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The original format when Nick Hancock presented the series was for just one guest per episode. This continued under his replacement Paul Merton but when the series was revived with Frank Skinner presenting, the format was overhauled and each episode had three guests. See more »
'If you had the opportunity to consign 5 items into the oblivion known as Room 101, what would they be and why?'. That was the main theme of this BBC2 show, as celebrities- most of whom we've never heard of or seen before- choose their 5 pet hates and offer reasons as to why they despise them so much.
The first presenter, Nick Hancock eventually left the show to host the BBC1 sports quiz, 'They Think it's All Over', only to be replaced by the sarcasm and sardonic wit of 'Have I Got News For You's' Paul Merton.
The format of this show was well put and devised, the idea of selecting 5 things; be it people, places, animals, whatever, you loathe to death is more interesting, when it comes down to entertainment value than say selecting 5 things you like. Besides, in a way almost, negative things generate just as much attention, as well as criticism as that of bad press, which sells. The selection of video clips to illustrate the guests point, as well as Paul Merton's is great.
What I found interesting though is that the guests on the show, many of whom i am totally unfamiliar with myself, select some of the most bizarre and interesting things to put into Room 101.
The show celebrates mediocrity, in a way that is a send-up of the things people considered inferior in their eyes. The humour aspect is a great addition, because even though it is about the things we loathe, we can still laugh at it and make fun of it at the same time and at our own expense. I enjoy watching the likes of Paul Merton take the mick and have fun.
I think that had Room 101 been just about celebrating the good things and selecting people, places, things etc that we consider to be good, no matter how inspiring and uplifting it may be to us, then it wouldn't make interesting viewing as this show is. Likewise, in that case, that would be just too obvious and playing it 'too safe'.
Past guests who have appeared on the show included Stephen Fry, artist Tracy Emmin, Ricky Gervais and the late great Radio 1 DJ Sir John Peel and lesser known celebs such as Linda Smith and Tony Slattery to name but many.
Room 101 is a great little show and a good laugh that deserves a much bigger audience, if it had been on BBC1, although its cult status on BBC2 makes this one of the channel's most under- rated hits.
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