The Whose Line is it Anyway Obscure Reference Page

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AAHANDBOOK: Paul Merton performed an Authors round in this style. The AA is the Automobile Association, who are responsible for emergency breakdowns to motorists who pay an annual subscription for the services of their mechanics. They also sell insurance.
ANNE and NICK: See Anne Diamond entry and picture.
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: Impersonated by Rory Bremner (and Tony Slattery) during a credit reading, he is the brother of film director Richard. Makes fantastic wildlife programmes for the BBC.
DOUGLAS BADER: From episode 1.11, Tony says "I've never hosted a come as Douglas bader party before" then hops about. He was a famous WW II fighter pilot. In 1931 he was seriously injured in a plane crash. His right leg was amputated above the knee and his left leg 6 inches below the knee. Despite this he was very successful during the war and was made a spitfire squadron commander.
ROBERTO BAGGIO: (shouted out as a suggestion by an audience member and thankfully ignored by Clive) An Italian soccer player, regarded as the world's greatest player by many at the start of the nineties.
JEREMY BEADLE: Bearded git, try-hard comedian. Had a show called Beadle's About some years ago. A candid camera sort of thing but crueller. Was retitled by an Australian parody as Beadle's a Prick. Has also hosted Game For A Laugh, People Do The Funniest Things, Beadle's Hot Shots, Beadle's Box of Tricks, It's Beadle, Beadle's About and You've Been Framed and wrote Today's The Day - A Chronicle of the Curious. And from Matt Rudd: (referred to in a fried food hoedown by Tony, suggested by an audience member as something killed by Steve Frost, found at the end of the rainbow by Jim Sweeney) is a TV presenter who is generally despised by viewers though paradoxically, his shows are always popular. He is a bearded prankster who, in his show Beadle's About puts people in dangerous or upsetting positions (such as setting fire to their car or flooding the office while the boss pops out) before revealing to an angry but relieved victim that it was all a joke and it was going to be shown on television. Some of his antics were remarkably cruel, hence the hatred.
THE BEANO: Referred to in a Props round by Steve Frost, this is a children's comic book which has been on weekly sale since the 1930s, featuring characters like Minnie the Minx, Lord Snooty, the Bash Street Kids and Dennis the Menace - the front page hero of many schoolboys whom Steve was impersonating in that game.
CHRISTOPHER BIGGINS: A British actor who is best known for panto work in female 'Widow Twankee'-type roles, though he has also had a distinguished TV and film career. He is round, effeminate and instantly recognisable for wearing brightly coloured spectacles. A tireless charity worker, his most famous TV role was as prison inmate and First Aid officer Luke Warm in the BBC sitcom "Porridge". This suggestion and additional information from Rob Torres: he was also one of the Translvanians in the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie.
BILL and BEN: (the Flowerpot Men) Series based on works by Hilda Brabbanon. Two babbling puppets who lived in flowerpots. (from UK News Electronic Telegraph  Daily Telegraph Friday 4 October 1996 Issue 499): The stories were broadcast on the wireless programme Listen with Mother in the 1940s and Bill and Ben became household names when they were adapted by the late Frieda Lingstrom for BBC TV in 1952. But Mrs Brabban, a former headmistress, never benefited. She said: "Frieda Lingstrom always denied having heard about my stories." 
Bill and BenBill and Ben

Thanks to Mike Parry for this link:

CILLA BLACK: (Is Cilla Black? was a question from Colin in Questions Only and Josie tried to impersonate her in a Film Dub) has obviously reached Canada if Colin knows who she is. She was a successful pop singer in the 60s and is now one of our highest-paid TV presenters, known most for "Blind Date", which is a genuine version of "Let's Make A Date". She is nice and down-to-earth, apparently, but has an extremely irritating voice.
LIONEL BLAIR: He is apparently one of those people famous for being famous. Is a regular on the UK pantomime scene and TV game shows such as 'Give Us A Clue'. May have been a dancer by profession. He also was in the film 'Absolute Beginners'. Thanks to Dean Bedford for that info. And from Matt Rudd: Lionel Blair (bits of him made up Tony's lime jacket, referred to by John when he played a sumo wrestler in PQs) is primarily a dancer but now just holds status as a second-rate TV celebrity. He is in his 60s, at a guess, and has been praised for looking young for his age, which I do not agree with! He has presented game shows and is now regularly seen in panto. He is skinny, has all his own hair and a permanent tan, hence the comments about his youthfulness.
Also: on a episode of All Rise For Julian Clary he was sent  into exile under the 'Celebrities To The Hebrides' scheme for filling the airwaves with 'trivial razzamatazz'.
BLUE PETER: An English TV show for children, akin to 'Play School'.
BODY MATTERS: a medical documentary programme.
GEOFFREY BOYCOTT: An England cricketer who at his peak, was one of the greatest batsmen ever. He had a controversial career as while his ability was admired, he was believed to be a player who performed for himself and not the team. He now commentates for the BBC and continues to infuriate those in the game with his opinions. (Many thanks to Matt Rudd & Dean Bedford) 
RHODES BOYSON: Referred to by Tony in a Props round, he is now Sir Rhodes Boyson and is a veteran Conservative MP, formerly an education minister in the Government. Named after the town of Rhodes, near Manchester, where he was born and raised, his credentials for a high-profile role in the education department were good, having been a school headmaster before entering full-time politics. He is best known for consistently publicising his belief that corporal punishment should be reintroduced into Britain's schools.
BOURNEMOUTH: Twice referred to by Jim Sweeney (once as a blackmailer in PQs, once as a memory man reading the credits), this is a pleasant south coast holiday resort in the county of Dorset, England. A lot of pensioners like to spend their retirement there.
B & Q: This is a leading British D.I.Y / hardware superstore chain, named after the initials of the two men who opened the first branch. Was used in a game of picture with Caroline & Tony where Tony says " You look like your hair's been done by B & Q."
GYLES BRANDRETH: A World's Worst anything in early series, this guy is a TV celebrity for no real reason. He is a wordsmith who wears ridiculous handknitted jumpers and writes light-hearted reference books. Steve Steen once appeared as him during a sketch on "A Bit of Fry and Laurie", with fellow WLiiA? contestant Stephen Fry and his long-time performing partner Hugh Laurie.
BRECHT: Given as a film and theatre style in episode 1.7. 
Bertolt Brecht (1898 - 1856) was a German poet, theatrical producer and dramatist who developed the new style of 'epic' theatre and aimed to incorporate Marxist ideals. His works include 'The Threepenny Opera' and 'The Good Woman of Setzuan'.

For more information see the  International Brecht Society .
BROOKSIDE: English soap opera, on Channel 4, about the lives of people in a small housing development near Liverpool.
BASIL BRUSH: According to a Clive intro, Mike's face was "now home to Basil Brush", who was a popular talking fox puppet of the 70's and 80's loved by children and adults alike and currently making a comeback. He wore a tweed coat, spoke with a very dignified tone and had a long, raucous laugh, usually after telling one of his jokes or silly poems, following the laughter with his catchphrase "Boom! Boom!". He was accompanied on stage by actor Roy North, whom he called "Mr Roy", though his voice was supplied by a hidden performer. Mike's gingery beard at the time bore a striking resemblance to Basil's tail.
BUCKS FIZZ: (referred to by Tony in Translation) A four-piece singing group of two men and two women who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981 and had several British number ones afterwards.
CALL MY BLUFF:  This is a long-running BBC game show which began in the 60's and comprises of two teams of three, captained by the same two people who were accompanied by a pair of celebrities each week. The game involves giving three possible definitions of an obscure word and it is up to the other team to decide whose definition was true and which two were bluffing. Originally hosted by Robert Robinson, the show took a break in the early 90's but was revived last year with a new host, Bob Holness. Having appeared on a charity edition, Sandi Toksvig now appears every week as a team captain, and her sparring matches with opposing captain Alan Coren, a writer and satirist, can make for compelling viewing, even by the general standards of British daytime television.
CAPA: 'Capa' was used in the game of 'Bartender' where Greg loses his virginity. It is Spanish for cloak.
CAPTAIN SCARLET: From Andy McKinney another of the Gerry Anderson puppet series. 
JASPER CARROTT: Another of Clive's intros claimed that Josie was the sexiest comedian to come out of the Midlands since this guy, who is one of Britain's most consistently funny men. A stand-up comedian from Birmingham, his career began with a record called "Funky Moped" which made the Top Ten in the 70s. Since then, he has achieved status as one of Britain's true comic geniuses and has recently branched out as an actor in police sitcom "The Detectives".
Barbara CartlandBARBARA CARTLAND: Romance novelist born in 1901 (died in 2000). Had written over 550 books. Known for putting her make-up on very poorly, being very old and a relative of Princess Diana (thanks to Dean Bedford for the suggestion)

