Never Mind The Buzzcocks was a fantastic quiz show when it began, in November 1996.
It had the sarcasm from Mark Lamarr, the dry and bizarre wit from Sean Hughes, and the ever-reliable Phill Jupitus, who played it more straight than the others, but still held his own.
First to leave, after 10 series and six-and-a-half years, was Sean, to continue with his stand-up comedy. I really missed him from that show but I couldn’t blame him for moving on. He was replaced by Bill Bailey, who a lot of people really like, but he’s too surreal for my tastes. Like Ross Noble, he’s best digested in ten-minute chunks, not an entire show on his tour. Bailey jumped after Series 21 to be replaced by Noel Fielding, but I’m not a huge fan of him, either.
Preston walks out of Never Mind The Buzzcocks
Then, after 17 series and nine years, Mark Lamarr also left. They spent series 18 with a number of guest hosts including Jonathan Ross, the stupidly stupid Huey Morgan and the offbeat Simon Amstell, but thankfully, they settled on a regular presenter from series 19 onwards… Simon Amstell! Highlights including him taking the piss out of The Ordinary Boys frontman Preston, who married ditzy blonde airhead Chantelle Houghton, star of Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, the twist being that she was the only non-celeb on the show. And still won!
Alas, Mr Amstell left after a mere four series over a shade over two years, to go and make the superb comedy/drama Grandma’s House (we want a third series!) and to continue his stand-up career. After that, it was largely a succession of guest hosts from series 23 onwards… until… at the start of series 28, Rhod Gilbert was appointed as the permanent, but more accurately, last, host of the show, and today it has been confirmed that the series will not be returning.
Personally, I won’t miss it. I lost patience with it when Amstell left. Again, I couldn’t blame him for leaving, but they needed a permanent host quickly. I’d rather they did the same with Have I Got News For You, also, but that’s relied on guest hosts for far too long, so is unlikely to change.
A lot of the guest hosts in series 23 did nothing for me – Blur member and ‘foodie’ Alex James, Claudia ‘bloody’ Winkleman, and the painfully unfunny James Corden (thank fuck America have kidnapped him!), although the Doctor Who special with David Tennant was entertaining. However, I soon tuned out. Even a friend of mine, in the US, who watches regularly, says he doesn’t know who any of the music acts are any more, and I don’t blame him. Looking at the names in the episode guide, I’d struggle to pick them out in a Never Mind The Buzzcocks line-up!
I won’t miss the demise of this show, but I’ll sign off by saying… Digital Spy, in taking your lead from Broadcast, you had one job…
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.