Noel's House Party

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Noel's House Party
Noels House Party - logo.jpg
Genre Entertainment
Written by Malcolm Williamson
Noel Edmonds
Charlie Adams
Garry Chambers
Richard Lewis
Stuart Silver
Louis Robinson
Directed by Guy Freeman
Duncan Cooper
Michael Leggo
Phil Chilvers
Presented by Noel Edmonds
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 167
169 if you included the two pulled episodes.
Executive producer(s) Michael Leggo
Producer(s) Mike Brosnan
Jonathan Beazley
Editor(s) John Sillito
Running time 50 minutes
Original channel BBC One
Picture format 4:3 (1991–8)
16:9 (1998–9)
Original run 23 November 1991 (1991-11-23) – 20 March 1999 (1999-03-20)
Preceded by Noel's Saturday Roadshow

Noel's House Party is a BBC television light entertainment show hosted by Noel Edmonds that was broadcast live on Saturday evenings during the 1990s. It was set in a large house in the fictional village of Crinkley Bottom, leading to much innuendo. The show was broadcast during the autumn-spring season (October/November - March). In 2010, Noel's House Party was voted the best Saturday night TV show of all time by[1][2]


Noel's House party was the successor to Noel's Saturday Roadshow, and carried over some of its regular features such as the Gunge Tank, the Gotcha Oscar and Wait 'Till I Get You Home.

The show had many regular guests posing as fictional villagers, including Frank Thornton and Vicki Michelle. The show gave birth to Mr. Blobby in the Gotcha segment. The character became well known, ruining the premise of the segment, but Blobby still made appearances. There was also a contrived rivalry between Noel and Tony Blackburn. In addition, many episodes featured one-off guest stars, including Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer, who came in to find the whole audience dressed as Frank after Fantastic Stuart Henderson from Troon had performed as Frank singing The Beatles song "I Saw Her Standing There", and Ken Dodd in a highwayman's outfit - 'Going cheap at the Maxwell sale' - as Noel's long lost 'twin', Berasent.

In January 1998, an episode was pulled from broadcast after a disagreement between the BBC and Noel Edmonds over the squeeze on the production costs which had been cut by 10%, with the saving being used to help fund the BBC Digital switchover.[3] It was reported Noel walked out claiming the show was "of a poor standard and cobbled together."[4][5][6]

By the end of February 1999, BBC finally axed the series after plummeting viewer figures. Noel said: "I am delighted this decision has been made. I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders." Noel partly blamed the Ronan Keating talent show "Get Your Act Together" which resulted in poor ratings leading into House Party.[7][8]


In 1994, the opening titles won a Bronze Rose of Montreux. The titles and credits were shot in stop-motion animation by 3 Peach Animation.

Regular features[edit]


Originally called the "Gotcha Oscars" until the threat of legal action from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which also prompted a redesign of the award)[citation needed], hidden camera practical jokes were played on celebrities. Notable victims were Barbara Windsor, Carol Vorderman, Jill Dando, Dave Lee Travis, Richard Whiteley, Eddie Large, Samantha Janus, Yvette Fielding, Status Quo, and the Queens Park Rangers football club, although in the final series Dale Winton turned the tables on Edmonds with a surprise challenge that ended with a gunging. Another notable victim was Annabel Giles, the first victim who managed to spot the hidden camera, which had been placed in the back of a car, which meant the prank backfired. Maggie Philbin became aware that she was part of a 'Gotcha' within seconds of the filming beginning, even though she did not spot any cameras. She left the set up seemingly to get help for the stranded victim seeking her aid, but never returned. When she appeared in the studio later to 'review' the skit and be presented with her 'Gotcha', she admitted that she had gone shopping.[citation needed]

Wait 'til I Get You Home[edit]

Parents watch pre-recorded footage of their children being interviewed by Noel, where they try to guess the answers they gave. A similar slot, The Secret World of the Teenager, replaced Wait 'til I Get You Home in later series.

