Room 101



Nick Hancock (1992-97) (Radio & TV versions)

Danny Baker (1992) (Radio special - Hancock as guest)

Paul Merton (1999-2007, 2023-) (TV & Radio versions)

Frank Skinner (2012-18)


BBC Radio 5, 9 January 1992 to 25 March 1994 (27 episodes in 4 series)

Hat Trick Productions for BBC2, 4 July 1994 to 9 February 2007 (88 episodes in 11 series)

Hat Trick Productions for BBC One, 20 January 2012 to 6 April 2018 (60 episodes in 7 series)

Hat Trick Productions for BBC Radio 4, 24 May 2023 to present


Revamped version of the original talk show programme.

Three celebrity guests battle it out across various rounds in an attempt to convince the keeper of Room 101 Frank Skinner why their pet hates should be consigned into oblivion.

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Until its 2012 revival, Room 101 was not a game show, and was rather more of a talk show. In this format, each show would see one celebrity guest attempt to convince either Nick Hancock or Paul Merton (the keepers of the door to Room 101) why their pet hates should be consigned into oblivion. Each celebrity guest would typically nominate seven or eight items for a fate worse than death, and would win or lose by the sheer force of their argument.

That said, the original radio version did have a vague nod towards game shows: the reward for convincing Nick Hancock to allow something into Room 101 was a song from Radio Room 101, and each show's tunes would have a thematic link. The guest would be gently nagged until they spotted the connection.

"Wasn't Room 101" a Radio 1 show?" is a question we've not actually been asked, but can answer. No, it wasn't, but eight episodes were retrieved from the Radio 5 skip and repeated on One! Eff! Em! in summer 1994, when Chris Morris was being a bit too controversial.

Room 101 is the name of the torture room in George's Orwell's 1984, where Winston Smith encounters the worst thing in the world. It's different for every person - for him it was rats, which were also chosen by Caroline Quentin during the Nick Hancock era of the TV show. 1984 also provided the name for another popular game show, Big Brother.

Web links

BBC programme pages for the BBC2 series, the half-hour BBC1 series, the longer Extra Storage editions and the non-game Radio 4 series.

Wikipedia entries for the radio series and TV version.

British Comedy Guide entries for the Radio 5 series, BBC2 series, BBC1 series and Radio 4 series.

Opening titles from 1994 and 1999 in the BBC Motion Graphics Archive


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