Tour Guide: Brendan Sheerin
Chris Groombridge (2005)
Paul Donald (2006-)
12 Yard for Channel 4, 7 March 2005 to 30 June 2006 (60 episodes in 2 series)
12 Yard for Channel 4, 25 May 2009 to 9 March 2012 (200 episodes in 6 series)
12 Yard for Channel 4, 27 January 2014 to present
as Celebrity Coach Trip, 8 November 2010 to 27 January 2012 (30 episodes in 3 series)
as Christmas Coach Trip, 12 to 30 December 2011 (15 episodes in 1 series)
Seven couples are taken on a 30 day (50 day in series 4) coach trip around Europe, doing all the usual tourist-type things, but at the end of each day, and for no very good reason, they are forced to turn against each other and vote for the couple they want thrown off the tour. Lose this vote once and they get a yellow card, lose it again at any point during the trip, and they receive a red card, and they're gone, whereupon a new couple is flown over to take their place. A new rule introduced for the fifth series gave immunity at the next vote to any couple who received a yellow card, however this still didn't prevent yellow carded couples becoming easy targets, and being voted off at the earliest opportunity, and this was perhaps the reason this rule was dropped by the sixth series.
The irony is that it's mostly the gameshow element that spoils it. Effectively giving contestants their prize first is almost an interesting twist, but without any proper set tasks along the way, the voting element is just vindictive for the sake of creating conflict where it's not needed. In fact, there was really no need to turn this into a game show at all - just put a load of people on a bus and film it. But 12 Yard wouldn't do that, would they? There are some entertaining moments during the travelogue sequences, but add in the daily dose of wanton bitchiness and it all goes a bit pear-shaped. Despite this, I know two separate and distinct people who have admitted to setting the video so they don't miss it. For crying out loud, it's not Countdown!
Oh, and having shown us all this unpleasant backbiting, they have a viewers' phone-in competition, and guess what the prize is? Yes, it's a coach trip! I'll pass, thanks. (Perhaps many potential entrants felt the same, as in the second series the phone-in competition was for a weekend break instead.) Likely due to the 0898-gate premium phone calls scandal, the viewer phone-in did not return with the third series.
At the end of the series, the remaining couples vote one more time who they feel should be the winners. In the first two series, the winners received an extended stay in the final destination of the trip, while in the third and sixth series, the winners received a holiday voucher. The winners of the fourth and fifth series received another coach holiday as their prize.
Celebrity Coach Trip
In September 2010, filming started on a celebrity version of the series, which was aired in November 2010. Lasting two weeks, and beginning in Prague, in the Czech Republic, this series largely followed the same format as the civilian series. However there was a maximum of six couples at any one time, rather than the more usual seven, while couples who received a yellow card did not receive immunity in the next day's vote like in the main series aired shortly before the celebrity version. Indeed, after several days of the celebrities deliberately spreading the yellow cards around in order to avoid sending anyone home until they had no choice, the rules were changed, and the yellow cards were done away with, and the couple who lost each day's vote were automatically given a red card and sent home. The winners received a £1000 prize to be donated to charity. A second celebrity series, filmed in April 2011, and starting in Nice, France, aired in October 2011.
Christmas Coach Trip
A festive edition aired from 12 to 30 December 2011, having been filmed in the fortnight prior to transmission. The trip ran from Trondheim in Norway, through Lapland, finishing in the Finnish town of Inari, and followed the format of the regular series.
Celebrity Coach Trip:
- Raef Bjayou (ex-Apprentice candidate) and Ben Duncan (ex-Big Brother housemate)
- Bianca Gascoigne (glamour model) and Imogen Thomas (ex-Big Brother housemate)
- David Van Day (Dollar singer) and Tony Blackburn (radio presenter)
- Rodney Marsh (ex-footballer) and Cheryl Baker (TV presenter)
- Paul and Barry Elliott (The Chuckle Brothers)
- Ricky Groves and Alex Ferns (ex-EastEnders actors)
- Carol Harrison (ex-EastEnders actress) and Ingrid Tarrant (ex-wife of Chris Tarrant)
- Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan (TV interior design experts)
- Monica and Gabriella Irimia (The Cheeky Girls)
- Michael Barrymore (ex-TV presenter) and Maurice Leonard (former Strike it Rich producer)
- Brian Belo and Spencer Smith (ex-Big Brother housemates)
- Gary Cockerill (Katie Price's make-up artist) and Phil Turner (TV presenter)
- Alex Best (WAG) and Lembit Öpik (ex-Liberal Democrat MP)
- Lizzie Cundy (WAG) and Emma B (model)
- Wagner (ex-X Factor contestant) and Stavros Flatley (ex-Britain's Got Talent contestants)
- John McCririck (TV horse racing pundit) and Jenny McCririck (John's wife)
- Sandra Dickinson (actress) and Helen Lederer (comedian)
- Stan Boardman (comedian) and Andrea Boardman (TV presenter)
- Derek Martin and John Altman (ex-EastEnders)
- Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball (comedy duo)
- Paul Burrell (Australian Princess presenter) and Jean Broke-Smith (etiquette expert)
- Chantelle Tagoe and Jude Cissé (footballers' companions)
- Edwina Currie (former Minister of Health) and her husband John Jones.
