After 28 series and 18 years, the BBC pop music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks has come to an end. But it will be remembered for its inventive rounds and prima donna guests. From Amy Winehouse to Donny Tourette, we look back at Buzzcocks’s most outrageous moments.
The breakfast TV presenter Lorraine Kelly raised a fews eyebrows when she appeared as the show’s host, spanking Noel Fielding with a truncheon and waxing Phill Jupitus's leg.
“Women want to sleep with him, men want to have a pint with him” said Simon Amstell of the Cold Feet star. After a rather terrible performance in the Intros round, where one member of a team has to guess what song the other two are singing, Nesbitt was surrounded by the all male contestants, with pints of Guinness in their hands.
Buzzcocks’s true heyday was during the years Mark Lamarr was in the presenter’s chair (1996 – 2005). In a 1999 episode, which also featured singer Marianne Faithfull and comedian Sean Locke as panelists, Lamarr and team captain went a bit too far when they jeered TV presenter Gail Porter for her nude modelling. In the Next Lines round, after completing the lines “I find you very attractive, would you go to bed with me” from the song by Touch and Go, Porter got her own back by looking away, saying, “I find the idea too repulsive”.
Whether the N-Dubz rapper was entering the show suspended from wires, talking too much to the audience, or making Phill Jupitus storm off, Dappy could always be counted on to be entertaining. He appeared three times in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Contestants rarely fare well when they pit their wits against the show’s professional comedian captains and hosts. But Dead or Alive star and Celebrity Big Brother contestant Pete Burns is known for standing up to people. In this appearance, he successfully beat Mark Lamarr in an argument, then left team captain Sean Hughes speechless.
Punk band The Towers of London singer Donny Tourette tried too hard to seem outrageous during his time on the show, wearing sunglasses and going missing for a time. “What is he going to do next?” said Amstell, “Smoke cigarettes that you can legally buy in shops”? That he did, the little tyke. When he tried to criticise Bill Bailey’s appearance, Simon Amstell said: “Let me explain, Bill is a professional comedian: you won’t win”. But fair play to the punk: his pathetic bit of rock and roll play-acting made him an easy target, but Tourette seemed to have had as much fun on the show as the people who so easily ripped him to shreds.
Fun Lovin Criminals frontman Huey Morgan provided one of the most tense and yet funniest moments in the recent history of the show. After looking sullen while guest hosts Rizzle Kicks quoted Morgan's lyrics to him in the traditional fashion of the Next Lines round, Morgan eventually stood up and threw his mug of coffee at the desk, showering teammate Phill Jupitus and host Jordan Stephens in china.
The Identity Parade round – in which contestants had to guess what a once famous musician looks like amongst a line-up of wittily named decoys – must be one of the best quiz show concepts ever invented. Athelston Williams, an imposter who appeared regularly, became known for his unflappable demeanor. While most people in the line-up would crack up in the face of jokes from the contestants, Williams stared unsettlingly into the rafters. His many appearances were all among the best moments in the show’s history.
Appearing worse for wear, Winehouse went down in history as one of the most memorable guests on the show, delighting the audience with language as colourful, dismissive and inventive as any from Noel Fielding or Simon Amstell. When asked if she would ever record a song with Katie Melua, Winehouse responded “I’d rather have cat AIDS, frankly”. But while Winehouse’s stint clearly fits the criteria for the show’s funnier and more scandalous guest appearances, the footage is now also a sad reminder of the singer, who died only three years later.
Most contestants know they are invited onto the show purely to be insulted, so they ought to be able to take a joke. The Ordinary Boys' singer Preston, aka Samuel Dylan Murray Preston, became possibly the quiz’s most famous prima donna when he couldn't. Appearing stroppy from the start and glowering at the host, he eventually stormed off after Amstell read extracts from his wife and reality star Chantelle Houghton’s memoir. Boys will be boys, eh! It is perhaps unfortunate that he is now more remembered for that hissy fit than for his career as a musician.