75. Bernard Levin Gets Punched
An obvious choice. Shown dozens of times on a million clips
shows down the years. 'Should have got the punch in
quicker', Arthur Smith once noted. What we want to know is
a) What did Levin actually write in his review which so infuriated
the posh man with the glasses; b) Why does Bernard Levin look
shorter standing up than sitting down?; c) Why has nobody tried
punching Jamie Theakston?
74. Littlejohn Live and
This is actually quite a revelation. A visibly distressed
Michael Winner calling Richard Littlejohn a homophobic arsehole.
Nothing hellish about it. Presumably seldom seen because producers
worry that it interferes with the 'Michael Winner is a cunt, no
arguments' position they've been carefully cultivating. It
re-writes the rulebook, but in a good way, using evidence -
much like old episodes of Swap Shop do to
Noel Edmonds' reputation. 'La-la, we can't hear
you,' the execs chorus...
73. Benny Hill
Oh for crying out loud. Received opinion overload. Described by
Zoe Ball as a 'controversial British comedian...'
Well, here we go then:
Documentary Makers : Oh no, he was filthy because he
chased naked girls through the park.
Old Fucker : No, he was a great great man - I don't
hold with all this 'political correctness'.
Producer Bloke : Of course, when alternative comedy came
along he was mercilessly dropped by Thames.
Etc. Talking-head snippets seemingly left over from all the
other documentaries done about Benny Hill over the last decade, but
thankfully no vaporous twattle from comedy historian and British
subscription magazine editor Robert Ross' face.
Party-animal Mark Lawson goes glassy-eyed while talking about
the scantily-clad ladies, for some odd reason, before suggesting
that there'll be a time when serious academics will applaud
Benny Hill as a true exponent of farce (without realising that
everybody was doing this about five years ago - we've now moved
on to C4 interviewing women who claim to have wanked him off).
72. Mo Mowlam on So Graham Norton
'Meanwhile, in Ibiza, some sunburnt women laugh at a
Just the idea of Telethons, without offering opinions or
even particularly good clips. Much is shown of the 1988 ITV one
which had a few bits of genuine badness (for instance Ruth Madoc
assuring the country that everyone in Wales was well up for it -
the Welsh crowd refusing to recognise that this was their cue to
cheer, leaving her looking a tad lost). But, naaah, people can
reminisce in their own time. Or download the necessary from the
70. Countdown saying 'wankers'
Not even ever broadcast. As such how could this have possibly been voted for? Lies, lies, lies...
On one occasion, a contestant came up with the word 'Labia'. That was broadcast. But incidents like these are not the reason why people watch the show. And it wasn't funny anyway.
In March 2003, an edition of Countdown once again found both contestants offering up the word 'wankers'. This was broadcast, uncensored, with everyone involved acting perfectly adult about the situation.
69. Hylda Baker and Arthur Mullard
This edited package was presumably left out of the
Top Ten Worst Comedy Songs for reasons of time.
The onscreen caption mentions that their appearance on Top
Of The Pops caused the song to slide down the chart. The
same thing happened to Tiswas' Four Bucketeers
'Bucket Of Water Song' (possibly due to the
BBC's insistence that they throw buckets of Christmas tinsel
over the audience in lieu of water for safety reasons). A more
recent exponent of the phenomeman was Bis' 'Kandy
Pop' but there seems no possible reason why this might be
68. One Hour With Jonathan Ross
A man from the Freedom To Party campaign handcuffs
himself to Ross. Then he throws a glass of water over Paul Morley
and (without even pausing) takes a sip from a second glass. He even
apologises when Ross tells him off. No hell involved. As
talking-head, Morley recollects that they 'carried on as if
it was just one of those things - it didn't seem to be
particularly unusual' - and that live TV was great because
that sort of thing could happen. This man should be on television a
67. Roger DeCourcey on A Christmas Parade
Several children 'sabotage' a performance by the famous
vent and Nookie Bear. Except of course they don't. They just
wander about a bit.
'Roger looks around for assistance', the
captions tell us. For the benefit of those without fucking
66. Mind Your Language
More poison from the 70s. Poor old Vince Powell. He never
seemed to get it just right. Paul Ross has the total audacity to
take the moral high-ground over the issue, despite being Paul Ross.
Stunt-female Arabella Weir pops up to describe the show as
'beyond belief'. See, these people - always the same
ones, the Syals, Weirs, Rosses, Maconies, etc - they're not
there to be genuine pundits and comment on these changing fashions
of broadcast and media. They are there because they have this basic
need to make their specially reinvented, lying, two-faced,
shallow-views personae public so that people may put a face to the
received opinion and vice versa. And as far as comedy teams are
concerned, it always seems to be the fucking idiot of the group who
needs that kind of exposure.
65. Stan Boardman's 'Fokkers' gag
And what's so terrible about this? Boardman isn't the
only comedian who's used this particular play on words. Neville
Chamberlain used to incorporate it into after-dinner speeches. Not
offensive, and only outrageous in the context of the Des
O'Connor show. A comical play on the amount of times the fokker
/ fucker pun can be used in a short burst of time. Des' patient
face as the fokker blethers on is actually a pure delight. Not
hellish. Not very funny, as a joke, but then there's nowt much
to laff at these days.
64. Pam Ayres
'She was a shimmering sexpot of 70s excitement',
says the 'Joe' one off of Adam & Joe, thus
relinquishing his right to life. Next time we're being rude to
the Goodies we'll take time out to turn around and break
his fucking legs too.
