Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carr’


Over the past few years The Big Fat Quiz has become customary holiday fare round my place, mainly because I force my loved ones to watch it with me. In fact, it’s very much like a family gathering if your relatives include an angry uncle who habitually rants about the state of the world and a constantly snacking, eccentric brother who wears flamboyant capes to Christmas dinner.

Certain aspects of this broadcast have become traditions in and of themselves.  For example, what could be cozier than Charles Dance seated next to a blazing fire reading from a reality star’s tell-all biography? Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow is always a festive addition when he delivers song lyrics as a news story and then dances like no one is watching…but we all are. And it isn’t The Big Fat Quiz until those adorable Mitchell Brook Primary School Players reenact an event of note from the year gone by.

This, of course, is coordinated by a man with all the dominance of an overwhelmed substitute teacher with a really implausible laugh.


But in the end it’s the the celebrity competitors who determine how entertaining a given quiz will turn out to be. Let’s look at how well our trio of teams performed.

The Tinsel Sisters (David Mitchell and Roisin Conaty)


Famed curmudgeon David Mitchell is the winning-est panelist in the history of the BFQ. He has made twelve appearances and won eight times (whereas chat show host Jonathan Ross needed sixteen tries to achieve the same number of victories). This year David was paired with a newcomer to the year-end quiz, creator and star of the very excellent sitcom GameFace, Roisin Conaty. In terms of an end result, this team worked well seeing as (SPOILERS!) they won the trophy with a total of 35 points. However, it was Mr. Mitchell who stood out in the comedy department with his diatribe about the substandard quality of a sign that was displayed behind Prime Minister Theresa May , a lesson about the specific vitamin deficiencies responsible for rickets and scurvy and finally, his insistence upon the importance of proper chronology and punctuation. It’s not that Ms. Conaty isn’t funny; their interactions just weren’t very dynamic.

Team Pain (Big Narstie and Katherine Ryan)

Now this was a more interesting pairing. If you aren’t familiar with either of these entertainers, Ms. Ryan is a Canadian comedian based in the UK and Mr. Narstie is an English grime MC? Yeah, I’m not sure what that is, but he turned out to be quite impish and entertaining. He had a problem with names, identifying most of the panelists by their CVs. Mitchell was continually referred to as Peep Show guy, Richard Ayoade as IT guy and rather insulting to Noel Fielding was that Narstie clocked him as Nigel Planer who played Neil the hippie from The Young Ones. Just a clarification to Mr. Fielding, Nigel’s age is 64, not 90 as you asserted. To Jimmy Carr’s chagrin, Mr. Narstie repeatedly made a heart shape with his hands and insisted on calling it the “Mo Farah sign” after the gesture made by the British distance runner to celebrate a win. The thing that worked well with this team was that Katherine acted as something of a cultural interpreter without being condescending. She was also very familiar with viral trends and other pop culture references which significantly contributed to their more than respectable second place finish of 33 points.

Cakes in the Maze (Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding)

This twosome are the most experienced of the BFQ teams on the program.  With twenty-four appearances between them, they have won twice as a team and three more quiz titles separately. Admittedly their win/loss ratio isn’t as impressive as David Mitchell’s,  but it’s not as if they aren’t as smart or culturally aware. David Mitchell and Richard Ayoade were students at Cambridge University together; Noel Fielding has a background in art, a wildly creative mind and a mildly concerning obsession with satsumas. These two are obviously invited to this gig to be, as Jimmy Carr has described them, toddlers at a wedding. Don’t let their contrasting sense of fashion – Gandalf and the Professor – fool you. These two are in cahoots to undermine authority and infuse the proceedings with a bit of whimsy. Whether it’s Noel luring us into a surreal world of sharks with no knees or Richard making an appeal for their responses based on sub-text , several facts are clear. Jimmy Carr loses control of the quiz from time to time and this duo are major instigators of all that lovely chaos. It matters not a jot that Cakes in the Maze came in third place with 19 points. The Big Fat Quiz is at it’s best when Ayoade and Fielding are on the same team.





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image credit BBC

image credit BBC

The 18th series of The Graham Norton Show will be premiering tonight on BBC One in the UK and on October 3rd on BBC America. Alas this is one of the few programs I will miss now that I have jettisoned the repetitive and often irrelevant channel from my life. (Their blog is good, though!)

So in observance of the return of this perennial favorite, I am featuring five of the most memorable moments I can recall from past shows…

David Tennant’s socks: What I enjoy about this clip is the boyish enthusiasm and energy a grown man can summon for such a uncomplicated dilemma. Sometimes simple pleasures are the best, even for a Time Lord.



Miriam Margolyes: Anytime this woman appears on Graham’s couch, I know we’re in for some bawdy stories. The reactions of the the other guests are almost as funny as the anecdotes themselves.

I particularity liked her appearance with Will.i.am as they seemed to warm up to one another rather nicely especially after the shock value of her hilariously indiscreet tales had worn off a bit.


Ghosting: Australian radio personalities Hamish and Andy introduced viewers to the world of competitive  ghosting. I found this bit so funny, I started following them on Twitter. Unfortunately I never saw anything quite so amusing from them again…


Accent Masterclass: Jimmy Carr serves as a dialect coach for Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. I’m sure they’ll fit right in on the Geordie Shore now!


Best Red Chair Moment:I realize I’ve featured this clip at least two or three times on this blog, but for me it’s the perfect combination of entertaining account, spot on delivery and celebrity reaction to the storyteller. If there was a Red Chair Hall of Fame, Aileen from Derry would most certainly be in it!


In recent years I’ve bemoaned the excess of Hollywood A-listers booked on the show and the amount of time Graham spends fawning over Meryl Streep and the like. That being said I still think the format and the tone of Norton’s program is far more entertaining than most chat shows here in the States. Here’s hoping for a new series of transatlantic cooperation and communal laughs from that very loud couch!

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