I don’t know if this is particularly British thing, but the ‘QuizCom’ has been a staple here for many years. If the term is alien to you, a QuizCom is notionally a ‘quiz show’, except that no-one actually gives a flying monkeys about the score and it’s really just a vehicle for comedy - sometimes topical, often satirical. One of our TV channels ‘Dave’ made January ‘QuizCom month’ and showed loads of them, and it’s always fun to catch. Here are my favourites:
- Never Mind the Buzzcocks - this one is for the music lovers, has been going for over 10 years now, and is probably my all-time favourite. Unfortunately the show’s fantastic long-time host Mark Lamarr, moved on in 2005 and it hasn’t quite been the same since; the new regular Simon Amstell hasn’t really stepped out of Lamarr’s huge shadow yet, although the show has had some good guest hosts, notably Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs did a pretty good job. Bill Bailey and Phil Jupitus are reliable stalwarts though, and the writing is still good even without Lamarr’s particular acerbic edge.
- QI - the relative newcomer but I’ve grown to like this one a lot; this time the theme is unusual and slightly geeky trivia. Because you get negative points for answering with the ‘obvious’ or widely accepted answer (that’s actually untrue), it’s not uncommon for most people to finish with negative scores - not that anyone cares. Stephen Fry is of course always superb, and Alan Davies is a perfect foil to his intellectual bent (no, that’s not a euphemism).
- Have I Got News For You - the granddaddy of them all - it’s been running for about 18 years now and doesn’t show any sign of stopping. Hyper-satirical look at the week’s news by Paul Merton and Ian Hislop (of Private Eye) which is a must if you’re at all interested in current events. Long-time host Angus Deaton got fired when he got into a sex & drugs scandal which meant the panel was taking the piss out of him more than the news on the show, but a string of quality guest hosts has kept it going. Probably famous for launching Boris Johnson’s career as the country’s ‘lovable political buffoon’.
I don’t watch lots of TV, but I can always make a bit of time for Buzzcocks or QI especially. Class. 😀