Harry Hill's TV Burp

Harry Hill's TV Burp (also known as just TV Burp) is a British television comedy programme which was broadcast between 2001 and 2012 on ITV. The show was produced by Avalon Television and was written and hosted by comedian Harry Hill. Each episode took a humorous look back at the previous week of programming on British television.

Harry Hill's TV Burp
GenreComedy
Created byHarry Hill
Written byHarry Hill
Paul Hawksbee
Presented byHarry Hill
Composer(s)Steve Brown
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series11
No. of episodes161 (plus 5 specials)
Production
Executive producer(s)Harry Hill
Producer(s)Nick Symons (2002–2006)
Spencer Millman (2007–2012)
Production location(s)Teddington Studios (2001–2009)
BBC Television Centre (2009–2012)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Avalon Television
DistributorAvalon Distribution
Release
Original networkITV
Picture format16:9 576i (SDTV) (2001–2009)
16:9 1080i (HDTV) (2010–2012)
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original release22 December 2001 (2001-12-22) 
24 March 2012 (2012-03-24)
Chronology
Related showsYou Cannot Be Serious
Harry Hill's Alien Fun Capsule
External links
Website
Production website

Much of the format of the show was centred on comedy that was derived from a selection of clips taken from a week's worth of programming on British television, both from terrestrial and digital channels, which were often combined with studio segments, spoof scenes and sketches, with the host sometimes involved in the humour derived from them. Clips that featured were sourced from a variety of shows across most channels throughout the week before the broadcast of each episode, with soaps, dramas and popular factual series being the most commonly represented genres.

Format

Comedy created from clips is usually acquired from outside of the context of their original programme and with only limited information about the scene given, as the focus of the show's treatment is often on the unintentional humour which can be picked out from the scene they show - from something that is spoken out by a character or a real-life person, something humorous that happened in the clip, or something pointed out by the host - which can usually be accompanied by a spoof scene or sketch that often involves the host performing alongside a character from the scene, a guest performer, or a stand-in actor portraying a character from the show or a notable figure in the media.

An example of this can be that a portion of the original scene is shown, before it cuts to the spoof scene, whereupon the host jumps into the scene and gets involved in a slapstick fight with the people from the show. All studio segments shown on the programme, usually feature the host commenting lightheartedly or sarcastically about the actual intended content of the programme, and sometimes involves him using props that are based upon those from the clips shown, sometimes being mock-ups of actual items from the original programme, while sketches and spoof scenes can range from mock-ups of behind-the-scenes actions, or based upon something mentioned in a clip.

Recurring elements

Throughout the series, TV Burp featured a considerable number of recurring elements, of which some became staple parts of the show in the later series:

  • In the opening studio segment for each part of the episode, Hill would create a small selection of humorous TV headlines, each one creating a subject based on the content of a clip that supported it; an example would be how a person found in a programme was able to move while simply standing on the spot, due to the unexpected effect created by the camera panning in the clip. In the earlier series, some of the clips used were not from programmes, but from home videos.
  • Starting from Series 4, the show would often open to Hill pretending to be a little unaware he was on air, before later series saw him supposedly conversing with somebody who is out of shot before noticing he was on air, exclaiming "Oh!" in realization and quickly starting the show. In later series, the second part of each episode opened with Hill simply nodding his head to the final note of the show's theme, following the commercial break.
  • Hill often performs a sideways looks to another camera, either during a studio segment or just after a clip has been shown, in which he gives a cheeky, risqué or sarcastic remark/expression.
  • A fight sketch is used in every episode to introduce the commercial break. The setup for it is that Hill claims to like two items, which were introduced in one or two clips prior to the break, wonders how to determine which is better, and decides that a fight between them is necessary, often with the typical line of: "Well, I like 'x' and I like 'y'. But which is better? There's only one way to find out... FIGHT!" The items in question, whether they be people, animals or actual items (i.e. a food dish), would then appear from doors on either side of the studio and begin fighting in front of Hill's desk, with him saying "Go on 'x'!" or "Go on 'y'!", followed by "See you after the break" and him cheering the item he favoured the most. After the commercial break, the show continues as normal, making no reference to the fight or who won it.
In some later series, the fight was either one-sided and instantly over, or something occurred to make it not happen. During its broadcast on Cartoon Network, the channel featured a mock version of the sketch involving the two letters of its logo, 'C' and 'N', fighting each other during the adverts, but not in the episodes.
  • Every episode featured at least one clip that was used as a highlight, in which something funny that occurred within it was pointed out by Hill. This segment always had a title card played before and after the clip that was to be shown, depicting the style of the highlight in the form of a title, which was sung out in a jingle. The most common forms of comedic highlights used in the show included:
    • TV Highlight of the Week - a simple highlight of something mundane, for example a short, brief exchange of simple greetings.
    • TV Expert of the Week - An expert who asserts a fact as if it is deeply significant when it is not.
    • TV Burp Poetry Corner - A clip of unintentional rhyming done in a programme.
    • This Week's (show name) In A Nutshell - A short summing up of a programme's episode in a simple ten-fifteen second clip
    • I Beg Your Pardon of the Week - Someone saying something in such a way that they cannot be understood
    • TV Burp Stars of Tomorrow: Today - An extra in a programme, sometimes immobile, who Hill thinks will have a big career in the future.
  • In most of the later series, a recurring gag or theme would be used in either a few episodes, the entire run of a series, or in later series. The most notable of these gags included:
    • Hill using an identical phone to that used in Deal or No Deal by the Banker, to call Noel Edmonds, often with humorous results.
    • Hill comparing an item in a clip to that of a person in the same clip.
    • A spoof show involving the judges from Pop Idol titled "At Home with the Pop Idol Judges", with Hill starring as Simon Cowell.
    • While mocking clips from the BBC Three show Freaky Eaters, which examined unusual eating habits of the public, Hill would announce what a person on the show ate in a loud, simplistic gurn, many with comic adaptations, such as "beans", "chippy chips", "sausages!" and "hoopy hoops" (Harry later dropped this act as he deemed it too childish).
    • A competition involving one of the characters made for the show, turning up in programs, in which viewers had to find them; occurred in only one series.
    • A knitting competition, designed as a spoof talent show entitled "The K Factor: So You Think You Can Knit?", in which viewers submitted their knitted items to be judged by "knitted" judges; TV Burp created its own items for this, merely as jokes.
    • Comparing catch phrases in a game show to that of (former) game show, Hole in the Wall - "Bring On The Wall".
    • Hill comparing himself to people who were bald like him in a programme featured on the show, often with the lines "I don't know what it is about them, but..."; the person in question sometimes appeared in person next to the host in the comparison.
    • A shark puppet attacking Hill by springing out of props next to him at his desk.
  • Throughout its history, TV Burp featured a number of characters that were created just for the show, some in a minor capacity, while others had more prominent appearances. The most notable of these included:
  • A recurring element from the 2010 series was "Wagbo", the 1980s "love child" of The X Factor contestants Mary Byrne and Wagner. Wagbo "escaped" from his cage while exhibited on the show and ran amock throughout the nation, including rampages at Bluewater, the O2 Arena, and an appearance by Robert Downey Jr.. He was eventually "recaptured" after a chase through the sets of This Morning, Lorraine, Dancing on Ice, The Alan Titchmarsh Show and Loose Women. Along the way, he kissed Philip Schofield, Lorraine Kelly and Pamela Stephenson, was hit by Stephenson, assaulted by Alan Titchmarsh with a baseball bat, and chased from Loose Women by Andrea McLean, Coleen Nolan, Sherrie Hewson and Lynda Bellingham, as well as interrupting a warning about his rampage on Daybreak, terrorising hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley. Wagbo and his brother, Logbo (son of Mary and Louis Walsh), were eventually shot dead by the Knitted Character after beating up Hill in the studio. From thereon, Wagbo occasionally appeared in the show as part of a scene or end-of-show song.
  • In most of the episodes, particularly in the later series, the show would end with a musical performance of a song, sung by one or multiple people - either a celebrity performing as themselves or in character, or a real-life person - with Hill joining in on the song or performing something comedic at his desk, with the song ending on a "cha-cha-cha" staccato ending.

