After 25 seasons in Britain, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the music quiz show that inspired Spicks and Specks, finally reaches our shores. We speak to the last remaining original Buzzcock, Phill Jupitus.
Australia would seem to be a little bit late to the Buzzcocks party?
I suppose it's not dissimilar to all the children who entered the Star Wars franchise with those last appalling three films and realised all the gold was further down the line. It's an odd one, really. When I got the call saying they're showing it in Australia, I was like, ''Really?'' It is a little late to the party, but why not? The thing is with these sort of panel game shows, they're not time specific, never have been, and neither is music, really. The last album I bought was R&B saxophone music from the late 1940s. Music as a subject matter is sort of timeless and I think that's one of the reasons it works so well; it speaks to generations.
When did you last have to explain the show to someone?
Good Lord, I can't remember. It's just one of those things. It's on. The thing I didn't see happening back in '96 when we started was the explosion in cable comedy channels. In the UK, Never Mind the Buzzcocks is on pretty much every night. I've got mixed feelings about that, to be honest. Initially you do it and the BBC very kindly hires you to record a show, which they say they'll show twice. That's great. Then suddenly it's sold on around the world and here we are 16 years later, I'm back at ground zero going, ''It's a pop quiz where nobody wins a speed boat'' as [former host] Mark Lamarr used to say in the early days. Nobody wins anything. There's not even the slightest sense of glory. It's seven people in a room having a laugh. That's what Buzzcocks is like, on a good one: it's seven people having a good time together.
Are there any Buzzcocks in-jokes we need to know about?
No. The thing is, it's a sort of self-regenerating thing. The nature of music, which is grist to our mill, is that it's constantly reinventing itself even more than the show is. The mistake people make with Buzzcocks is thinking it's a music show. It's a comedy show and music is just the subject. It strikes chords - if you'll forgive the terrible analogy there - with people because music is such a fundamental part of people's lives.
How should Australia be preparing as an audience?
They really need to strap themselves in for the ID parade. That can be funny but, at the same time, you can feel that it's a little bit harsh. You must remember all of these people are being paid and they are told [what is going to happen].
Are there any famous Buzzcocks moments from the past we should know about?
There's some great moments that never made it on screen. I remember Lemmy from Motorhead walking off the show and two days later the papers saying, ''Lemmy walks off pop quiz in a rage'', and he made a statement, ''Oh, they won't be able to use it.'' What he'd forgotten was he [had] walked off while we were doing the retakes, so we already had the show. So everyone is watching the show, waiting for him to walk off, and at the end Mark said, ''Thank you for watching, good night'', and Lemmy is [still sitting] there! I've done getting on for 300 shows, I think. They do sort of blur together. The shows with the guest hosts are fun, because it's interesting to work with these people. Tim Minchin hosted the show, it was extraordinary, it was really, really cool. Minchin was fantastic.
Never Mind the Buzzcocks
Mondays, UKTV, 8.30pm