Harry Hill's TV Burp
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|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 (2002–2006)
Spencer Millman (2007–2012)
|Location(s)||Teddington Studios (2001–2009)
BBC Television Centre (2009–2012)
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Avalon Television|
|Original network||ITV (2001-2012)|
|Picture format||16:9 576i (SDTV) (2001–2009)
16:9 1080i (HDTV) (2010–2012)
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||22 December 2001– 24 March 2012|
|Related shows||You Cannot Be Serious|
Harry Hill's TV Burp (also known as just TV Burp) is a British television comedy programme that ran for 11 years from 2001 to 2012, and was produced by Avalon Television for ITV. The show was written and hosted by comedian Harry Hill, with each episode taking a humourous look back to the previous week of programming on British television. Repeats of the show are currently shown on Gold and Dave.
Much of the format of the show was centred on a selection of clips taken from a week's worth of programming on British television, from both terrestrial and digital channels, which were combined with studio segments involving the host, along with spoof scenes and/or sketches. TV Burp features clips sourced from a variety of shows across most channels from the week before each episode's broadcast, with soaps, dramas and popular-factual series being the most commonly represented genres. Comedy that is derived from the clips shown is usually from outside of the context of their original programme and with only limited information about the scene given, as the focus of the show's treatment is often on the unintentional humour which can be derived from the scene, whether it is from something that is spoken out by a character or a real-life person, something humorous that happened in the clip, or something pointed out by the host, with some clips added to by spoof scenes performed by Hill, the person from the show, or a guest performer (i.e. Harry coming in on a mock-up of the clip's setting, and getting in a slapstick fight with a character from the show). Studio segments usually feature the host commenting lightheartedly or sarcastically about the actual intended content of the programme, and using props based from the clips shown to generate jokes, sometimes mocked up items that were shown, while sketches often are spoofs of behind-the-scenes action, actions by the host, either as himself or in the guise of someone from one of the featured shows, or spoof shows/scenes based upon something mentioned in a clip.
Throughout the series, TV Burp featured a considerable number of recurring elements, of which some became staple parts of the show:
- In the opening studio segment for each part of the episode, Hill would create a small selection of humorous TV headlines, each one creating a subject based on the content of a clip that supported it; an example would be Hill stating a person found in a programme was able to move while simply standing on the spot, due to how it appeared in the programme thanks to the camera work. In the earlier series, some of the clips used were not from programmes, but from home-videos.
- Starting from Series 4, the show would often open to Harry Hill pretending to be a little unaware he was on air, before later series saw him supposedly conversing with somebody who is out of shot before noticing he was on air, exclaiming "Oh!" in realisation and quickly starting the show. In later series, the second part of each episode opened with Hill simply nodding his head to the final note of the show's theme, following the commercial break.
- Hill often performs a sideways looks to another camera, either during a studio segment or just after a clip has shown, in which he gives a cheeky, risqué or sarcastic remark/expression.
- A fight sketch is used in every episode to introduce the commercial break. The setup for it is that Hill claims to like two items, which were introduced in one or two clips prior to the break, wonders how to determine which is better, and decides that a fight between them is necessary, often with the typical line of: "Well, I like 'x' and I like 'y'. But which is better? There's only one way to find out... FIGHT!" The items in question, whether they be people, animals or actual items (i.e. a food dish), would then appear from doors on either side of the studio and begin fighting in front of Hill's desk, with him saying "Go on 'x'!" or "Go on 'y'!", followed by "See you after the break" and him cheering the item he favoured the most. After the commercial break, the show continues as normal, making no reference to the fight or who won it.
- In some later series, the fight was either one-sided and instantly over, or something occurred to make it not happen. During its broadcast on Cartoon Network, the channel featured a mock version of the sketch involving the two letters of its logo, 'C' and 'N', fighting each other during the adverts, but not in the episodes.