63. James Harries on Wogan
No, this isn't hell. The hellish part of the James Harries
experience came a few years later when he was being hailed as a
child genius and airing his views on all and sundry despite having
not yet developed a basic pubertal understanding of comedy. A bit
like Dan L in that respect. 'If I'd 'ave spoken like
that when I was a kid, I'd 'ave got a smack in the
mouth', said Frank Skinner, also on the Wogan
Steve Coogan, a guest on Wogan around the same
time as the latter Skinner / Harries appearance, went on to
illustrate Skinner's amusement on Knowing Me Knowing
62. Lynne Perrie on The
61. Heil Honey, I'm Home
For crying out loud, what the hell is going on? This was quite
obviously a parody using a very obvious gag - coupling Adolf Hitler
with a cosy sitcom premise. What kind of stupid fucking jerk
arsehole would miss the point of a joke like that? And despite
being an obvious send-up, they're still trying to bracket it
with a 'racism' tag doled out to Vince Powell's
Geoff Atkinson is interviewed, talking about the notion of
turning Hitler into a domestic fool, something which comedians have
been doing since he first strutted his stuff on the newsreels. Dick
Fiddy, idiot TV historian, describes the show as
'reprehensible because the next door neighbours were
Jewish'(despite that being the whole shitting point). One
of the Corpses is Jewish and he'd absolutely love to see the
show (nay, the series) in full. Very interesting that the full
title sequence is shown, including Paul Jackson's
'executive producer' credit, especially given the animosity
twixt Mr Jackson and certain people at Channel 4 - an allusion to
office politics they assume we're too stupid to pick up on. The
inclusion of Heil Honey... in this chart isn't
just misguided, it's deliberately offensive.
60. Beauty Contests
Yeah, yeah, I'd like to work with children and animals,
etc, blah, blah, bored...
59. Felix on The Tube
A 13-year-old boy interviews Paul McCartney and still makes a
better job of it than Jamie Theakston ever could.
58. The Comedians
'In an era before irony...', says Ball. Garry
Bushell does his usual schtick. Charlie Williams is dragged on to
defend himself to all the post-ironists watching despite having
apparently had a stroke. Two interesting things here: Williams'
act was always based on him making jokes about the fact that he was
black. Russell Peters is still doing that shit in this supposed
'enlightened age' (and getting pissed off by the fact that
nobody in this country really cares what colour he is).
Several snippets of John Thomson's 'Bernard
Right-on' are shown, just to show how far things have moved on.
What nobody's ever pointed out is that the latter sets out to
prove that without a certain degree of unpleasantness Bernard's
act is totally meaningless. And that's the biggest lesson of
all. Without cruelty you don't get beauty. Surely, in this
post-modern age, (what with everybody being socially aware and
everything), racist and sexist comedy should make us laugh all the
more. Thing is, generally, it does. But despite their claims to the
contrary, the media still brackets people as idiots who need to be
told of the above. And this is why we get people like Meera Syal
taking the moral high ground. An insidious reflection of a
perceived public feeling. Well, as long as we all agree with each
other, everything will be fine.
57. Swearing Football Managers
Not hell, just an excuse to laugh at some blokes saying the
F-word on telly, even though it's perfectly allowable these
days. 'Bad language on TV is still frowned upon by
many', reads the onscreen caption, as if to remind the
viewers why these clips constitute 'hell' and show us where
56. The Epilogue
Several earnest vicars do nobody any harm. That's odd - no
Stuart Maconie putting the boot into harmless old men in this bit.
Perhaps he was too busy kicking his grandad.
55. Glen Medeiros on Juke Box Jury
We all remember this one. The hellish thing was that Glen's
song wasn't particularly trite or awful in the face of the
Stock Aitkin Waterman-littered 80s pop charts. The cross-the-board
glory-hunting panning he received was a perfect illustration of
safety-in-numbers sneery opinion. On this occasion it backfired on
them. We recall similar situations occurring on the show where the
recipients of the slaggings took it in their stride. Channel
4 doesn't acknowledge this - 'The panel was right. The
song wasn't a hit' says the onscreen caption. No
mention is made of the fact that Medeiros cancelled several further
British TV appearances and fucked off back home pretty sharpish, so
it's hardly surprising really.
Yeah, yeah, carry on. Call us when you've finished.
We'll be upstairs, formulating some original opinions.
53. Why Don't You
Here it comes again. We all watched Why Don't
You. We all enjoyed it while waiting for The
Monkees or Dudley Do-Right to come on. And
yet suddenly the opinion is that it was rubbish. Producer Russell
T. Davies pops up to talk about how he had to invent all the
'things to do' because all the kiddie-viewers ever sent in
were recipes for chocolate rice crispies. Now isn't that a
perfect illustration of how The Top 100 TV Moments From
52. Public Image Limited on Check It Out
The sneery ex-Sex Pistols singer acts like a spoilt little cunt
on late night television. The bleeps suggest it was pre-recorded
anyway. 'Sorry, rude word...', says Lydon, repeating
his one and only joke. This - and the Juke Box
Jury choice later - suggests a concession to
originality (as an alternative to simply dragging out the Grundy
footage again). Still a false economy though.
51. The Black & White Minstrel Show
It was racist, says one talking head playing the obvious role.
No it wasn't - it was great, says Garry Bushell playing his
usual role as a professional reactionary. A clip of The
Goodies' 'Alternative Roots' is shown as
an illustration. 'This is what we were meant to be watching
in the 60s? When the Beatles and the Stones and the Doors were
happening?', blurts Paul Ross. In fact, the Beatles and the
Stones and the Doors were also shown frequently on TV in the
60s. Perhaps Paul Ross was safely in bed listening to
'Sparky's Magic Piano' by that time, despite his blokey
insistence that he was with-it enough to appreciate David Frost as
a top bloke.