Frank Skinner hosts the comedy panel show. Vicky McClure, Sandi Toksvig and Josh Widdicombe compete to have their pet hates and peeves consigned to Room 101.
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Hello, I'm Frank Skinner and welcome to Room 101.
Exploring a world of woe tonight are This Is England, Vicky McClure,
This Is Denmark Sandi Toksvig,
and This Is Devon, Josh Widdicombe.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
OK, what's winding up Josh?
So, this is people being rude about Paul McCartney.
Top of the list, your production team, seemingly, with that picture.
It looks like there should be a dog's tail above that mouth.
Anybody else feel sick now?
Um, yeah, I feel quite strongly about this.
It seems to have been a thing that's kind of happened in the last decade,
that being half of the greatest songwriting partnership of all time,
changing the face of popular music, changing the face of society,
doesn't deem respect if you're a bit of a square 74-year-old.
-Like, he's 74.
We're lucky he's not doing an advert for walk-in baths.
Do you listen to his more recent solo albums?
No, of course not.
is this a person being rude about Paul McCartney?
Right, I thought this might happen.
I've made a list of the pros and cons of Paul McCartney.
OK, so this is basically how the argument goes.
So, the pros - he was responsible for changing popular music for ever.
He wrote Hey Jude. He invented the concept album.
He produced the greatest Glastonbury headline set ever while in his 60s.
He wrote Blackbird. The Frog Chorus was quite good.
-He took a decade of public abuse.
He headlined Live Aid. He made it OK to be a vegetarian.
He wrote Helter Skelter, Fool On The Hill, Paperback Writer, Michelle,
Eleanor Rigby, For No-one, and Let It Be.
Cons - he dyes his hair.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
I think Paul McCartney has achieved so much at such a young age
that he should have a free pass to do whatever he wants.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, when he was old, no-one was going, "Yeah,
"but what bridges has he built recently?"
You know, Alexander Fleming, no-one said,
"But what did he follow penicillin with?"
Abraham Lincoln, no-one said...
"What did he do good after whatever it was he was meant to have done?"
And I'd say Paul McCartney is up there with the greatest people that
has ever lived, and people are rude about him and they shouldn't be.
But nobody criticises him for Eleanor Rigby, or for all the early stuff.
They criticise him for giving the evil eye to burgers.
I mean, it's fine if he wants to be a vegetarian.
Just the rest of us are doing a public service by eating cows and keeping them off the road. So...
Think of the accidents there could be if I wasn't doing my bit keeping the livestock back.
So, you don't observe meat-free Mondays?
What on Earth is that? I'm from Denmark, darling - what on Earth is that?
This was his little blurb for it.
Please, just log in -
all one word - .com.
You can do it, right now, please.
-What was that?
-It's definitely not as good as his early work.
See, you say that's bad.
-The first time I heard that, that was in my head for a week.
-Have you met him?
-No, I'd love to meet him.
I saw him at this thing and I went over and he went, "Oh, hello, Frank."
And I thought, A, he knows my name, and then he said to his fiancee,
"This is a very famous British comedian."
And I can't tell you how good I felt.
And I was so pleased,
and then someone went past with a tray of little bits of food,
and I took a small burger off it and went like that, and he went.
And I tried to put it back, but they'd gone.
I ended up... I held...
You know when you're behind the bike shed having a smoke
and the teacher... I held the burger behind my back like that,
hoping that he might have forgotten about it.
-Do you like his stuff?
-Yeah, I mean, I love the Beatles.
We was at the NME Awards and he was there and my partner is a massive
Beatles fan so I was like, "You've got to tap him when he comes past."
And he did stop and say hello, but that was about it.
I'm a bit disappointed that this has become me coming on to talk about how much I love Paul McCartney
and then just hearing stories about how everyone else has met Paul McCartney.
There are some amazing Paul McCartney lookalikes around.
Look at this woman.
Look at this woman!
