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Top 10 Greatest British Panel Shows

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Jack Beresford
Written by Jack Beresford It’s questions, answers and comedy. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, where today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest British panel shows. For this list, we’re topping up on telly, to take a look at some of the best comedy quiz shows on the box. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Greatest British Panel Shows

It’s questions, answers and comedy. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, where today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest British panel shows.

For this list, we’re topping up on telly, to take a look at some of the best comedy quiz shows on the box.

#10: “Shooting Stars” (1993-2011)

A surreal slice of comic buffoonery to start, courtesy of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. “Shooting Stars” began life as a one-off pilot in 1993 before returning for a full series two years later. Ulrika Jonsson and Mark Lamarr served as team captains in the initial run, with regulars Jack Dee and Johnny Vegas joining the series later. Anarchic and suitably slapstick in almost equal measure, the series is most remembered for its ‘Dove From Above’ round and Matt Lucas’ man with the scores, George Dawes.

#9: “A Question Of Sport” (1970-)

Scoring more than 45 series since launching back in 1970, “A Question of Sport” holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest-running sports quiz show. Originally hosted by sports presenters David Vine and later David Coleman, former tennis champ Sue Barker has anchored since 1997. And, the show has seen a wide range of team captains from a variety of sporting backgrounds, with the likes of Phil Tufnell, Matt Dawson, Ally McCoist and John Parrott occupying the hot seats in recent years.

#8: “A League Of Their Own” (2010-)

James Corden’s sports-based banter-led comedy panel show kicked off in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength, despite the host’s ongoing American endeavours. Featuring ex-cricketer Andrew Flintoff and retired footballer Jamie Redknapp, Jack Whitehall’s another regular, while John Bishop and Georgie Thompson were prominent personalities in past series. Seen by some as the noughties answer to the ‘90s favourite, “They Think It’s All Over”, it’s an award-winning blend of obscure sports trivia and outrageous challenges.

#7: “Would I Lie To You?” (2007-)

With David Mitchell and Lee Mack leading the line, “Would I Lie To You?” sees two teams reveal a variety of unusual facts and embarrassing stories to one another - but are they telling the truth? The line-up’s been through some big changes, with Rob Brydon replacing Angus Deayton as host after two series and Alan Carr opting out after just the pilot. But it’s all turned out for the best - and that really is the truth!

#6: “The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year" (2004-)

An annual, anarchic pub quiz-style panel show, “Big Fat Quiz” always proves a TV highlight over Christmas and New Year. Jimmy Carr plays master of ceremonies, while the likes of Jonathan Ross, Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding frequently feature on a six-strong guest-list - with the comic contestants rarely playing by the rules. And fans don’t have to wait a whole year between episodes either. Thanks to a raft of one-off specials, the cultivated chaos has spread to other corners of the calendar, too.

#5: “Mock The Week” (2005-)

Created by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson, the duo behind the classic improv comedy game show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, “Mock The Week” takes topical news and squeezes every inch of satire out of it. The show has helped to launch the careers of many now-famous comedians, including host Dara Ó Briain and panellists Frankie Boyle, Russell Howard and Andy Parsons. And it has courted its fair share of controversy, with Boyle proving easily the most controversial character during his time on the panel.

#4: “8 Out Of 10 Cats” (2005-)

To a series set around questions gleaned from national surveys and opinion polls, with Jimmy Carr once again setting the agenda as host. Rob Beckett and Aisling Bea debuted as team captains in 2016, but long-time fans have also seen Dave Spikey, Jason Manford and Jon Richardson as regulars, as well as Sean Lock - who was an ever-present for the show’s’ first ten years. “Cats” has consistently proven one of Channel 4’s biggest draws, with the show’s popularity inspiring an equally well-received crossover spin-off, “8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown”.

#3: “QI” (2003-)

From the creative minds behind another British TV classic, “Spitting Image”, “QI” has carved its own niche into primetime TV schedules. Previously hosted by Stephen Fry, with Sandi Toksvig taking over in 2016, this ‘Quite Interesting’ panel show boasts a unique (and mostly incomprehensible) scoring system - with points awarded for the most interesting answers, and deducted for obvious ones. Alan Davies is the only ever-present, but most major comedians have tried their hand at “QI” before. It’s a badge of honour for any serious panel show star.

#2: “Never Mind The Buzzcocks” (1996-2015)

This music-led series, with its Sex Pistols-inspired name, earned a widespread reputation for dry, sarcastic humour and famous takedowns of several celebrity guests. First hosted by Mark Lamarr, then Simon Amstell and finally Rhod Gilbert, Amstell’s reign is especially remembered for various controversies. The comedian’s natural ability to rub guests up the wrong way created many memorable moments, including various run-ins with Noel Fielding and Preston’s infamous walkout.

#1: “Have I Got News For You” (1990-)

As one of the earliest shows of its type, “Have I Got News For You” is actually inspired by the long-running radio series, “The News Quiz”. With Private Eye editor Ian Hislop and comedian Paul Merton serving as captains throughout, Angus Deayton hosted from 1990 to 2002 - before the show became famous for featuring guest hosts, following Deayton’s departure. Known for sailing close to the wind regarding matters of libel, slander and controversy, this series set the format for contemporary TV panel shows - and it still hasn’t been bettered.

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