Production

Following a successful pilot broadcast on 22 December 2001, a series was commissioned, starting on 14 November 2002. Production of an episode often involved Hill and his programme's associate writing team, including Brenda Gilhooly, Paul Hawksbee, Dan Maier, Joe Burnside and David Quantick, watching significant amounts of television, much on preview tapes. Throughout Series 1 to 9, the show was recorded before a live audience in Studio 1 of Teddington Studios, South-West London, but from Series 10 to the final episode of Series 15, recording was relocated to BBC Television Centre. The first two series of the show were broadcast within a late night slot on Thursdays, with Series 1 being the only series not to feature clips from the BBC's EastEnders; Hill was required, during the series, to accompany his comments on the British soap with either crude animation, courtroom-style sketches or staged comic re-enactments of scenes from the show. Whilst the show was well received, the scheduling was criticised due to the family-friendly humour, leading to the third series receiving a teatime repeat slot on Sundays. Starting from the fourth series, the show moved to a Saturday teatime slot, and then later to a Saturday primetime slot.

Due to the inclusion of a large amount of material to which ITV and Avalon do not hold the rights, repeats of past TV Burp episodes were rare outside immediate broadcast repeats. However, in 2007, The Best of TV Burp was introduced, which featured clips from previous episodes, while additionally, new episodes were also made available to view online on the ITV Player service after original transmission.[1] As of 7 April 2012, 24 'Best of TV Burp' episodes have been aired, in addition to a Best of Christmas TV Burp episode on 25 December 2010, featuring clips from previous Christmas episodes of the show. On 28 October 2011, Cartoon Network began airing a similar format (along with Shark Infested Custard), in which they took past episodes of the series and edited segments together to make the series more child-friendly, but did not record new segments for this version, with the exception of the trailer.

After months of speculation, Hill confirmed to his studio audience at the taping of the final episode of Series 15 that it would be his last.[2] In October 2013 Gold began airing re-runs of the show starting with the third series.[3] The titles of the show were briefly featured as part of London 2012's opening ceremony.

Criticism

In 2007, Ofcom ruled that TV Burp had breached guidelines by including clips of a Bear Grylls programme which featured Grylls eating a frog and cooking a turtle; Ofcom ruled that the clips were 'inappropriately scheduled' given the offence they could potentially cause viewers when taken outside of the context of the whole Grylls programme.[4]

In 2008, "The Best of TV Burp 3" included footage originally broadcast in 2004, which lampooned Sky reality series The Real Mrs Robinson. ITV and Avalon were not aware that two of the participants in the programme had died between the original broadcast and the 'Best of'. However, Sky's licence to use the footage made no mention of this, and the participants were not referred to by their full names in the footage, restricting TV Burp's ability to research the case ahead of putting the programme to air. After complaints were made to ITV and Ofcom, the programme was voluntarily re-edited such that the segment was removed from all further broadcasts. Ofcom did not uphold a complaint made by relatives of the deceased, stating that whilst it recognised that the broadcast of the footage would have been distressing to the family, the manner of the broadcast did not breach the broadcasting regulations.[5]

A 2016 broadcast on Dave, of an episode originally screened by ITV in December 2008, featured a comedic review of a Channel 4 documentary about Thomas Beatie. UKTV had edited out around a minute of the segment ahead of broadcast, but much of the skit remained. Complainants felt the treatment was offensive to the transgender community; Ofcom ruled the complaints had been resolved by way of UKTV voluntarily cutting the entire section on Beatie's film, preventing it from future broadcast on their channels.[6]