-God bless her.
Can I say, God bless her?
I do not mock this lovely old lady in her little Welsh home.
-She's so cute.
-But it has to be said that she does have more than a passing resemblance.
They certainly share a hairdresser, I think.
-And what about this woman?
That is him!
-He's allowed to relax if he wants to.
What do you Google if you want to find people who look astonishingly like Paul McCartney?
And so to Sandi.
Yeah, pointless things you learn at school.
-I have got... Yeah.
So, let's start with mathematics.
OK, so I spent many,
many hours of my youth learning about something called logarithms.
Now, I didn't understand what they were for,
they seemed to me entirely pointless,
and the very day that I finally understood what they were about,
we moved on and did something else
and they've never come up again in my entire life.
So, not just the intellectual stuff that I think is a waste of space
in my brain. I know, for example, how an oxbow lake is formed.
It was physical education.
They used to strip us down to our underwear and make us try and do a forward roll.
Now, I do not know...
I am never going to throw myself off a train at high speed...
The forward roll, I have to say, is still a great way to arrive in a tent.
It's my personal favourite.
But I was asked to do one on a TV show about two years ago.
I hadn't done one for 40 years but they said, "Can you do a forward roll?"
And I said, "Yes," because I could remember doing one.
So, I did it with tremendous confidence and gusto.
I honestly felt like I'd fallen out of a helicopter.
I do cartwheel occasionally, if the lift doors are beginning to close.
I have to say my father was brilliant about all these things
because he was a very patient man
and I was struggling with some French one day,
and he said, "Yes, yes, funny thing, French -
"in French, "cheval" means "horse."
"It's like that all the way through.
"They have a different word for each one of ours. It's very annoying."
In art class - I can't really draw -
the only tip I remember was they were teaching us to draw faces
and they said, "Start with the eyes, and always remember that eyes are halfway down the head."
And that's... Well, that's not true.
Oh, yeah, of course they are, that's why I have my glasses on under my ears.
We're not 50% forehead.
You speak for yourself.
Do you know what...
The worst thing about that, I started saying it,
and for the last 30 seconds I've been thinking,
"I can't even look at Frank."
There is a professor from Newcastle University who says there is
no longer any point in teaching how to spell
because in the age of spell check and predictive text,
it's a completely pointless skill.
That's not true, though, darling, because predictive text can be
unpredictable and therefore you need to make sure it's right, you know?
Well, I had... I was trying to write,
for some reason I won't go into, a text message,
which included the name Nostradamus.
And I spelt it wrongly and it offered me "nostril."
And you'd think predictive text would have some respect for Nostradamus!
The Godfather of all predictivity.
So, I went to get... You have to get a birth certificate done,
we'd just had a baby, and her middle name is Virginia.
And you'd think the one thing that you could do if you're a registrar is spell.
So she turns the birth certificate round
and it says "vagina" on it!
But I was so embarrassed.
So she's still got that now?
No, no, no.
You can change it?
The worst thing is, her first name's Frannie, she got that wrong as well!
No, it's not!
There must be some things you learned from school that you still use.
Of course, I mean, you know, it was quite useful to learn to read.
It seemed like every science lesson I was learning to use a Bunsen burner.
Not a skill that has come up once in my life.
Comes round, do you want a cup of tea?
I'll just pop on the Bunsen burner.
Blue flame, I'm not an idiot.
All you do with the orange flame,
all you did with the orange flame, one use...
That's all you do.
Tiny piece of copper, big tongs, goggles on.
What's the point?
And in science we'd be dispatched into the car park with a wheel
on a stick and we'd just walk around clicking for hours.
Just going, "I don't know what I'm learning here."
Would you like to relive that moment?
-And you're going, "Is this going to come up in the exam?"
"How big's the car park?"
Oh, it is satisfying, though, isn't it?
Oh, isn't it!? Isn't it!?
Do you know what, I'm back... It's 1993 again.
