Balls of Steel



Mark Dolan


Objective Productions for Channel 4, 19 August 2005 to 25 April 2008 (19 episodes in 3 series)


Described as "the black sheep of the family" at Channel 4, comedians and performers are challenged each week to show who has the biggest Balls of Steel. The audience vote at the end, and a trophy that looks as testicular and silvery as you would expect is awarded to the winner.

Some of the stunts reach Trigger Happy TV levels of cleverness, but too many of the others are smug, self-satisfied or just count as bullying (how is throwing junk food at passers-by funny?). The participants could do with a bit more humility, or old-fashioned revenge. So if you see Olivia Lee in the street, feel free to custard pie her.

Actually quite a few of the "stunts" are set-up or reshot so they can get the necessary reactions, so it's not as if you're getting what it says on the tin.

The acts

Alex Zane - a game show host where the contestants are tricked.

The Annoying Devil - (Jason Attar (series 1) and Barrie Hall (series 2)) wears a devil costume and annoys people (lots of clips on

Olivia Lee - squirts water at celebrities and interviews them with phallic microphones.

Bunny Boiler - Thaila Zucchi flirts with men in the presence of their girlfriends.

The Man Tester - "Slut lit" authoress Dawn Porter tests men to see how far they will go. Wrapping them around her little finger, she'll proposition them into such japes as a threesome with her 'boyfriend' who later turns up dressed in a gimp costume.

Neg (pronounced nedge) - plays 'urban sports' and behaves in an obnoxious way with the presenter.

Randy Cambell - performs daring stunts that go dangerously wrong.

Big Gay Following - Eric Page solicits gay sex from celebrities and members of the public, often with the phrase "fancy a bum?" (Chris Moyles agreed).

Militant Black Guy - encourages people to say uncontroversial things (All Blacks, Black pudding, Black Hole etc.) then deliberately mistakes them for racial slurs and berates the person concerned.

Mr. Inappropriate - Tim Shaw does inappropriate things in public such as teaching foreign students offensive phrases.


Thaila Zucchi later appeared in Big Brother as Pauline, an unconvincing fake Australian housemate.

Incidentally, contestant Ray Ward, who was a victim of Alex Zane's Cleverness Game, also turned up on the real Mastermind, with the same specialised subject, later the same year.

Web links

Channel 4 programme page

Wikipedia entry


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