- Every episode featured at least one clip that was used as a highlight, in which something funny that occurred within it was pointed out by Hill. This segment always had a title card played before and after the clip that was to be shown, depicting the style of the highlight in the form of a title, which was sung out in a jingle. The most common forms of comedic highlights used in the show included: "TV Highlight of the Week" - a simple highlight of something mundane, for example a short, brief exchange of simple greetings; "TV Expert of the Week" - An expert who asserts a fact as if it is deeply significant when it is not; "TV Burp Poetry Corner" - A clip of unintentional rhyming done in a programme; "This Week's (show name) In A Nutshell" - A short summing up of a programme's episode in a simple ten-fifteen second clip; "I Beg Your Pardon of the Week" - Someone saying something in such a way that they cannot be understood; "TV Burp Stars of Tomorrow: Today" - An extra in a programme, sometimes immobile, who Hill thinks will have a big career in the future.
- In most of the later series, a recurring gag or theme would be used in either a few episodes, the entire run of a series, or in later series. The most notable of these gags included:
- Hill using an identical phone to that used in Deal or No Deal by the Banker, to call Noel Edmonds, often with humorous results.
- Hill comparing an item in a clip to that of a person in the same clip.
- A spoof show involving the judges from Pop Idol titled "At Home with the Pop Idol Judges", with Hill starring as Simon Cowell.
- While mocking clips from the BBC Three show Freaky Eaters, which examined unusual eating habits of the public, Hill would announce what a person on the show ate in a loud, simplistic gurn, many with comic adaptations, such as "beans", "chippy chips", "sausages!" and "hoopy hoops".
- A competition involving one of the characters made for the show, turning up in programs, in which viewers had to find them; occurred in only one series.
- A knitting competition, designed as a spoof talent show entitled "The K Factor: So You Think You Can Knit?", in which viewers submitted their knitted items to be judged by "knitted" judges; TV Burp created its own items for this, merely as jokes.
- Comparing catch phrases in a game show to that of (former) game show, Hole in the Wall - "Bring On The Wall".
- Hill comparing himself to people who were bald like him in a programme featured on the show, often with the lines "I don't know what it is about them, but..."; the person in question sometimes appeared in person next to the host in the comparison.
- A shark puppet attacking Hill by springing out of props next to him at his desk.
- Throughout its history, TV Burp featured a number of characters that were created just for the show, some in a minor capacity, while others had more prominent appearances. The most notable of these were: "The Knitted Character" - a knitted toy which featured very briefly in EastEnders, is implied to be part of the TV Burp staff and holds a rivalry with Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor); "Heather" - a spoof version of EastEnders character Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), played by Steve Benham and portrayed as fat, lazy, but most of the time, very helpful; "Wagbo" - the supposed child of The X Factor contestants, Mary Byrne and Wagner; "Alan Sugar" - a ventriloquist dummy that Hill uses when discussing clips from The Apprentice, which was made up to look like the real Alan Sugar.
- In most of the episodes, particularly in the later series, the show would end with a musical performance of a song, sung by one or multiple people - either a celebrity (either as themselves or in character), or a real-life person - with Hill joining in on the song or performing something comedic at his desk, with the song ending on a "cha-cha-cha" staccato ending.
Following a successful pilot broadcast on December 22, 2001, a series was commissioned, starting on November 14, 2002. Production of an episode often involved Hill and his programme's associate writing team, including Brenda Gilhooly, Paul Hawksbee, Dan Maier, Joe Burnside and David Quantick, watching significant amounts of television, much on preview tapes. Throughout Series 1 to 8, the show was recorded before a live audience in Studio 1 of Teddington Studios, South-West London, but from Series 9 to the final episode of Series 11, recording was relocated to BBC Television Centre. The first two series of the show were broadcast within a late night slot on Thursdays, with Series 1 being the only series not to feature clips from the BBC's EastEnders; Hill was required, during the series, to accompany his comments on the British soap with either crude animation, courtroom-style sketches or staged comic re-enactments of scenes from the show. Whilst the show was well received, the scheduling was criticised due to the family-friendly humour, leading to the third series receiving a teatime repeat slot on Sundays. Starting from the fourth series, the show moved to a Saturday teatime slot, and then later to a Saturday primetime slot.
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, while additionally, new episodes were also made available to view online on the ITV Player serviceafter original transmission. As of April 7, 2012, 24 'Best of TV Burp' episodes have been aired, in addition to a Best of Christmas TV Burp episode on December 27, 2010, featuring clips from previous Christmas episodes of the show. On October 28, 2011, Cartoon Network began airing a similar format, in which they took past episodes of the series and edited segments together to make the series more child-friendly, but did not record new segments 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. In October 2013 Gold began airing re-runs of the show starting with the third series. The titles of the show were briefly featured as part of London 2012's opening ceremony.