-Wait for it.
Sounds like I've got a bad knee.
-That is weirdly satisfying.
It is, isn't it?
It's great if you don't want the responsibility of a real pet.
Do you know what you should have, you should have that with a
-hamster in it.
And then you could go, "I'm just going to take my hamster for a walk."
Marvellous. It is the precise method that the American pioneers used on
the wagon wheels as they went across to try and work out how many miles
-they had travelled.
-Is that right?
-And did they click?
They got on but I wouldn't say they clicked.
And so to Vicky.
Leaflets in hotel rooms.
-I live in hotels quite a lot because, you know, I live in Nottingham,
-which is miles away from London.
And you go into the room,
you go to put your bag down and you can't see the table for, you know,
the trips to here and there.
You just need your bed and your telly, done.
There we go, keep it simple.
Then, there's even phones now.
There's these weird things where you go in and they're like mobile phones,
just in a port.
Does that operate the television?
I've no idea.
I've no idea.
Here am I thinking, "Nottingham, are they still going?"
Let's have a look at some leaflets from hotel rooms.
Some of them are a little disturbing.
At first I thought, "Why has she got a vest on in the shower?"
What is the point of that leaflet, though?
Well, it says, "Showering just got a whole lot more fun."
That looks like one of those things you're meant to hang on your door.
-Is that the third option?
Leave me alone, tidy my room,
or shower me in fun.
I have one which I find even more unnerving.
There is a man getting his money's worth from the free Wi-Fi, I would say.
-Look at his face.
Yeah, he's gelled for the event.
God, I hope he's gelled.
"Do not disturb.
"Favor de no molestar."
I'm hoping that's a translation of "do not disturb."
Not the hotel slogan, "special favours for molesters."
I'll tell you what I hate, when you have to phone down for the Wi-Fi code.
The way they kind of smugly reply to you, like,
there's an element that they're going, "We know what you're up to."
And I'm not, 10% of the time, I'm not.
What about... This is the sign on a hotel lift.
I don't even understand what that...
It... What else could it possibly mean?
What is after hours ass?
There's only one way to find out, isn't there?
-Yeah, I wonder how many...
If you're are not pressing that out of curiosity...
-..you need to have a long hard look at yourself.
-You don't want to be woken up at three o'clock by someone leading
a donkey into your room.
Or maybe you do.
Um... It is a nightmare,
the leaflets thing, I must admit.
I agree we are taught pointless things.
But one of my favourite things is pointless knowledge of all kinds.
Bear in mind that Sandi's talking about pointless things being taught
and she's the presenter of QI.
Yeah, those things are not pointless.
So, I think it's about time this wrong was righted.
I am going to put people who are rude about Paul McCartney into Room 101.
OK, what's making Josh angry?
Bring it on.
This I truly believe.
I spent my teenage years teaching myself to like the taste of lager
so that I could be considered one of the boys.
I managed it.
I've been fine with that,
even though we all know none of us actually like the taste.
Now, they've brought along this worse drink called real ale.
Have you seen...
Awful. Right, these people who drink real ale,
they act like they're better than you, Frank.
-They act like they're better than you.
They'll go, "Oh, it tastes so much, so good."
No-one is drinking alcohol for the taste.
You're not. Otherwise you wouldn't keep drinking it.
I like the taste of milk.
I stop after one glass.
You don't find me at 2am eight pints of milk down.
There's got to be another dairy somewhere, hasn't there?
you go and buy it,
and you have to queue behind them because they're sampling it and then
they have to kind of...
Have you seen them trying to push it out of the pump?
It's like they're kind of sluicing a chemical toilet.
And you have to stand there and it looks like a canal,
it might as well have a shopping trolley in it.
And they're acting like they're cooler than you.
You're not cooler than me because you drink real ale.
James Bond wouldn't be as cool if when he was in the casino the woman
came over and said, "Can I get you another drink, 007?"