- Nikki Grahame and Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace (yet more Big Brother veterans)
- Alison Hammond and Sharon Marshall (from ITV morning show This Morning)
- Bruce Jones and Scott Wright (Coronation Street actors)
- Mike Read and Pat Sharp (DJs)
2005 Paul and Maggie
2006 Paul and Joy
2009 Hannah and Katie
2010 Ann and Graham (Spring series)
2010 Chris and Maggie (Autumn series)
2011 Rob and Timmy (Spring series)
2011 Nathan and Katie (Autumn series)
2012 Stuart and Craig
2014 Emily and Annabelle
Celebrity Coach Trip
2010 Paul and Barry Elliott (The Chuckle Brothers)
2011 Gary Cockerill and Phil Turner
2012 Derek Martin and John Altman
Christmas Coach Trip
2011 Cliff and Tom
The series three 'coach mafia' consisting of Tom & Matt and James & Tracey who colluded to manipulate the voting in order to eliminate newcomers, thereby securing their place on the coach. They did this to great effect with James & Tracey managing to stay on board for 22 days, while Tom & Matt stayed on board for 25 days. This record was broken in series 4 by Paul & Matt who stayed on the coach for 33 days. Although they were often seen to align their vote with those they were closest to on the coach, unlike the ‘coach mafia’, they didn’t move around the group, purposefully striking up conversations in an attempt to influence other people’s votes. As such, the length of their stay on the coach can be seen as even more of an achievement.
As well as having one of the longest-standing couples, series three also featured the couple who stayed on board for the shortest period of time. After a disagreement with tour guide Brendan, Delia & Jacqui decided to leave the coach after a mere 16 hours.
Doing their best for Anglo-French relations, in series four, for the first time ever, the group was asked to leave an activity. At a go-kart track in Le Mans, as a result of a number of the group driving in an over-zealous manner, one of the group crashed off the track, being narrowly missed just seconds later by another member of the group also crashing off, followed seconds after that by a third group member crashing off, hitting both of the previously crashed go-karts in the process. Following this, the somewhat irate owner turned off the engines of the go-karts still running, before telling the group to change out of their race gear, and to leave the track.
Series 3 participants Graham and Ivy would go on to win a dream honeymoon on Four Weddings, after their naturist wedding was voted the best by Ivy's fellow brides. In addition, the couple made the final shortlist of 81 potential housemates for the 11th series of Big Brother.
Series 4 participants Russ Spencer & Caroline Barnes formerly made up one half of Scooch who represented the UK in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, coming joint second-last with France. In addition, Spencer has also previously presented on various call-up-and-lose channels such as Quiz Call, The Great Big British Quiz, Quiz TV, and ITV Play.
Series 4 winners Ann & Graham donated their prize of another coach holiday to a charity auction.
After being voted off the coach after a mere three days at the start of the fourth series, contestants Ray and Glenys re-applied, and boarded the coach for a second time during the fifth series. However things didn't go much better during this second stint on the coach, as they were voted off after just four days, once again at the earliest opportunity.
By joining the coach on Day 1 just outside Leeds, and leaving the coach on Day 30 in Bergen, Norway, series five couples Glenn & Becca and Nicki & Amanda became the first couples in the history of the programme to stay on board the coach for its entire journey. This feat was also achieved by series six winners Rob & Timmy, who joined the coach on Day 1 in Milan, Italy, and left on Day 30 in Malaga, Spain.
As a result of an off-hand comment about wanting to be Hans Christian Andersen while visiting Odense, Denmark on Day 23, series five contestant Glenn Mansfield would later appear on Harry Hill's TV Burp, dressed as Hans Christian Andersen. The same episode also featured Brendan as himself.