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Series / Dead Ringers

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Starting off on radio in 2000, this impression-based sketch show became a TV series in 2002. Jon Culshaw is its main star. The radio series originally ended in 2005 (barring a one-off special in 2007 to mark the resignation of Tony Blair), and the TV version was quietly cancelled in 2007. After a long absence it returned to radio in July 2014.

Not related to the David Cronenberg film Dead Ringers or its television remake.

    Common Parodies 
  • George W. Bush — "My fellow Animaniacs." Bush mangles the English language like no-one's business.
  • Tony Blair — Prone to over-pausing and (especially on the radio) describing his mannerisms. There was an interesting scene in one Children in Need where Jon Culshaw was doing his impression. Then the real Tony Blair arrived...
  • Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark — Announcing popular song lyrics as if they were headlines, and usually ending with "More on that story later.".
  • Fiona Bruce — Sex-obsessed. For a clean quote: "I'm Fiona Bruce. Breaking news, breaking hearts." On the radio this role was taken by the popular Radio 4 newsreader and continuity announcer Charlotte Green.
  • The Fourth Doctor — One of Culshaw's best-known impressions. He's also done a few of the other Doctors as well.
    • In one sketch, he rang various actors who had played the Doctor over the years. This lead to some very amusing quotes, including:
      Culshaw: Tom, I am The Doctor.
      Tom Baker: That's odd... Oh no, no, there must be a mistake, I'm the Doctor.

      Culshaw: I'm in a situation of extreme peril! I have had to leave my timestream, go forward to the future, join you in your time stream — and have you help me.
      Sylvester McCoy: Have you been at the pub?
      Culshaw: For several millennia!
    • In fact, he's impersonated almost every Doctor, as seen when he appeared on one of the BBC's Doctor Who retrospectives. He's not done John Hurt and Peter Capaldi yet, but give him time.
    • He has also impersonated Tom Baker in an official capacity in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, voicing the Fourth Doctor in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio play "The Kingmaker" and Fake Shemping Tom's voice in the 50th anniversary parody Reunion Show The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (both of these starred Tom's successor Peter Davison).
  • David Cameron — as a vote-grabbing populist who prefers to avoid controversy.
  • Sir Menzies Campbell (at the time, leader of the Liberal Democrats) — a doddering old man who liked to sleep a lot. Needless to say, this one was a bit on the controversial side. This impression was retired after he stepped down.
  • The BBC Radio 4 continuity announcers, particularly Brian Perkins, portrayed as a gangland boss fond of torturing and dispatching those who upset him. In the TV series, Michael Buerk took over this role.
  • Theresa May — alternatively spineless and halfway over the brink of despair, or stubbornly hell-bent on a Brexit deal in the face of all reality.
  • Boris Johnson — who seems to communicate mainly with strange grunts and growls. When the real Johnson began his leadership campaign, the character tried to tamp down on his behavior, only for his old persona to physically split away from him in times of stress.
  • Michael Gove — backstabbing weasel who speaks like a teenaged girl. Or alternatively,Gollum.
  • David Davis — the "Brexit Bulldog" who is spectacularly incompetent at his job as Brexit negotiator and gets taken advantage of by his EU counterparts in increasingly absurd ways.
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg — an infantile chauvinistic Upper-Class Twit who spouts off snobbish and horrific beliefs in a plummy voice.

The show has also parodied other British TV and radio series such as Torchwood, Robin Hood, Hustle, You Are What You Eat, Bleak House, The Apprentice (the British version), The Weakest Link, The Archers, and more. American shows popular in Britain also featured, such as House.

The TV show was quietly cancelled in 2007, but in 2009 a new sketch show, The Impressions Show, was released along the same premise, primarily featuring Culshaw alongside Debra Stephenson.

This series has examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating:
    • Iain Duncan Smith, leader of Britain's Conservative Party in the early oughts, is so unpopular that Saddam Hussein reasons he could probably make a good bid for the leadership himself. Duncan Smith, for his part, isn't too concerned, but he notes if he was up against Genghis Khan or Adolph Hitler, then it'd be a serious problem.
    • After May's leadership challenge, Jeremy Corbyn hosts a press conference to brag about how 60% support is nothing, when he couldn't even get 20% from his party.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Faced with an imminent nuking of Britain, Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott plan to produce Jeremy-spawn to repopulate Britain with a more socialist-friendly clime. Then Abbott finds out Corbyn was actually hoping to reproduce with John MacDonald...
  • Alcohol-Induced Stupidity: Boris Johnson's plan with reopening bars after the Covid-19 pandemic, hoping the British public will drink so much they'll forget how badly he and his government screwed everything up.
  • All-Star Cast: Spoofed in-universe with the cast of the latest Wes Anderson movie, as the announcer gets increasingly baffled by how many big name actors are in it, and wonders just how much money the film has.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Tony Blair, who dumps Cherie as his wife in favour of Robin Cook (who is a guy), and in one speech indicates he's trying desperately to get George Bush's attention.
  • Anachronism Stew: The radio version had a sketch supposedly celebrating the 700th anniversary of The Today Programme, with a look back at the first, which was set in the Hundred Years' War but nonetheless had expies of modern presenters and politicians talking in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. This proved popular enough to get a TV adaptation (which used Newsnight instead).
  • Apple of Discord: Michael Gove spreads malicious rumours wherever he goes.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: In the 2019 election special, the Queen rings up the newly re-elected Boris Johnson to berate him for his many failings — and to thank him for distracting the press's attention from the scandal surrounding Prince Andrew.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • Andrew Marr inadvertently and suddenly evolves into a ball of light mid-newscast.
    • Jeremy Corbyn does this too by having a solid position on Brexit, distorting reality and becoming "Quantum Jezza" - a sentient orb of light.
  • Asymmetric Dilemma: Liz Truss trying to get a trade deal with one country muses they might not have phones, so maybe Britain could sell them phones. Except Britain doesn't make phones either. So they could get another country to sell them phones... Truss doesn't notice the gaps in logic here.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: In Jacob Rees-Mogg's attempt to disguise himself as a woman with the pseudonym "Annunziata" to gain popularity from the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage falls in love with him and proposes marriage.
  • Audience Participation: During a live show in Cardiff, Jon Culshaw was doing an impression of Tony Blair referring to a controversial incident during a Labour Party conference in which a protester was thrown out. A few members of the audience made an unpredicted contribution, to which he responded fully in character.
    Tony Blair (Culshaw): The stewards involved were working on the advice of the security services.
    Audience members: Bullshit!
    Tony Blair (Culshaw): We live in a society where you are free to say that and I welcome it.
  • Award Snub: Discussed in-universe when the main characters of Normal People note how the male lead was nominated for a BAFTA for his portrayal of a monosyllabic, horny teenager while the female lead wasn't, despite being exactly as monosyllabic and horny. The male lead figures she just wasn't horny enough. They decide to try and prove BAFTA wrong by having more sex.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A recurring joke in the first radio series was situations going contrary to what usually happened in real life (The British football team playing well, Irish politicians politely agreeing with one another), only for it to turn out to be a Heineken advert.
  • Become a Real Boy: Matt Hancock's ultimate desire is to become one, capable of real emotion. So far, no luck.
  • Berserk Button: Penelope Wilton initially tries to run a nicer, gentler replacement to The Jeremy Kyle show, right up until her guests say they don't like tea. Then she encourages the audience to yell abuse at them.