Reception and awards

TV Burp received positive feedback from critics and viewers; Sophie Heath from the Daily Mail said the show was "Genius, pure and simple", while Mark Lawson from The Guardian said it was "The freshest and most original show in mainstream television."[7] In 2008, visitors to the British Comedy Guide website voted TV Burp as the "Best British TV Panel Show/Satire of 2008".[8] Viewing figures for the show in its primetime slot were considerably high and achieved a considerable share of the audience - Series 8 averaged 6.1 million viewers during its run, taking an average share of around 25.1% of the audience for its timeslot, compared to Series 11 which averaged 4.9 million viewer and an average audience share of 19.3%. One of its highest rated episodes, achieved 8 million viewers and took a 32% audience share.[9]

In 2007, Harry Hill's TV Burp was nominated for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme at the 2007 British Comedy Awards,[10] while in 2008, it won two British Academy Television Awards for Best Entertainment Performance (for Harry Hill) and Best Entertainment programme, and in 2009 won Harry Hill another BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance.

Transmissions

Series

Series Start date End date Episodes
Pilot
22 December 2001
1
114 November 200219 December 20026
230 October 200318 December 20038
320 February 20042 April 20047
423 October 200427 November 20046
521 January 200630 December 200611
620 January 20075 January 200816[fn 1]
712 January 200826 April 200816[fn 2]
818 October 20083 January 200912[fn 3]
931 January 200918 April 200912[fn 4]
1010 October 200919 December 200911[fn 5]
1130 January 20103 April 201010[fn 6]
129 October 201025 December 201012[fn 7]
135 February 201116 April 201111[fn 8]
148 October 201124 December 201112[fn 9]
154 February 20127 April 201210[fn 10]

Specials

From 2005 to 2011, the biennial BBC One transmission of the Red Nose Day telethon in aid of Comic Relief has included a short TV Burp segment. He also recorded a short TV Burp segment for Blue Peter in February 2009.

DateSpecial
11 March 2005Comic Relief 2005
16 March 2007Comic Relief 2007
4 February 2009Blue Peter 2009
13 March 2009Comic Relief 2009
18 March 2011Comic Relief 2011 (crossover with Autumnwatch)

Ratings

Ratings from BARB[11] and exclude Best of TV Burp editions.

Series 1

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)
Overnight share
114 November 20022.90[12]19.7%[12]
221 November 2002N/AN/A
328 November 2002N/AN/A
45 December 2002N/AN/A
512 December 2002N/AN/A
619 December 2002N/AN/A

Series 5

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)
Overnight share
121 January 2006N/AN/A
228 January 2006N/AN/A
34 February 2006N/AN/A
411 February 2006N/AN/A
518 February 2006N/AN/A
625 February 2006N/AN/A
74 March 2006N/AN/A
811 March 2006N/AN/A
918 March 2006N/AN/A
1025 March 20064.7026.4%[13]
1130 December 20064.3918.5%[14]

Series 6

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)
Overnight share
120 January 20075.6129.0%[13]
227 January 20075.3725.0%[15]
33 February 20075.9829.6%[16]
410 February 20076.2830.8%[17]
517 February 20074.0022.0%[18]
624 February 20075.1224.4%[19]
73 March 20075.4627.6%[20]
810 March 20074.53N/A
917 March 20075.5429.2%[21]
1024 March 20075.70N/A
1131 March 20073.5024.4%[22]
127 April 20074.1120.4%[23]
1314 April 20073.6123.1%[24]

Series 7

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)
Overnight share
125 December 20073.6513.3%[25]
212 January 20086.0226.0%[26]
319 January 20086.3727.8%[27]
426 January 20087.3632.3%[28]
52 February 20086.4527.2%[29]
69 February 20087.0932.0%[30]
716 February 20085.1021.0%[31]
823 February 20085.0724.5%[32]
91 March 20085.36N/A
108 March 20086.3025.9%[33]
1115 March 20086.2627.0%[34]
1222 March 20086.0727.9%[35]
1329 March 20085.9827.2%[36]
145 April 20085.8124.8%[37]

