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Shooting Stars

From Academic Kids

This page is about the comedy game show, for the atmospheric phenomenon see Meteor.
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The original panel of Shooting Stars, left to right: Vic Reeves, Mark Lamarr, Bob Mortimer and Ulrika Jonsson

Shooting Stars is a UK television comedy panel game broadcast on BBC TWO. Created by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, it is both a parody of the game show format, and an experiment in dadaist television. As such it is possibly one of the most bizarre programmes ever regularly aired. The first series was broadcast in 1995, and the most recent in 2002.

Contents

Format

The basic format of the show is that of a conventional panel game. The hosts (Reeves and Mortimer) and the two teams of three sit behind desks. The hosts ask questions of the two teams, and points are awarded for "correct" answers. As is common with panel games, the scoring is largely arbitrary and merely a device to give a structure to the proceedings. Reeves will almost always perform a "leg rub" in front of a beautiful female guest seated directly to his right, to indicate his attraction to her.

Rounds include "true or false", the filmclip round, the impressions round, "The Dove from Above", and others. In the impressions round contestants have to guess what song Vic Reeves is singing "in the club style" - so stylised (or perhaps drunkenly slurred) as to be incomprehensible. "The Dove from Above" - later replaced by "The Most Wonderful Car In The World" (a tiny car with buttocks on the bumper) and then "Donald Cox the Sweaty Fox" - is a large and shoddy prop animal suspended above the contestants merely for the purpose of bearing six key words for further questions.

In the Dove From Above, and subsequent versions of the same round, if a contestant answers incorrectly, Vic shouts "UVAVU" and pulls a stupid face. If the contestant chooses a certain, prize-winning option, Vic will pull another stupid face and yell "ERANU". The prize is invariably a bizarre and practically useless device, an example of which would be eye-spoons, consisting of spectacle frames with teaspoons attached where lenses would be. These are to be used should one's eyes pop out of their skull when visiting a nudist beach. Vic often tells a poor joke before this round, followed by silence and a howling wind. Occasionally, as an act of mercy, Lamarr or Mortimer would sacrifice their reputations and tell the joke, at which point it becomes exceptionally funny and is almost worshipped by the audience and guests, much to Vic's disgust.

The true purpose of the show is as a vehicle for the surrealist humour of the hosts, Vic and Bob. Some guests "get it", others do not - in many cases these often provide the best comedy. The title of the show is a pun on the fact that much of the humour is at the expense of the guest stars.

Participants

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Matt Lucas as George Dawes

There are two teams -Team A and Team B. Each team has a regular team captain - originally, Mark Lamarr and Ulrika Jonsson - and two celebrity guests. Lamarr left the series in 1997 as he disliked being in too many quiz shows at once, and was replaced by novelist Will Self when the series returned in 2002. At the same time comedian Johnny Vegas was brought in as a regular guest on Jonsson's team.

The "score" is kept by George Dawes, a drumming baby played by comedian Matt Lucas. (Occasionally George's "mother" Marjorie Dawes - also played by Lucas - appears instead. She also appears in Little Britain.)

Questions

Examples of the impossible-to-predict questions (and answers) are:

  • True or False: Bill Cosby was the first ever black man. (False, it was actually Sidney Poitier)
  • Macaulay Culkin is a child, but can you name an adult? (This was not as easy as it seemed, as the only acceptable answer was Sarah Ferguson)
  • True or false - A bounty bar is the exact same size and weight as a human thumb? (The answer was true, as demonstrated by Vic)
  • Artichoke, Melon, Tanktater, Pomegranate? (The answer was something equally stupid and nonsensical)
  • True or False: Paul Daniels' head is wider than it is tall.
  • True or False: Inside every cat there is trapped a rabbit, and when a cat says 'miaow', it is actually the rabbit saying 'get me out'.
  • Who would win in a fight between a steel octo-bear and some sort of strange man fungus?
  • Name a type of bee that produces milk. (The correct answer was 'boobies')
  • A dog has three puppies, but what was the name of the mother? (This trick question recurred in many formats - the name of the mother is 'What' (see Who's On First?). These sections usually end with a bemused Vic asking Bob 'heh heh....well...what was it?)
  • Name a junction on the M6 (The guest star almost always got the answer wrong).

The final game

The winning team ultimately nominates one of its members (usually one of the bewildered guest stars) to perform the final game, which is generally something completely bizarre and different for each show.

  • Jarvis Cocker was given the task to throw mini Baby-Bel cheeses at a giant blow-up poster of Judy Finnigan, with 5 awarded for each hit to the eyes, and 10 to the mouth, with the additional proviso that Cocker had "to throw them in the style of a girl".
  • Damon Hill was buried in a large tub of mushrooms, and was given the task of throwing out as many bags of crisps from the container as he could (while the rest of the team and audience left the studio and the lights turned out, leaving Damon 'looking' at his watch whilst still covered in mushrooms).
  • Johnny Vegas had to see how many vacuum attachments he could stick to his face.
  • Ulrika Jonsson had to wipe dandruff from a car windscreen using any of her four cheeks.
  • Mark Lamarr, armed only with a child's plastic shield, was forced to fend off various stuffed animals, in increasing size, that were swung at him by Vic from the 'Garden of Tanktarter'. The animals ranged from a dormouse to a grizzly bear.
  • Mark Williams was forced to lie on top of a cupboard while Vic and Bob tried desperately to knock him off by hitting him with brooms and slamming their bodies into the side of the cupboard.

Alternative versions

  • In early 2005, an obvious rip-off of Shooting Stars, called the Mike & Thomas Show, was broadcast on Dutch television, the most notable difference being that the show was presented from behind two grand pianos.

External links

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