Noel’s House Party (BBC1, 1991-1999)
This is one of the best around. Noel’s House Party is the third part of the Noel Edmonds Saturday night trilogy, following on from The Late Late Breakfast Show and The Saturday Roadshow and I’ll be reviewing both those shows soon too.
It was really a continuation of those shows. Noel’s House Party was a live show that supposedly came from a country mansion in a village called Crinkley Bottom and every week lots of famous faces would turn up in the various features. For the first few series or so the show was clearly very well put together and attracted impressive ratings.
There would of course be the Gotchas, where a prank was played on a celebrity and lots of these were very memorable, with a compilation of the best ones being released on VHS. In the second series a character called Mr Blobby was introduced which would be a parody of a children’s TV show that people thought they were working on. However, he was so popular with viewers that he became a TV star for real, and such was the popularity of the show at the time he even had the Christmas Number One single of 1993, which was a great honour.
There were other great things such as games including Grab A Grand and Wait Till I Get You Home where contestants in the studio and at home could win lots of prizes, and the innovative NTV where we could take a look into a viewer’s home. There were also lots of celebrities at the door to take part in comedy sketches, much to the delight of the particularly rowdy audience. And you could never forget the gunge tank either, of course.
But it couldn’t last. Although it was so enjoyable at first and won many awards, there were then changes to the format where once again there were promises that the show would become “bigger and better”, but it became worse really. Because of this, even Noel pulled out of the hosting the show one week, feeling that the format had become tired. Eventually it ran to eight series, but by the end it was no longer the talk of viewers and even Noel admitted the show should’ve ended a few series earlier.
It was still rather a shame when the show ended though because it just about brought Noel’s 30-year association with the BBC to an end, having also been a prominent radio presenter in the 70s and 80s, and he barely appeared on TV at all for the next five years, until he returned in 2005 with Deal Or No Deal and it was great to see him back on our screens. I still feel that Noel’s House Party is one of the best shows of its era and at its best it was great mainstream Saturday night entertainment for all the family.