"Yeah, just a pint of Otter's Cock, please."
That is one of my... One of my problems with it is
it's all slightly ironic, isn't it?
It's all got comedy names.
-People go and have a pint of Needless Cruelty.
It's in a pub called, like, The Uncertain Zebra.
It's like you might as well go in and ask for a pint of mead.
I didn't go to the pub to drink like Henry VIII.
No, that's a good motto.
I remember in the '80s, the first time, the first wave of real ale,
and then it was all about men in jumpers and big beards and stuff
-like that drinking it.
-But now I think it's become quite cool, hasn't it?
Yeah, it has. I live in East London and it's full of people, you know,
you'll go to their house and they'll go, "Do you want...
"I've made some home-brew, do you want it?"
and you go, "No."
"I'll have the one that passed EU safety standards, please."
But you must...
I mean, but they're...
You must like the taste of some alcohol.
-Wonderful wines and whiskeys.
-Yeah, I enjoy them.
Is it all just about getting drunk?
No, it's this kind of celebration of the drink that does taste worse.
You know, let's be honest,
it doesn't taste as good as a nice cool, crisp lager.
You go to someone's house for a home-brew and, "Oh, we mixed it, you know,
"I mixed it in my bath but don't worry, I washed the bath first."
That's not... I don't care, it is a bath.
If you said, "Is this plate clean?"
"Well, I washed it but before that I was sat on it naked."
It's the confidence.
Why do you think you can make beer?
I can't get the, you know, the ratios of Ribena right.
At least that's not going to send me blind if I get it wrong.
I love that people are trying to do the old crafts themselves.
I think that's a wonderful thing, to make your own beer.
I don't think I've ever tried a real ale but I think you should be applauded for giving it a go, no?
Well, come back to me when you've tried a real ale and been unable to see for 48 hours.
What about this? This is a bit of old footage from BBC Nationwide.
And just listen out, by the way, to how much this man can drink.
This takes me back.
Alan Hunter, a man who can really hold his beer,
whichever way you look at it.
For nearly a year now, he's been defying the laws of specific gravity.
Drinking beer the right way up, his form is impressive.
He's capable of sinking 32 pints in an evening.
The only time he's ever tasted defeat was when he was beaten
by two seconds over a five-pint sprint.
But to be fair, on that occasion his opponent was a horse.
When I saw him like that it reminded me of your story of doing a forward roll.
OK, to Vicky.
Yeah, coat hangers.
The one thing that really bugs me is when you go into a shop,
you've not even attempted to look at something and it's on the floor.
Before you know it you're doing a shift, you're there,
every time you touch something it's on the floor.
Oh, yeah, get up.
They don't hang. They just...
Why is that, though?
I don't know. And then you've got so...
Look at that, you've got like a variety of coat hangers.
The velvet ones, you can't get your clothes off.
That's just the way it is.
Also, the one thing that really annoys me is if you've, like,
got a bit of a backlog,
so you've got your bag of coat hangers and you think, "Oh,
"I'll just go and grab a coat hanger from the bag."
No, it's like the whole thing comes out.
It's rattling around, it's in your face.
You know, it's... I've got a real problem.
I think those are all very good points.
-If you look at a coat hanger...
even my shoulders don't slope
to that degree.
Why on Earth did they make that you have to hang something on a slope?
-With a normal one, when I hang my pants up to dry...
You know when you hang your pants up to dry?
I don't mean when you've washed them.
They will not...
Look, everything is...
They will not... And I've ended up putting pants on hangers...
And there's something very unnerving about coming through the fly.
It's like a very terrible scene from Peter Pan
that didn't make the book.
Wouldn't it make more sense if coat hangers were shaped like that?
-And then you'd have the proper shoulders.
-Try it with the pants.
-Look, these were born for pants.
-Yeah, they're good.
-Well, it hangs.
Also, if it ever rains two-dimensionally...
