Mr Blobby

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Mr Blobby
Mr Blobby, 2009.jpg
First appearance24 October 1992 Noel's House Party
Created byMichael Leggo[1][2]
Portrayed byBarry Killerby (1992–2016)[3]
Paul Denson (2017)
In-universe information
GenderMale
SpouseMrs. Blobby
ChildrenBaby Blobby (son)
NationalityBritish

Mr Blobby is a character originally featured on Noel Edmonds' Saturday night variety BBC One television show Noel's House Party, portrayed by Barry Killerby from Bradford, West Yorkshire, England,[3] and was the brainchild of British comedy writer Charlie Adams, a writer for the show. A bulbous pink figure covered with yellow spots, he has a permanent toothy grin and green jiggling eyes. Mr Blobby communicates only by saying the word "blobby" in an electronically altered voice, expressing his moods through tone of voice and repetition. He topped the UK Singles Chart with the 1993 Christmas release "Mr Blobby".

Origins[edit]

Mr Blobby first appeared in 1992 in the 'Gotcha' segment of the second series of Noel's House Party, in which celebrities were caught out in a Candid Camera style prank. Mr Blobby was presented to the celebrities as if he were a real and established children's television character, in order to record an episode centred around the guests' profession. In truth, there was no Mr Blobby TV series, and he was created purely for the prank. Mr Blobby would clumsily take part in the activity, knocking over the set, causing mayhem, and saying "blobby blobby blobby." His childish and unprofessional behaviour was calculated to irritate the celebrities taking part. When the prank was finally revealed the Mr Blobby costume would be opened, revealing Noel Edmonds inside.

Once the first 'Gotcha' segments had aired, Mr Blobby was no longer usable as part of the 'Gotcha' sequences. He continued to make appearances on Noel's House Party with various members of the production team donning the costume created by artist Joshua Snow.

Through Noel's House Party, Mr Blobby was seen in short comedy sketches, 'guest-appearing' on other TV programmes. Examples include Lovejoy, where he unintentionally broke antique furniture, and Keeping Up Appearances, where he was seen paying an impromptu visit to Hyacinth and Richard Bucket, disrupting their kitchen.

Other appearances[edit]

Mr Blobby made regular appearances on Saturday morning show Live & Kicking and Saturday evening show The Generation Game with Jim Davidson. The character has appeared in cameos on Dead Ringers, Harry Hill's TV Burp, Dick and Dom in da Bungalow and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. The character also appeared in the music video for Peter Kay's 2005 charity single "Is This the Way to Amarillo".

Mr Blobby was a regular character at the Danish show Greven på Hittegodset (1996) shown at TV 2. The viewers didn't enjoy the show which was cancelled after only six of thirteen planned shows.[4]

In December 1997 Mr Blobby made a guest appearance on children's game show Get Your Own Back, he was the losing grown-up and was subsequently gunged. He made a return the following year this time playing a judge on the show and gunged presenter Dave Benson Phillips as revenge for the previous year.[5]

Mr Blobby has toured around the UK making public appearances at events such as university balls and in pantomime, and has made short videos and sketches exclusively for his official YouTube channel.[citation needed]

John McLagan stood as "Mr Blobby" in the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election in 1995, having changed his name by deed poll. He came seventh out of ten candidates, with 105 votes (0.2%).[6]

In 2012 Mr Blobby made a guest appearance on the 23 September episode of The Big Fat Quiz of the Year "The Big Fat Quiz of the '90s".[7]

In May 2017 Mr Blobby made a guest appearance in the Ghostbusters episode of The Keith & Paddy Picture Show, where he was portrayed by Paul Denson.[8] He also appeared on The Last Leg, where he was declared as leader of "The 90s Party", a political party formed by the show's hosts.

On 14 October 2017, Mr Blobby made a guest appearance on Sam Delaney's News Thing.[9]

In January and February 2019, Mr Blobby appeared in an advertising campaign celebrating the 100th birthday of supermarket Tesco.[10][11]

On 6 September 2019, Mr Blobby appeared on the 20th Anniversary episode of Loose Women where he grappled Carol McGiffin, losing an eye in the process.[12]

In November 2019, Mr Blobby appeared in Virgin Trains West Coast's Final Whistle Music video, celebrating the end of the franchise.[13]

Criticism[edit]

In March 1994, Elizabeth Kolbert of The New York Times wrote: "Mr Blobby's rise to stardom has provoked anguished commentaries about just what he stands for... Some commentators have called him a metaphor for a nation gone soft in the head. Others have seen him as proof of Britain's deep-seated attraction to trash."[1] A Sun article published the previous month had reported that Blobby reduced a young girl to tears after throwing her birthday cake onto the floor during a show in Luton, causing the girl's father to mount the stage and assault Blobby.[1][3][7] Neville Crumpton, who owns the rights to the character, said: "If the press can knock him, they'll knock him whenever they can."[1] A trio of failed Mr Blobby theme parks also resulted in considerable negative press and scandal.

