Harry Hill's TV Burp
|Harry Hill's TV Burp|
TV Burp title card
|Created by||Harry Hill|
|Written by||Harry Hill|
|Presented by||Harry Hill|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||11|
|No. of episodes||161 (plus 5 specials)|
|Executive producer(s)||Harry Hill|
|Producer(s)||Nick Symons (2002–06)
Spencer Millman (2007–12)
|Location(s)||Teddington Studios (2001–09)
BBC Television Centre (2009–12)
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Avalon Television|
|Original channel||ITV (2001-2012);
Cartoon Network (2011–12);
|Picture format||16:9 576i (SDTV) (2001–09)
16:9 1080i (HDTV) (2010–12)
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||22 December 2001– 24 March 2012|
|Related shows||You Cannot Be Serious|
Harry Hill's TV Burp (also known as TV Burp) is a British television comedy programme that ran for 11 years from 2001 to 2012. It was produced by Avalon Television for ITV and hosted by comedian Harry Hill. The show presents a look at the week's television, including extracts from TV shows with added sketches, observational voice-overs, and guest appearances.
The show is based on clips of the previous week of programming on television, frequently reinterpreting actions or lines of dialogue in a humorous way, or pointing out how views of props or sets amusingly resemble other objects, and often lightheartedly or sarcastically commenting on the actual intended content of the programme. To produce the show, Hill and his programme associate writing team, including Brenda Gilhooly, Paul Hawksbee, Dan Maier, Joe Burnside and David Quantick, watch significant amounts of television, much on preview tapes. Clips from a variety of shows across most channels are included in the show, with soaps, dramas and popular-factual series being the most commonly represented genres. The clips are shown outside of the context of their original programme and only limited information about the scene is given, as the focus of the show's treatment is on the often unintentional humour which can be derived from the scene. The show was filmed at Teddington Studios, Greater London, in Studio 1 for series 1 to 8. From series 9 to 11, the studio has been the BBC Television Centre in London.
Reruns of the show are currently shown on Gold.
Following a successful pilot broadcast on 22 December 2001, a series was commissioned, starting on 14 November 2002. Notably, the BBC did not allow any clips from EastEnders to be used within the first series, requiring Hill's comments on the show to be instead accompanied by crude animation, courtroom-style sketches or staged comic re-enactments of scenes from the show. However, as of the second series, clips have appeared. The first two series were broadcast late at night on Thursdays, and the third series on Fridays. Whilst well received, the scheduling was criticised due to the family-friendly humour. The third series received a Sunday teatime repeat and from the fourth series, the show moved to a Saturday teatime slot, later moving to primetime.
In 2007, Ofcom ruled that TV Burp had breached guidelines by including clips of a Bear Grylls programme which featured Grylls eating a frog and cooking a turtle; Ofcom ruled that the clips were 'inappropriately scheduled' given the offence they could potentially cause viewers when taken outside of the context of the whole Grylls programme. In 2009, "The Best of TV Burp 3" included footage originally broadcast in 2004, which lampooned Sky reality series The Real Mrs Robinson. ITV and Avalon were not aware that two of the participants in the programme had died between the original broadcast and the 'Best of'. However, Sky's licence to use the footage made no mention of this, and the participants were not referred to by their full names in the footage, restricting TV Burp's ability to research the case ahead of putting the programme to air. After complaints were made to ITV and Ofcom, the programme was voluntarily re-edited such that the segment was removed from all further broadcasts. Ofcom did not uphold a complaint made by relatives of the deceased, stating that whilst it recognised that the broadcast of the footage would have been distressing to the family, the manner of the broadcast did not breach the broadcasting regulations. The highest rated episode of TV Burp aired on Saturday 13 November 2010, with the show receiving 8 million, a 32% audience share.
Due to the inclusion of a large amount of material to which ITV and Avalon do not hold the rights, repeats of past TV Burp episodes were rare outside immediate broadcast repeats. However, in 2009, The Best of TV Burp was introduced, which featured clips from previous episodes. Additionally, following the roll-out of ITV Player, as of 2009, new episodes have also been made available to view online on the service for up to 7 days after original transmission. As of 7 April 2012, 24 'Best of TV Burp' episodes have been aired, in addition to a Best of Christmas TV Burp episode on 27 December 2010, with clips from previous Christmas episodes of the show. On 28 October 2011, Cartoon Network began airing a similar format, in which they take past episodes of the series and edit segments together to make the series more child-friendly. No new segments were recorded for this version, with the exception of the trailer.
After months of speculation, Hill confirmed to his studio audience at the taping of the final episode of Series 11 that it would be his last.
