Room 101 (TV series)

Room 101 (TV series)

Infobox television
show_name = Room 101

country=United Kingdom
caption = The titles of the Nick Hancock episodes of "Room 101".
format = Comedy talk show
picture_format =
runtime = 30 Minutes
creator =
starring = Nick Hancock (1994-1997)
Paul Merton (1999-2007)
channel = BBC Two
first_aired = 4 July 1994
last_aired = 9 February 2007
num_series = 11
num_episodes = 88
producer = Hat Trick Productions
related = Room 101 (Radio series)
imdb_id = 0129710

"Room 101" is a BBC comedy television series based on the radio series of the same name, in which celebrities are invited to discuss their hates with the host in order to have them consigned to the eponymous chamber from the novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four".

Any item can go in and it is also possible for an item to be nominated more than once. Ben Elton has successfully been cast twice into "Room 101" by Anne Robinson and Mark Steel. Football was originally nominated by Spike Milligan but failed to go in, but was later cast into "Room 101" by Marcus Brigstocke.

The television series has been running since 4 July 1994. It is produced independently for the corporation by Hat Trick Productions, screened on BBC Two and repeated on Virgin 1. The audience will often take part in deciding what enters the room, although the host makes the final decision. The title refers to the location in George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" within which, for each person, is the worst fear they can imagine. Appropriately, this is supposedly named after a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House where Orwell used to sit through tedious meetings. [cite web|title=THE REAL ROOM 101||url=|accessdate=2006-12-09]

The TV programme is one of BBC Two's most successful, and memorable guests have included Peter Cook, Will Self, Stephen Fry, Anne Robinson and Ian Hislop, the only person to appear twice on the show. Fry went as far as to put "Room 101" itself into "Room 101".

A Dutch version of "Room 101" started on 6 February 2008. [cite episode|title=Episode 1|series=Room 101 (Dutch version)|airdate=2008-02-06] Hat Trick Productions are planning to bring back "Room 101" as an interactive online version, in which, "a community of users who would make their case for everything they would consign to their own personal hell." [cite news|last=Parker|first=Robin|url=|title=Hat Trick plans to extend HIGNFY and Room 101 online|publisher="Broadcast"|date=2008-09-19|accessdate=2008-09-20]


The radio series was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 5 in 1992, where it was hosted by Nick Hancock. Hancock was also the first presenter when the series transferred to television two years later. The first ever guest on the TV version was comedian Bob Monkhouse. In 1999, Hancock was replaced as host by Paul Merton. Merton's first guest was none other than Nick Hancock. Usually there are five nominations discussed in each show — represented by several surreal props. The last item invariably goes in, usually for a forfeit.


Under Hancock

The rules were fairly tight. Nick Hancock clearly thought out his argument and could be quite strict. Sometimes nominated items he disliked would go into Room 101 and vice versa. Should the guest succeed in getting three items into the room, they would be allowed to choose one rejected item to go in. Should they get too few items in, then an item previously put into the room would get a reprieve (This only happened to Caroline Quentin, who released Paul Daniels - he was later put back in by Jim Davidson and was eventually a guest). Unrelated music (from a fictional "Room 101" radio station) would be played as the item went along the conveyor belt into oblivion.

Under Merton

When Merton became keeper in 1999, the rules were very straight-forward, the choosing a bonus item or releasing an item was relaxed, the music removed and the conveyor belt replaced with an elevated trapdoor. The conversation tended to be more relaxed, reflecting Merton's nature. One trend Merton had was being hesitant when asked to put animals into "Room 101", normally saying, "You're asking me to get rid of an entire species," but he normally backed down. Merton generally put items into the room even if he initially did not want to.

Nominated items

(not pictured) who tried to get rid of smoking bans.]


* Jeremy Clarkson (Sean Lock)
* The Welsh (Anne Robinson)
* Ben Elton (Anne Robinson and Mark Steel)
* Anne Robinson (Jessica Stevenson)
* Britney Spears (Kirsty Young)
* Eric Cantona (Terry Wogan)
* The Beatles (Ian Hislop)
* Chris Evans (Spike Milligan)
* William Shakespeare (Frank Skinner)
* Jeffrey Archer (Kathy Burke)
* Adults who read Harry Potter books (Linda Smith)
* the Archbishop of Canterbury (at the time, George Carey) (Sir Patrick Moore)
* 19 year old girls (Sara Cox)
* Gillian McKeith (Dara Ó Briain)
* Men with beards (John Peel)
* Maths teachers (Richard E. Grant)
* Children using the telephone (Jimmy Tarbuck)
* Herself (Sheila Hancock)
* The Gallagher Brothers (Phil Collins)
* Men who wear wigs (Sir Alan Sugar)
* Politicians who claim to know about current popular music culture. (Mark Steel)
* Craig David (Ross Noble)
* Bono (Mark Steel)
* Piers Morgan - who was rejected for being too toxic, even for the pits of Room 101 (Ian Hislop)
* Paul Merton - (Ian Hislop, on condition that he himself also went in.)
* Chris de Burgh (Bill Bailey and Tony Slattery)
* Elvis Presley (Bob Monkhouse)
* Cilla Black's singing (Bob Monkhouse)
* Ventriloquists (Bob Monkhouse)
* The French (Bob Monkhouse)
* Soap stars making records (Chris Tarrant)
* Female TV presenters who shout (Bruce Forsyth)

Television and Culture

* "Room 101" (Stephen Fry)
* QVC (Danny Baker)
* Postman Pat (Ian Hislop)
* Disney (Rich Hall)
* "Last Of The Summer Wine" (Jeremy Clarkson)
* Snoopy (Tony Slattery)
* Journalists (Terry Venables)
* "Casualty" (John Sergeant)
* "Blue Peter" (Terry Christian)
* Rap (Desmond Lynam)
* Sooty (Chris Tarrant)
* "Cirque du Soleil" (Alexei Sayle)
* "YMCA" (Mark Lamarr)
* The Royal Variety Performance (Gyles Brandreth)
* Televangelism (Phil Collins)
* Songs of Praise (Richard Wilson)
* Cockney culture (Janet Street-Porter)
* "Have I Got News for You" (Terry Wogan)
* Presenting "The Big Breakfast" (Bob Monkhouse)
* "Children in Need" (Ricky Gervais)
* The songs of Frank Sinatra (Davina McCall)
* "Doctor Who" (Michael Grade)
* Presenting on live TV (The Golden Shot) (Bob Monkhouse)
* BBC 2 Logos (Angus Deayton)


* Jellyfish (Jenny Eclair)
* Rooks (Phillip Schofield)
* Yorkshire terriers (Ulrika Jonsson)
* Flies (Jeremy Clarkson)
* Dogs' testicles (Germaine Greer)
* Rats (Caroline Quentin)
* Cockroaches (Meera Syal)
* Rabbits (Peter Cook)
* Dogs' lips (Jonathan Ross)
* Slugs (Liza Tarbuck)
* Moths (Sara Cox)


* Airports (Will Self)
* Austria (Meera Syal)
* Leighton Buzzard (Sue Perkins & Mel Giedroyc as Mel and Sue)
* Germany (Neil Morrissey)
* Spike Milligan's house (Spike Milligan)
* The British countryside (Peter Cook)
* France (Desmond Lynam)
* Chiswick post office (Sheila Hancock)
* Gentlemen-only clubs (Esther Rantzen)
* Places without air conditioning (Omid Djalili)
* Portsmouth (Spike Milligan)
* Yugoslavia (Bruce Forsyth)
* Southend (Philip Schofield)
* Riverside Caravan Park, Bognor Regis (Ricky Gervais)


* Cricket (Angus Deayton)
* The rules of golf (Bruce Forsyth)
* The golf club mentality (Jeremy Clarkson)
* Football (Nick Hancock, Spike Milligan and Marcus Brigstocke)
* American Football (Neil Morrissey)
* Wigan Rugby League Club (Johnny Vegas)

Food, Fashion and Style

* Cheese (Paul Daniels)
* Okra (Gordon Ramsay)
* Massage (Shane Richie)
* Jacket and jeans combination (Alan Davies)
* Bras (Bill Bailey)
* Novelty underpants (Johnny Vegas)
* His own dress sense (Jonathan Ross)
* Brazilian waxing (Kirsty Young)
* The skin on rice pudding (Meera Syal)
* Rude or incompetent restaurant staff (Michael Winner)
* Speedos (Phil Collins)
* Unwrapped food (Cilla Black)
* Strawberries (Ian Hislop)
* Eating in cinemas (Desmond Lynam)


* Smoking bans (Boris Johnson)
* Education (Michael Gambon)
* Clipboards (Ross Noble)
* Flowers from a petrol station (Fern Britton)
* Spitting (Julian Clary)
* Litter (Liza Tarbuck)
* Bob Beamon's world record in the long jump being broken (Arthur Smith)
* Cocaine (Tracey Emin)
* 1975 (Jo Brand)
* The small piece of cotton which holds a new pair of socks together (Michael Parkinson)
* A photograph of himself taken in the 1970s (David Baddiel)
* American English (Sir Alan Sugar)
* Commemorative plates (Stephen Fry)
* Clowns (Chris Tarrant & Tracey Emin)
* Birthdays (Sir Michael Gambon)
* Mobile phones (Kathy Burke)
* Australian Questioning Intonation (Stephen Fry)
* Compact discs (Liza Tarbuck)
* Scottish stereotyping (Lorraine Kelly)
* Lateness (Ricky Gervais)
* Annoying Noises (Ricky Gervais)
* New age beliefs (Stephen Fry)
* Glitter in greeting cards (Phillip Schofield)
* Car stickers (Angus Deayton)
* Instruction manuals (Desmond Lynam)
* Campfire songs (Bob Monkhouse)
* Bad editing in film musicals (Bruce Forsyth)

Memorable moments & controversy

*When Anne Robinson went on the programme she consented to put the Welsh into "Room 101". Some Welsh people complained about this accusing her of racism. However, Robinson said she was putting them into Room 101 out of jealousy, as they always seemed to succeed in everything they did.

*The first item ever put into Room 101 was the French, as suggested by Bob Monkhouse, Monkhouse said of France: "I would like to tilt the Channel Tunnel downwards and turn it into a sewer."

*Nick Hancock (a big Cricket fan) did initially not put Cricket into "Room 101", as suggested by Angus Deayton. When Deayton was told he could put another item into the Room, he chose Cricket which Nick, reluctantly, put into the room.

*Hancock and Neil Morrisey going into a big humorous rant about American Football. Particularly Nick's humorous observation: "They blow a whistle and then they just go everywhere. I think it's based on Runaround."

*Jonathan Ross wanted to put his dress sense into the Room. However, he was presented with a hat he said he liked but never bought. He was given the choice if he could put his dress sense in but the hat would have to go in also. After a brief think, Ross told Paul, "I'm keeping my clothes."

*Stephen Fry attempted to put "Room 101" into "Room 101" (mainly because it was about people talking about things they hate). Merton found it hard to decide what to do because if he did put "Room 101" into "Room 101" he said it would be like committing "Professional Suicide" and if he didn't put it into "Room 101" he would have to give it to Stephen and it would then become his. Merton did put it into the room, which made the picture go blank followed by Merton saying "I wish I hadn't done that". In the run up to "Room 101" going into "Room 101", "Room Lovely" involved Stephen nominating things he liked.

*To show the unflinchingly bad content of Children in Need telethons during Ricky Gervais's episode, Paul and Ricky were subjected to Lesley Joseph dancing and what looked liked her being "kicked up the arse by the Invisible Man" or being attracted to someone in the audience "who had a very powerful vagina magnet."

*Harry Hill wanted to put Ice Cream Vans into "Room 101", saying the tune it always plays is Greensleeves and "it ruins tea". Paul suggested a savoury version made of Mashed Potato, Ketchup (instead of Raspberry sauce) and a Sausage (instead of a Flake).

*At the end of the 11th series, to mark his departure from the show, Merton cast himself into "Room 101", having been nominated by Ian Hislop, his rival on TV show "Have I Got News for You", but with a slight twist. Just before pulling the lever to put himself into "Room 101", Merton flipped round the image of himself to reveal Hislop, hence putting himself and Hislop in together, as the final people to go into Room 101 with Paul Merton as host. Another item chosen by Hislop, Piers Morgan, was put it into "Room 101", but the room rejected him because he was "too toxic", so he was not allowed in.

*In the 6th series (2001) Mel and Sue put the town of Leighton Buzzard into Room 101 because of a particularly disastrous gig they once did there. This caused controversy in the local papers of the Bedfordshire town, with the council claiming that they did not have permission to use the Arms of the town in the programme.

* Sir Michael Parkinson had always lamented the fact that, despite all the star guests he had interviewed on television over the years, he would probably be remembered for "that bloody bird" (The glove puppet Emu, which had attacked him during an interview with "owner" Rod Hull). However, Paul Merton unexpectedly brought Emu locked in a guillotine on stage and Parkinson took his chance for revenge by beheading the puppet, saying, "Goodbye, you foul beast."

See also

* Room 101 (radio series)
* List of Room 101 TV episodes


External links

*imdb title|id=0129710|title=Room 101
* [] Room 101.
* [ Room 101] on the BBC website
* [ Room 101] on the British Comedy Guide

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