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Steve Williams2,654 posts since 1 Aug 2008
The discussion on another thread about how much Paul Jackson was or wasn't responsible for the decline of Noel's House Party reminded me that it's twenty years to the week that the show didn't out because Noel refused to do it...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/bbc-pulls-plug-on-noels-house-party-cancelled-1136432.html

This was HUGE news at the time, and surely the low point in a decline that, I would suggest had been taking place since the hudredth show back in 1996. I would certainly say it began when Guy Freeman arrived as producer and they replaced the dancing trestle tables titles with that title sequence with an a real house in it (it's supposed to be a fantasy world, why are you showing us a real house!?), it started to list badly. The 1996-97 series wasn't very good at all, it started bringing bands in and the like, and it ended with that dodgy episode from New York which was absolutely deathly.

I would probably suggest that you can compare the decline of the show in that time to what was happening with Chris Evans on Radio 1 at the time - they'd both got too distracted by petty feuds and endless arguments about money and resources, and took their eye off the ball with the shows themselves. In Will Wyatt's book he seemed to suggest meetings with Noel were quite fraught at that period and spent far longer discussing who owned what in the format than talking about what was happening in the programme. In fact I would say that when the clunky "A BBC Production In Association With Unique Television" started appearing in the credits (at the start of the credits, too), that was the precise moment it started going a bit rubbish.

Anyway the 1997-98 series started quite badly - I stopped watching it at that point - and then we had the distastrous episode live from Florida in November, after which Guy Freeman abruptly departed, to much chatter in the press. John McHugh arrived as producer and then in January came this moment when the show was dropped completely, the comment at the time from Noel being that "it was below the standard the public would want". Hence the frantic replacement with a repeat instead.

I guess what's perhaps most amazing is that the show didn't end there and then but instead staggered on for another eighteen months or so. The following week Noel was lured back and they did a Gone Live-style show devoted to Gotchas with new live links around some old clips, and then a proper show again the week later. Then after the series I remember the papers reporting some leaked memos from Noel complaining that the show's budget was too small and nobody knew about comedy apart from him, and so on. Then it was back again in the autumn with Noel saying everything was fine now and the new series (with another new producer) was better than ever, but by that point it was a totally toxic brand and they almost certainly shouldn't have done that series.

Anyway, it was all very exciting at the time, and I wonder if anyone could think of any other examples of programmes being dropped for unusual reasons. One I can think of was Dirty Digest, an E4 panel show from a few years back with Joe Lycett, which was dropped after three shows because since the pilot the entire writing team was replaced and E4 said it wasn't the show they commissioned and cancelled it. And there was famously that Jackie Gleason game show in America in the fifties where the format was so bad nobody got any of the answers right and the following week Gleason came on, apologised and just talked about how bad it was for half an hour, and in the end it actually mutated into a fully-fledged comedy show that continued for several weeks (although the sponsor pulled out because it wasn't what they paid for).

Actually the other thing I remember about that night when Noel went on strike is that Ant and Dec presented the lottery and performed Game Of Love which they announced as their new single, but it was never released. Funny the things, eh?
Last edited by Steve Williams on 8 March 2018 8:36am
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VMPhil9,420 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
The fall of Noel's House Party is always a fascinating subject… I know a lot of people don't like the various revamps but I find the dance theme tune quite catchy.

It's interesting how Noel fell out of favour with BBC TV after House Party crashed because Christmas Presents didn't return after 1999 either, and when it returned in 2007 it was on Sky instead. You'd think as an annual show it wouldn't suffer from people getting bored with the format and trying to revamp it every 5 minutes.
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Larry the Loafer5,440 posts since 2 Jul 2005
Granada North West Today
Weren't there rumours that the IRA bomb threat that took the show off air was actually a cover up for another feud Noel had and resulted in there being no show?

Another example I can think of where the stars refused to do the show was when an episode of My Family was declined by Robert Lindsey and Zoe Wanamaker because they claimed the script was so bad, and refused to be in it.
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Larry the Loafer5,440 posts since 2 Jul 2005
Granada North West Today
Another example I can think of where the stars refused to do the show was when an episode of My Family was declined by Robert Lindsey and Zoe Wanamaker because they claimed the script was so bad, and refused to be in it.


Even though most of the episodes from the last few series fell into that anyway.


There are some people who'd claim it started there.
623058
You could tell before the 100th Episode there were mucking around with the format, Grab a grand in the box was gone and become some strange grab a grandpa or grab the audience, but that were the trouble started, Why did it need to change?

Noel was right, he looked at it and it was crap. Someone should have taken notes, The Design of the house also didn't help, S1-5 it was evolution by S6 it was revolution and S7 looked like it was cheap and nasty. By S6 it had moved to a bigger studio, yet I thought it had much less room on the set overall. Money was clearly a problem but so was the creative time, so you could have had a nice simple format to fill up 5-7min? like the old poke pie, or the talent contest or panel game..

The reason people including myself side with noel over those "producer" and "Director" is because he stood up and said yes there a problem,

EDIT: for anyone wondering is the is the thread from last year: https://tvforum.uk/tvhome/noels-house-party-41748/
Last edited by 623058 on 6 March 2018 7:18pm
robertclark1251,353 posts since 13 Jan 2009
STV Central Reporting Scotland
I think it was just before the cancelled episode, when Noel refused to do it, that I stopped watching it.

TIMO they tried to over elaborate on the NTV, with them getting one person in a cinema, on the cinema screen. We also had the grab a grand thing replaced with someone finding the location of a phone box, using the code to get into it, and being locked in. Which was a good idea, but it restricted it to just those in that area.
623058
I think it was just before the cancelled episode, when Noel refused to do it, that I stopped watching it.

TIMO they tried to over elaborate on the NTV, with them getting one person in a cinema, on the cinema screen. We also had the grab a grand thing replaced with someone finding the location of a phone box, using the code to get into it, and being locked in. Which was a good idea, but it restricted it to just those in that area.


You mean the Number cruncher, "location of a phone box, using the code" that wasn't a replacement both that and grab a grand continued side by side for for series 4 and 5? As said the concept of Grab a grand by S5 had been diluted

It was Wait till I get you home that disappeared at the end of s5 and replaced with "My little Friend" in Series 6 it was like what the hell is this?
Brekkie30,958 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
The Number Cruncher was fine until Jono Coleman got involved. Think that was then replaced with Beat the Neighbours, where neighbours competed to win "prizes" which was essentially nicked from next door.

NTV was ruined when it became NTV: Your on your Own, and sent the victim to an isolated place for a week. In a way though guess that was kind of ahead of it's time and Ant and Dec ripped it off with Banged up with Beadle.
I preferred the internet when it had a sense of humour.
DE88681 posts since 8 Jan 2017
UTV Newsline
Then it was back again in the autumn with Noel saying everything was fine now and the new series (with another new producer) was better than ever, but by that point it was a totally toxic brand and they almost certainly shouldn't have done that series.


If the 1998-99 series had never happened, though, we would never have had Richard Whiteley's Gotcha... Wink Wink Wink
"Channel 5! The channel that brings you England goals!" -- Jonathan Pearce, 31 May 1997

On hiatus from 1 January 2019. Perhaps I take the drawbacks of the written word *too* seriously.
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