Room 101 (TV series)
Current titles of Room 101.
|Also known as||Room 101 – Extra Storage
|Format||Talk show (1994–2007)
Panel game (2012–)
|Starring||Nick Hancock (1994–1997)
Paul Merton (1999–2007)
Frank Skinner (2012–)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||12|
|No. of episodes||96 (List of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||Hat Trick Productions|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC Two (1994–2007)
BBC One (2012–present)
|Picture format||4:3 (1994–1997)
|Original run||4 July 1994– present|
|Related shows||Room 101 (radio series)|
Room 101 is a BBC comedy television series based on the radio series of the same name, in which celebrities are invited to discuss their pet hates and persuade the host to consign them to a fate worse than death in Room 101, named after the torture room in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is itself named after a meeting room in Broadcasting House where Orwell would sit through tedious meetings. It is produced independently for the BBC by Hat Trick Productions.
Nick Hancock originally hosted the show from 1994 till 1997, and was succeeded by Paul Merton who was host from 1999 till the show's original run came to an end in 2007. Frank Skinner hosted the revamped incarnation that started on 20 January 2012.
The 1994–2007 incarnation of the show was that of a one-on-one interview between the host and guest. Consignment of the nominated items, persons or concepts to Room 101 (theoretically banishing it from the world forever) was the decision of the host, sometimes after soliciting the opinion of the studio audience. The 2012 revamp introduced a panel format with three guests competing to have their pet hates consigned to Room 101, a decision made by the host.
Memorable guests have included Ricky Gervais, Stephen Fry, Boris Johnson and Ian Hislop (the only person to appear twice on the show in its original format). Stephen Fry went as far as to put Room 101 itself into Room 101.
The radio series was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 5 in 1992, where it was hosted by Nick Hancock. Hancock was also the first presenter when the series transferred to television two years later. The first ever guest on the TV version was comedian Bob Monkhouse who cast the French into Room 101.
In 1999, Hancock was replaced as host by Paul Merton (who was also the first ever guest on the original radio version). Merton's first guest was Nick Hancock and his last was his regular competitor on Have I Got News for You, Ian Hislop. Usually there were five nominations discussed in each show – represented by several surreal props. The last item usually goes in, sometimes for a forfeit.
Under Hancock (1994–1997) 
The rules were fairly tight. Nick Hancock clearly thought out his argument and could be quite strict. Sometimes nominated items he disliked would go into Room 101 and those he didn't would not. Should the guest succeed in getting three items into the room, he would be allowed to choose one rejected item to go in. Should he get too few items in, an item previously put into the room would get a reprieve (this only happened to Caroline Quentin, who released Paul Daniels – he was later put back in by Jim Davidson and was eventually a guest). Unrelated music (from a fictional Room 101 radio station) would be played as the item went along the conveyor belt into oblivion.
Under Merton (1999–2007) 
When Merton became keeper in 1999, the rules were very straightforward, the conditions for choosing a bonus item or releasing an item were relaxed, the music removed, and the conveyor belt replaced by an elevated trapdoor. The conversation tended to be more relaxed, reflecting Merton's nature. Merton was often hesitant when asked to put animals into Room 101, normally saying, "You're asking me to get rid of an entire species", but he normally backed down. Merton generally put items into the room even if initially he did not want to.
Under Skinner (2012–present) 
The show's format was given a complete revamp when Skinner became the new keeper in 2012. Instead of the original Room 101 format, three guests were on each show. The show was divided into a number of categorised rounds, into which guests would nominate something they hated from in that category. They would then argue about why they felt their nominated item should go into Room 101, at the end of which Skinner would choose from all the nominations. Each show also had a "Wildcard" round, where the guests could pick anything they want. At the end of each show, the guest Skinner felt had argued the best would be declared that week's winner and allowed to put any object into Room 101 unchallenged, but this feature was dropped for the second series in the current format (13th overall).