  • The Bet: The hosts of The Today Program are forced to admit that they, and indeed everyone else in the business, are only there because of bets made while drunk.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The cast of Downton Abbey are saved from poverty by Rishi Sunak bursting in at the absolute last second with a million pound grant.
  • Big "NO!": The only way to get Sir Keir Starmer to say "no" in any form.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: One episode of the radio series has a BBC Radio 3 host calmly explaining how nice they are, compared to the "Ninth circle of hell" that is listening to Radio 4. Dead Ringers is broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
    • Dead Ringers takes LOADS of digs at Radio 4 programmes and presenters, especially during earlier seasons.
  • Black Comedy: The 2017 special, as one might imagine of a special revolving entirely around the subject of Britain being nuked.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • "Yet Another History Program", presented by Simon Sharma.
    • "Yet Another Historical Drama", which in no way resembles Pride & Prejudice.
    • Ceebeebies The Brightly Coloured Blobs, who resemble kids shows such as the Tweenies, but in a way that "doesn't infringe copyright".
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The Speaker for the House of Commons, John Bercow, assuring all that rumours of bullying in the House are lies. They aren't wedgies, or swirlies, but time-honoured institutional ceremonies.
    • Theresa May is thrilled for Boris Johnson's victory in the 2019 election. Absolutely thrilled. Especially after he quit over her EU withdrawal proposal, then turned around and stole it. That's why she's digging her fingers into her skin deep enough to draw blood.
  • The Bore:
    • Jeremy Hunt tries getting a job as an anaesthetic. He's capable of putting patients to sleep, but also inadvertently knocks out the doctors as well.
    • Gyles Brandreth becomes the new villain of Killing Eve when the show is retooled to appeal to old folks, declaring he will kill people through tediously twee segments about knitting sweaters.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When Andrew Neil's show gets cancelled, he turns up on The One Show, where Alex Jones introduces her show's guests, which include... DIANE ABBOTT!
  • Boxed Crook: Delia Smith gets arrested after it turns out she's a serial-killer, but the police release her to help track down another serial-killer, who drains men of their bodily fluids. Or Nigella, as she's otherwise known.
  • Bowdlerise: Thora Hird's Nice History, "where we refuse to dwell on the unpleasant side of life". Including examples of Henry VIII actually being married to the same wife for his entire life, or a contingent of Roundheads and Royalists meeting atop a hill to have a lovely picnic.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A panic-buying Jeremy Paxman and Kirstie Allsop try threatening Ross Kemp into giving up his own panic bought supplies. He gets them to back off.
  • Captain Obvious: Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand's role in Match of the Day is to either spout utter gibberish, or this. Usually Alan more than Rio.
  • Catchphrase: Many, e.g.:
    Tony Blair: PEO-PLE...... of Britain... (begins running commentary describing his hand movements). Later changes to "[derogatory remark] of Britain", after Blair's popularity sunk.
    Linda Barker: Which we think works really really well!
    Matt Smith of Go 4 It (not that one): Ace!
    George W. Bush: My fellow... ("Invertebrates", "Umbrellastands", anything but "Americans".)
    John Humphries: And the time is coming up to... (some bizarre number or concept like 'eleventy-umpteen past banana' - referring to how Humphries famously would read the time out incorrectly and convince millions of drivers they were late for work)
    Greg Dyke: My name is Greg Dyke! And I am director general of the BBC!
    Boris Johnson: *random noises mostly consisting of "fwah"*
    Harry Kane:'s a dream come true, really.
    Nigel Farage: No no no, let me speak!
    Donald Trump: 'Losers!' or 'Bigly big!' or 'Fake news!'
    Theresa May: I can't come to the phone right now, because [comment based on her recent activities]
    David Davis: 'Brexit Bulldog here' and 'they didn't reckon with the master negotiator!' and 'long story short, PM, [insert current over-the-top dilemma here]'.
    Jean-Claude Junker: [word that rhymes with] Hue!
    Andrew Neil: 'Joining me this week is [2 mythological, fantastical or otherwise ridiculous figures]... and DIANE ABBOTT!!!'
    Diane Abbott: [in response] 'Andwrooh...'
    Liz Truss: Am I right?! I know!
  • Chameleon Camouflage: According to John Mcdonnell, it had become Labour Party policy to turn invisible by changing colour when nervous. He also squirts the host with a jet of ink when asked scary questions.
  • Character Filibuster: John MacDonald has to repeatedly restrain himself from launching into socialist rants at the drop of a hat, to no real success no matter how hard he tries.
  • Characterization Marches On: The first episodes of the TV series portray Delia Smith as being boring and out of touch. A few episodes later, she's an Ax-Crazy murderer who kills other TV chefs so as to free up the TV schedules for her own show.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: When Jeremy Corbyn asks DIANE ABBOTT what there is about the Tories he can talk about that will not get slammed as hypocritical, she immediately declares the podcast over for the week.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Michael Gove is depicted as a self-serving creep who plays everyone against one another and spreads malicious gossip.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • The Doctor, at least in how he is perceived by all the people he rings up. (Except, of course, Tom Baker, who is immediately on the same page.)
    • Former England football team manager Sven Erikson, who's so bizarre Kirsty Wark is momentarily taken aback.
    • The first series of the TV show portrays Queen Elizabeth II as a scatter-brained old lady "who holds all the great answers without realising it", after the Paul Burrell affair.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: One of David Davis' zany schemes actually works, namely his idea of putting a DeLorean on the M25 and getting it up to 88 MPH to go back in time and prevent Britain joining the EU in the first place... because it turns out if you drive like crazy, you can achieve 88 MPH on the M25. Also, he does manage to time-travel.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When BBC Radio 4 burns down, a fireman tries to save some of the workers, only for them to miss the point of his trying to do his job, and try and psychoanalyse him instead.
    • One of Tony Blair's schemes is to replace fire engines with clown cars, despite Kirsty Wark pointing out that clown cars can only go a few feet before exploding in a hilarious bang. Blair confidently states that this will make them better than the Green Goddesses note .
    • Danny Dyer, after the incident in which he referred to David Cameron as a c-word, spends one episode dramatically bursting in on people, assuming that by swearing at them he's solving everyone's problems as he "solved" Brexit.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Jeremy Corbyn's response to Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, betraying the principles of Corbyn's vision of the Labour Party by taking a stance on something is... to assign Tom to be part of the Shadow Cabinet until the end of time.
  • Counting Sheep: Sarah Sanders tries getting rid of Donald Trump this way. Unfortunately for her need to sleep, he becomes horrified by how many sheep there are.
  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes:
    • "Penelope Wilton Talks You Through the Apocalypse", wherein Penelope Wilton convinces the listeners that horrific nuclear bombardment is nicer than it seems.
    • "I'm Huw Edwards, comfort blanket for the news."
    • In the End of the Decade special, the Beeb tries to invoke this with "Penelope Wilton Makes the 2010s Sound Lovely", telling her this is her thing. She can't even get in a sentence before deciding to give up and get the hell out of there.
    • In one episode, Penelope gets into a cozy-off with a Radio 3 presenter, Petroc Trelawney. She wins.
  • Creator-Driven Successor: The Impressions Show, which features Jon Culshaw very prominently.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Queen Elizabeth the II, faced with the destruction of all Great Britain, says to them that in the end, Earth was her third favourite planet.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mark Lawson, during his time as host of Newsnight Review. Given the personalities he's stuck with, it's not hard to see why.