Addressing the character's popularity, former longtime BBC employee Michael Parkinson in 2007 confessed that he "really didn't get it", and found Blobby "far from amusing".[14][15] In February 2009, Cole Moreton of The Independent featured Blobby in a recounting of the "10 most irritating television characters", asking: "Was there something in the water? Did the nation really once fall about laughing at the clumsy antics of a bloke in a big pink rubber costume with yellow blobs all over it?"[16] In a 2016 article, Stuart Heritage of The Guardian said that Blobby "became a sensation immediately", but then devolved into a "widely despised irritant".[17]

Music career[edit]

Blobby's 1993 Christmas release "Mr Blobby", which topped the UK Singles Chart for three weeks, is regarded by many as the worst single,[18] and indeed, song,[19] of all time. It beat Meat Loaf's I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That), and Take That's Babe, among other songs to Christmas number 1.[3][7][20] His 1995 track "Christmas in Blobbyland" (a number 36 UK entry) was voted the worst festive song ever by British Christmas shoppers in 2011[21] and 2015 polls,[22] and was named in the Metro as the second-worst Christmas song of all time in 2013.[23] Mr Blobby: The Album (1994) was voted the worst LP ever made in a 2016 listener survey.[24]

Toys and merchandising[edit]

Around Christmas 1993, retailers came out with many types of Mr Blobby merchandise. In addition to the CD or cassette tape single, Blobby merchandise included dolls and plush toys, slippers, egg cups, condiment shakers, pink lemonade, and towels.

Three programs were released on VHS, "Mr Blobby" (1993), "Blobbyvision" (1994) and "The All New Adventures of Mr Blobby" (1996).

UK VHS and DVD releases[edit]

VHS covers of the three Mr Blobby releases.
No. VHS Title Catalogue no. Release Date
1"Mr Blobby"BBCV 51571 November 1993 (1 November 1993)
A comical 'blobbumentary' programme made by Noel Edmonds on the star of his 'Noel's House Party' show, Mister Blobby. See Mister Blobby with Will Carling, Valerie Singleton, Wayne Sleep, Hudson and Halls, and Garth Crooks.
2"Blobbyvision"BBCV 539710 October 1994 (10 October 1994)
Mr Blobby displays his skills as only he can in 'Blobbywatch', 'Blindblob', 'Masterblob' and 'Blobstand'. Many scenes in this video were filmed at the Crinkley Bottom theme park at Cricket St Thomas in Somerset [25]
3"The All New Adventures of Mr Blobby"BBCV 57865 February 1996 (5 February 1996)
He's back! Everyone's favourite big, bouncy, big blob (well how many do you know?) In his new guises, Mr Blobby is a complete hoot, hilariously bumping, bashing and bruising his way through life. Superblob, Mr Blobby Sees the optician, Blobby The Bell Boy, Mr Blobby Goes Fishing, Mr Blobby is James Blob, Blobby The Busker, Blobby The Traffic Warden, Blobby Goes To The Bank, Mr Blobby On The Water

The Nutter Clutter Productions released the original Mr Blobby VHS on DVD in 2013.

Video game[edit]

In 1994 Millenium Interactive released Mr Blobby, a platformer game based on the character for Amiga and PC. The game received negative reviews from critics[26].

Theme parks[edit]

Mr Blobby appeared at three Crinkley Bottom-themed attractions in pre-existing British theme parks during the 1990s. The first was based at Cricket St Thomas in Somerset, opening in July 1994. Attractions included a walk-through Blobby House named Dunblobbin, a dark ride based around classic children's television characters, and an animated Noddy exhibit. While the park attracted over 500,000 visitors in its first year, attendance figures dwindled and the park closed in 1998.[25]

The second park was opened at Happy Mount Park, Morecambe, in 1994. This led to large losses, a local scandal toppling councillors and finally an auditor's investigation, which reported in 2004 that "the Council's decision to proceed with the Theme Park was, on the basis of information available to Members and officers in March 1994, imprudent and failed to give due regard to the interests of local taxpayers." The auditor noted "the failure of the Council to carry out market research, the failure to make informed estimates of likely attendance figures, the absence of a design concept, the absence of a detailed specification, the absence of an accurate financial forecast and the imprecise drafting of the Heads of Terms", concluding that "the Council entered into an open ended commitment without knowing what it was going to get for local taxpayers' money."[27][28][29] Council losses stood at £2.5 million. Unique successfully sued the council, whose activities were described as "imprudent, irrational and even unlawful", for £950,000.[29]

A third park based in Pleasurewood Hills, Lowestoft also failed to outlive the 1990s but maintained successful revenue during and after the Crinkley Bottom branding.