Over the years, a number of recurring elements and characters have been introduced into the show.
To enter into the advertisement, the show has used a fight sketch to introduce the break. Typically, Hill claims to like two items and, wondering how to determine which is better, decides a fight is necessary, which then occurs on the set. The typical script for this sections is: "Well, I like 'x' and I like 'y'. But which is better? There's only one way to find out...FIGHT!" The two relevant people, animals or items then appear from doors on either side of the studio and then fight, with Hill saying "Go on 'x'! Go on y". See you after the break." After the commercial break, the show continues as normal, making no reference to the fight or who won it. Notable fights that have not stuck to the regular format have included:
- Series 8: Two slow old men, who were so slow by the time the adverts had finished, they were still walking towards each other, and the fight had to be called off.
- Series 8: Mermaids and Boobies, after a participant on Snog Marry Avoid? expressed an appreciation for both. While a mermaid emerged from one door, the other door revealed two bobbies, prompting Hill to shout, "Stop - not bobbies, boobies!"
- Series 8: In the penultimate episode of the series, the fight was between pasta and nothing, so only the pasta emerged from one side of the door, and when the other door opened to reveal nothing, and so the pasta walked off.
- Series 9: A fight was announced between Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) and Sam Mitchell (Danniella Westbrook) from EastEnders, but the fight never occurred as the combatants could not open the doors to the studio, as part of a running joke about their alleged stupidity shown prior to the fight.
- Series 9: The fight was between a tree and a bench. The tree fell on the bench and won.
- Series 9: Hill announced the fight segment - between two types of pastry - in Spanish.
- Series 10: A fight was called off after the wrong species of bird turned up.
- Series 10: There was supposed to be fight between a nervous person and a knackered person. However, when nobody showed up, Harry received a telephone call to say that the first person was too nervous and the other was too knackered to take part in the fight, so it did not happen.
- Series 10: In the final episode, the fight was between David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd), his mother Gail (Helen Worth), Becky McDonald (Katherine Kelly) and her sister Kylie (Paula Lane), as they were all involved in a fight during that week's Coronation Street. During the fight, Harry and recurring characters Heather, Knobbin 'Oss, the Knitted Character, the Ross Kemp dummy and Wagbo joined in.
- Series 11: Harry announces a fight between 2 maggots (a British maggot and a French maggot) in French.
- Series 11: Harry announces a fight between God and Satan. Satan enters through the right door and is struck by a bolt of lightning.
Cartoon Network created a fight that appears in only adverts, but no episode The fight was a white C in a black box vs a black N in a white box (A white C in a black box and a black N in a white box is Cartoon Network's logo).
Throughout the years, a number of recurring elements have appeared weekly on the show. The most notable elements include:
- Series 1-11: Every single episode opens with Harry supposedly conversing with somebody who is out of shot, and then exclaiming "Oh!" and quickly starting the show.
- Series 1-11: Hill uses sideways looks at another camera during a segment before giving a cheeky, risqué or sarcastic remark.
- Series 1-11: Every single episode ends with a character or guest from a programme coming into the studio to sing a jingle with Harry relating to their programme or event. The song always has a cha-cha-cha staccato ending.
- Series 1-11: Most episodes feature Hill using a telephone to phone other celebrities or end up in compromising positions.
- Series 1-11: Several episodes have included comparisons between Hill and another bald celebrity.
- Series 1-11: "TV Highlight of the Week" - a mundane event from the week's TV, usually comical or something stupid or vaguely distasteful or vulgar. TV highlight of the week sketches began with an opera signing the words ; TV highlight of the week
- Series 1-11: "TV Expert of the Week" - a presenter who earnestly asserts a well known, trivial fact as if it is deeply significant, obscure and profound.
- Series 1-11: halfway through the show Harry tells the viewers the weeks most important news stories . Although no jokes are in this section, canned laughter is heard .
- Series 1-11: "TV Burp Poetry Corner" - an unintentionally rhyming line featured in a programme.
- Series 1-11: "In A Nutshell" - a short summary of a week's episode of a programme, summing up its events in just ten or fifteen seconds. Shows regularly featured include "The Apprentice", "River Cottage" and "Dragons' Den".
- Series 1-3: "TV High Voice of the Week" - a presenter or actor talking in a high voice for no apparent reason.
- Series 1-3: "TV Voiceover Highlight of the Week" - a narrator of a programme who talks about something unrelated or stupid whilst on air.
- Series 2-11: "Legendary Caption of the Week" - a caption or subtitle which features comical or vulgar content.
