Never Mind the Buzzcocks

Image:Never mind the buzzcocks 06 logo.jpg



Mark Lamarr (1996-2005)

Guest hosts (in order, but not including repeat performances): Jonathan Ross, Simon Amstell, Ricky Wilson, Lauren Laverne, Jeremy Clarkson, Huey Morgan, Dale Winton (2006)

Simon Amstell (2006-8)

Guest hosts (in order, but not including repeat performances): James Corden, Rhod Gilbert, Alex James, Jack Whitehall, Frank Skinner, Claudia Winkleman, Mark Watson, Martin Freeman, David Walliams, Dermot O'Leary, Frankie Boyle, David Tennant, Mark Ronson, Catherine Tate, Jack Dee, Terry Wogan, David O'Doherty, Tim Minchin, Tim Westwood, Lee Mack, Juliette Lewis, Josh Groban, Robert Webb, David Hasselhoff, Lorraine Kelly, Adam Buxton, Will Young, Greg Davies, Alice Cooper, James Blunt, Tinie Tempah, Cilla Black, John Barrowman, Katy Brand, Jake Humphrey, Kathy Burke, Example, Nick Grimshaw, Ne-Yo, Richard Ayoade, Richard Madeley, Alex Horne, Stephen Mangan, Liza Tarbuck, Bob Mortimer, John Hannah, Russell Howard, Peter Andre, Sara Cox, Kristen Schaal, Eamonn Holmes, Rizzle Kicks, Michael Bolton, Warwick Davis, Dizzee Rascal, Johnny Vegas (2009-13)

Rhod Gilbert (2014-5)

Greg Davies (2021-)

Alex James (narrator, What a Load of Buzzcocks)


Team captains:
Phill Jupitus (1996-2015)
Sean Hughes (1996-2002)
Bill Bailey (2002-8)
Noel Fielding (stand-in for Bill Bailey in 3 episodes in Series 21, permanent team captain 2009-)
Frankie Boyle (stand in for Phill Jupitus, series 25, episode 6)
Daisy May Cooper (2021-)
Jamali Maddix (stand-in for Noel Fielding in 1 episode in Series 30)

Guest captains (in order, but not including repeat performances): Mark Ronson, Stephen Fry, Bob Mortimer, Johnny Vegas, Russell Brand, James Corden, Jack Dee, Frank Skinner, Davina McCall, Mark Watson, Dermot O'Leary, Omid Djalili (2008, Series 22)

Regular panellist: Jamali Maddix (2021-)


Talkback for BBC2, 12 November 1996 to 31 December 2005 (138 episodes in 17 series + 12 specials)

TalbackThames for BBC Two, 13 March 2006 to 23 March 2012 (77 episodes in 8 series + 10 specials)

Talkback for BBC Two, 24 September 2012 to 15 January 2015 (36 episodes in 3 series, + 3 specials) webcast, 5 to 6 March 2011 (24 Hour Panel People)

as What a Load of Buzzcocks 3 June to 22 July 2013 (8 episodes in 1 series)

Talback for Sky Max, 21 September 2021 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 Gala'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, 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 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.

Key moments

On 19 February 1999, during an ID parade lineup where Sean Hughes, Faye Tozer and Junior Simpson were looking for Edwin Starr. Everyone couldn't help noticing the lifeless stare of one of the other members of the lineup. This lead to Athelston Williams being included in the ID parade lineup several times afterwards. Including on one occasion where they were looking for one of the Nolan sisters! He made semi-regular appearances until 2006.

Just to set my mind at ease would number 3 step forward?

On 7 February 2007, frontman of Towers of London and Celebrity Big Brother contestant Donny Tourette's rebellious (and cringeworthy) appearance on the show where he gets constantly one upped by host Simon Amstell with his witty comebacks.

Who are ya?

And if that wasn't enough, a week after Donny's appearance, Preston (a.k.a. - Samuel Preston) of the Ordinary Boys and appeared on the same Celebrity Big Brother as Donny appeared on the show and walked out halfway through a recording after host Simon Amstell read disparaging extracts from his wife, and fellow CBB contestant, Chantelle Houghton's autobigraphy Living the Dream. Bill Bailey went into the audience and found a replacement who looked a bit like him, and the show continued and was broadcast in full.

Evicted again.


When the show first started years ago, the first 6 episodes of series 1 aired on Tuesday nights and we didn't think that much of it. But it became the thing to watch when the last 4 episodes of series 1 were changed to Friday nights, it was then changed to Monday nights for series 2, which didn't have much of a impact and was changed back to Friday nights. It then went all over the place, first it went back to Monday nights, then on Sunday nights, then back on Monday nights, then on Thursday nights, then on Wednesday nights, then back on Thursday nights, then back on Wednesday nights, then back on Thursday nights and finally back on Monday nights. And my music taste is still the best.

Xfm DJ Lauren Laverne was taken aback on her first appearance on the show when the writers offered to script her some gags. "They said 'We will write you some jokes' and I said don't worry, I'll use my imagination," said Laverne. "They said 'Well, it's your funeral.' Wow, it's a girl who makes jokes. Someone get a net!"

The mugs that the host and panellists drink from don't actually contain anything hot - just plain cold water.

A clips compilation of Amstell's first two series hosting was made as a spoof episode of Alan Yentob's arts strand Imagine (Imagine... A Mildly Amusing Panel Show). If you're in the UK, and can handle the metaphysical implications of watching a clip of a clip show, you can see the first three minutes here.

During the post-Amstell run of guest hosts, one episode was a Doctor Who special hosted by David Tennant, to promote his final episodes as the Doctor (not that they needed promoting). It wasn't the first time a BBC quiz had been pressed into service as a promotional vehicle for Doctor Who - Mastermind had done a similarly-themed special the best part of five years earlier.

An episode from the autumn 2008 series was pulled after guest captain Russell Brand got involved in a scandal unrelated to the show, and finally aired amid a run of repeats in January 2011. It was a good one. Similarly, an episode from Sky's second series was pulled after Lady Leshurr was charged with two counts of assault (she was later acquitted in a trial). The episode was quietly put online and given a single linear airing at 2.15am. Sky made a habit of premiering new Buzzcocks in the wee small hours, apparently it helps with the ratings.


Never Mind the Buzzcocks (Hardcover)

A board game was also published in the early days of the show, back when it had more rounds that could feasibly be played at home.

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 asked (read: shouted at) to "shut the **** up."

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

British Comedy Guide entry


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