    Mark Lawson: (after a particular bout of nonsense from Germaine Greer) Right, we're knocking on Broadmoor's door but they won't let us in...
  • Delayed Reaction:
    • David Davis crows to Theresa May over the phone about finally having secured all the Brexit conditions he ever wanted and more, having not gathered that the French PM's nervous and hurried responses were more because he was trying to get to a nuclear bunker, and that in short order those demands were very much about to be null and void. Then what he's caused sinks in.
    • By 2021, it is government policy to only respond to questions after two weeks. So when Michael Gove is on Newsnight, he answers questions he'd been asked on Desert Island Disks, but in a way that sounds like he's responding to the questions anyway.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host:
    • The BBC's desperate attempts to find a replacement for Angus Deayton fail when it turns out that their last hope, Pudsey the Bear, is also a coke-snorting fiend.
    • One of the Brightly Coloured Blobs turns out to also being doing drugs.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Dominic Cummings, the true leader of the Boris Johnson government.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Could describe any one of David Davis' "ideas", but his resignation brings it to new heights - resign, wait for Theresa May to miss him, and get abducted to work for the government again a la The Prisoner. May doesn't miss a beat before replacing Davis, who locks himself in his car trunk while waiting, and is still inside when it's dragged off, because he parked on a double red line.
  • Disguised in Drag:
    • A ludicrous scheme of David Davis' has him disguising himself as a woman to marry the French president and get half of Europe's money in a divorce settlement. Things start going wrong when his taxi driver mistakes Davis for a stripper...
    • Annunziata Rees-Mogg is just Jacob in disguise in an attempt to court the UKIP crowd by dressing as a woman. It somewhat backfires when Nigel Farage falls in love with him and proposes marriage, leading on to Attractive Bent-Gender.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Why is Theresa May so hell bent on Brexit? As she reveals, when she was a child, she tried running through a corn field, only to be caught and admonished by the field's owner. So, she devised a plan to get Britain out of the EU, destroying British agriculture, solely to get back at him, which she regards as entirely worth it.
    • Jean-Claude Junker swears that if he hears the word "backstop" one time too many, after discussion on the Irish Backstop, he'll sink Finland.
    • Turns out Rishi Sunak's grudge against theatre is because as a kid, he wasn't allowed to be in the school play by his teacher, so now he's going to annihilate British theatre. He's mollified when the National Treasures point out this sort of petty grudge-holding is the very essence of British theatre.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Invoked on commentary for the England team's performance in the 2018 world cup, where one of the commentators asks his fellows to repeat each other, "just a little bit differently". Including special guest commentators Jedi Master Yoda.
  • The Ditz: Transport Minister for the May government Chris Grayling, who actually seems unable to tell when people are speaking to him, and makes increasingly idiotic decisions regarding transport to cover up his previous cock-ups.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Nigella Lawson's habit of "sexing up" her cooking is parodied, when she gets bored and decides to sex up doing her taxes, or cleaning the toilet.
    • Fiona Bruce tends to introduce herself with one.
    • Rishi Sunak explaining how he's going to furlough the ladies of Britain. Furlough them 'till they can't get enough.
  • Downer Ending: The 2017 special ends with Great Britain being nuked into oblivion, and worse, Michael Gove survives.
  • Dreadful Musician: The Sing Something Simple Singers were regularly featured on the show's version of Crimewatch for "murdering hundreds of innocent songs".
    • Musical Assassin: After being dropped by The BBC, they were turfed out onto the streets and got tough to survive, as illustrated by some Lyrical Dissonance-
      Fill this holdall with money
      Or we'll blow you and the customers away!
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: When Matt Smith (not that one) left Go 4 It, the radio version interpreted this by having him told by his producer to "investigate what it's like inside a sack", after which he was bundled into a van and thrown into a river.
    I'm drowning! Only joking. No, I'm not. (Glub, glub, glub.) ... ... ...Ace.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first Good Boris / Bad Boris sketch portrays Good and Bad as physically separate individuals, rather than the form of split personality as it is later.
  • Eleventy Zillion: Priti Patel is incapable of using real numbers in any circumstances.
  • Epic Fail: David Davis and a team of supporters try to survive on purely British goods on the wild streets of Solihull. They fail miserably.
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: The whole point of "Normal People", in between irritatingly sparse snippets of dialogue, represented with the sound of springs creaking. Even when a badly miscast Ian Mackellen has managed to get the role of lead male...
  • Evil Brit: Spoofed with "Alan Rickman Plays The Bad Guy In Every American Film".
  • Eviler than Thou: Priti Patel states watching Suella Braverman at work that she now knows how Loki felt after meeting Thanos (after a sketch of other comic book movie villains sulkily complaining about being out-done by later villains).
  • Evil Laugh: Nicola Sturgeon's response to England losing the UEFA World Cup in 2021 on penalties is several seconds of taunting laughter.
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • Jeremy Corbyn is portrayed as one, even in the face of total nuclear annihilation, wanting to try and get the missiles to engage in talks.
    • Theresa May, who complies with every decision Arlene Foster hands down, regardless of how potentially provocative it might be.
    • Sir Keir Starmer is so confrontation averse than Angela Raynor tries firing off hypothetical scenarios that might provoke a response from him, but gives up in frustration.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The senior Tory leadership decide that in a choice between nuclear fire or being locked in a bunker forever with Michael Gove, they'd rather take their chances with the nuke.
  • Faux Horrific:
    • One sketch has a show revolving around Directory Inquiries, and their desperate quest to prevent people being mildly inconvenienced.
    • Ross Kemp going into a barber's shop, which he treats as worse than dealing with terrorists or gangsters. He figures if it weren't for his bald head, he might not have escaped alive.
    • The BBC covers the heartbreaking story of a dad who, thanks to COVID-19, cannot dad-dance at his daughter's wedding. Huw Edwards is nearly reduced to tears.
  • Fetch Quest: Gandalf keeps sending Frodo on epic quests... to fetch things like milk and cigarettes ("But don't tell Bilbo! He thinks I've given up.")
  • Film at 11: Kirsty Walk's intro to Newsnight, often Waxing Lyrical about a stranger story coming later. "I've got something to put in you, I've got something to put in you, at the gay bar, gay bar. More on that story later."
  • Flat Joy:
    • Andy Murray says everything in a robotic monotone.
    • The Archers as written by AI has all the actors read their awkward, stilted dialogue with no emotional inflection. Once the actors realise this, they get the proper script... and read the same dialogue again, just with some emotional inflection.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • An in-universe version has a bored Gil Grissom of CSI decide to imitate Sam Tyler of Life on Mars (2006) and get hit by a car in the hopes it takes him to a simpler time. Which it does. But it also takes him into the world of Miss Marple instead.
    • Another in-universe one, when the BBC outright admit that they'll do what they always do when another network comes up with a popular idea: "nick it!"
  • Forced Transformation:
    • Tetchy Jeremy uses his powers to turn Andrew Neil into a toad, after he asks Jeremy about his Brexit strategy too many times. DIANE ABBOTT simply remarks how she thought it would make more of a difference.
    • The Apprentice was parodied as The Sorcerer's Apprentice, with Alan Sugar as a wizard who fires candidates by turning them into toads.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: President Trump tries to tell children about Hansel and Gretel, recast as immigrant children arrested by the "wise" king ("with huuuuge hands!"). The story doesn't have an ending, because he hadn't thought of one, and has gone waaay off-story long before then.