The Lyric Game[edit]

In early series, celebrity duos competed against one another to complete songs after being given the first line. This feature was originally seen in Noel's Saturday Roadshow.

Grab a Grand[edit]

A phone-in competition where a viewer would choose from three currencies (aiming to select the one of the greatest value of money), and a celebrity (usually a sports star or a member of the studio audience) would collect as many notes as possible from a box that blew the money around. Noel asked the caller three questions based on the week's news and each correct answer gave the celebrity 20 seconds in the money box, up to a total of 60 seconds. The game was changed in later series and included variations such as "Grab A Granny", "Grab A Grand Piano", and "Grab A Grand National" with bouncing kings and queens with bungee cords, used in the 100th episode. The competition was replaced by Cash for Questions towards the end of the show's run.

Cash for Questions[edit]

Similar to Grab a Grand, a celebrity goes into the pitch black 'basement', and the winning caller would direct the celebrity to the bags of money with help of an infrared camera. Named after a political scandal.


A camera would be hidden in the home of a member of the public, so that they would be on-air at the specified moment, and Noel would talk to them.[9]

Sofa Soccer[edit]

From the final series a similar idea to Bernie the Bolt in The Golden Shot, a viewer from home would attempt to score goals by manoeuvring the machine firing the huge football ("left", "right", "shoot"). The jingle music to this game was based on Crazy Horses by The Osmonds.

The Big Pork Pie[edit]

A member of the studio audience has their embarrassing secrets revealed. Seated in a large prop pork pie, the victim would be connected to a lie detector machine (although in reality, this too was a prop). The victim had been set up by their friends or family who had provided the secrets.

The Gunge Tank[edit]

Carried over from Noel's Saturday Roadshow, this was put to various uses, usually gunging celebrities or unpopular members of the public after a phone vote which was carried out during the duration of the show - the gunging usually being the final item before the closing credits. Celebrities include Anthea Turner, Jenny Hull, Carol Vorderman, Adam Woodyatt, Edwina Currie, Gloria Hunniford, Jeremy Clarkson, Samantha Janus, Anneka Rice (twice), Annabel Giles, Nicola Stapleton and Ulrika Jonsson.

The 'gunge' was in fact a food thickening agent called Natrosol, coloured with various food dyes.[10] The gunge tank got progressively more sophisticated in subsequent series - the Series 1 version of the gunge tank was effectively the same as in Saturday Roadshow. However for Series 2, the tank also pumped foam from underneath the chair before the gunge was released. For Series 3, the chair holding the victim was on a conveyor device which would take the victim through revolving car wash brushes before the actual gunging. In Series 4 & 5, it was developed into the "Trip Around The Great House", where the victim would be placed on a miniature railway that journeyed through the studio set, finishing up in the Giant Fireplace where the gunge would finally be released.

For the final series, a selected member of the audience would be gunged by a tank lowered from the studio rafters or a retracting chair which would lower into the undercroft of the studio, gunge the victim and then elevate back up into the audience position. Edmonds was himself usually gunged once a series - usually in the final episode of the series.

Number Cruncher[edit]

A modified phonebox (with gungetank and LCD screen) was placed somewhere in Britain. The number to get into the box was given, and the first person to get into the box got to play the game. Once in, they had 45 seconds to rearrange the code given on the LCD screen to get out. If a contestant won the game, they then had an opportunity to take the "gamble". By pulling the handle, they could either double their money, have random objects dropped on them, or receive "a surprise" which resulted in the player getting gunged. However, if they ran out of time, the player got gunged. People kept on pressing '9' to try and earn a lot of money, and people had to bring a stupid object.

Beat Your Neighbour[edit]

Neighbours would choose what prizes they wanted from each other's house, for every question answered, they were put on a tray. Then each family were asked questions alternately, if the question was right the belongings were pushed to their side. Controversial because of the two-second delay in the video link.

My Little Friend[edit]

Primary-school-aged children were led into a room with hidden cameras and two puppets set up to initially appear dormant in the room, one voiced by Edmonds. The puppets would 'awaken' and hold improvised conversations with the children.

