Mock The Week. Image shows from L to R: Hugh Dennis, Dara O Briain
Mock The Week

Mock The Week

  • TV panel show
  • BBC Two
  • 2005 - 2022
  • 212 episodes (21 series)

Topical panel show taking a satirical look at the week's news. Hosted by Dara O Briain with regular player Hugh Dennis. Also features Andy Parsons, Frankie Boyle, Russell Howard, Rory Bremner and Chris Addison

Mock The Week trivia

In the earlier series Hugh Dennis frequently managed to get his impression of Jimmy Savile announcing the group Showaddywaddy into his scenes - much to the delight of the studio audience.

Dennis also had a second running joke about finding cheaper car insurance. He normally managed to get this into the final round.

Series 1, Episode 6 had to be hastily replaced with a highlights show as many of the audience, the panellists and crew could not get to the studio. This was because the episode was due to be recorded on the 7th July 2005, the day terrorist bombings shut down the London transport network.

The planned episode would have featured Andy Parsons, Greg Proops and Jo Brand as guests alongside Rory, Hugh, Frankie and Dara with lots of discussion of the success of London's Olympic bid the day before, Live 8 and Wimbledon.

The 8 Out of 10 Cats episode which was also scheduled to be recorded in BBC Television Centre that evening did go ahead. The Mock the Week production crew and audience that did make it to the studios helped to fill gaps.

Here is what Andy Parsons said when asked about the Mock The Week scoring:

It's amazing how excited people get. It's completely made up. Basically, they record it, both sides win every round and then they decide in the edit which team actually wins. I have no idea how they decide that and it doesn't make logical sense. You find yourself winning and losing in an editing suite, which we tend not to care about but people at home write in: 'I can't believe how they won that round, there was no sense in it.' People take it far too seriously.


And this is what Andy Parsons said, when asked about whether they get to see the categories before they record Mock The Week:

Yes. Well, they give you some clues. They seem to be desperately worried you won't have anything. But when you have seven people, the chances of nobody having anything to say are remote. When you have seven comics and you throw up a topic, it's like a pack of wolves that hasn't eaten for weeks.


An average episode of Mock The Week takes between an hour-and-a-half to two hours to record. They film for that length of time to ensure that 30 minutes of 'comedy gold' suitable for TV is obtained. Gags that fall flat and jokes that are too rude are cut out of the TV broadcast version.

Dara, Hugh, Chris and Andy were joined by Stewart Francis, Adam Hills and Ed Byrne for a special 5-minute round of "Unlikely things to hear in a TV charity show" for Sport Relief 2012, broadcast at 1:13am on Saturday 24th March, on BBC One.

Dara O'Briain and Hugh Dennis are the only performers who have appeared in every single episode.

The oldest performer to make a debut on the show was Clive Anderson who was 53. The youngest person to appear on the show was Jack Whitehall, who was 21 at the time.

Panellists Alun Cochrane, Micky Flanagan and Ben Norris were all former studio warm-up men for the show.

Ben Norris was drafted in to appear on Series 7, Episode 11 very late in the day as Frankie Boyle had to pull out of the recording due to chest pains.

Tennis star Andy Murray is a big fan of the show, and has been in the audience on more than one occasion. For Sport Relief 2014 (broadcast 21st March 2014) he took part in a special round. Watch

The stand-up round was originally called 'Wheel of News', but after Have I Got News For You featured a round of the same name, the decision was made to change it. For Episode 2 it became 'Stand Up, Sit Down' and has changed name every episode since.

Some of the stranger names for the round have included:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Wheel of News
Ashley Cole Just Sent Me a Picture of His Mock
Don't Put Your Nuts on the Road
Eamonn Holmes is Hungry for Jokes
English Jokes for English People
Joke-o Ono
Mock-tor Quinn, Medicine Woman
Round and Round and Round it Goes, Where it Lands Do Some Jokes
Set Your Phasers to Fun
Unexpected Item in the Gagging Area

As of June 2015, 68 different performers have faced the stand-up wheel, with it having revolved 377 times. Andy Parsons has faced it the most, having stood there on 64 occasions.

The tallest performer to appear on the show is, unsurprisingly, the 6ft 8ins Greg Davies. The shortest guests ever to appear on the series are jointly the 4ft 11ins Sandi Toksvig, Lucy Porter and Susan Calman.

Frank Skinner is the only winner of 'Rear of the Year' to have appeared on Mock The Week... so far. (The producers say "Su Pollard can't turn us down for ever").

The most popular 'If This is the Answer, What is the Question?' category is Sport. As of June 2015 it has been chosen thirty times.

The show's theme tune - News of the World by The Jam - was the only one of the band's songs written by Bruce Foxton. It was first released in March 1978.

Dara O Briain used to begin every show with a monologue about the week's news but this practice ended after Series 4.

Games that have now been retired include:
Ask the Panel
Ask the Politicians
Between the Lines
Bombshell Phone Call
Dating Videos
Inside the Mind Of...
Phone In
Prime Minister's Question Time

During the recording each cast member is given a banana and a mug containing either water or a 'mystery brew' [alcohol]; occasionally they are allowed a chocolate or energy bar.

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