  • Franchise Zombie:
    • Invoked when the characters of Stranger Things encounter Patrick Stewart time-travelling to warn them that as actors in a popular sci-fi franchise they'll be doing spin-offs and sequels into extreme old age, backed up by Harrison Ford.
    • Similarly, a trailer for the newest Mission Impossible film is unclear whether they're at movie eight or nine.
  • Global Ignorance:
    • Press secretaries at the White House have to deal with Trump thinking Jerusalem is in Britain.
    • Liz Truss calls up Boris Johnson to tell him her research on Wikipedia has turned up an amazing discovery - all the major nations taking part in UEFA are super-rich, having things that Britain could trade with them, and have a system set up to make this incredibly easy, some sort of... European Union.
  • Grumpy Old Man: King Charles the III, who phones up Camilla in the night to grumble and complain about stuff. She has to remind him that his Christmas speech has to be uplifting and motivational, and not just him moaning about personal bugbears.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: A recurring sketch has Ian MacKellen and Alan Rickman fighting over who gets to be the resident Evil Brit, ultimately resulting in them shooting each other to death. Literal ham-to-ham combat.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • David Beckham was depicted as being fairly dim off the football pitch, but displays occasional moments of cutting insight or cultural depth.
    • Similarly, Alan Shearer when it looks like England might, might win the UEFA Cup suddenly comes out with pointing out the flaws in asking whether anyone dares to dream, since dreaming is a product of the subconcious mind.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: After Boris Johnson and the Tories win the 2019 election handily, BBC Political Editor Laura Kueensberg is bored by the lack of political controversy when they win every vote in the Commons, and sulkily mutters she never should've helped them win.
  • Hostile Show Takeover:
    • A running sketch in series 19 is Nigel Farage trying to take over British TV shows, and getting driven out for being obnoxious.
    • The Today Program gets taken over by Trump, who installs Fox News in its place. Then John Humphries and Martha Carney take it back by force.
    • When the hosts of The Today Program go on strike, they're replaced by army soldiers chanting out "Thought for the Day".
  • Human Sacrifice: Trump's visit to the fictional locales of Britain comes to an end when, after being refused by the people of Balamory, he visits the charming little island of Summerisle, where the locals make a giant wicker man for him to enjoy their local festival in...
  • Hurricane of Excuses: The British football team, circa the turn of the century, had excuses for just about damn near everything as to why they were so terrible, to the extent they started running out, and had to blame badgers invading the pitch.
  • The Hyena: Allison Hammond's maniacal cackle. Sometimes it's just laughing away the horror, other times... it's just what she does instead of speaking, and her co-workers have to interpret what it means.
  • Hypocrite: Ross Kemp covers a bunch of celebrities panic-buying and fighting one another for food in a Waitrose. Then Jeremy Paxman and Kirstie Allsop notice he's got a trolley filled with Kinder Eggs. Ross makes it clear pressing this issue would be dangerous.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • The original radio series has Alan Bennett condemning some aspect of modern media, followed by him and Thora Hird doing the exact same thing (e.g. speaking out against violence, then throwing the radio out the window).
    • The Newsnight Review segments have the reviewers criticizing The Cat in the Hat, then speaking in Dr. Seuss-esque rhyme as they describe just how much they didn't like the film, or criticizing the selfish and unpleasant contestants of Celebrity Big Brother, then acting exactly like them ("they just talk about themselves all the time. Would I do that? Me? Talk about myself? Would I do that?")
    • Jeremy and Diane's Labour Podcast has a bad run when DIANE ABBOTT keeps reacting instinctively to statements Corbyn makes that apply just as well to him.
    • Gardener's Question Time reassures the audience it's a safe-refuge from the constant Brexit tedium... then the panel get into a no-confidence vote.
    • One sketch has the Downton Abbey movie scolding The Crown for playing fast and loose with historical accuracy. Then it engages in some serious Anachronism Stew of its own.
  • I Am the Noun: Laura Kueensberg declares "I am the chaos" when revealing she engineered Theresa May's challenge to make news.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: In order to prove he's more hard-line Brexit than Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt is asked what increasingly psychotically evil deeds he'd commit, including kitten-murdering and stabbing orphans with blunt scissors. He still gets rejected by the hard-liners for not being psychotic enough.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Jacob Reese-Mogg routinely gets visits from three ghosts trying to get him to change his ways. He just has his underfootman suck them up with a vacuum.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Delia Smith, who brutally murders other chefs with a machete, then cooks their remains on TV.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: BBC political commentator Laura Kueensberg gets really animated on hearing her coworkers talk about Brexit.
  • Immoral Reality Show: Love Island goes rogue, ignores the Offcom complaints, and starts driving its contestants to suicidal despair, putting them in shark-infested hot tubs by holding their loved ones hostage, and releasing anthrax on the contestants.
  • Improbable Weapon User: One sketch has Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting with baguettes.
    Your baking products are weak, old man.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: One sketch has Obi-Wan Kenobi calling a hotel to book a room. He inquires if the room will be well lit (last time he stayed there, the room was a little on the Dark Side), and notes that he may have a number of policemen with him (the force is with him).
  • Indubitably Uninteresting Individual: Sir Keir Starmer is so confrontation-averse and yet desperate to curry favour with Tory voters he is unimaginably bland even when he tries to be interesting, much to Angela Rayner's frustration.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: DIANE ABBOTT defends the serving of spirits on Eurostar, saying that needing relief from the living hell that is their life is the inalienable right of every Shadow Cabinet member.
  • Inherently Funny Words:
    • Invoked and weaponized by Alan Bennett, who declares no-one can out-whimsy him saying "macaroons".
    • Rishi Sunak keeps saying the word "package" because he really likes saying it. Of course, since it's Rishi Sunak, there might be other reasons...
  • Inelegant Blubbering: The crew of The Repair Shop run into trouble when a man called Boris brings in 2020 and asks them to fix it for him. None of them can so much as look at 2020 without bursting into sobbing.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Jeremy Clarkson's argument against driving trains to work. After all, if everyone drove trains, where would they park them?
    • In the End of the Decade special, the hosts of The Tonight Program note that there's been a full decade of Tory government, which might be responsible for the situation Britain is in... but they're going to ignore that and find a way to blame Labour instead.
  • Insistent Terminology: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to see the mass resignations from the Labour Party under his leadership as resignations, but rather "conscious unshuffling". (A reference to Gwyneth Paltrow and Music/Coldplay's Chris Martin declaring their divorce a "conscious uncoupling".)
  • Intercontinuity Crossover:
  • I Reject Your Reality:
    • After stepping down as PM, Theresa May admits in an interview that she takes absolutely anything, up to and including staring at a dog's butt, as proof that Britain wants Brexit.
    • DIANE ABBOTT and Jeremy Corbyn refuse to acknowledge their truly disastrous showing in the 2019 election, Jeremy grumbling about the BBC's bias of showing the actual election results to the whole country.
    • During the 2022 world cup, Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand insist England has a chance of winning after they've already lost the tournament, much to Gary Lineker's confusion.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Clarence the Angel shows David Cameron what Britain in 2018 would've been like if he'd never been born... it's a peaceful, quiet utopia, with families happily gathered together at Christmas, not divided by xenophobia over "immigrants" or fear over economic damage, and Nigel Farage has buggered off into obscurity. Cameron completely misses the point, and celebrates all the damage his actions have caused.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Theresa May, depicted hiding from angry Brits, or whining about how austerity hasn't worked for her, and as a result she's lost her job and wound up in an abusive relationship with the leader of the D.U.P.
