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Series: Spicks And Specks
Alan, Adam and Myf

Spicks and Specks is a panel/gameshow on The ABC themed around music and musical culture. It was hosted by comedian Adam Hills and team captains Alan Brough and Myf Warhurst from 2005 to 2011, then relaunched in 2014 with a new host, Josh Earl, and new team captains, Ella Hooper and Adam Richard (both frequent guests of the former incarnation).

The program is frequented by a wide range of musicians, comedians and the occasional actor. Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Metal, Hip Hop, Country, Rap, Electro, Blues, Punk, Ska, Reggae, Emo, Dance, Beebop, Rocksteady, <insert other obscure music style here>. Any and every music genre has probably been touched on at some stage.

Two teams go head to head as they sing, shout and delve deep into the recesses of their collective minds to help earn their team an extremely inglorious victory. Whether discussing the lyrical genius of Gilbert and Sullivan, the reasons Ozzy Osbourne wore a dress or just how a musician can choke on a harmonica, no musical genre is overlooked well, except for maybe Swedish folk music, but hey, we've all got limits. Video clips, album covers, and information you never thought anyone could know the answer to, Spicks and Specks enlightens and entertains - and exposes the world of music like never before.

The ABC has a policy of keeping all of its content as available to the public as possible, so clips and entire episodes can be found on their website and on YouTube.

The 2014 version will run for one season only, as the ABC has decided not to renew it for 2015.

Tropes present:

  • Air Guitar: A variant - Geoffrey Rush plays an air piano and air drumset in his appearances.
  • Appeal To Audacity: The basic premise of "One Out of Three Ain't Bad": Each team is given a description of a real-life event, and then asked to guess what happened next from three options. There's always one that's either R-rated or calculated to offend someone.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Two Little Words involves a blind-folded team member guessing an artist or band, with one word from each of the other members as a clue. Sometimes the team members fail utterly to build off the other person's word.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Myfanwy 'Myf' Warhurst.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • Adam asks two questions with answers involving the word "white". Hamish then buzzes in before he can ask the next question, rattles off a few possible answers containing "white". The answer? P!nk.
    • This happens frequently with the last three questions of "The Final Countdown". In one case, the required answers were "(Wake me Up, Before You) Go-Go", (Lady) Gaga, and Pussycat (Dolls) (as opposed to Goo Goo).
    • One set of three questions asked the names of the people holding three titles in The Mikado. As it turns out, the same character had all three titles.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Hamish Blake occasionally on account of his terrible wrong to right answer ratio. The fact that he was by some margin the most prolific guest didn't help.
    • Alan Brough during the "Sir Mix 'n' Match A Lot" round - despite his encyclopedic music knowledge, he was utterly inept at that round, stupid and irrelevant a round though it was.
  • Catch Phrase: Adam has "Bang on the money" or just "Bang on", whenever anyone gets a question exactly right, and Alan has "Oh, of course!" whenever Adam says an answer nobody got.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Chrissy Amphlett (who, of course, sang "I Touch Myself") claimed that there was a girl who threw up every time she heard Amphlett's name because she once walked in on her brother masturbating to a picture of Amphlett.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hamish Blake's tie in the fifties special.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Certain guests. Reginald D. Hunter was a particularly adept one.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Adam likes to dig them up.
  • Exact Words: One round of One Out Of Three Ain't Bad asked where a particular song had first been heard. Unlike the usual 'only one option is right' questions, each answer actually was a place where the song had been heard, it just all came down to which was first.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Adam mentions that he uses his eyebrow to give clues. Unfortunately, he can only lift one, so Alan's team receives no clues.
  • Follow the Leader: Comparisons to Never Mind the Buzzcocks are often made; however, the tone of the shows are quite different- Buzzcocks spends lots of time making fun of everyone, while Spicks and Specks focuses more on the music. Bill Bailey was startled by how much nicer everyone was on Spicks and Specks.
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This:
    Adam: "I never thought I'd say this, but listen to Hamish, he's right!"
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Adam's "Sax Bomb" joke earned him lots of ribbing about telling "dad jokes".
    • Tim Minchin's serenade to Adam Hills, which contains several references to apples throughout. The last line is, "But if inside my throat I feel a lump, it'll be my Adam's [Adam headdesks in realisation] apple".
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Some of the bands and musicians mentioned. Occasionally the ending performances as well, such as the Doctor Who theme played on cello, didgeridoo and acoustic guitar.
  • Once an Episode: Adam makes a bad pun on some song titles to describe Alan and Myf.
  • Panel Show
  • The Points Mean Nothing
  • A Rare Sentence: This gem from Alan:
    Alan: Can I just say something that I thought I'd never get to say in my life? So, you're about to have sex with Tom Jones, and then what happened?
  • Recursive Translation: "Turning Japanese" used this. The contestants had to guess the song lyrics after they'd been translated into Japanese and back.
  • Revival: After the original show ended. It was pretty much inevitable due to a couple of reasons: first, audiences loved it, and it was one of the ABC's most popular shows. Second, despite running for six years, nobody even slightly thought that it was getting outdated or repetitive. Third, the original show ended because Adam, Alan and Myf thought that it was time to end it, and best to do so on a high note. As the revival shows, not only did a large number of viewers disagree, but it also wasn't hard to find regulars to do it.
  • Running Gag: Hamish's lack of musical knowledge.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: Their iPhone app was censored from the iTunes store because "spic" is apparently a racial slur in the US. Never mind that it wasn't even on sale in the US store...
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The first episode of the new series has host Josh Earl comparing it to AC/DC frontmen Bon Scott and Brian Johnson: "Can you imagine the pressure that Brian must've been under replacing someone so loved by Australia after 7 years?"
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Adam being serenaded by Tim Minchin.
  • Sixth Ranger: Hamish Blake appeared on the show every other week. There was a song about it.
  • Speed Round: Each episode ends with one of these, called "The Final Countdown".
  • Squee: Myf's reaction to Guy Pearce sitting next to her.
    • Hell, she pretty much had a heart attack when she sat next to Meatloaf, to the point that she was too overcome to do the intro to "You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)" with him.
  • Team Dad: Adam, much to his displeasure.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Happens occasionally. In one memorable example, Darlene Love started telling a story about the time she almost had sex with Tom Jones. Reginald D. Hunter chimed in "From what I hear, that's not unusual."


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alternative title(s): Spicks And Specks
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