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.
A 2016 broadcast on Dave, of an episode originally screened by ITV in December 2008, featured parody of a Channel 4 documentary about Thomas Beatie. UKTV had edited out around a minute of the segment ahead of broadcast, but much of the skit remained. Complainants felt the treatment was offensive to the transgender community; Ofcom ruled the complaints had been resolved by way of UKTV voluntarily cutting the entire section on Beatie's film, preventing it from future broadcast on their channels.
Reception and awards
TV Burp received positive feedback from critics and viewers; Sophie Heath from the Daily Mail said the show was "Genius, pure and simple", while Mark Lawson from The Guardian said it was "The freshest and most original show in mainstream television."  In 2008, visitors to the British Comedy Guide website voted TV Burp as the "Best British TV Panel Show/Satire of 2008". Viewing figures for the show in its primetime slot were considerably high and achieved a considerable share of the audience - Series 8 averaged 6.1 million viewers during its run, taking an average share of around 25.1% of the audience for its timeslot, compared to Series 11 which averaged 4.9 million viewer and an average audience share of 19.3%. One of its highest rated episodes, achieved 8 million viewers and took a 32% audience share.
In 2007, Harry Hill's TV Burp was nominated for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme at the 2007 British Comedy Awards, while in 2008, it won two British Academy Television Awards for Best Entertainment Performance (for Harry Hill) and Best Entertainment programme, and in 2009 won Harry Hill another BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance.
|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||30 December 2006||11|
|6||20 January 2007||5 January 2008||16[fn 1]|
|7||12 January 2008||26 April 2008||16[fn 2]|
|8||18 October 2008||18 April 2009||26[fn 3]|
|9||10 October 2009||3 April 2010||21[fn 4]|
|10||9 October 2010||2 April 2011||21[fn 5]|
|11||8 October 2011||7 April 2012||24[fn 6]|
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)|
Ratings from BARB and exclude Best of TV Burp editions.
|1||14 November 2002||2.90||19.7%|
|2||21 November 2002||N/A||N/A|
|3||28 November 2002||N/A||N/A|
|4||5 December 2002||N/A||N/A|
|5||12 December 2002||N/A||N/A|
|6||19 December 2002||N/A||N/A|
|1||21 January 2006||N/A||N/A|
|2||28 January 2006||N/A||N/A|
|3||4 February 2006||N/A||N/A|
|4||11 February 2006||N/A||N/A|
|5||18 February 2006||N/A||N/A|
|6||25 February 2006||N/A||N/A|
|7||4 February 2006||N/A||N/A|
|8||11 February 2006||N/A||N/A|
|9||18 February 2006||N/A||N/A|
|10||25 February 2006||4.70||26.4%|
|11||30 December 2006||4.39||18.5%|
|1||20 January 2007||5.61||29.0%|
|2||27 January 2007||5.37||25.0%|
|3||3 February 2007||5.98||29.6%|
|4||10 February 2007||6.28||30.8%|
|5||17 February 2007||4.00||22.0%|
|6||24 February 2007||5.12||24.4%|
|7||3 March 2007||5.46||27.6%|
|8||10 March 2007||4.53||N/A|
|9||17 March 2007||5.54||29.2%|
|10||24 March 2007||5.70||N/A|
|11||31 March 2007||3.50||24.4%|
|12||7 April 2007||4.11||20.4%|
|13||14 April 2007||3.61||23.1%|
|1||25 December 2007||3.65||13.3%|
|2||12 January 2008||6.02||26.0%|
|3||19 January 2008||6.37||27.8%|
|4||26 January 2008||7.36||32.3%|
|5||2 February 2008||6.45||27.2%|
|6||9 February 2008||7.09||32.0%|
|7||16 February 2008||5.10||21.0%|
|8||23 February 2008||5.07||24.5%|
|9||1 March 2008||5.36||N/A|
|10||8 March 2008||6.30||25.9%|
|11||15 March 2008||6.26||27.0%|
|12||22 March 2008||6.07||27.9%|
|13||29 March 2008||5.98||27.2%|
|14||5 April 2008||5.81||24.8%|