    • Ian MacKellen states this is the true purpose of British theatre; casting him in things, even when they're roles he's maybe not suited for, like twenty year olds.
  • It's Been Done: Sort of. After Kayne West declared his intention to run for President of the US, and rule the country "like Wakanda", Trump holds a press conference to state he'd already based his presidency off a movie. Namely, Airplane!.
  • Jackass Genie:
    • The true source of Theresa May's becoming prime minister is a cursed monkey paw, as she bitterly laments once everything's gone tits up.
    • The Beeb's response to being asked for nice, fluffy, light-hearted programs to wile away the English summer is yet more bleak and miserable shows from Jimmy McGovern.
    Announcer: Never ask us for anything again.
  • Jekyll & Hyde:
    • A newly "nice" Michael Gove gets torn between his new persona and the old, vindictive backstabbing "bad" Gove. Bad Gove wins out.
    • Boris Johnson becomes split between Good Boris (or at least sane Boris) and Bad Boris. The former tries to at least present himself as charming and reasonable, whereupon the later bursts into the room, spouts off gibberish and says whatever comes to mind, which is usually inflammatory or offensive.
    • Then it turns out Winston Churchill had the same problem, though Bad Churchill is less of a Talkative Loon than Bad Boris, and both Churchills agree that he's awful.
  • Jerkass:
    • Why does Gandalf keep sending on long, tedious quests for mundane items? Because, as he freely admits, he's a bastard.
    • The 2018 special has various British celebrities, such as Ian Mackellan and Sir Patrick Stewart, condescendingly trying to explain the whole Brexit thing to "you normal people" (i.e., anyone who's not rich).
    • Jeremy Paxman hosting a Covid-19 special of University Challenge. He's utterly unsympathetic to the contestants, who've been stuck inside for months, generally rude, and gloats about how he can go out and about.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Michael Portillo watches as Chris Grayling, massively unpopular Transport Minister for the May government, is torn limb from limb by a crowd of pissed-off Northerners after too many five-hour delays, and gloats that he (Portillo)'s partially responsible for this situation due to helping privatise British Rail in his politics days, as he escapes with one of Grayling's legs.
    • Queen Elizabeth points out to Prince Andrew that his punishment for his misdeeds will be... getting to live a life of absolute privilege and luxury.
  • Large Ham: BBC political correspondent Laura Kueensberg, frequently going mad and hammy, especially when she's done something evil.
    Kueensberg: I'm off to Europe to meet with Michel Barnier. Hope he doesn't accidentally meet with a sex scandal! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
  • Latex Perfection: Olivia Colman manages to infiltrate the headquarters of the National Treasures, disguised as a working class northerner, with none of them noticing until she takes her mask off.
  • Loan Shark: Tony Blair falls for a late-night add, getting Britain into massive debt with a bunch of sharks who charge a 20% per month increase, forcing him to put John Prescott up as collateral. If he misses one payment, the gangsters threaten to cut off one of his incomprehensible sentences and mail it to Blair.
  • Look Ma, I Am on TV!: It once had a sketch where John Prescott does this.
  • Lost in Character: Olivia Colman discovers a little too late that any actress who plays Queen Elizabeth II becomes convinced they are Her Maj, just as Claire Foy and Helen Mirren did.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Parodied when Darth Vader turns out to be... Prince Philip ("Elizabeth, I am your husband.").
  • Malaproper: George Bush and John Prescott.
  • Mama Bear: Thanks to Ross Kemp casting himself as the Queen Mother (insisting it was the "next logical step" for him), a re-enactment has her intervening in the Edward and Wallis Simpson incident to make them break up, solely so Edward won't abdicate and therefore force his younger brother to become king.
  • Manchild:
    • George W. Bush, who declares war not on Iraq, but Tie-Rack, as well as the cast of Sesame Street, much to his aide's despair.
    • Donald Trump, who as president repeatedly phones his underling at four in the morning with frivolous demands or concerns, usually ending by asking for a bedtime story.
  • Man on Fire: John Prescott, a Grade 2 Listed Politician, accidentally and tragically burns to the ground when two of his unintelligible sentences rub into one another and catch fire.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • The cast of Line of Duty react with alarm when they learn the series has received another episode, for a variety of reasons, not least not knowing what the hell's supposed to be going on any more than anyone watching.
    • The Archers cast, with many, many, many potshots at the show, and the characters themselves find the show boring and monotonous. In the last episode of the Lockdown series, they manage to accidentally break the show's sound effects (since, being The Archers, the sound effects guy is an old man, and therefore can't work Zoom, so having more than one character on-stage kills him).
  • Motormouth: British money-saving guru Martin Lewis's gag is bursting in to deliver ludicrously complicated advice delivered so fast it's impossible to keep up.
  • Mr. Fanservice: After Rishi Sunak became a sex symbol on twitter, a 2020 episode has him trying to explain to an interviewer he has no idea how this happened, when all he did was talk sexily about how he was going to care for people, and provide for them...
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    • A Running Gag on the radio version has Andrew Neil introducing his three guests, which run something like "A jellyfish with an arts degree; Davros, creator of the Daleks... and DIANE ABBOTT!". Abbott is introduced with a greater degree of incredulity each time.
    • One of the first sketches about the Thirteenth Doctor has her talking to her friends, "and Bradley Walsh, for some reason."
    • Newcasts introducing Matt Hancock tend to do so like this... only without the "friends" part, such as calling him "that guy in the stag party you don't remember inviting".
  • My New Gift Is Lame: One of the hosts of Newsnight Review complains about his Christmas gift, a Buckaroo, not because (as Germaine Greer assumes) it's a representation of the detritus of modern civilisation, but because Mariella Frostrop got an X-Box, and he didn't.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Jeremy Corbyn actually reaching a concrete decision on a second Brexit referendum violates the Exclusion Principle and rips open a hole in space and time.
  • Nervous Wreck:
    • Nadhim Zahawi, when he's the Vaccines Minister for the Johnson government. He has no idea how to do his job, or even how vaccines are supposed to work (much less if they do). A few weeks later, he's gone completely nuts.
    • Hamzah Yousef. So much so King Charles wonders if he's a "Theresa May tribute act".
  • Never My Fault: In the 2020 Christmas special, Sir Keir Starmer is pestered by Jeremy Corbyn and DIANE ABOTT carolling at his door, passive-aggressively trying to make Sir Keir let Jeremy back into the Labour party rather than apologise for the anti-semitism controversy. Sir Keir asks Jeremy why he can't just apologise.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: The one thing that'll actually get Sir Keir Starmer angry is mussing up his hair.
  • Non-Answer: Sir Keir is incapable of saying "yes" or "no" to anything, and is proud of the fact he's managed to avoid using those words since he was a child. Unless the prospect of letting Jeremy Corbyn back in comes up.
  • Noodle Incident: One sketch revolves around various celebrities and personages pledging their sympathy and sorrow for "a very terrible thing", only for everyone to lose interest when it's mentioned it happened a long way away, and no Westerners were involved.
  • No-Sell:
    • Darth Vader's attempt to force choke a Geordie worker fails, because as another builder points out, no Geordie has a neck.
    • A nuke does absolutely nothing to David Dickinson, or his tan.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Sean Bean, acting as a scouser, refuses to change his accent because he's Sean Bean, even though his warned that since it's a Jimmy McGovern piece, if he doesn't he'll be beaten up.