- Series 1-8, 11: "I Beg Your Pardon of the Week" - a line from a programme in which a person speaks in a such a way that you can't understand what they are saying.
- Series 7-10: "Isn't it weird how people end up looking like their..." - a comparison between a person and an object that they own, such as a hoover, or trophy.
- Series 8-11: "TV Burp Stars of Tomorrow: Today" - An extra, usually completely immobile, who Harry believes will have a big career in the future.
- Series 9-11: "I Certainly Didn't Expect To See That" - a scenario which Harry believes has never been shown on television before, usually something weird or comical. Lyrics- 'I've seen so many things while I've been doing this show; from Wagbo to a piano playing cat. Anything is possible or so they say buuuuuuut-' (The clip is shown) 'I certainly didn't expect to see that!'
- Series 9-11: As the end credits finish, a very short five second clip of a programme is shown, usually only containing one line of comical or vulgar content.
- Series 9-11: "Comedy Intruder Song" - A parody of the famous "Bed Intruder Song" by Antoine Dodson with the various clips from a TV show rapping along with it.
- Christmas Specials: "Fabulous Bum of the Year" - Harry would present an award for the star who has shown the best bum that year.
- Series 2: During this series, Hill would do a sitcom segment starring the judges from Pop Idol titled "At Home with the Pop Idol Judges", with Hill starring as Simon Cowell. Also, an old man would dress up as several celebrities who appeared in the then-ITV1 idents, who smiles and holds random signs to create humour.
- Series 7: Hill often mocked BBC Three show Freaky Eaters, which examined unusual eating habits of the public. After a clip announced what they ate, Hill often repeated the food name in a loud, simplistic gurn, many with comic adaptations, such as "beans", "chippy chips", "sausages!" and "hoopy hoops". However, in later series, Hill refused to continue doing this, deeming it childish. Also in the series, Emmerdale character Val Pollard's (Charlie Hardwick) cataracts became a recurring joke, based on a scene in which she questions "Cataracts?" after a diagnosis. The scene was spoofed with Harry repeating the surprised declaration then passing the news onto a chain of various celebrities. A passing tongue-in-cheek mention of 'ear cataracts?' a few weeks later was spoofed the same way, lasting almost a minute and a half and featuring cameo appearances from comedians Al Murray, Lenny Henry, Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais, Jeremy Kyle and Noel Fielding, with 41 cameos made.
- Series 8: Hole in the Wall and the catchphrase "Bring On The Wall" was often used, with a cameo from presenter Dale Winton, a wobbling jelly, originally from Heston Blumenthal series ...Feast, featured regularly, with the use of The Surfaris' "Wipe Out", a puppet shark, Eoghan Quigg's vote face, mimicked by Harry and mispronounced as 'EE-OG-HAN', and The Lion Man theme used in celebration. The series also featured the segments "The Many Faces of Louis Walsh" and "The Many Faces of Jimmy King" (Nick Miles).
- Series 9: The X Factor logo and its interactions with Hill, such as Hill shooting it with a gun, blowing it up with fireworks, and ripping it in half with his bare hands. Segments also included a regular appearance by Gandhi, and the introduction Mr Funny Face. Hill also spoofed "Hole in the Wall" regularly after Anton Du Beke took over the show. Hill commented on his preference to Winton and compared the presenters.
- Series 10: The introduction of Mr Fuzzy, a feather duster from Downton Abbey, proposed as a replacement for The Knitted Character. Bush Push, a regular fight-induced segment after Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) was pushed in bush by Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) in EastEnders, The Cube being a rectangular cuboid, Olly Smith and The Secret Supper Club, The Queen Vic bust dancing to "Riverside" by Sidney Samson or "We Speak No Americano" by Yolanda Be Cool, a Ross Kemp dummy, cooking innuendos by Nigella Lawson and Knobbin 'Oss, a traditional English hobby horse who first appeared in Love Thy Neighbour, who performs Lady Gaga songs.
- Series 11: A clip from "Fry's Planet Word", in which an African man supposedly shouts "Hallu! Hallu!", and Harry replies back "Hello! Hello!". Brian Belo, winner of the eighth series of Big Brother, appears in the show as Harry's fictional fraternal twin brother, and segments in which the pair get to know each other are shown, including the pair rapping in Downton Abbey, going on a fishing trip together, and painting portraits of each other.