|1||18 October 2008||6.67||27.3%|
|2||25 October 2008||6.72||25.2%|
|3||1 November 2008||6.27||24.3%|
|4||8 November 2008||5.58||22.3%|
|5||15 November 2008||5.83||22.7%|
|6||22 November 2008||6.24||22.8%|
|7||29 November 2008||6.87||26.8%|
|8||6 December 2008||8.28||32.0%|
|9||13 December 2008||6.29||23.5%|
|10||20 December 2008||4.91||17.7%|
|11||31 January 2009||6.49||26.1%|
|12||7 February 2009||6.15||24.0%|
|13||14 February 2009||7.87||31.7%|
|14||21 February 2009||4.47||20.2%|
|15||28 February 2009||5.46||25.6%|
|16||7 March 2009||5.97||23.5%|
|17||14 March 2009||5.41||27.0%|
|18||21 March 2009||5.22||25.2%|
|19||28 March 2009||6.42||27.6%|
|20||4 April 2009||5.39||27.0%|
|1||10 October 2009||7.13||27.7%|
|2||17 October 2009||7.35||28.9%|
|3||24 October 2009||7.05||26.7%|
|4||31 October 2009||5.94||23.2%|
|5||7 November 2009||6.04||23.2%|
|6||14 November 2009||5.97||21.3%|
|7||21 November 2009||7.25||26.3%|
|8||28 November 2009||7.04||26.4%|
|9||30 January 2010||7.07||29.4%|
|10||6 February 2010||7.35||28.7%|
|11||13 February 2010||5.35||21.4%|
|12||20 February 2010||5.80||22.2%|
|13||27 February 2010||5.92||23.3%|
|14||6 March 2010||5.26||20.4%|
|15||13 March 2010||5.72||23.1%|
|16||20 March 2010||6.69||28.6%|
|1||9 October 2010||5.97[nb 1]||23.8%|
|2||16 October 2010||5.42||21.9%|
|3||23 October 2010||5.33||20.9%|
|4||30 October 2010||5.37||20.8%|
|5||6 November 2010||5.38||20.7%|
|6||13 November 2010||8.27[nb 2]||31.5%|
|7||20 November 2010||7.08||26.1%|
|8||27 November 2010||6.17||22.4%|
|9||4 December 2010||5.65||20.7%|
|10||5 February 2011||6.06[nb 3]||24.3%|
|11||12 February 2011||5.82||26.6%|
|12||19 February 2011||4.37||18.8%|
|13||26 February 2011||4.24||17.9%|
|14||5 March 2011||4.25||19.5%|
|15||12 March 2011||4.28||18.7%|
|16||19 March 2011||5.42||25.1%|
|17||26 March 2011||5.07||24.3%|
|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||4 February 2012||5.67||22.4%|
|11||11 February 2012||5.38||22.6%|
|12||18 February 2012||4.46||17.5%|
|13||25 February 2012||4.93||20.4%|
|14||3 March 2012||4.97||20.8%|
|15||10 March 2012||4.87||21.4%|
|16||17 March 2012||5.10||22.6%|
|17||24 March 2012||3.69||15.1%|
- The Best Of TV Burp 1-2 was broadcast as part of Series 6
- The Best of TV Burp 3-5 was broadcast as part of Series 7
- The Best of TV Burp 6-8 and The Review of the Year 2008 were broadcast as part of Series 8
- The Best of TV Burp 9-12, The Review of the Year 2009 and The Best of Christmas TV Burp were broadcast as part of Series 9
- The Best of TV Burp 13-16 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.
- "Harry Hill fan site: "TV Burp available on ITV Player"". Harryhill.wordpress.com. October 10, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- 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. November 7, 2013.
- "Ofcom judgement on Bear Grylls clips". Stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "Ofcom bulletin including Best of TV Burp fairness and privacy judgement" (PDF). Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- Ofcom Broadcast & On-Demand Bulletin 313, 2016-09-26
- "Avalon Entertainment Limited". Avalonuk.com. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2008". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- "Take That reunion doc draws 5 million". The Guardian. November 15, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "The British Sitcom Guide - News". Retrieved November 7, 2007.
- "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
- Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD
- Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD
- Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD