Mock the Week
|Mock the Week|
|Genre||Comedy panel game|
|Created by||Dan Patterson|
|Presented by||Dara Ó Briain|
|Opening theme||"News of the World" by The Jam|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||18|
|No. of episodes||201 (as of 20 December 2019) (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||BBC Television Centre|
(series 1–11, 17–)
The London Studios
|Running time||29 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Angst Productions|
|Original network||BBC Two|
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV) (2005–12)|
1080i (HDTV) (2013–present)
|Original release||5 June 2005 –|
|Related shows||Mock the Week Looks Back At...|
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Russell Howard's Good News
Fast and Loose
Mock the Week is a British topical satirical celebrity panel show, that was created by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson, who also co-created the comedy game show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Performers deliver mostly prepared answers on different subjects under the guise of an improvised gameshow. It is made by independent production company Angst Productions, and made its debut on BBC Two on 5 June 2005, with the show's theme song being "News of the World" by The Jam. The show has featured a variety of different stand-up performers, some being part of the show for several series as a permanent fixture, with host Dara Ó Briain and comedian Hugh Dennis having appeared in every episode since its debut. Old episodes currently air on Dave, which is frequently mentioned on the show.
The general format of the show involves the host subjecting the panel, which consist of two teams of three performers (referred to as panellists), to a series of rounds in which they either answer questions on various news topics from the previous week of news, often with them giving improvised comedic answers, or performing comedic challenges based on a subject(s) provided to them (e.g. Healthcare). News topics range from major international news stories to regional news items from within Britain, with the show sometimes including photos and quotes related to the news articles used on the show. All episodes are approximately 30 minutes long, with each series featuring at least one compilation episode containing the best moments of a series, rounds that were not broadcast, and outtakes that occurred during filming. While most games are done around a large desk, to the left of it in the studio is the Performance Area, a large stage area with a large TV screen that is normally used for stand-up and improvisation challenges, primarily Scenes We'd Like To See. In addition, a smaller stage next to the desk is used and referred to as the Press Pit, often used in the round Between the Lines.
Although the show has the format of a game and has a winning and losing team, the entire show exists mainly to provide starting points for improvised comedy routines rather than to function as a serious competition. Specific scores are never referred to, with the actual points won never stated by the host; current host Dara Ó Briain always ends the round by stating that he has given "the points" to the team he judges should receive them. In episode 11 of season 6, Dara admitted that winners of each round and point allocation was not based on anything specific, and viewers should "stop e-mailing in." Along with the scoring system, neither team has, in effect, a team captain (Hugh Dennis is sometimes referred to as such in publicity material), with such a distinction never being made on the programme itself.
Throughout the show's history, Mock The Week has consistently had at least one permanent comedian/stand-up performers within its panel who appears regularly within every episode; up until the fifteenth series, the programme regularly featured two permanent members in its panel, and in some series the show featured a third permanent member. While there have been a total of six performers who have performed regularly on the show as a permanent panellist, only Hugh Dennis has appeared regularly in every episode since its debut (with the exception of a special episode of the programme that was broadcast as part of David Walliams' 24 Hour Panel People). The other five performers to have been regular, permanent members on the show include:
- Frankie Boyle – Series 1 to Series 7. His departure from the show, revealed on 2 October 2009, was due to focusing on "other television commitments".
- Rory Bremner – Series 1 to Series 2.
- Andy Parsons – Series 3 to Series 14. His departure from the programme was announced on 19 October 2015.
- Russell Howard – Series 4 to Series 9 (first half).
- Chris Addison – Series 10 (latter half) to Series 12 (first half). His departure from the show was due to his involvement in a project being filmed in the United States.
Along with at least one or two permanent members, the panel often consists of guest performers, some of whom have had frequent appearances on the show. The following have appeared at least four times on the show as a guest panellist (up to 22 October 2020, not including the 2011 Comic Relief special):
As part of the general format of the show, performers take part in a mixture of quiz-styled games (often described as "rounds"), in which they answer with comedic responses or made-up, on the spot answers, perform stand-up comedy, and partake in improvisational games. Games that feature are either regularly used, occasionally used, or were retired after a while.
The following games feature in all episodes of Mock the Week:
- Picture of the Week: Panellists are shown an image and makes jokes about it, with the image connected to a news story that happened on the week of the episode's broadcast. This round can be played as the first or second-last round of the episode, alternating with "If this is the answer, what is the question?". The round replaced "Headliners" as one of the regular games of the show.
- Wheel of News: The game is a stand-up challenge in the Performance Area, in which a number of performers (often the guests) are tasked with doing stand-up comedy based on a subject that the "Wheel" of the Random News Generator lands on (e.g. Education). While in the first series, all six performers took part, between Series 2 and 8 this was reduced to four performers, then to three between Series 9 and 10, before being reduced to the current setup of just two guest performers doing the game since Series 11–13; this arrangement was aimed at allowing for greater screen time for those guests, in order to help promote them more as stand-up artists. Since Series 2, host Ó Briain would introduce the round with a name that sometimes referenced a recent event, with examples including Dara's Supercasino: Make-a-Joke Roulette, Four By One Joke Relay, and Don't Stop 'til You Get a Laugh, among many others. Furthermore, the winner of the game between Series 1 and 2, was determined by a system in which Ó Briain judged whether the audience had laughed enough at the routine and decided whether or not the performer was allowed to sit down, with the first team to have all their performers back in their seats winning the game. If one player from each team was left standing, a sudden death system would come into effect, in which a random topic was picked and both players had to talk about it. From Series 3, this was changed to far simpler system of Ó Briain simply deeming the team who got the biggest laugh to be the winner.
- If this is the answer, what is the question?: A simple quiz-styled round for all performers to play, in which one of the guests is given six categories to choose from, covering topics such as sport, health, home affairs, world news, the environment, and politics, and are then given the answer related to the topic and asked to guess what the question is. Often the guesses by the panellists are of comical questions, which sometimes are not even on the topic it's related to, with the host eventually calling time on their guesses by requesting the actual question. The round is not over after the answer is given, as the host and panellists often conduct discussions in relation to the question and the topic, most for comedy, and are sometimes asked further questions by the host on news articles that may not have relevance to it. The round often was played before the final round, but more recently is often played as the first round of the episode.
- Scenes we'd like to see: The final round of each episode, with all performers playing in the Performance Area. Each team is assigned to either side of the stage and are given two different scenarios (four in Series 1, three in Series 2) which are stated out on the TV screen, with any performer who steps onto the stage having to walk up to the microphone provided, and needing to suggest something that is unlikely to happen based on the given scenario, with the host buzzing them off when they are done. Examples of scenarios used on the show include "What the Queen didn't say in her Christmas message", "Unlikely lines from the final Harry Potter book", "Commercials that never made it to air", "Rejected exam questions", and "Things you didn't hear at the Olympics", among others, with some subjects repeated in later series. The round was inspired by the game "Scenes From A Hat" from Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
These games occasionally appear in some episodes, but not all, with those not used either featured as part of a series' compilation episode or released as part of a DVD extra(s). The reason these may not appear and be cut from an episode is either because of the language used or the highly politically incorrect answers the panel members give, at the time that the show was broadcast:
- Between the lines: This round takes place in the Press Pit, with one performer impersonating someone in the news who is giving a press conference (often a politician), with another translating their words to detail what they are "really" saying. For much of its use, Hugh Dennis is the one stating what is "really" being said, while in the first two series, the impersonation was done by Rory Bremner and Frankie Boyle, with more recent series seeing Hugh partnered with a guest performer.
- Newsreel: This round sees a performer shown a piece of news footage played with no sound, and acting out what each person is saying, although usually bearing no relation to what is actually occurring in the footage. Throughout its uses, Hugh Dennis has often been the only one tasked to play this game, with the round later renamed as "Royal Commentary" in which he provides commentary on a royal event. The round is similar in style to the game of "Film Dub" from Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
- What on earth: This round sees the panel shown a picture linked to a world news event, and attempt to figure out what is happening within it. To date, the round has only featured as an out-take during clip shows, and has also appeared on the Too Hot For TV DVD. The current round "Picture of the Week" follows the same basic premise as What on Earth.
These rounds were originally used in the show before being dropped (most were used in Series 1 and 2), or replaced:
- Dating videos: Two performers, one from each team, is given the name of a famous person and tasked with acting as them in the Performance Area and pretending to record a lonely hearts advertisement in the style of that person. The other players are tasked with guessing who they are acting as.
- Ask the politicians: In the style of current affairs programme Question Time, two or three performers take seats in the audience and give out questions to the rest of the panel, each of whom answers in the style of a politician; often one acted as a spokesperson for Labour and another acted for the Conservatives, while Ó Briain performed as the host of the "show".
- Prime Minister's questions: One team played as the British Prime Minister and their front-bench MPs, while the other team played as the Leader of the Opposition and their front bench MPs, with the host taking on the role of the Speaker of the House of Commons. Both teams are given a rather trivial news story to debate, but would treat it as if it was the heavyweight issue of the day, with the game usually evolving into a series of puns that saw each team attempting to continue the chain (for example, while referring to farming, "I take it you're an expert in the field", "I have ploughed that furrow" etc.).
- Bombshell phone calls: Two performers, one from each side, each play as a famous person having a telephone conversation with each other, in which one of them would drop a bombshell during the conversation, with the other having to give out their reaction to it.
