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Series / 8 Out of 10 Cats

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Sean Lock, Jimmy Carr, and Jon Richardson
Jimmy Carr: Here's your question: "Best Way to Make Friends."
Jon Richardson: You tell a woman that you love her, and she says, "I think we're friends."

British Panel Game show focusing on statistics, opinion polls, and surveys, hosted by Jimmy Carr. The title of the program comes from the Whiskas cat food commercial, whose ad campaign claimed that "8 out of 10 cats love Whiskas." Team captains have included Rob Beckett (series 19 - present), Katherine Ryan (series 22 - present, previously a guest captain in series 21), Sean Lock (Series 1-18), Dave Spikey (series 14), Jason Manford (series 510), Jon Richardson (series 1118) and Aisling Bea (series 19-21).

There were four rounds in the game up to series 8, which was then reduced to three. Since series 9, a longer version of the show called 8 Out of 10 Cats Uncut is broadcast in the same week as the standard half-hour episode.

Rounds (current):

  • "What Are You Talking About?": The teams have to try to guess the top three talking points among members of the public that week.
  • "Pick of the Polls": The teams are given four pictures to choose from and are given a poll based around that picture.
  • "Believe It or Not": The teams try to guess if a statistic is true or false.
  • "And the Winner Is...": The teams try to guess what came #1 in a poll presented to the public.
  • "The Poll with a Hole": Each team is given a statistic that is missing a piece of important information, and have to guess what that piece of information is.

Retired rounds (Featured in series 1 and the Big Brother specials)

  • "Face Off": The teams have to guess which famous person came on top with respect to a particular topic.
  • "Word Association": The teams view a video illustrating a word and have to guess the top three things people thought of when they heard that word.
  • "What's the Poll?": The teams are presented with five famous personalities, picture by picture, and they have to guess what poll they appeared in.

There's a spinoff called 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, which is exactly what it sounds like. Jimmy hosts as well with Sean (until his death in 2021) and Jon serving as team captains. Susie Dent and Rachel Riley retain their usual roles in the regular Countdown, as resident lexicographer and tile handler/numbers expert, respectively. Whilst originally intended as a one-off as part of a themed night of similar "mash-ups" between other Channel 4 shows, it proved popular enough to become a series in its own right and has now more or less totally replaced the original, which was demoted to More4note  and then moved sideways to E4note .

This show contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Pretty much everyone on the panel can be seen laughing during Carrot In A Box in the 2015 Christmas special.
    • When Jimmy made headlines for being caught in a tax evasion scandal, the panel was positively merciless to him that week. Jimmy tried to look offended, but couldn't help laughing at some of the jokes.
  • Angrish: Nish Kumar is driven to this during a lightning round on S22 E05 of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown when they rigged up electric shock pads to them and gave Jimmy the controls.
  • The Artifact: Jon and Seannote  on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, now that Aisling Bea and Rob Beckett have taken over as team captains on 8 Out of 10 Cats proper.
  • Character Tic: At the start of the show, Jimmy tends to hop onto the circle in front of the panel, and shake his head slightly before delivering his opening monologue. This has been subsequently lampshaded by Sean several times.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander:
    • Sean comes across as one at times. He can go on incredibly weird yet hilarious tangents.
    • Joe Wilkinson is a more straightforward example. For instance, in one episode he pulled out a Peppa Pig lunchbox, which contained a bag full of 17 scotch eggs. When asked why he had packed 17, Joe admitted it was the most he could fit into the bag without overloading it.
  • Cooldown Hug: In the 2011 Christmas episode, after about twenty minutes of inane blathering from Jedward, Greg Davies breaks and starts mimicking Jedward's semi-surreal speech in frustration, descending into pure incoherent gibberish. He gets a consoling hug from team captain Jon Richardson.
  • Crossover: Starting in 2012, the cast of the show also started doing their version of Countdown, dubbed 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
  • Didn't Think This Through: One episode of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown had Jimmy bring out two baskets full of kittens as the distraction. While it did work, the issue was that now Jimmy had to wrangle two baskets' worth of kittens back into their baskets. The show came to a dead stop as Jimmy had to run to stop one from jumping off the desk.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In one of the Christmas episodes, Jimmy gave away an extremely large bottle of whiskey to Sean. Jimmy mentions replacing it with something fake and Sean was really shocked it was real. However with Jedward in the studio, forcing any sane man to drink, predictable things happen and the whiskey was taken away.
    • Subverted in another episode when Sean was given a tie that contained a hidden flask. Sean was cynical that he had been given real alcohol until he had a few sips.
    • Done literally in one episode of Cats Does Countdown where Sean declared that he was very thirsty and pulled out a "can of water" from under his desk. Pouring it into a glass for the audience to see, it's very clearly lager from a can that has had a fake label taped around it; he insists that it's just nice, refreshing, foamy water from his local canal.
  • Gag Penis: Used as a distraction on one episode. It was so effective that Bill Bailey actually elbowed his partner to get him to look as well. By everyone's reaction, it was very real.
    "I'm just wasting women's time!"
  • Girls with Moustaches: Played with in one episode, when facial hair came under discussion, and Jimmy gave each panelist a stick-on false moustache - including Roisin Conaty, the only female panelist on that episode.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: Nish is reduced to screaming these at Jimmy when he was rigged with an electroshock paddle during a lightning round.
    '''I will stab you in the neck and drink the motor oil that pours out of it!"
  • Kick the Dog: Parodied and Played for Laughs by Sean Lock. Sean frequently mentions what evil plot he's got kicking around his head on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and they tend to vary between "not very nasty" to "cartoonishly mean".
    Sarah Millican: Everybody knows that to beat Sean Lock, you have to become Sean Lock. So on my way to the studio, I frowned at a kitten and made a pregnant lady cry.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The episode after Jimmy had been caught in a tax scandal was full of this trope, from Jimmy suspecting that there would be a lot of discussion about him, to Jon welcoming the extra millions of viewers tuning in for that week.
  • Left the Background Music On: On occasion during the high-pace drumbeat introduction, Sean can be seen dancing along to the drums and even waving at the audience.
  • Never Live It Down: Downplayed with Jimmy's tax evasion scandal. He got ripped to hell and back when it first dropped, but the jokes died down over time. But never stopped.
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: Jimmy Carr's 'defense' of his tax evasion scandal.
    "In my defense. beat There is none."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A prime example occurs in the 2015 Christmas special, as Sean uses this trope to win Carrot In A Box.
  • One Head Taller: Humphrey Ker (6'7") when he appeared on Jon's (5'8") team.
  • Potty Failure: Sarah Milligan peed herself a little bit from how hard she laughed during the lightning round when they rigged up Nish and Jon to electro-shock paddles.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The first round is a poll of the news stories that the public has been talking about over the last week- as this tends to be more populist than the more politics-orientated Have I Got News for You, if the week sees something that might be in bad taste to joke about (such as the earthquake in Haiti in 2010), then the episode is replaced with a themed special (in that particular case, movies).
  • Running Gag:
    • Any time Jamie Oliver gets a mention, Rob will insist that the chef has a child called Spaghetti Pete.
    • Whenever Roisin Conaty is on the Countdown version of the show, many jokes are aimed at how comically bad Roisin is at every aspect of the show.
    • Whenever Bill Bailey appears, Rachel Riley's fandom of him gets brought up and spun into her being a Stalker with a Crush to him.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Jon falls into the more sensitive end of the spectrum, while Sean is definitely more of a man's man.
  • Shipper on Deck: Lorraine Kelly seems to ship Jon with Josh Widdicombe.
    Josh: [On the subject of gay marriage being legalised in England] I'm not just going out going "Oh, I can do it now. I'm going to marry Jon."
    Jon: I'll do it.
    Josh: I'm not going to do it, no.
    Jon: Well, it's on camera now, isn't it?
    Lorraine: Please get married, then you can come on my show. It'd be lovely. We could do like a lovely makeover on both of you, and it'd be gorgeous.
    Josh: What's the problem with what we look like now?
    Lorraine: There's nothing wrong with you now, but if you're getting married, for goodness sake, you've got to take this seriously. If you're getting married, you've got to look better.
    • Lorraine also seems to ship herself with Josh. Josh pointed out that the last time he was on the show with Lorraine, she walked him to his taxi and said "if I was twenty years younger..." before shutting the door.
  • Sixth Ranger: Joe Wilkinson is arguably this. And to an extent, Susie Dent and Rachel Riley.
  • Slash Fic: Referenced in one episode. Jason brings it up and takes the most offense to the fact that he hasn't been bummed in any of them.
  • Stalker with a Crush: On 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Rachel Riley admitted that she's a huge fan of Bill Bailey the first time he came on the show and got a little tongue-tied on the subject, leading to a persistent Running Gag whenever he shows up that she's been stalking him and getting away with it due to the stereotype that of a young, attractive blonde woman and a middle-aged, balding semi-hippy with a rather messy fashion sense, it's not the former who's at more risk of prosecution for that particular crime.
    Jon Richardson: [To Bill] I think if Rachel was found peering into your kitchen window, you would still be the one who got arrested.
  • This Is Going to Suck: The episode that was filmed after Jimmy's tax evasion scandal broke has him end his monologue with,
    "And I can't put it off any longer, let's get started."
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Invoked in an episode of 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown by Romesh Ranganathan. His teammate Sarah Millican had a snake placed around her neck in an attempt to distract Sean and Liza Tarbuck - except it ended up with Romesh running away from her because the snake kept moving its head towards him.