    Sean Bean: If I didn't do a Sheffield accent, I wouldn't be Sean Bean.
  • Not Helping Your Case: The Fifteenth Doctor is pulled over by the Time Police on suspicion of having stolen his TARDIS and possession of cannabis. His protestations of innocence aren't helped by the Fourth Doctor showing up to recover the cannabis.
  • Not Hyperbole:
    • When John MacDonald talks about Brexit deals on the table, he actually means a table wherein all the potential ideas are being kept, which he drags with him everywhere.
    • Alan Bennett gets into trouble with the law when it turns out his proclamation he'd kill for a Viennese Whirl wasn't exaggeration.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Joan Bakeswell has to explain to the listeners of BBC Radio 4 that she is listing the name of Kayne West's children, and that they haven't accidentally skipped onto the Shipping Forecast instead.
  • Not Me This Time: In the 2017 special, it initially appears that Donald Trump has started a nuclear war. Halfway through the program, it turns out the White House staff thought ahead, and replaced the Big Red Button with one that summons diet coke, a bucket of KFC and a swim-suit model. The real culprit is David Davis' stupidity.
  • Not So Above It All: Speaker for the House of Commons John Bercow gets increasingly annoyed by MPs comparing absolutely everything to Love Island... until it turns out he's in the same boat.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Kirsty Wark is horrified when Ed Milliband returns from obscurity to point out potential Tory leader Rory Stewart is essentially him all over again.
    • King Charles is equally horrified when after Scottish First Minister Hamzah Yousef describe how he got the job to realise the man basically is him.
  • Nuke 'em:
    • In the very first sketch on the first episode, Iraq is nuked by the weapons inspector, David Dickinson, accidentally setting off an antique nuke.
    • As a result of an insulting tweet, Kim Jong-un launches several nukes at Britain. The One Show hosts remain cheerily blasé about the total annihilation facing them, and the nuclear winter to follow.
  • Oop North: Spoofed with the grimmiest, Northern-iest drama possible; Nadine Dorries trying to get herself into the House of Lords.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Reunion, as part of its premise of reunite two people in the hopes they won't get along, manages to get together Germaine Greer, and... Germaine Greer from the '60s. The former regards her past self as a hippie twit who needs to get laid, and the later regards her future self as an obnoxious old sellout and refuses to become her.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Sir David Attenborough's reaction to finding Theresa May in the Antarctic, huddled among Emperor Penguins as she tries to convince them that her latest Brexit deal is a good thing. He and his film crew break out the beer and popcorn.
  • Poke the Poodle:
    • Tom Watson's idea of protesting Jeremy Corbyn's leadership is to, a few minutes before the end of a meeting, mumble something about going to the loo and walk out. Possibly even going to the loo while he's at it.
    • Having gotten on to GB News and asked to say something anti-woke, the most DIANE ABBOTT and Michael Portillo can muster is saying they don't like lemon drizzle cake. Andrew Neil concedes this is still more controversial than anything anyone else has managed.
  • Politeness Judo: After learning about a Terrible Thing That Happened, the leaders of Britain's Tory and Liberal Democrat parties get into an on-air competition over who is more appalled.
  • The Pollyanna: Liz Truss, in her bungling as trade secretary of the Johnson government, is endlessly and obliviously cheerful about her trade deals, regardless of how terrible they are. She gets more delusional as time goes on, and worse still on being made PM.
  • Prank Call: The radio version did a few of these: the Fourth Doctor phoning (real) Directory Enquiries in search of the Master is particularly memorable, especially the one where the operator suggested that he might need the international directory.
  • Rage Quit: Tetchy Jeremy "flounces out" of an interview with Andrew Neil when the latter keeps asking him if he has a strategy on Brexit.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Tony Blair describing his mannerisms after every sentence ("Angry forehead, pointy finger!")
  • Real Dreams are Weirder: Harry Kane uses the catchphrase "it's a dream come true", but eventually admits that because so many of his dreams have therefore come true, he's not got many left, saves ones where he's just eating nutella in a taxi.
  • Recycled In Space: The Ninth Doctor complains that while he was intense, the Tenth is just "Jarvis Cocker in space!"
  • Redeeming Replacement: Sir Keir Starmer, 2020 leader of the Labour Party, with David Attenbrough treating him like a rare zoological specimen - an electable Labour leader. He's also hounded by Ed Miliband, who's baffled by the notion of someone who doesn't screw up at every turn.
  • Replacement Goldfish: How does Theresa May cope with the resignation of both David Davis and Boris Johnson, and the subsequent loss of their political acumen? She appoints a wobbly hatstand and an inflatable baby painted orange. Problem momentarily solved.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: As Sarah Huckabee Sanders learns, even quitting doesn't save her from 3 AM phone calls from President Trump, who - unable to accept a woman saying "no" to him - considers her still part of his staff, just as an unpaid adviser.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Jean-Claude Junker expresses his frustration at the interminable Brexit process by complaining in sentences that end with words rhyming with Huw Edward's first name.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Gordon Brown in later series, though on one occasion he starts juddering and yelling "EXTERMINATE" a lot...
  • Rooting for the Empire: In-universe. Theresa May watches an episode of The Walking Dead, and takes the side of the zombies, seeing an awful lot of herself in them.
  • Running Gag:
    • Where David Davis treads, mention of a Toblerone is not far behind.
    • Sajid Javid is incapable of going more than a sentence without reminding folk his father was a Pakistani bus-driver.
    • Andrew Neil always introduces Diane Abbott in a disbelieving tone, with the introductions getting increasingly outlandish by the episode. Meanwhile, Andrew Neil always introduces himself by stating he's not actually human ("I'm Andrew Neil, brought to you by Jim Henson's Children's Television Workshop." / "custard that has become sentient and tried to assume human form.")
    • Rylan Clark (whose Verbal Tic is repeatedly greeting people with "babes") trying to do an interview with a like-mannered celebrity (like Stacey Solomon or Adele) but ending up with both of them greeting each other in said manner over and over.
  • Rule of Three:
    • The 2018 special has someone in a desolate area (the Antarctic, Mars, the plains of Mordor), only for Theresa May to show up, trying to convince whoever's there that her Brexit deal works.
    • Gogglebox tries showing reactions to yet more tedious Brexit news. The first family has run off down the pub, the second has destroyed their TV and fled the house. The third have gouged out their eyes and moved to Pyongyang.
    • Andrew Neil always starts his show by introducing three guests, the first two of which are increasingly ridiculous, outrageous or even completely fictional things, but the third and most unbelievable guest of all is always... DIANE ABBOT!!
  • Sarcasm-Blind: After Andrew Neil grumbles about how he's not angry about how the Beeb cancelled his interview show, and how they're clearly not lurching from disaster to disaster, shredding their reputation, Alex Jones takes him sincerely.
  • Saying Too Much: Angela Raynor manages to reveal herself on a Newsnight interview as a whistleblower despite her voice being altered by saying "my party" rather than "the party". That said, even voice alteration could only do so much to disguise her very distinctive accent.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: David Davis eventually takes a look at the political situation, and decides to do whatever everyone else has - leave. Funnily enough, two weeks later the real David Davis actually did quit the May government.
  • Serial Escalation: When Rio Ferdinand is on football commentary, he tends to give responses of ever increasing percentages far beyond 100%.
