Catchphrase, Mr Chips and the best British game show bloopers

As we await the new series of Catchphrase, here's a look back at some of the best moments of unintentional hilarity from Britain's favourite game shows

Hurrah! A new prime-time run of Catchphrase kicks off on ITV1 this Sunday (6:45pm) with Stephen Mulhern taking the place of Roy Walker at the helm.


But while it’ll be nice to see Mr. Chips strutting his stuff on mainstream telly again, let’s be honest: we’re all waiting for the little yellow fellow to provide contestants with something rude to say that they’ve seen, aren’t we?

Something, in fact, as blush-inducing as this timeless and endlessly enjoyable clip of the show from its pre-millennial heyday. You remember – the one with the snake and the unfortunate wrist action:

Yes, thanks to the constraints of their formats and the unpredictability of their contestants, game shows like Catchphrase have long been breeding grounds for unexpected moments of sheer hilarity.

So, seeing as we’ve not long to wait to find out whether there’ll be animations on the new Catchphrase featuring Mr. Chips peeling a banana or handling some melons, let’s get in the mood for some fresh unintentional  humour with a look back at some classic British game-show bloopers…


Channel 4’s long-running afternoon word and number quiz has thrown up all manner of giggles since making its TV debut in 1982, but perhaps none more memorable than this moment when two contestants both thought they’d spotted a particularly good seven-letter word:

The Chase

The makers of ITV1’s teatime game-show seem to take great delight in making Bradley Walsh corpse uncontrollably by feeding him schoolboy-style funny names to read out to players. Witness here his inability to cope with the name of German skier Fanny Chmeler:


The old showbiz adage about never working with children or animals should probably be expanded to include teenagers as well, at least on the evidence of this clip from Blockbusters, which is just one of many examples of a sniggering adolescent’s ‘spontaneous’ answers that flustered Bob Holness:


That said, adults aren’t much better and they sometimes just can’t resist trying to make things awkward in the studio too. Like this example on Bullseye, when a player confronted a flabbergasted Jim Bowen with his alleged nickname:

Take Me Out

Mind you, not all game show hilarity hinges on contestants swearing their heads off – sometimes it just involves them smashing their heads in. Like this sharp-looking fellow, who attained YouTube immortality after walking face-first into a wall on ITV’s Saturday evening meat market Take Me Out:


Cracking stuff, no? And hey, even if Mr. Chips doesn’t deign to treat us to any potentially prurient pictures on Sunday, maybe Stephen Mulhern’ll do something like this to brighten up the show. Welcome back, Catchphrase!