Barry Killerby[edit]

The man in the Blobby suit Barry Killerby, is a classically trained Shakespearean actor.[3] In 2008 he was working as a compere for an entertainment company.[3][20] He commented that working as Mr Blobby was harder than it looks by saying "People think it's easy bouncing around saying, 'blobby', but they should try it. It was exhausting and demanding." [20] In October 2019 he launched his play The Last Act of Harry Houdini.[30]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Actor Notes
1992–1999 Noel's House Party Barry Killerby[3]
Live & Kicking Barry Killerby[30]
The Generation Game Barry Killerby[30]
2012 The Big Fat Quiz of the Year Barry Killerby The Big Fat Quiz of the 90's episode[3][7]
2016 Alan Carr: Chatty Man Paul Denson Christmas Special episode[3][7]
2017 The Keith & Paddy Picture Show Paul Denson Ghostbusters episode

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kolbert, Elizabeth (27 March 1994). "Britain's Answer To Barney". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  2. ^ Jones, Ralph (25 November 2019). "British TV's greatest prank: the giddy rise, and spectacular fall, of Noel's House Party". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kindon, Frances (22 November 2018). "Man inside Mr Blobby and what happened to the disgraced character". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  4. ^ Strøyer, Rasmus (27 October 2008). "Hvad er det mest irriterende fredagsprogram" [What is the most annoying Friday TV show]. Danish Broadcasting Corporation (in Danish). Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  5. ^ "get your own back – Don't Look Back In Anger – a 90s nostalgia blog". Don't Look Back In Anger - a 90s nostalgia blog.
  6. ^ "House of Commons Information Office : By-election results : 1992-97" (PDF). Parliament.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e Hurst, Brogan-Leigh (11 March 2020). "Fearne Cotton throws it back to the 90s as she poses with fictional Mr Blobby". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  8. ^ Power, Ed (13 May 2017). "The Keith and Paddy Picture Show, episode two, funniest moments review". Telegraph.co.uk.
  9. ^ "Sam Delaney's News Thing Threat Level: Blobby". British Comedy Guide.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 May 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Mal, Nisha; Rodger, James (14 January 2019). "Mr Blobby is back! The character will appear in new Tesco advert". Coventrytelegraph.net.
  12. ^ https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/loose-women-20th-birthday-mr-blobby-carol-mcgiffin_uk_5d725022e4b03aabe35b0566
  13. ^ Bizarre farewell to Virgin Trains video featuring Richard Branson and Mr Blobby Manchester Evening News 21 November 2019
  14. ^ "Classic Clips: The 1990s". UK Gold. 22 October 2007. "I really didn't get it, to be honest...Millions of people just loved [Blobby], but he was far from amusing to me."
  15. ^ Farrier, David (2013). "Mr Blobby". Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. ^ Moreton, Cole (1 February 2009). "10 most irritating television characters". The Independent. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  17. ^ Heritage, Stuart (1 April 2016). "Mr Blobby does America: a beginner's guide for all his new Stateside fans". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  18. ^ Butler, Ben (13 May 2016). "Azealia Banks' music has had less success in the UK than Mr Blobby's". Gigwise. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  19. ^ "7 songs you can't believe made Christmas number one". Metro. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  20. ^ a b c "We look at what happened to the stars behind those Christmas one-hit wonders". Mirror.co.uk. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Mr Blobby's Christmas song is the worst ever". The Sunday People. Trinity Mirror. 18 December 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  22. ^ "East 17's Tony Mortimer reveals the worst Christmas songs". Belfast Telegraph. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  23. ^ Caster, Yvette (4 December 2013). "The top 10 worst Christmas songs ever, fact". Metro. DMG Media. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  24. ^ "One Direction, Justin Bieber and Bruce Willis albums voted among worst of all time". The Irish News. 8 September 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Merchandise & Promotional Materials". Dunblobbin.com. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Mr Blobby Collection | Games". Mr Blobby Collection. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  27. ^ "Morecambe and the Blobby Land saga – 20 years on".
  28. ^ "District Auditor's Report: Crinkley Bottom Theme Park". Archived from the original on 17 October 2014.
  29. ^ a b "Council blamed for 'Blobby' fiasco". BBC News. 15 January 2004. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  30. ^ a b c "THE LAST ACT OF HARRY HOUDINI Comes to the Cockpit". BroadwayWorld.com. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2020.

External links[edit]