  • Serious Business: A young boy sending a 2000 page letter to Santa Claus for a Playstation 2 is reviewed by the UN, only for Santa himself to overrule their decision, and carpet-bomb the kid's house once he's determined to be naughty.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Their version of art critic Brian Sewell was a walking example of this who occasionally lapsed into Sophisticated as Hell. When faced with the Roving Reporters, who only ever asked these two questions of anyone:
    Roving Reporters: D'you like Eastenders?
    Brian Sewell: No. Eastenders is a cavalcade of parsimonious bleating, bereft of cultural significance on every conceivable level.
    Roving Reporters: D'you like chips?
    Brian Sewell: Bugger off!
  • Setting Update: Spoofed. Thanks to major rail strikes, Murder on the Orient Express becomes Murder on the Replacement Bus Service.
  • Shout-Out: After years, Jeremy Corbyn announces his position on a second EU referendum, which is... forty-two.
  • Shown Their Work: The science fiction references were pretty much all well-researched, especially the Doctor Who ones. All of the Fourth Doctor's jargon refers to actual planets, technologies and so forth not only from the show, but from the period of his tenure.
  • Sickeningly Sweet: With a full month off the airwaves, the hosts of The One Show film segments considered too twee for actual broadcast. Even Gyles Brandreth is taken aback by just how saccharine the proposed segments are.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Not even imminent nuclear war changes Theresa May's stubborn desire to see Brexit through, even though she acknowledges any survivors in the post-apocalyptic wasteland will probably have other things on their minds.
    • Jeremy Corbyn uses his podcast not to discuss political matters, or a second referendum, but rather important topics like bus cues, bus timetables, bus fares, and what noise the bells go when you press them.
    • After May's leadership challenge, John MacDonald explains his and Corbyn's refusal to do act on this in these terms.
    MacDonald: Jeremy and I didn't get into power to make decisions. We got into power to cling on to niche issues at the very fringe of public consciousness!
  • Small Name, Big Ego: David Davis believes he's a master negotiator, when in fact he's a moronic twit who's blustering actions get him into further and further trouble, with him oblivious all the while.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: In one sketch, Tony Blair turns out to be a conman, who's duped the people of Great Britain and stolen all their money, and plans to go for an easier target next time, by spinning a globe around. His choice? America.
  • Snap Back:
    • After his hip replacement surgery, Andy Murray suddenly feels a new lease on life, showing a greater level of emotional display than ever before... then his maw notices he's on the phone and not training, and yells at him to get back to work. Murray goes right back to his previous monotone.
    • Jeremy Clarkson tries going left-wing for a while, but while filming an episode of The Grand Tour, he tries reviewing a Toyota Prius. He can't even say the words before he snaps back to his normal, Clarkson-y self.
  • Song Parody: "It's Bloody Cold", a song set to the tune of "You're Beautiful".
  • Sophisticated as Hell:
    • Queen Elizabeth, taking Helen Mirren's place on Crimewatch after her role in The Queen.
    One's nicked, you slag.
    • Prior to that, an episode of the first TV series has her remark, on a dog, "it's a good thing she's a bitch, or I'd cut her fucking balls off".
    • Ross Kemp imitating an Australian feminist results in Ross acting like a feminist.
    Ross Kemp: An' I'll tell you somethin' else: Violence against wimmen is the perpetuation of the modern state of the male hegemony! Now get down 'em stairs, you slag!
    • Two minutes with Sajid Javid constantly mentioning his father's occupation is enough to get Kirsty Wark to tell him "awa' and boil yer heid, ya bawbag!"
    • Sir David Attenborough calling a bunch of plastic bottles clogging up the oceans "bellends" after Danny Dyer interrupts Blue Planet to do the same. He admits it's pretty satisfying.
    • Brian Cox doing his usual waxing about the beauty of space, before suddenly saying "and as you know, I'm mad horny for that."
  • Speaking Like Totally Teen:
    • Michael Gove, also known as the Govestor (by himself, mostly), who speaks like a teenaged girl.
    • Liz Truss, and increasingly so with each passing episode.
  • Speak of the Devil:
    • Anne Robinson sabotages an episode of Deal or No Deal by summoning Mr. Blobby on Noel Edmonds.
    • Too many obnoxious noises on an ITV program will summon Jeremy Kyle.
    • Saying the word "Brexit" six times in a political interview will summon the entity known as "Tetchy Jeremy", who has the ability to turn hosts into toads. It doesn't make much of a difference to Andrew Neil, however.
    • Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinard become utterly terrified of mentioning the UEFA final just in case they somehow jinx England's luck, and demand Garry Lineker not say a word.
  • Spiteful Spoiler: In one sketch, Greg Dyke (director-general of the BBC) respond to losing his bid to adapt Agatha Christie's novels, and ITV getting the deal instead, by reading out the ending of every one of them on TV.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: When the real Boris Johnson started toning down his public persona during his bid for Tory leadership and as prime minister, the show parodied this by depicting a caricature of Johnson's public image bursting forth in times of stress in spite of him trying to keep a lid on it.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Theresa May claims that her antics in June 2018 were an attempt to get fired, bugger off to obscurity and live on royalties from her memoirs like David Cameron, and that getting concessions from opposing tories was not the plan at all.
  • The Starscream:
    • Kamala Harris is trying to manipulate the scatter-brained Joe Biden so she can become president, even answering the phone as "president-elect". Joe doesn't notice.
    • Angela Raynor is openly trying to seize control of the Labour Party from Sir Keir, but she's perfectly willing to seize control of Newsnight instead.
  • Stoners Are Funny: A recording of Gardener's Question Time goes a little wrong when a guest brings in a box full of brownies made with this funny herb he had. Most of the panel sample them, and suddenly become more interested in stuffing their faces, staring at garden gnomes for hours or making up songs about garden gnomes.
  • The Stool Pigeon: One of the Brightly Coloured Blobs gets into trouble when his actor reveals one of them is doing drugs, violating his non-disclosure agreement, and prompting the Beeb to get Uncle Bullethead and Uncle Bonebreaker to take him on an "adventure".
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Alex Jones tells a new co-host on The One Show that the links for the show are a special type of truly awful, and coaches him on how to do it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Mixed with I Have This Friend, when Jeremy Corbyn is being interviewed and keeps giving examples of people who are suspected of being terrorist sympathisers just because they've met with known terrorists, as his interviewer keeps commenting that his very specific examples sound like he's talking from personal experience.
  • Take a Third Option: In the Evil Brit sketches, when Ian MacKellen and Alan Rickman have inevitably killed one another, the character laments they now have no Evil Brit at all. Cue BRIAN BLESSED appeared, and being rejected.
  • Take That!: ... Yes?
    • Richard Hammond is portrayed by a child.
    • One sketch has a troubled President Bartlett informing his staff that actually, he isn't the President of the United States. Everyone is horrified when they learn just who is.
    • The BBC Cafeteria, which has descended into an all-out brawl over unequal pay, is declared to be more horrific than any war-torn country.
    • To Recycled Premise in the 2017 Christmas special, when the BBC Radio 4 announcer asks the audience if they're really wondered what the Nativity would be like, set in a 1970s council estate, before adding "me neither". Followed seconds later by a shot at the Christmas themed poems that had been doing the rounds at that time ("and now, here's another one of those poems we all... love so much.")
    • While comparing her cabinet's Brexit strategy to a Zombie Apocalypse (itself an example), Theresa May notes that if there were an actual zombie outbreak, David Davis wouldn't need to worry.