Series 8

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)
Overnight share
118 October 20086.6727.3%[38]
225 October 20086.7225.2%[39]
31 November 20086.2724.3%[40]
48 November 20085.5822.3%[41]
515 November 20085.8322.7%[42]
622 November 20086.2422.8%[43]
729 November 20086.8726.8%[44]
86 December 20088.2832.0%[45]
913 December 20086.2923.5%[46]
1020 December 20084.9117.7%[47]
1131 January 20096.4926.1%[48]
127 February 20096.1524.0%[49]
1314 February 20097.8731.7%[50]
1421 February 20094.4720.2%[51]
1528 February 20095.4625.6%[52]
167 March 20095.9723.5%[53]
1714 March 20095.4127.0%[54]
1821 March 20095.2225.2%[55]
1928 March 20096.4227.6%[56]
204 April 20095.3927.0%[57]

Series 9

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)
Overnight share
110 October 20097.1327.7%[58]
217 October 20097.3528.9%[59]
324 October 20097.0526.7%[60]
431 October 20095.9423.2%[61]
57 November 20096.0423.2%[62]
614 November 20095.9721.3%[63]
721 November 20097.2526.3%[64]
828 November 20097.0426.4%[65]
930 January 20107.0728.6%[66]
106 February 20107.3529.4%[67]
1113 February 20105.3521.4%[68]
1220 February 20105.8022.2%[69]
1327 February 20105.9223.3%[70]
146 March 20105.2620.4%[71]
1513 March 20105.7223.1%[72]
1620 March 20106.6928.6%[73]

Series 10

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)
Overnight share
19 October 20105.97[nb 1]23.8%[74]
216 October 20105.4221.9%[75]
323 October 20105.3320.9%[76]
430 October 20105.3720.8%[77]
56 November 20105.3820.7%[78]
613 November 20108.27[nb 2]31.5%[79]
720 November 20107.0826.1%[80]
827 November 20106.1722.4%[81]
94 December 20105.6520.7%[82]
105 February 20116.06[nb 3]24.3%[83]
1112 February 20115.8226.6%[84]
1219 February 20114.3718.8%[85]
1326 February 20114.2417.9%[86]
145 March 20114.2519.5%[87]
1512 March 20114.2818.7%[88]
1619 March 20115.4225.1%[89]
1726 March 20115.0724.3%[90]

Series 11

Episode No.AirdateViewers
(millions)[nb 4]
Overnight share
18 October 20114.7818.3%[91]
215 October 20114.6718.6%[92]
322 October 20115.0718.7%[93]
429 October 20114.8718.2%[94]
55 November 20114.8619.4%[95]
612 November 20115.2818.8%[96]
719 November 20115.4018.7%[97]
826 November 20115.0018.2%[98]
93 December 20114.8617.7%[99]
104 February 20125.6722.4%[100]
1111 February 20125.3822.6%[101]
1218 February 20124.4617.5%[102]
1325 February 20124.9320.4%[103]
143 March 20124.9720.8%[104]
1510 March 20124.8721.4%[105]
1617 March 20125.1022.6%[106]
1724 March 20123.6915.1%[107]

Footnotes

  1. The Best Of TV Burp 1-2 was broadcast as part of Series 6
  2. The Best of TV Burp 3-5 was broadcast as part of Series 7
  3. The Best of TV Burp 6 and The Review of the Year 2008 were broadcast as part of Series 8
  4. The Best of TV Burp 7-8 were broadcast as part of Series 9
  5. The Best of TV Burp 9-10 and The Review of the Year 2009 were broadcast as part of Series 10
  6. The Best of TV Burp 11-12 were broadcast as part of Series 11
  7. The Best of TV Burp 13-15 and The Best of Christmas TV Burp were broadcast as part of Series 12
  8. The Best of TV Burp 16-18 were broadcast as part of Series 13
  9. The Best of TV Burp 19-22 were broadcast as part of Series 14
  10. The Best of TV Burp 23-24 were broadcast as part of Series 15

Merchandise

As per repeats, it was initially thought that a DVD release of TV Burp would be unlikely. However, a DVD titled Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold was eventually released in November 2008. Three other DVDs have since been released, as detailed below, with additional content from the show.[108] A complete series-by-series release still appears unlikely. A TV Burp book was also released in 2009.