- Headliners: Played by all panellists, and often used to begin the show, both sides are shown a photo of someone famous in the news. They are then given the initial letters of a newspaper headline connected to the photo and asked to guess what the headline is, with guesses often being comedic suggestions before one of the panellist gives the correct answer, after Dara prompts them for it. Guests, such as Michael McIntyre, have admitted they often struggled to come up with a headline that both fits the letters and is funny (In one episode, McIntyre's best effort was "Brown Orders Tree Explosion"). As was evidenced on the "Too Hot For TV" DVD releases, a hefty percentage of headlines pitched (mainly by Frankie Boyle) were not suitable for broadcast. The round was later replaced by "Picture of the Week".
Controversy and criticism
On several occasions, Mock the Week has been the source of complaints, due to some risqué comments made by the panellists and the show's extreme use of profanity (in particular Frankie Boyle). In the first episode of Series 4, during a segment called "What The Queen Didn't Say in Her Christmas Message", Boyle made the comment: "I am now so old that my pussy is haunted." This led to the BBC's director general Mark Thompson being challenged about the comments on Newsnight. Boyle later quipped "That was three years ago. If it wasn't haunted then it certainly is now." In 2008, a larger controversy arose following another comment made by Boyle regarding swimmer Rebecca Adlington. Boyle stated that "she looks like someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a spoon". The BBC ruled that the jokes were indeed "humiliating" and "risked offending the audience", while also calling Boyle "a brilliant member of the team". Despite this, Adlington's agent said that simply admitting mistakes was not enough, saying: "By giving Frankie Boyle a rebuke they fail to discourage others from doing the same."
Since leaving the show, Boyle has criticised both the show's production team and the BBC Trust. He claims that the show did not cover enough major news stories and was too restrictive on his risqué comedy act, as the producers and the BBC Trust were afraid of "frightening the horses". The lack of female guests on the programme has been the subject of complaints in the letters page of the Radio Times. Jo Brand, while criticising the male-dominated genre of comedy panel shows, said in 2009, "I don't do Mock the Week any more and neither do some male stand-ups I know who have tried it once. We just don’t like the prospect of having to bite someone’s foot off before they let us say something." In 2013, former panelist Rory Bremner stated his reasons for leaving the show, saying: "I felt that there was a new and highly competitive and quite aggressive tendency there and felt uncomfortable. But I've since found out that very few people have felt comfortable doing Mock the Week." He also criticised the way comedians like Linda Smith were treated by new comedians, who "are like prize fighters".
A DVD, Mock the Week: Too Hot for TV was released on 26 November 2007. It contains almost three hours of material, including three extended episodes from series five, containing scenes that were considered too rude for broadcast. The three extended episodes are titled, 'Putin, Henman & Konnie Huq', 'Nuts, Pies and Nim Nim Nim' and 'Money, Sex and The Lib Dems'. Mock the Week: Too Hot for TV 2 was released on 9 November 2009. Again, the DVD contains the main 'Too Hot For TV' feature with a compilation of unseen footage, plus three extended episodes from the series archives titled, 'The Anal Lube Show', 'The Leg Show' and 'The Hedgehog Show'. The extended episodes have a total of more than 40 minutes of unseen material. Audio CD versions of both DVDs are available. Mock the Week: Too Hot for TV 3 was released on 8 November 2010. Like the previous two, this DVD features an hour-long smut reel and three extended episodes titled 'The Elves and Testicles Show', 'The Prisons and Other Dodgy Stuff Show', and 'The Johnny Blowjob and Bird Flu Show'.
Boxtree published seven original tie-in books between 2008 and 2014, plus one which compiled the best of the first two books.
Mock the Week: Scenes We'd Like to See (August 2008)
Mock the Week: This Year's Book (September 2009)
Mock the Week: 1001 Jokes (January 2010, collected the best of the first two books, later published in paperback as Mock the Week: 1001 Scenes We'd Like to See)
Mock the Week: Next Year's Book (September 2010)
Mock The Week's Funniest Book of All Time (2011)
Mock The Week's Only Book You'll Ever Need (2012)
Mock The Week's Ultimate Panic-Buy! (2013)
Mock The Week's Brand Spanking New Scenes We'd Like To See (2014). 