Nominated items 
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (March 2013)|
- Jeremy Clarkson (Sean Lock)
- The Welsh (Anne Robinson)
- Ben Elton (Anne Robinson and Mark Steel)
- Anne Robinson (Jessica Stevenson)
- Britney Spears (Kirsty Young)
- Eric Cantona (Terry Wogan)
- The Beatles (Ian Hislop)
- Chris Evans (Spike Milligan)
- William Shakespeare (Frank Skinner)
- Jeffrey Archer (Kathy Burke)
- Adults who read Harry Potter books (Linda Smith)
- The Archbishop of Canterbury (at the time, George Carey) (Sir Patrick Moore)
- 19-year-old girls (Sara Cox)
- Gillian McKeith (Dara Ó Briain)
- Men with beards (John Peel and Ian Hislop)
- Maths teachers (Richard E. Grant)
- Children using the telephone (Jimmy Tarbuck)
- Sheila Hancock (Sheila Hancock)
- The Gallagher Brothers (Phil Collins)
- Men who wear wigs (Sir Alan Sugar)
- Politicians who claim to know about current popular music culture (Mark Steel)
- Craig David (Ross Noble)
- Bono (Mark Steel)
- Piers Morgan – who was rejected for being too toxic, even for the pits of Room 101 (Ian Hislop)
- Paul Merton – (Ian Hislop, on condition that he himself also went in)
- Chris de Burgh (Bill Bailey and Tony Slattery)
- Elvis Presley (Bob Monkhouse)
- Cilla Black's singing (Bob Monkhouse)
- Ventriloquists (Bob Monkhouse)
- The French (Bob Monkhouse)
- Soap stars making records (Chris Tarrant)
- Female TV presenters who shout (Bruce Forsyth)
- Babies in restaurants (Ricky Gervais)
- People who look like cats (Ross Noble)
- People who carry suitcases on wheels (Ben Fogle)
- Jobsworths (Paloma Faith)
- People who say "Do you know who I am?" Cilla Black
Television and culture 
- Room 101 (Stephen Fry)
- QVC (Danny Baker)
- Postman Pat (Ian Hislop)
- Disney (Rich Hall)
- Last Of The Summer Wine (Jeremy Clarkson)
- Snoopy (Tony Slattery)
- Journalists (Terry Venables)
- Casualty (Danny Baker, John Sergeant)
- Blue Peter (Terry Christian)
- Rap (Desmond Lynam)
- Sooty (Chris Tarrant)
- Cirque du Soleil (Alexei Sayle)
- YMCA (Mark Lamarr)
- The Royal Variety Performance (Gyles Brandreth)
- Televangelism (Phil Collins)
- Songs of Praise (Richard Wilson)
- Cockney culture (Janet Street-Porter)
- Have I Got News for You (Terry Wogan)
- Presenting The Big Breakfast (Bob Monkhouse)
- Telethons such as Children in Need and Comic Relief (Ricky Gervais)
- The songs of Frank Sinatra (Davina McCall)
- Jellyfish (Jenny Eclair)
- Rooks (Phillip Schofield)
- Yorkshire terriers (Ulrika Jonsson)
- West Highland white terriers (Angus Deayton)
- Flies (Jeremy Clarkson)
- Dogs' testicles (Germaine Greer)
- Rats (Caroline Quentin)
- Cockroaches (Meera Syal)
- Rabbits (Peter Cook)
- Dogs' lips (Jonathan Ross)
- Slugs (Liza Tarbuck)
- Moths (Sara Cox)
- Airports (Will Self)
- Austria (Meera Syal)
- Leighton Buzzard (Sue Perkins & Mel Giedroyc AKA Mel and Sue)
- Germany (Neil Morrissey)
- Spike Milligan's house (Spike Milligan)
- The British countryside (Peter Cook)
- France (Desmond Lynam)
- Chiswick post office (Sheila Hancock)
- Gentlemen-only clubs (Esther Rantzen)
- Places without air conditioning (Omid Djalili)
- Portsmouth (Spike Milligan)
- Yugoslavia (Bruce Forsyth)
- Southend (Phillip Schofield)
- Riverside Caravan Park, Bognor Regis (Ricky Gervais)
- Liverpool (Alan Davies)
- Cricket (Angus Deayton)
