Casting Couch (ITV, 1999)
This is a comedy panel game that came and went fairly quietly, although this is partly because this was shown in a late-night slot on ITV when they seemed to have no idea where to schedule anything. Looking back all these years on, there are some interesting things about this. Casting Couch was all about the world of celebrity, although the definition seems to have changed over the years.
This was just before Big Brother came along and changed a lot in TV, so this was in the days when a lot of the celebrities featured were pop stars and models. The hosts were Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, a comedy double-act who were already known for Light Lunch and the sequel Late Lunch, but this was before their more high-profile shows, and the only other time you’d usually see them on TV in these days was doing adverts for bread.
Two teams of three took part. The team captains were Chris Moyles (when he was still being sold as a bad boy loudmouth), and Tamara Beckwith (NO RELATION). Chris’s TV career has been rather curious. Although by this point he had been established on the radio for a few years, he hasn’t been as successful on TV. His Channel 5 show didn’t do that well, and his own comedy panel game on Channel 4 did little better. Maybe he should stick to playing those pop records.
They were accompanied by some regulars. Alongside Chris was Marcus Brigstocke, who went on to plenty of other comedy shows (including CBBC’s Stupid), and with Tamara was Kevin Day, who has been a writer on just about every other comedy show, but for this one he was on stage for a change. They would be joined by two further celebrity guests. There were various rounds that often changed for every edition, and plenty of humour was squeezed out of them.
These included trying to work out what unusual thing a celebrity was promoting, bizarre awards that they had won, and trying to fill in the blanks from quotes against the clock. One of the highlights was the round where Mel and Sue acted out a famous moment, and the teams had to guess what it was. Points were awarded for correct answers, but this was another show that was played for laughs. Casting Couch ended up running for only one series, not even being poached by UK Play.