After months of speculation, Hill confirmed to his studio audience at the taping of the final episode of Series 11 that it would be his last, and finished the show with appearance from Cheryl Fergison, who played Heather Trott in EastEnders, alongside several recurring characters and celebrities, Wagbo, the Knitted Character, the show's own Heather, played by Steve Benham and Amanda Lamb, all singing to Adele's "Someone Like You". Brian Belo and the Sir Alan puppet also appeared earlier in the episode. After the credits, there was a final brief clip from that week's EastEnders with Ben Mitchell (Joshua Pascoe) saying "It's over". He also sings about Amanda Lamb from her TV show You Deserve This House in another previous episode. The sketch contains many cameos of soap stars and previous characters.
A number of characters have been introduced into the show and become recurring, most notably in later series.
- "The Knitted Character" - The Knitted Character is a knitted toy which featured very briefly in EastEnders. He is implied to be part of the TV Burp staff and holds a rivalry with Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor). The character has featured in a number of sketches, including riding the jelly and being set on fire, resulting in Hill bringing on another version to replace the deceased one. The character returned for the competition "Where Has The Knitted Character Been This Week?" in series 9, in which viewers had to find the character hidden in a television show aired between episodes. Later in the second part of the same series, The Knitted Character acted as a judge on spoof talent show and knitting competition The K Factor: So You Think You Can Knit?, which showcased knitted items sent in by viewers. The judges are Knitted Simon Cowell, Knitted Cheryl Cole, Knitted Rolando Villazón and the Knitted Character himself. The run featured a knitted duck called Peter having difficulty getting through the audition process, resulting in Peter jumping of a cliff to be caught by Knitted Simon Cowell, whose life he had saved in an earlier segment, and being put through to the Not Live Final, where he eventually won. Knitted character appears as Harry Hills sidekick in every strip of Harry Hills comic in The Dandy ; Harry Hills Real life adventures in TV land . From series 10, his role was reduced to an occasional character, with his final appearance in the show's final episode.
- "Heather" - Heather is a spoof version of EastEnders character Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), in which she is portrayed as fat, lazy, but most of the time, very helpful. The majority of her sketches throughout series eight and nine involved Heather trying to save a sausage from a variety of predicaments, such as the church fire in Emmerdale and a clock which Harry had imprisoned one in the studio. Heather was later featured in a spoofed 'remake' of The Professionals, in which she and the knitted character acted as a double act to save London from organised crime. Heather's final appearance was in the show's final episode, alongside the real Heather, Cheryl Fergison. Heather is played by Steve Benham.
- "Wagbo" - Wagbo was introduced to TV Burp as the supposed child of Mary Byrne and Wagner, contestants from The X Factor. Throughout the series, Wagbo is seen to have escaped the studio and loose across the world, with clips from his exploits at Bluewater shopping centre, The X Factor, Emmerdale, WWE Raw at The O2, I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here and through various other ITV shows. At the end of series ten, Hill was saved from Wagbo by The Knitted Character, who had been trying to get revenge throughout the series and shot the character. During the run, the actor playing the character went on holiday and was replaced, which resulted in two Wagbos at the end of the series in the showdown, along with Mary and her second child, Logbo, a love child with Louis Walsh, who she tried to introduce to the show. The 'dead' Wagbo actors then broke character in protest, insulting Hill's constant mispronunciation of Wagbo across the weeks before leaving the set. Wagbo later returns in the second half of series 10 for a joke about the TV Burp Employee of the Month, an award Harry was stated to always win. When Wagbo protests that someone else should get the prize for a change, Harry responds that he is no longer even a cast member. He returns as part of the band playing out on the last episode of series 10 and again for the show's final episode.
- Brian Belo
- Alan Sugar puppet
- Mr. Blobby
- Ross Kemp dummy
- Knobbin' Oss
- Mr Fuzzy
- Queen Vic head
- Wobbling jelly
- Puppet shark
- Mr funny face
Reception and awards
The show had positive reviews.
- Harry Hill's TV Burp was nominated for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme at the 2007 British Comedy Awards.
- It won two 2008 British Academy Television Awards for Best Entertainment Performance (for Harry Hill) and Best Entertainment programme.
- Visitors to the British Comedy Guide website voted TV Burp as the "Best British TV Panel Show/Satire of 2008".
- Harry also won a third BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance in 2009.
- Sophie Heath from the Daily Mail said the show was "Genius, pure and simple."
- Mark Lawson from The Guardian said it was "The freshest and most original show in mainstream television." 
However, Hill's brand of comedy also attracts negative criticism from detractors, such as TV critic Ruth Margolis, who wrote: "Harry Hill’s TV Burp, ITV's comedy centrepiece (this alone should tell you all you need to know), sees Hill deliver tedious, unimaginative thoughts on of the week's television. Where there's scope for a joke he chooses instead to drop a cheap pun, make jazz hands or, better still, wrinkle his forehead to acknowledge a weak innuendo on Coronation Street." 
