Never Mind The Buzzcocks - a tired formula that needs change
Never Mind the Buzzcocks used to be must-watch TV, the pop quiz was a mainstay of BBC2 comedy. It first broadcast in 1996, presented by Mark Lamarr and with Phil Jupitus and Sean Hughes heading up the teams, it was a mismatched comedy trio that worked. Upon Lamarr's departure in 2005 and after a series of guest presenters, Simon Amstell was drafted in and after a shaky first year he helped regain the momentum that the show had started to lose.
Sean Hughes left the show in 2002 and was replaced by Bill Bailey - a much more entertaining proposition and it's unfortunate that Bailey left the show in 2008 - it's with the departure of Bailey and Amstell (the following year) that the rot really started to set in. The new guest captain - Noel Fielding - was obviously chosen to try and recapture the zany comedy that Bailey had brought to the table, but his one-trick act really became tired within a few episodes and the weekly guest presenters swung wildly between the absolute genius of Adam Buxton in 2011 to the comedy vacuum of Eamonn Holmes earlier this year. The show has of late has lost a lot of the humour that made it essential viewing.
However, this week we hit a new low - the guest hosts, Rizzle Kicks, struggled to hold things together and an increasingly bored and frustrated Huey Morgan (Fun Loving Criminals) snapped and ended up smashing a mug before walking off before the end of the show. It's not clear from the episode what actually set him off, and having been on the show many times in the past (including once as guest host) he must've known what he was signing up for when agreeing to appear.
It's clear that the model is broken - much like Have I Got News For You, the guest host formula is only really successful when you have the right person presenting the show; Make the mistake of giving the reigns to someone who either can't present (Rizzle Kicks) or isn't funny (Eamonn Holmes) and things just grind to a halt. Neither Noel Fielding nor Phil Jupitus are capable of creating a laugh unless they have someone decent holding things together in the middle.
The show needs a whole new lead team - a good regular presenter and two new team captains. Right now, it's becoming an irrelevance and missing an episode really doesn't matter any more.