Team captains: Jonathan Ross & Danny Baker (1993 Aired Pilot), thereafter Ulrika Jonsson (all episodes, except the 2002 special) played against Mark Lamarr (1995-7), Will Self (2002), and Jack Dee (2008-11). Sara Cox played against Will Self in the 2002 special.
Permanent panellists (on Ulrika's team): Johnny Vegas (autumn 2002); "Angelos Epithemiou" (played by Dan Skinner, 2009)
Voiceovers: Graham Skidmore ("Our Graham" from Blind Date, 1993-2002), Nico Tatrowicz (2008-11)
Scorekeeper: George Dawes (played by Matt Lucas, 1995-2009), "Angelos Epithemiou" (played by Dan Skinner, 2010-11)
BBC2, 27 December 1993 (special as part of At Home With Vic and Bob)
BBC2, 22 September 1995 to 22 December 1997 (31 episodes in 3 series)
BBC Choice (repeated on BBC Two), 13 January to 22 December 2002 (20 episodes in 2 series)
Pett Productions for BBC Two, 30 December 2008 to 12 September 2011 (18 episodes in 3 series + 2 specials)
Vic and Bob are a comedy double act you either like or you don't. That previous sentence probably makes more sense than any episode of Shooting Stars ever did!
Shooting Stars is the "quiz of the business we call show" where stars can win huge amounts of cash and prizes. The celebrity captains, comedian Mark Lamarr and uber-babe Ulrika Jonnson, are all introduced by Graham Skidmore ("Our Graham" from Blind Date) usually to some made up rubbish about their private lives. When everybody has sat down, the resident grown-up baby scorekeeper George Dawes is introduced to the tune of "He's a baby! He's a baby!" Quite.
One of three things will then happen, guaranteed:
(1) Vic will start rubbing his legs at the nearest female contestant. "Vic, don't rub your legs!"
(2) Bob will produce a massive frying pan and whack Vic in the face with it.
(3) They'll get on with the show and play True or False. Actually scratch that, the first two invariably happen every two or three minutes throughout the show anyway.
When they get around to the first round, each contestant is asked a True or False question of the style: "Jimmy Hill's chin is regularly used by the RNLI to save drowning passengers. Now is that true or is that false? But is it true or is it false? IS it true or false? Ulrika, true or false?" Expect this all show. After everyone has had a question, the eternal question would be asked: "What are the scores George Dawes?"
"BANG!BANG!BANG! Yes, I may be fat, but not quite as fat as your mother. Mark has two and the lovely Ulrika has three!"
Hooray indeed. Round Two would be the Clips round where we'd see clips supposedly of real films except it was Vic, Bob, Mark, Ulrika and George messing about. A clip of The A-Team would satirically show them converting a car by putting toilet roll tubes and toothpaste on in order to make their car better. Sometimes the clips were really good and sometimes they were really poor, but there would be a question afterwards. After this, "What are the scores..."
"BANGBANGBANG! DORIS! GET THAT ECCLES CAKE OUT OF YOUR ARSE, OUR CHILDREN MUST EAT! Mark has four, Ulrika has five!"
Make an impression
Ulllllllllrika-ka-ka-ka-ka! Round three was the Impression's round where Vic would sing a song "in the club style". This sounds a little bit like the song it was meant to be yet... doesn't. When somebody has got it correct then random people would be picked: "Random Factor, pick someone like a tractor."
Bird on high
Round Four would be The Dove From Above where everybody would coo so that a cardboard Dove (indeed, from above) would come down. Everybody did that then a superb running joke would happen. Vic would tell a dove related joke which would be met with about thirty seconds of silence, the sound of a funeral knell and a hit with the head with Bob's frying pan. That is unless you're Lynn Perrie, in which case, you can't control yourself and laugh unnecessarily. Once per series for one reason or another, Mark would tell the joke instead and this would be met with laughter and applause. It's great!