- The rules of golf (Bruce Forsyth)
- The golf-club mentality (Jeremy Clarkson)
- Football (Nick Hancock, Spike Milligan and Marcus Brigstocke)
- American Football (Neil Morrissey)
- Wigan Rugby League Club (Johnny Vegas)
Food, fashion and style 
- Cheese (Paul Daniels)
- Okra (Gordon Ramsay)
- Massage (Shane Richie)
- Jacket and jeans combination (Alan Davies)
- Bras (Bill Bailey)
- Bow ties (Linda Smith)
- Novelty underpants (Johnny Vegas)
- His own dress sense (Jonathan Ross)
- Brazilian waxing (Kirsty Young)
- The skin on rice pudding (Meera Syal)
- Rude or incompetent restaurant staff (Michael Winner)
- Speedos (Phil Collins)
- Unwrapped food (Cilla Black)
- Strawberries (Ian Hislop)
- Eating in cinemas (Desmond Lynam)
- Boiled eggs (Boris Johnson)
- His own appetite (Marcus Brigstocke)
- Vegetarians (Jeremy Clarkson)
- Fruit and vegetables out of context (Miranda Hart)
- Hunting (Spike Milligan)
- Smoking bans (Boris Johnson, Hilary Devey)
- Education (Sir Michael Gambon)
- Clipboards (Ross Noble)
- Flowers from a petrol station (Fern Britton)
- Spitting (Julian Clary)
- Litter (Liza Tarbuck)
- Bob Beamon's world record in the long jump being broken (Arthur Smith)
- Cocaine (Tracey Emin)
- 1975 (Jo Brand)
- The small piece of cotton that holds a new pair of socks together (Michael Parkinson)
- A photograph of himself taken in the 1970s (David Baddiel)
- American English (Sir Alan Sugar)
- Commemorative plates (Stephen Fry)
- Clowns (Chris Tarrant & Tracey Emin)
- Birthdays (Sir Michael Gambon)
- Mobile phones (Kathy Burke)
- Australian Questioning Intonation (Stephen Fry)
- Compact discs (Liza Tarbuck)
- Scottish stereotyping (Lorraine Kelly)
- Lateness (Ricky Gervais)
- Annoying noises (Ricky Gervais)
- New age beliefs (Stephen Fry)
- Glitter in greeting cards (Phillip Schofield)
- Car stickers (Angus Deayton)
- Instruction manuals (Desmond Lynam)
- Campfire songs (Bob Monkhouse)
- Bluetooth headsets (Reggie Yates)
- Bad editing in film musicals (Bruce Forsyth)
- God (Harry Hill)
- Manbags (Kathy Burke)
- "Crap soppy love songs" (Kathy Burke)
Memorable moments and controversy 
- When Anne Robinson went on the programme she proposed to put the Welsh into Room 101. Some Welsh people complained about this accusing her of xenophobia. However, Robinson said she was putting them into Room 101 out of jealousy, as they always seemed to succeed in everything they did. The Broadcasting Standards Commission investigated and found her comments "came close to bordering on racism." Merton has since explained that before each show he hosted, he took his guests for lunch in order to discuss their nominations. The one guest who didn't go was Anne Robinson and as a result Merton had no idea that she had chosen the Welsh to go into Room 101.
- The first item ever put into Room 101 was the French, as suggested by Bob Monkhouse, Monkhouse said of France: "I would like to tilt the Channel Tunnel downwards and turn it into a sewer."
- Nick Hancock, a big fan of cricket, did not initially put the sport into Room 101, as suggested by Angus Deayton. When Deayton was told he could put another item into the room, he chose cricket again (led on by the rapturous cries of the studio audience) which Nick, reluctantly, put into the room.
- Hancock and Neil Morrisey went into a rant about American Football, including Nick's observation: "They blow a whistle and then they just go everywhere. I think it's based on Runaround."
- Jonathan Ross wanted to put his dress sense into the room. However, he was presented with a hat he said he liked, but never bought. He was told he could put his dress sense in, but the hat would have to go in also. After a brief think, Ross told Paul, "I'm keeping my clothes."
- Stephen Fry attempted to put Room 101 into Room 101 (mainly because it was about people talking about things they hate). Merton found it hard to decide what to do because if he did put Room 101 into Room 101 he said it would be like committing "professional suicide", and if he didn't put it into Room 101 he would have to give it to Stephen and it would then become his. Merton did put it into the room, which made the picture go blank followed by Merton saying "I wish I hadn't done that". In the run up to Room 101 going into Room 101, Room Lovely involved Stephen nominating things he liked, such as Kathy Burke and public libraries.
- To show the unflinchingly bad content of Children in Need telethons during Ricky Gervais's episode, Paul and Ricky were subjected to Lesley Joseph dancing and what looked liked her being "kicked up the arse by the Invisible Man" or being attracted to someone in the audience "who had a very powerful vagina magnet." Ricky also told a story (which he declared would never make the broadcast) of a friend of his who on moving out to the country was presented with a rice pudding made with his new neighbour's leftover human breast milk. He claimed that if it had been presented to himself, he would have offered to make her a "spunk sandwich."
- Harry Hill wanted to put ice cream vans into Room 101, saying the tune they always play is Greensleeves and "it ruins tea". Paul suggested a savoury ice-cream made of mashed potato, ketchup (instead of raspberry sauce) and a sausage (instead of a Flake).
- At the end of the 11th series, to mark his departure from the show, Merton cast himself into Room 101, having been nominated by Ian Hislop, his rival on TV show Have I Got News for You, but with a slight twist. Just before pulling the lever to put himself into Room 101, Merton flipped round the image of himself to reveal Hislop, hence putting himself and Hislop in together, as the final people to go into Room 101 with Paul Merton as host. Another item chosen by Hislop, Piers Morgan, was put into Room 101, but the room rejected him because he was "too toxic", so he was not allowed in.
- In the 6th series (2001) Mel and Sue put the town of Leighton Buzzard into Room 101 because of a particularly disastrous gig they once did there. This caused controversy in the local papers of the Bedfordshire town, with the council claiming that they did not have permission to use the Arms of the town in the programme.
- Sir Michael Parkinson had always lamented the fact that, despite all the star guests he had interviewed on television over the years, he would probably be remembered for "that bloody bird" (the glove puppet Emu, which had attacked him during an interview with "owner" Rod Hull). However, Paul Merton unexpectedly brought Emu locked in a guillotine on stage and Parkinson took his chance for revenge by beheading the puppet, saying, "Goodbye, you foul beast."
- Comedian Rhod Gilbert tried to put himself in Room 101, because of his laziness. However, he was denied.
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||4 July 1994||22 August 1994||8|
|2||1 September 1995||20 October 1995||8|
|3||1 August 1997||26 September 1997||8|
|4||22 July 1999||10 September 1999||8|
|5||4 August 2000||29 September 2000||8|
|6||8 January 2001||12 March 2001||10|
|7||25 February 2002||22 April 2002||8|
|8||3 November 2003||22 December 2003||8|
|9||13 September 2004||1 November 2004||8|
|10||14 September 2005||2 November 2005||8|
|11||5 January 2007||9 February 2007||6|
|12||20 January 2012||9 March 2012||8|
|13||4 January 2013||22 February 2013||8|
See also 
- "THE REAL ROOM 101". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
- "Episode 1". Room 101 (Dutch version). 2008-02-06.
- "Frank Skinner to host new Room 101 series". British Comedy Guide. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "Room 101 gets new format with new host Skinner". British Comedy Guide. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.