Someone asks you directions in the street.
"Do you know where the chemist is?"
I honestly think that is a more...
It's way more practical, I agree.
Somebody's going to steal that off you, you know that, right?
I don't care. God, I don't need any more money.
I find it difficult to get the trouser balance right.
Because one side of the trouser is heavier than the other side of the
-It slips off.
-It slips off.
-You need staff.
-I need staff?
There is... Have you seen these ones that stop trousers slipping off?
-So, they've got like an extra...
-Have you seen that?
-You look like Robin Hood.
You can actually... I have just for leisure at home...
It will actually...
And if you get that into the wardrobe door you can hang
a coat hanger on it.
OK, and so to Sandi.
Yes, bar stools.
So, what happens is... Again,
let us imagine that you're on a first date and you've dressed up,
you look rather marvellous, and you walk into the bar thinking you look rather marvellous and they say,
"Shall we meet at the bar for a drink?" "What a marvellous idea." And the stool is here.
Now, we've already established I'm not a gymnast.
I can't leap onto the thing.
So I try and sort of casually...
"No, I don't want to sit, actually, I'm fine."
And then always, as I'm waiting, some woman who is fresh off a basketball court and seven foot tall
comes to the bar stool next to me and just goes like that.
So... I don't even like the name of them.
Bar stools. It just sounds rude.
-So I think they're...
-Bar stools! I'd never thought of that.
-Yeah, they're heightist.
We should have a... We've got a bar stool here.
-Oh, dear God.
-This I think is a fairly standard bar stool.
Would you be happy with this?
Yes, I mean, the thing is,
once you're on it, as well, I don't know how you're supposed to...
Look at it, just straightaway, I'd have no idea how to...
No, it does... I've never really...
So, I'd have to clutch the bar, I think, to start with.
Imagine I've arrived, I haven't had a drink yet.
Oh, goodness me, I'm anxious.
Plus, it's a bloody swivel one...
Oh, my God.
At this precise...
At this precise moment, my date arrives.
And then you're on and you have a couple.
Now you've got to get off again.
It's a nightmare!
Do you do a leap? Now, the forward roll now would be very helpful.
-Oh, that would be interesting.
-That would be cool, right?
-But they say, "Your table's ready."
And you think, "OK." "You go ahead, I'll be... I'm just...
"I'm going to wipe the bar down for a little bit."
Thank you, darling. Frank's got terrible manners.
I'm 5'10", and as you say, I dread any first date on one of these.
-Because the thing is when you slide off, which you do,
your trousers ride up quite a bit,
which you don't want on a first date,
especially as I am...
..I favour a garterette.
-What is that?
-And it's something you want them to find out maybe week two or three.
Are they real or painted on with Bovril?
But it's not... I mean... Have a go...
-Vicky, have a go. See if you can be elegant, darling.
-Do try it, Vicky.
Because you're taller than me and you've got heels.
The thing is they do make me nervous because...
I'm not a fan of them, I have to agree.
I find myself clutching the front.
-So, I look like I've been caught mid-leapfrog.
We've come to the end of that round.
Real ale, I don't... Really,
I just want to put alcohol in but that would be very unfair.
Yeah, I'd fight against that.
Oh, God, the bar stools thing is very tempting because it's never occurred
to me that if you're... I'm not saying you're short but if you're not tall,
shall we say, it's a problem.
But coat hangers, they're badly designed, they're upside down,
they're complicated, they're hostile,
I'm going to put coat hangers into Room 101.
And that brings us to the end of the show.
Well done, Josh, you were the most persuasive guest, so you are this week's winner.
Thanks very much Josh Widdicombe, Sandi Toksvig and Vicky McClure,
and thank you. Goodnight.
Frank Skinner hosts as Vicky McClure, Sandi Toksvig and Josh Widdicombe compete to have their pet hates and peeves consigned to Room 101. Topics including real ale, hotel leaflets and coat hangers.