Anyway, on the dove would be six categories of questions. If they get a question wrong they would hear this: "ERANU" and Vic will also pull a funny face. If they pick the special category they would win a prize and be met with "OOVAVO" and another silly face. These prizes would be extremely stupid, an Eyeball rester, a cream-cake selector or a prize from a home shopping catalogue (in which case the player would pick a number from 1-500 representing the pages, but they couldn't pick anything too expensive).
At least three times in this round, reference would be made to 50's throwback Mark Lamarr's greasy hair. Subjects in this round include Men, and other irrelevant stuff such as Cakes, Curtains, Buckets whatever.
Fingers on buzzers
The final round is the Quickfire round where we "really wanna see those fingers! We don't know when the time's up but when it is you'll hear this sound: [George] AAAGGGGHH!" These questions would either be about entertainment or of the type:
- Q: Name a hairy dog.
- A: St Bernard?'
- Q: Oh I'm sorry - it was Golden Retriever.
The winning team gets to select someone to go through to the final challenge. They've already won one pound per point but here's a chance to win lots more! These would be different most weeks, but the all-time favourites must be:
- Vibrosprout: Ulrika Johnson would stand on a vibrating machine holding a book. On that book were ten sprouts, at the end of the twenty seconds of vibration, every sprout still on the book was worth ten pounds. There was also a King Radish, this was worth £50.
- Judy Finnigan: Jarvis Cocker has to throw Mini Baby-Bel cheeses at a giant picture of monster Judy Finnigan (doyenne of ITV's morning schedule). Each one was worth £5 if it hit the eyes and £10 if they hit the mouth. The only trouble was that "you have to throw them in the style of a girl." Brilliant.
It made absolutely no sense but it was the show that brought Vic and Bob into the mainstream, and hooray for that.
The Club singing round, the final Challenge, the Dove from Above (which some weeks became The Crow from Below, The Vest from the West and The Beast from the East).
George Dawes' song, a regular feature of the Dove From Above (etc.) round. Classics included "Baked Potato", "Lesbians" and above all, the fabulously, gloriously stupid "Peanuts".
"Eranu" (tonight's special prize noise)
"He's just a big baby!" (re: George Dawes)
"We really wanna see those fingers"
"What's the scores, George Dawes?"
Welcome to Shooting Stars, Welcome whoever you are, The guest have been greeted, The stars are now seated, So come along and let's start Shooting Stars.
Vic and Bob had no idea what George Dawes (real name Matt Lucas) was going to say when giving the scores.
Matt Lucas's comedy partner, David Walliams, made a guest appearance in an end game that involved defending different sizes of fruit from knocking you off a pedestal. The final fruit was Walliams dressed up as a dandy called Soft Alan - the world's biggest "fruit".
Shooting Stars won a silver rose at the 1996 Montreux festival.
The pilot show differed in several ways. The team captains were Jonathan Ross and Danny Baker; the Dove from Above was a blue suitcase (referred to as the Bleu Valise); the contestants' names on the desks were their forenames not surnames; and the teams weren't called A and B, instead they were the Starbirds (with a plane logo) and the Helicopters (with a... you can guess).
At the start of the 2002 shows, the title sequence begins with the number 77 exploding. If you have any reason why, do write.
At the end of many 2002 shows you can see a random blonde woman dancing with the celebrities. This was Nancy Sorrell (Vic's then girlfriend and now wife) who was allowed to come on and dance at the end but - so the story goes - wasn't allowed to have a part in the show itself. Update! Here's reader Kyri Voskou from Cyprus to explain the mystery: "A year or two ago, there were a series of reruns on one of the Gold-type channels on Sky. These were longer than the original half hour shows, something like forty or fifty minutes, and contained a lot of material which was cut in the initial edit. Frequently, the questions to all the contestants were shown – something which never happened during the original screenings, and certainly doesn't happen with the current re-runs (which appear to be even more heavily cut to make the slot along with advertising time). During these longer shows, Nancy Sorrell did appear - I can remember one appearance for sure but I think there were more - when she came on to present a contestant with a gift, or something along those lines. I guess it's possible that she played a more substantial part in the show than we know, and was perhaps cut out in the edits to provide another ongoing joke to the viewers. If so, it certainly worked!"