Mock the Week is BBC Two’s leading topical satire comedy show. It’s hosted by Dara Ó Briain and features an array of stand-up comedians taking part in quiz elements as well as stand-up challenges.
On 2nd August 2022, the BBC announced that after 17 years and 21 series, Mock the Week will come to an end this year. The BBC claimed it was axed to make room for new programming. This led to an outpouring of support for the show. A petition to save the show has garnered over 10,000 signatures.
Following the breaking of the news, I produced this Twitter thread featuring clips of highlights from Mock the Week which garnered a huge response. It was heartening to see my love for the show being shared by others.
Mock the Week is a loss to the British television landscape for several reasons. It provided a platform for new comedians and gave them their big break. James Acaster, Romesh Ranganathan, Rob Beckett, Maisie Adam and Katherine Ryan amongst others all made their first mainstream television appearance on Mock the Week. Some of the biggest British comedians (Michael McIntyre, Russell Howard and Jack Whitehall) are all Mock the Week alumni. Dara Ó Briain and Hugh Dennis – the one regular panellist who has appeared on every episode – have seen several waves of comedians through the process.
Mock the Week is synonymous with the appearances of Frankie Boyle who was a regular fixture on the show between 2005 and 2009. The show took a more irreverent style and there were four regular panellists at one point. Over the course of the last 5-10 years, Mock the Week has seen a greater turnover of new talent and a more relaxed, playful atmosphere that has been less ‘dog eat dog’.
Mock the Week has always offered a light-hearted outlook on the week’s news, particularly the world of politics. There is the argument that the world of politics has in and of itself become a self-parody over the course of the last 6 years that it makes life particularly difficult for those producing satire. People often complained to Mock the Week for not taking a more balanced view although Dara has acknowledged that critics have the tendency to take the show too seriously.
Mock the Week is not just about the politics, it’s also about the unashamedly silly moments that people remember. These include Gary Delaney accidentally referring to ‘Princess Monaco of Kent’, Dara being mocked for his big head and the offhand comments by Ed Byrne and Milton Jones that cause everyone to laugh uncontrollably.
What does this mean for the BBC? Dara has highlighted that there’s a lot of chipping away at the BBC occurring at the moment and it needs protecting.
Mock the Week will be sorely missed. It became a comfort show for me and there was an element of familiarity with seeing Mock the Week on at the time of year it’d usually be on. Losing that is really saddening and in an ideal world the decision could be reversed.