The Hot House[edit]

Members of the public and sports celebrities would compete against each other on exercise machines, which were hooked up to gunge tanks.

Mr Blobby[edit]

Main article: Mr Blobby

In 1992 during series 2 of NHP, Mr Blobby started as a tool for Noel Edmonds to play Gotcha practical jokes on celebrities, but soon became popular and made appearances in many shows. His popularity soon resulted in him having his own TV show.


A Crinkly Bottom theme park opened in Morecambe in 1994 but closed just 13 weeks after opening.[11][12] A two-year investigation by the district auditor was started due to the investment of £2m by Lancaster City Council.[11] and resulted in both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats withdrawing from the cabinet leaving four councillors from Morecambe Bay Independents and the Green Party running the authority.[12]


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 23 November 1991 28 March 1992 17[13]
2 24 October 1992 13 March 1993 20[13]
3 23 October 1993 26 March 1994 22[13]
4 22 October 1994 25 March 1995 21[13]
5 21 October 1995 30 March 1996 22[13]
6 19 October 1996 29 March 1997 22[13]
7 18 October 1997 21 March 1998 21[13]
8 17 October 1998 20 March 1999 22[13]


  • During S2, The episode on 6 March 1993 was not broadcast due to a suspect bomb scare at BBC TV Centre, It was planned 21 episodes would have been broadcast.
  • During S3 and S4, The episode on 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994 were titled "New year house parties"
  • During S6, The episode on 15 March 1997, was "Noel's New York House Party"
  • During S7, The episode on 22 November 1997 was Titles as "Noel's House Party at the movies" live from Florida. The episode on 3 January 1998 was pulled off the air and replaced a repeat The Best of Noel's House Party.
  • The Best of Noel's House Party, was also broadcast on 31 May 1993, 29 August 1994, 7 September 1996.
  • During its run "Gotcha Hall of Fame" episodes were also broadcast.

International versions[edit]

Country Title Host Channel
 Belgium [14] Binnen Zonder Bellen Koen Wauters  ?
 Denmark [14][15] Greven På Hittegodset Eddie Michel TV 2 (Denmark)
 Germany [16] Gottschalks Haus Party Thomas Gottschalk Sat.1
 Netherlands [17] Monte Carlo Carlo Boszhard RTL 4
 Spain [14] Vaya Nochecita Pepe Carroll  ?


  1. ^ mirror Administrator. "Noel's House Party voted best Saturday night telly show ever". mirror. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bowcott, Owen, "Noel's party will resume: BBC's flagship show to return after reports of budget rows." The Guardian Jan 6 1998;
  4. ^ Midgley, Carol. "The party is not over for Edmonds", The Times (London, England), Tuesday, January 06, 1998; pg. 6
  5. ^ McCann, Paul (3 January 1998). "BBC pulls plug on Noel's House Party cancelled". The Independent (London). Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Cozens, Claire (19 August 2003). "Edmonds: I'm guilty of bad TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Morgan, Kathleen (February 26, 1999). "Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)". 
  8. ^ No life after Blobby as House Party is put out of its misery. Janine Gibson, Media Correspondent The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 26 February 1999.
  9. ^ Palmer, Gareth (2003). Discipline and liberty: television and governance. Manchester University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-7190-6693-1. 
  10. ^ Judy Rumbold, "Crinkly twinkly cuddly nutcase", The Guardian, 21 December 1992.
  11. ^ a b Gledhill, Dan (3 September 2000). "Edmonds to testify in Blobby fiasco". The Independen (London). Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "'Crinkley Bottom' row leads to cabinet walkout". BBC News. 21 February 2003. 
  13. ^ a b c Courtesy, Pictures (27 July 1997). "Game On; The Broader Picture". The Independent (London). 
  14. ^ ""Greven På Hittegodset" med Eddie Michel - Egon Olsen kommer forbi, TV2 13. sept. 1996". YouTube. 
  15. ^ "Gottschalks Hausparty - Opener 1995". YouTube. 

External links[edit]