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||5 June 2005||3 July 2005||5|
|2||20 January 2006||24 February 2006||6|
|3||14 September 2006||19 October 2006||6|
|4||11 January 2007||8 February 2007||5|
|5||12 July 2007||20 September 2007||11|
|6||10 July 2008||18 September 2008||11|
|7||9 July 2009||24 September 2009||11|
|8||21 January 2010||18 February 2010||5|
|9||17 June 2010||7 October 2010||10|
|10||9 June 2011||13 October 2011||11|
|11||14 June 2012||11 October 2012||11|
|12||13 June 2013||3 October 2013||11|
|13||12 June 2014||9 October 2014||11|
|14||11 June 2015||8 October 2015||11|
|15||9 June 2016||7 October 2016||11|
|16||8 June 2017||6 October 2017||11|
|17||7 June 2018||5 October 2018||11|
|18||23 May 2019||6 December 2019||11|
|19||22 October 2020||TBA||11|
|10 July 2005||The Best of Series 1|
|2 March 2006||The Best of Series 2|
|26 October 2006||The Best of Series 3|
|15 February 2007||The Best of Series 4|
|27 September 2007||The Best of Series 5|
|25 September 2008||The Best of Series 6|
|23 December 2008||Christmas Special|
|20 August 2009||The Best of Series 7 (Part 1)|
|22 December 2009||Christmas Special/The Best of Series 7 (Part 2)|
|25 February 2010||The Best of Series 8|
|29 July 2010||The Best of Series 9 (Part 1)|
|14 October 2010||The Best of Series 9 (Part 2)|
|21 December 2010||Christmas Special|
|5 March 2011||24 Hour Panel People Comic Relief Special|
|14 July 2011||The Best of Series 10 (Part 1)|
|20 December 2011||Christmas Special/The Best of Series 10 (Part 2)|
|5 July 2012||100th Episode|
|19 July 2012||The Best of Series 11 (Part 1)|
|27 December 2012||Christmas Special/The Best of Series 11 (Part 2)|
|10 October 2013||The Best of Series 12|
|31 December 2013||Christmas Special|
|21 November 2014||The Best of Series 13|
|23 December 2014||Christmas Special|
|31 December 2014||New Year Eve's Special|
|19 October 2015||The Best of Series 14|
|21 December 2015||Christmas Special|
|14 October 2016||The Best of Series 15|
|14 December 2016||Christmas Special|
|13 October 2017||The Best of Series 16|
|20 December 2017||Christmas Special|
|12 October 2018||The Best of Series 17|
|21 December 2018||Christmas Special|
|13 December 2019||The Best of Series 18|
|20 December 2019||Christmas Special|
Mock the Week Looks Back At...
|1||"Health"||3 March 2013|
|2||"Animals"||10 March 2013|
|3||"Education"||17 March 2013|
|4||"Entertainment"||24 March 2013|
|5||"Law & Order"||31 March 2013|
|6||"Science & Technology"||7 April 2013|
|7||"Travel"||21 April 2013|
|8||"Britain"||28 April 2013|
|9||"Royals"||12 May 2013|
|10||"Food & Drink"||19 May 2013|
- "Mock The Week". BBC Studioworks. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Mock The Week is back in full close-up HD glory" (Press release). BBC. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- Logan, Brian (29 October 2013). "Ross Noble mocks Mock the Week". The Guardian.
- Jefferies, Mark (20 August 2013). "Mock The Week gags are pre-planned admits TV comedian Alan Davies".
- "The Company". Mock the Week. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
- "Mocking the week for a decade". BBC. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- "The Show". Mock the Week. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
- "Mock The Week returns to BBC Two for two series deal". BBC Press Office. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
- "Boyle leaves Mock The Week panel". BBC Scotland. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
- "Andy Parsons quits Mock the Week". Chortle. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "Chris Addison takes time off Mock The Week". Chortle. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Mock The Week — The Cast (- The Guests)". Retrieved 8 August 2008.
- Quinn, Ben (31 October 2008). "Complaints as comments about the Queen aired". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- Frankie Boyle, My Shit Life So Far, HarperCollins Publishers 2010.
- Singh, Anita (20 October 2009). "Mock The Week in trouble over Rebecca Adlington 'joke'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- "'Mock' rapped over swimmer jibes". BBC. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Swimmer queries Mock show ruling". BBC. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Frankie Boyle slams Mock the Week". Metro. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- Brand, Jo (10 June 2009). "Jo Brands panel on participation by women in panel shows". The Guardian. London.
- Hall, James (1 January 2013). "Rory Bremner attacks BBC's Mock the Week". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "The DVD". Mock the Week. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
- Mock the Week: Too Hot For TV 2 – Play.com
- "Mock the Week – Too Hot For TV 3". Amazon.com. 8 November 2010.
- Richardson, Anna (21 December 2007). "Boxtree ready to mock the week". The Bookseller. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
- "Episode 1.1 – Health". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.2 – Animals". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.3 – Education". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.4 – Entertainment". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.5 – Law & Order". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.6 – Science & Technology". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.7 – Travel". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.8 – Britain". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.9 – Royals". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Episode 1.10 – Food & Drink". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Mock the Week – official site
- Mock the Week at BBC Programmes
- Mock the Week at TV.com
- Mock the Week on IMDb
- Mock the Week at epguides.com
- Mock the Week at British Comedy Guide
- Mock the Week at UKGameshows.com
- Mock the Week Looks Back At... at British Comedy Guide
- The BBC's Mock The Week YouTube playlist
- Mock the Week Video Clips on BBC Comedy