Never Mind the Buzzcocks



Mark Lamarr (1996-2005)

2006: Guest presenters of Jonathan Ross, Jeremy Clarkson, Dale Winton, Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs), Huey Morgan (Fun Lovin' Criminals), Simon Amstell, Lauren Laverne.

Simon Amstell (2006-present)


Team captains: Phill Jupitus, Sean Hughes, Bill Bailey


Talkback Productions for BBC 2, 12 November 1996 to present


Now it's a proven fact that the person with the best music taste reading this is in fact me, and anyone who argues with that is quite plainly wrong. Get some taste, THEN my friends can you continue reading.

On the basis that a conversation along those lines happen just about every day all the time everywhere, it's no wonder it didn't take long for Have I Got Pop Music For You to originate.

Just like HIGNFY and TTIAO, NMTB isn't so much a game show as a comedy show which has a game as a framework to provide a variety of laughs, mainly from the three regulars. Each week four people join the teams to answer questions and get insulted. Oh yes, this has been described as "the harshest show on television" in some circles, and frankly it's also one of the funniest shows on television.

The original gang: host Mark Lamarr (centre) and team captains Sean Hughes (left) and Phill Jupitus (right).

The format has been played with slightly over the years but notable rounds include:

Indecipherable Lyrics: For those of you who thought that Gaia's Freed From Desire went "My lover's got no money, he's got his chum Louise," a clip is played to each team from a song with lyrics that are quite difficult make out such as anything by Tenpole Tudor, Song 2 by Blur that sort of thing. The teams will make something up about something irrelevant before singing their lyrics along with the song again before giving what they actually think the lyrics were.

This round isn't played any more, having been replaced with a variety of rounds along the lines of "Why did this band/singer cancel a gig/get in touble with the law/call themselves what they did?" Three choices are usually presented, then the team makes fun of the music video clip shown to introduce them, and then has a stab at the answer.

The Intros Round: Do you remember techno/dance/indie sensations The Shamen? Well in the song Boss Drum we were instructed to "activate the rhythm, the rhythm that has always been within you." In some cases it's probably best not to bother however as this round shows. The captain and a team-mate try to do an impression of the intro to each of three (nowadays two) songs. All the other team-mate has to do is guess what the song is but that's usually easier said than done...

The Identity Parade: This is about trying to pick out an old band member from a popular band from about 20 years ago out of a choice of five. The audience are shown an old clip, the teams are not. Noted for the episode where host Mark Lamarr and team captain Phill Jupitus had interviewed one of the people for Lamarr's radio show about a week beforehand.

Next Lines: The hi-octane, and not as good, final round. Each team is given a line from a song and they have to provide the next line. Some of these will usually be from songs featured on the show that evening and songs from bands that the contestants are currently in - especially when a member of Steps is involved.

Image:Buzzcocks Current Cast.jpg The Current Buzzcocks line-up: Phill Jupitus, Simon Amstell, Bill Bailey.

Frankly, the show is great because it seems to have a fixation with the eighties and everyone on the show can take (and give!) everything they are thrown. Unless you're Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles in which case you can't and spend the whole episode sulking.

Standout episodes include any that have either Vic Reeves or Bob Mortimer as contestants on either side as they were Lamarr's sparring partners in other comedy quiz hit Shooting Stars. In one episode researchers had found footage of Vic in a band before he was famous and it was played incessantly throughout the show. It was awful. Yet hilarious. And "would you like to take the piss out of my hair?" was asked of Mortimer in relation to the 50's throwback grease ball running joke on Shooting Stars.

When the show first started years ago we didn't think that much of it but it became the thing to watch when you're in on a Friday night (then a Monday night, then a Thursday night). And my music taste is still the best.


Never Mind the Buzzcocks


We can also recommend the video, Never Rewind the Buzzcocks, which is a specially extended exclusive-to-video episode of the show. Where Jonathan Ross is politely (read: shouted at) to "shut the **** up."

Web links

Wikipedia entry


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