    • The Beeb issues a travel warning to anyone going to an Ed Sheeran concert that they might find themselves listening to Ed Sheeran.
    • When a footballer joins the National Treasures, Alan Bennett remarks that at least he's not James Corden.
    • After successfully blocking a penalty shot, allowing the England team to advance in the 2018 world cup, their goalie has to give a sample - not for possible steroid use. It's a DNA test. After blocking a goal, no-one believes he's actually English.
      • Likewise, various TV hosts are unnerved and amazed by the fact England's football team actually seems to be doing good.
    • Wetherspoons encourages the failure of any Brexit policy, reducing Britain to a hellhole, simply because Wetherspoons' entire economic model is based on making everyone suffer.
    • Any ident for a TV channel features one of these. The BBC 1 one has the commentator ask the viewer if their Netflix isn't working, ITV compares itself to "visiting grandma", and Sky Atlantic snidely goes "ooh, get you."
    • Even the characters of The Archers don't like their Covid lockdown enforced monologue shows, finding them awkward and irritating.
    • England football fans who are convinced that this year England will win the football are treated as having caught a horrific disease.
  • Terse Talker: The cast of Normal People, mainly because conversation would get in the way of the sex. (Though the characters do wonder if the Beeb is paying by the line or not.)
  • The Last Of These Is Not Like The Others: The National Treasures, a crack team of treasured British actors, includes Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Patrick Stewart, Dame Judi Dench, and... Alan Bennett.
  • The Nth Doctor:
    • During an interview, Tony Blair collapses, and regenerates into David Tennant.
    • At the end of his final recording of Question Time, David Dimbleby regenerates into Fiona Bruce.
    • For the 2020 Christmas special, the Narrator regenerates into Craig Cash, who narrates Gogglebox. Accordingly, the remainder of the special is treated like an episode of Gogglebox.
    • During the 2022 Christmas special, Rishi Sunak appears on Evan Davies' radio show, explaining the reason he's been so elusive is because he's discovered the "David Tennant Effect"; similar to how Jodie Whittaker did a reverse regeneration into Tennant in Doctor Who, Sunak fears that he will regenerate into a previous Prime Minister if hurt. Soon after, a studio light crashes down on Sunak, and he regenerates into Liz Truss, who then falls down the hole the light created and regenerates into Boris Johnson, who then regenerates into Theresa May.
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: The true villain of Jodie Whittaker's first series on Doctor Who is Theresa May, who has ruptured space and time in half in her mad quest to get a Brexit deal that satisfies all parties, not caring that it will destroy all life everywhere, because as far as she's concerned, it's still better than most of the potential outcomes she's been given.
  • Time Abyss: Sir Patrick Moore buys a telescope so powerful that it can not only capture the light of events that occurred at the beginning of the universe, they can also buy the light of the time before that, when he bought his coat.
  • Too Dumb to Live: George Bush.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: As the real life Tony Blair's popularity went down, the show's version became more confrontational and aggressive towards the public in his addresses.
  • Totally Radical:
    • Matt Smith (not that one) was infamous for this in real life, and his Dead Ringers version naturally took it up to eleven.
    • The members of the House of Commons debating, with their typical restrain and dignity, as to whom on Love Island is a total melt and who isn't.
    • The End of the Decade Special has Trump acting like one of the (female) contestants on Love Island.
  • Tranquil Fury: Kirsty Wark, when Michael Gove tries sharing some gossip on how Fiona Bruce got to host The Tonight Program, icily informs him that the gossip has bought him one beer.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Invoked with any Jimmy McGovern program. Angst is mandatory. Any moment of happiness must be less than a minute, or a sympathetic character will be killed. This, the actors are certain, will guarantee them wall-to-wall BAFTAs.
  • Underage Casting: Invoked by Sue Johnston in her appearance in Time, wondering how she's supposed to be playing Sean Bean's mom when she's only fifteen years older than him.
    Sue Johnston: We were married in a Morse, for Pete's sake!
  • Un Evil Laugh: When Theresa May tries to laugh, it just sounds like nervous coughing. And that's if she can actually manage it at all.
  • The Unintelligible:
    • Robin Cook, and also John Prescott in a different way. One crossover sketch involved Captain Kirk attempting to understand Robin Cook by having Scotty "divert all warp power to the Universal Translator!" It failed.
    • John Prescott is so unintelligible that when a scheme is introduced to fill him so full of pies and chips that he can't speak, Kirsty Wark declares it the most popular decision he'd ever make, something Prescott agrees on.
    • Newsnight Review runs into a problem when the hosts are not unintelligible enough, despite their best efforts.
    I'm sorry, Germaine, we're going to have to stop you there, because what you said almost made some sort of sense, and clearly no-one watches this show for that.
    • Boris Johnson, who tends to pepper his speech with odd noises and gibberish.
    • Garry Lineker sums this up as Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand's role on Match of the Day, talking utter bollocks. They rarely disappoint.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: David Davis, in the 2017 special, manages to provoke the destruction of Britain by going on holiday to North Korea.
  • Verbal Tic: In Downton Abbey, Cora Crawley has a tendency to end her (overly melodramatic) sentences with "boop-boop-be-doop," turning any serious situation into a corny gag.
  • Vocal Evolution: The earliest sketches with Theresa May have her voice be less quivery, making her sound like less of a Nervous Wreck.
  • We Do the Impossible: Gareth Southgate gets bored managing the England football team when they start becoming so good it becomes plausible they could win the UEFA Cup. As he puts it, he only does the impossible.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Greg Dyke, Director-General of the BBC, comes to after the 2002 BBC Christmas do (two days after), and is horrified to find he signed off on a second series of Fame Academy.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?:
    • The Line of Duty cast decide to spend their spare episode working out where the show is actually set. They've got a good bet that it might be Birmingham, but with the cast's wide range of regional accents, they're not even sure about that.
    • The cast of The Archers panic when England goes back into the tier system, since they've no idea where Ambridge is supposed to be, for the same reason.
  • While You Were in Diapers: Sue Johnston isn't impressed by Time or its attempts at being gritty, stating she's been doing gritty Scouse drama since the other actors were in short trousers.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: After the incredibly posh hard-right Conservative MP Jacob Ree-Mogg named his child "Sixtus" (full name Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher Mogg - "Privileged" for short), he shrugs off the possibility his son might one day be upset at sounding like a Roman legionary. Cue angry phonecall.
    Sixtus: (a la Russell Crowe) I am Sixtus [...], owner of a ridiculous name, and I will have my revenge!
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: During a Christmas party, the 2nd Doctor is terrified by tinfoil. As the 4th Doctor states, the 10th should've known full well that most of his enemies were made of tinfoil.
  • With Friends Like These...: Queen Elizabeth is completely willing to sell her son Andrew out to the FBI in exchange for getting to run off into witness protection.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: The media flurry over Jeremy Corbyn supposedly calling Theresa May a "stupid woman" is mercilessly skewered, with Huw Edwards trying to find something to talk about it, only to learn absolutely no-one outside the media actually gives a damn.
  • Would Rather Suffer: Faced with sleeping rough on a park bench, or having to feign interest in The One Show and its twee fluff pieces, a homeless Boris Johnson decides he'd rather go for the park bench.


Video Example(s):


Alan Rickman's Career

He might have gotten himself a bit typecast.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / Typecasting

Media sources: