Among people like me, who developed their WAM fetishes in 1990s Britain, a debate has raged as to whether GYOB or NHP (and from hereon “NHP” will be taken to include NESR) was the greater gunge show. While I credit both shows in moulding me as a wammer, I have always been a gunged-in-the-wool NHP man, and always will be. In the years approaching my teenage, I even imagined myself as the presenter of a similar show, except in my show I had a female co-presenter, and well, you can imagine the sort of thing that went on…
NHP should be recognised for its many achievements – not least bringing gunge out of the realm of children’s TV and game shows and promoting it to a primetime slot. Suddenly the whole nation and its granny knew what gunge was, and there were actually some fairly big names signing up to go in the tank. And the great thing about doing mess on a Saturday evening was that the victims were dressed for a Saturday evening. I doubt any other show can claim as many gungings in skirt-suits and party frocks.
Noel and his team were extremely inventive when it came to the gunge and the means of delivering it. If you watch the Roadshow clips you’ll notice that the gunge varies a lot between gungings as the team were experimenting with different recipes. By the time the House Party came along they had more or less cracked the natrosol brew, and from then on the innovation came in the form of new gunging mechanisms. I know that purists see the classic tank as the epitome of gunging, and everything that came after as distracting and detracting from the WAM value, but personally the Trip Around the House is my fave – I love how the trip progressed with each turn adding new mess. And with the constant introduction of new gunging methods, came the sense that nobody was safe. Audience members could be plucked out and sent for a gunging, and when that became too predictable, the gunge started coming to the audience!
There’s also a longstanding debate as to what exactly Noel “the gungings are my least-favourite part of the show, honest” Edmonds got out of it all, but we’ve already had that discussion.
Of course, the real stars of the show are the ladies that featured in the poll. While my WAM interest may sometimes come across as mean-spirited, I do admire women who are good sports and can laugh at their own expense. It’s fair to say that everyone who put themselves forward were good sports, especially those not-so-popular celebs who got gunged as means of public penance. And for those who were put forward by someone else, well they had to learn to be good sports with very short notice. I hope all of them can look back with a wry smile.
One thing I noticed while compiling the list is that many of the clips are of very poor quality, and that’s a sad shame for such good scenes. YouTube offers some hope however; recently a channel called Brendon Tyler has been uploading some better quality scenes (from Wamtec?) and there are also some telly aficionados uploading full episodes every now and then. I’m sure that one or two people reading this (there are still people reading?) are sitting on gems, and if so, you know what you ought to do. Alternatively, the BBC could stop denying the public access to what they’ve paid for and open the archives. Just a thought.
Anyway, that’s enough of me wittering, let’s bring on the gunge!
At number 10, Samantha Janus’s Comic Relief curry house cameo is a surprise (for me at least) high-flyer.
At number 9, Anneka Rice faces her biggest challenge yet, embarking on a 50 minute trip around the house. (I did contemplate including the newly-unearthed extended footage, but we can’t be sure that the “double” is a woman. Quite likely they put a wig on a male crew member).
At number 8, Ulrika Jonsson, then a weather girl, experiences some unusual precipitation after losing the vote to a fellow meteorologist.
Déjà Goo at number 7! Anneka enjoys her trip around the house so much she travels back in time to ride the car wash.
At number 6, Annabel who? No, I don’t know either, but it’s a great gunging.
At number 5, how do they dupe a TV presenter into getting gunged twice? Thanks to the magic of not-quite-live TV, it’s a double w(h)ammy for suit-clad squealer Jenny Hull.
At number 4, it’s Vorders with her messiest product endorsement to date. What she should have done is consolidate her gunging into manageable monthly messings.
At number 3, the attire may be dated but the WAM appeal endures. Anthea Turner earns her Goo Peter badge.
At number 2, feels so wrong yet it feels so right! Hair-obsessed Charlotte gets a shampoo and set-up in Noel’s salon. I do hope no-one at work’s watching.
And so we’ve arrived at the unveiling of the TellyGunge community’s favourite clip. Sadly the clip quality makes it look a bit anticlimatic, especially the build-up, which someone decided to engrave onto stone tablets rather than use a VCR. But the technological limits don’t spoil the appeal of Nicola Stapleton’s tender 18-year-old body squirming under the yellow and black – THE NATION HAS SPOKEN! If you stare long enough at the yellow pixel at the end you might even catch some aftershot.