Title Duration Classification Release Date
Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold
90 minutes Extras run time 30 mins
12
10 November 2008
Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold 2
61 minutes Extras run time 32 mins
12
9 November 2009
Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold 3
64 minutes Extras run time 72 mins
PG
1 November 2010
Harry Hill's TV Burp: The Best Bits
60 minutes Extras run time 41 mins
12
14 November 2011
Harry Hill's Cream Of TV Burp
63 minutes Extras run time 24 mins
PG
26 November 2012

Hill, Harry (8 October 2009). Harry Hill's TV Burp Book. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-193224-4.[109]

See also

References

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  2. Boyle, Simon (24 March 2012). "Harry Hill films last TV Burp episode after 11 years - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  3. "GOLD UKTV Shows Harry Hill's TV Burp". GOLD UKTV. 7 November 2013.
  4. "Ofcom judgement on Bear Grylls clips". Stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  5. "Ofcom bulletin including Best of TV Burp fairness and privacy judgement" (PDF). Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  6. "Ofcom Broadcast & On-Demand Bulletin 313, 2016-09-26" (PDF).
  7. "Avalon Entertainment Limited". Avalonuk.com. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  8. "The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2008". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  9. "Take That reunion doc draws 5 million". The Guardian. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  10. "The British Sitcom Guide - News". Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  11. "BARB - Broadcasters Audience Research Board". www.barb.co.uk.
  12. "New ITV 1 drama makes encouraging start".
  13. "Dancing on Ice warms up ITV1's Saturday".
  14. "Christmas Ratings Thread - Page 6".
  15. Deans, Jason (29 January 2007). "TV ratings: January 27". the Guardian.
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  87. "'Let's Dance' beats 'Burp', 'Button'". 7 March 2011.
  88. "'Let's Dance' finale draws 7.1m viewers". 13 March 2011.
  89. "Final 'Take Me Out' pulls in 5.5m". 20 March 2011.
  90. "BBC One's 'SYTYCD' premieres low". 27 March 2011.
  91. "'Harry Hill's TV Burp' returns with 4.4m". 9 October 2011.
  92. "'X Factor' pips 'Strictly' in ratings". 16 October 2011.
  93. "'X Factor' rock week ratings stagnant". 23 October 2011.
  94. "'Strictly' beats 'X Factor' in ratings". 30 October 2011.
  95. "'X Factor' decline ends with 9.6m". 6 November 2011.
  96. "'X Factor' soars to 10.6m viewers". 13 November 2011.
  97. "'Strictly Come Dancing' surges to 11.4m". 20 November 2011.
  98. "'Strictly' struts its way to 11.5m". 27 November 2011.
  99. "9.7m see Dougie Poynter's 'Celeb' win". 4 December 2011.
  100. "David Beckham boosts 'Ross' to 4m". 5 February 2012.
  101. "'Take Me Out' climbs to 5.1m". 12 February 2012.
  102. "'Let's Dance' hurts 'TV Burp' in ratings". 19 February 2012.
  103. "Good Saturday start for 'Pointless'". 26 February 2012.
  104. "'Let's Dance' slays ITV opposition". 4 March 2012.
  105. "BBC One in Saturday sweep over ITV". 11 March 2012.
  106. "'Let's Dance' 2012 final peaks at 6m". 18 March 2012.
  107. "Huge audiences for 'Voice', 'Got Talent'". 25 March 2012.
  108. "Harry Hill's TV Burp:The Best Bits DVD". Amazon. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  109. "Harry Hill's TV Burp Book". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  1. Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD
  2. Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD
  3. Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD
  4. Viewing figures include those who watched on ITV HD
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