; Rizzle Kicks, as well as the repetitive nature of some of the segments. Notable in that he'd been appearing on the show intermittently since 1998 (including as a guest host in 2006) and never got annoyed or irritated.
- Self-Deprecation: A big portion of the show's jokes are about the poor quality of the jokes and guests.
- James Blunt made lots of jokes about himself and his music when he guest-hosted.
- As seen under Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, some people can't handle jokes made by the hosts.
- Species Surname: Bizarrely subverted in the episode with the puppets in the ID parade, where a Cloud Cuckoo Lander guest was convinced that Gordon the Gopher was a hamster.
- Springtime for Hitler: Phill was involved with the left-wing music and comedy movement Red Wedge, which campaigned against Margaret Thatcher's re-election in 1987; a tie-in NMTB book claimed that it was single-handedly responsible for her remaining in power.
- Stalker with a Crush:
- Straight Gay:
- Subverted Kids Show: In an episode where the ID parade consisted of puppets who had all had novelty singles, amongst them was ventriloquist Keith Harris with his puppet Orville the Duck, known for Tastes Like Diabetes Christmas singles. Keith took the opportunity for being past the watershed to have Orville swear mildly. When Mark encouraged him to go further...
: I think we're all curious, does Orville know the word c(BLEEP!)t
- Suddenly Shouting: Kristen Schaal, during her episode as host.
- Suspect Is Hatless: The 'Identity Parade' can often degenerate into this. It's responsible for some of its best moments.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: Used in the eleventh series premiere when they're searching for a new team captain following Sean's departure. It ends with Bill walking in and instantly being offered the job.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Phil, to Simon:
Phil: Bring in the points, bitch.
- Timed Mission: The Next Lines round.
- Urban Legend Love Life: Simon repeatedly and inexplicably tried to start a rumour that Craig David had a rabbit fetish.
- Vinyl Shatters: The Simon-era opening has vinyl records fall and shatter on the ground. This is probably an homage to the early '80s titles to Top of the Pops.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: Lorraine Kelly had some bra issues, eventually requiring her to leave the set... at which point, all hell broke loose amongst the panelists.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: A question posed by compilation episodes What A Load of Buzzcocks. They showed several 1996-era guests and then noted that they had disappeared from the entertainment industry entirely. The first shown was Alan Davies, to which YouTube viewers more-or-less responded with "yeah right!" He's also been one of two people to appear in virtually every episode of long-running TV series QI.
- Who Writes This Crap?!: Presenters will occasionally question the quality of the writers' jokes.
Simon: And if you want to be a writer on this show...all you need is a crayon.
- A Wild Rapper Appears: Bubbla Ranx during Peter Andre's episode. To everyone's surprise, he appears behind Andre, raps a line during the Last lines segment, then disappears behind Andre.
- You Wanna Get Sued?: From series 1:
We wanted to name the round after a well-known chocolate bar
which apparently helps you work, rest and play, but we were told we weren't allowed to. So we decided to name it after me. So this is the Mark Lamarr's bar round.