The titles of the show were briefly featured as part of London 2012's opening ceremony.
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||14 November 2002||19 December 2002||6|
|2||30 October 2003||18 December 2003||8|
|3||20 February 2004||2 April 2004||7|
|4||23 October 2004||27 November 2004||6|
|5||21 January 2006||25 March 2006||10|
|6||30 December 2006||14 April 2007||14[fn 1]|
|7||25 December 2007||5 April 2008||14[fn 2]|
|8||18 October 2008||4 April 2009||25[fn 3]|
|9||10 October 2009||3 April 2010||24[fn 4]|
|10||9 October 2010||2 April 2011||22[fn 5]|
|11||8 October 2011||7 April 2012||24[fn 6]|
Cartoon Network version
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||28 October 2011||7 February 2012||20|
From 2005 to 2011, the biennial BBC One transmission of the Red Nose Day telethon in aid of Comic Relief has included a short TV Burp segment. He also recorded a short TV Burp segment for Blue Peter in February 2009.
|11 March 2005||Comic Relief 2005|
|16 March 2007||Comic Relief 2007|
|4 February 2009||Blue Peter 2009|
|13 March 2009||Comic Relief 2009|
|18 March 2011||Comic Relief 2011 (crossover with Autumnwatch)|
|1||8 October 2011||4.78||18.3%|
|2||15 October 2011||4.67||18.6%|
|3||22 October 2011||5.07||18.7%|
|4||29 October 2011||4.87||18.2%|
|5||5 November 2011||4.86||19.4%|
|6||12 November 2011||5.28||18.8%|
|7||19 November 2011||5.40||18.7%|
|8||26 November 2011||5.00||18.2%|
|9||3 December 2011||4.86||17.7%|
|10||31 December 2011||3.11||16.4%|
|11||4 January 2012||4.58||18.9%|
|12||7 January 2012||4.46|
|13||14 January 2012||3.89|
|14||21 January 2012||4.06|
|15||28 January 2012||4.34|
|16||4 February 2012||5.67||22.4%|
|17||11 February 2012||5.38||22.6%|
|18||18 February 2012||4.46||17.5%|
|19||25 February 2012||4.93||20.4%|
|20||3 March 2012||4.97||20.8%|
|21||10 March 2012||4.87||21.4%|
|22||17 March 2012||5.10||22.6%|
|23||24 March 2012||3.69||15.1%|
|24||7 April 2012||3.38||13.8%|
- The TV Burp Christmas Special 2006 was broadcast as part of Series 6
- The TV Burp Christmas Special 2007 was broadcast as part of Series 7
- The Best of TV Burp 1-4 and The Review of the Year 2008 were broadcast as part of Series 8
- The Best of TV Burp 5-11 and The Review of the Year 2009 were broadcast as part of Series 9
- The Best of TV Burp 12-16 and The Best of Christmas TV Burp were broadcast as part of Series 10
- The Best of TV Burp 17-24 were broadcast as part of Series 11
As per repeats, it was initially thought that a DVD release of TV Burp would be unlikely. However, a DVD titled Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold was eventually released in November 2008. Three other DVDs have since been released, as detailed below, with additional content from the show. A complete series-by-series release still appears unlikely. A TV Burp book was also released in 2009.
- "Ofcom judgement on Bear Grylls clips". Stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "Ofcom bulletin including Best of TV Burp fairness and privacy judgement" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "Take That reunion doc draws 5 million". The Guardian. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- "Harry Hill fan site: "TV Burp available on ITV Player"". Harryhill.wordpress.com. 2009-10-10. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Boyle, Simon (2012-03-24). "Harry Hill films last TV Burp episode after 11 years - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "GOLD UKTV Shows Harry Hill's TV Burp". GOLD UKTV. 07 November 2013. Retrieved 07 November 2013.
- "The British Sitcom Guide - News". Retrieved 7 November 2007.
- "The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2008". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
- "Avalon Entertainment Limited". Avalonuk.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "What's so funny about Harry Hill?". TV.com. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "Harry Hill's TV Burp:The Best Bits DVD". Amazon. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- "Harry Hill's TV Burp Book". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD
- Harry Hill's TV Burp at itv.com
- Harry Hill's TV Burp at the British Comedy Guide
- Harry Hill's official site
- TV Burp Gold official site
- Avalon Television - TV Burp
- Harry Hill Fansite - Unofficial Fansite for Harry Hill