Get Your Own Back



Dave Benson Phillips


Peter Simon (Voiceover: 1995)

Lisa Brockwell (2001-4)


BBC1, 26 September 1991 to 1 January 2004 (190 episodes in 14 series)


For a while in the 1990s, Dave Benson Phillips felt the need to live a double life, a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence. By day, Nice Dave Benson was an utterly trustworthy father figure on Playdays; by night, Naughty Dave Benson was and still is the most unpredictable, crazy gungemeister since Stu Francis, (with the possible exception of Noel Edmonds). Peter Simon? Get out of town!


GYOB mutated through a few different formats (variable numbers of teams, selection of end games) but the principle has remained constant throughout. Two or three competing teams are composed of a child and a parent/relative/teacher/celeb who has committed some dreadful crime such as being old, singing badly or insisting upon a tidy room. A series of inflatable-dependent games follows in which the kid has to propel item A from location B to location C using implement D while their parent tries to prevent the same happening by use of implement E whilst randomly dressed up as a giant F and given miscellaneous handicap G. Points are awarded for each item A so propelled within a time limit.

This is why we didn't want to go on this ride in the 1990s.

At the end of the show, the child who has gained most points has earned the right to Get Their Own Back upon their parentrelativeteacherceleb by dunking them into a 2'6" deep pool of colourful gunge (total immersions usual) - and an extra shower from above followed in most cases. Most versions of the show gave p/r/t/cs the chance to pre-emptively get their own back upon the child. This was by means of answering questions that had very obvious answers beginning with a certain letter, but - and here was the rub - they could not give answers beginning with that letter, which would of course have been far too easy. (For example, a man who was not allowed to give answers beginning with 'B' was asked, "What's the opposite of 'forward?'" and he came up with the answer, "Reverse", which was duly accepted). If the adult managed to come up with 5 correct answers within the time limit, the child would be gunged from above (in true Crackerjack/Noel's House Party-style). However, "children are not permitted without an adult" so the adults inevitably got it in the end. Yay!

It's the Gunk Dunk...IN TERROR TOWERS!

Key moments

Peter Simon often appearing on the celebrity episodes and randomly tripping up and falling into the gunge - even if he wasn't scheduled to be a contestant!

The 1996 Christmas episode where Dave himself ended up as one of the grown ups. Of course, he got gunged in the end. Peter Simon took over as presenter for this edition.

The same happened during the Christmas 1998 episode. Which was presented in the style of a trial, with Dave as the convict (complete with prison outfit) and former contestants Kirsten O'Brien and Mr Blobby as the judges. Dave's questions were read out by Mr Blobby and were not translated in to English which led to the inevitable of Dave ending up in the gunge for a second time.

The final episode was a celebrity edition with Dick & Dom who just larked about the entire show and didn't take any of the games seriously.


Dave - "What do we do?" Audience - "CRANK THEM UP!"

"Pull that lever and get your own back!"

"What's the connection between you two?"

"There are some very obvious answers to these questions beginning with the letter 'F' (or whatever), but unfortunately, your answers can't begin with that letter..."

"I'll have that".

"How do you feel?"

Dave also regularly referred to the adults' forthcoming gungebath as "a drop in the plop" and probably a number of other things in addition.


Devised by Brian Marshall. Games devised by the Chatterbox Partnership.

Theme tune

The theme appears to nick the riff from top Slade song We'll Bring the House Down. Accident or design? You decide.


The show was sent lots of (presumably unsolicited) ideas for games by children - and why not? - so formally invited ideas from viewers, inviting lucky bugg... sorry, successful designers onto the set to see their game played for real. Or, rather, as close an approximation to the submitted game as could be fashioned from the BBC budget.

Do you, like us, lie awake at nights wondering whatever happened to Lisa Brockwell? Then rest easy, for the mystery is solved. As of May 2011, she's presenting on Watford Hospital Radio and also "fits in being a mum".

Christopher Smith, who played Robert Sugden in Emmerdale between 1989 and 2001, appeared as a contestant in 1993 (when he was eight years old) and managed to gunge the producer of Emmerdale at the time, Morag Bain.

In 1995, the programme courted controversy by introducing 'The Furnace'. In this tweak to the format, the child would have to bring along a prized possession, and if they were beaten in one of the games by their adult team mate, their possession would be placed into the furnace and duly burnt. The introduction of the furance resulted in numerous complaints to the BBC's Points of View programme, ranging from upset caused to children, to the needless destruction of objects. As a result, it was revealed that the items placed into the furnace were not in fact burnt, with their demise being recreated through computer trickery, and the child being given their possession back after filming. Nevertheless, the furnace section of the programme was edited out of all subsequent episodes, and did not return in the following series.

A live version of the programme, with a portable gunge booth, was performed during the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe, with Dave Benson Phillips reviving his hosting duties.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

Opening titles from 1991, 1992 and 1994 in the BBC Motion Graphics Archive


Seeing one adult, seeing double.
Dave and Lisa, gungers extraordinaire


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