This from Matt Rudd:
'witch and hag; too much make-up, fascist bag' - Tony) is someone you probably do know. She is in her 90s and is a best-selling romantic novelist. She wears white make-up which looks like correction fluid and harks back to the days when women didn't work, raised a family and basically were chained to a cooker every day. Princess Di was her step-grand-daughter, or something like that.
CHANNEL FIVE: Ryan referred to this in Props. This is a British commercial television station which opened in 1996 and is beset with two major problems. Firstly, not many people can receive it because Channel 5's frequency was already taken up by their VCRs and they haven't been able or bothered to re-tune; and secondly, because the programmes are invariably awful. 
CHUNNEL:Slang for the Channel Tunnel linking France with England.
CHIPOLATA: (Clive said Tony was 'Chipolata' after his Chippendale party quirk) "Chipolatas are small sausages, generally stuffed into lamb intestines and filled with some combination of beef, veal, lamb and pork. They are generally sautéed and served as a garnish alongside roast. (No, I'm not making that up. How very English, isn't it?) The filling apparently isn't crucial -- the size and usage are." Many thanks to Mary Ann for her magnificent tripe-knowledge and to lisa Shirley for her valued assistance.
CLANGERS: Thanks to lisa Shirley for this addition. Josie and Paul do  the Clangers in Film and Theatre styles at a seance. Strange animated series of the 60's featuring creatures that looked cross-between mice and piglets.
KENNETH CLARKE: (referred to by Rory in Remote Control)
A Conservative politician, he was the education secretary, then health secretary, then home secretary and finally chancellor of the exchequer during the Thatcher and Major years. After the 1997 election defeat, he failed to become Conservative leader and is now a basic MP.
COLLYWOBBLES: Rumbling in the intestines. Examinations give Tony the collywobbles (and lots of diarrhoea) 
CORONATION STREET: Many thanks to Dean Bedford for this - 'Coronation Street' is the world's longest running soap opera, having debuted on December 9,1960. It ran twice a week for 30 years, three times a week for 7 years and now appears 4 times a week. It is a depiction of community life in northern England, centred around one street and its inhabitants, a pub, two shops, a cafe and a factory. Made world famous such phrases as "eeeeh, Chuck", "flaming Norah" and  "you soppy haporth".
CRICKET AVERAGES: Unwisely in front of an American audience, John referred to these during a World's Worst round. These are statistics which show the average score a cricket batsman achieves over the course of a season, series or career; or the average number of runs a bowler concedes to a batsman before managing to dismiss one through the many means (bowled, caught, run out, hit wicket, stumped, leg before wicket) which require a batsman to leave the field. 
CRICKLEWOOD: According to Clive, Ryan was, apparently, straight from Hollywood and on his way to Cricklewood, which is an outer suburb of London. (was also where The Goodies lived!)
CROSSROADS MOTEL: Josie was billed by Clive as "the most exciting thing to happen to the Midlands since they pulled down the Crossroads Motel". It refers to a 70's and 80's British soap opera called "Crossroads" which was set around the trials and tribulations of the said building's owners and staff. The programme was axed in 1986 due to a huge slump in ratings.
PAUL DANIELS: Britain's best-known magician. He has presented his own brand of clever conjuring on the BBC for many years and has also hosted a variety of quiz shows. He is known for his catchphrase - "and that's magic!" - his squeaky voice which is regularly mimicked by impressionists and his ill-fitting wigs which he insisted on wearing for many years before finally deciding to show his receding hairline while on stage. He employed a glamorous new assistant called Debbie McGee sometime in the 80's and despite the huge age gap, she became his second (and much, much younger) wife while people sniggered "gold-digging" allegations behind her back. So much so that she was asked by a talk show host "what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"
MARQUIS de SADE: real name - Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, 1740 -1814. French author and soldier. Wrote explicit novels and plays about a range of sexual practices that lead to his imprisonment for sexual offences. His name gave rise to the term 'sadism'.
ANNE DIAMOND: Host of 'The Breakfast Show with Anne Diamond' on LBC (radio in the U.K). Former host of 'Good Morning with Anne and Nick'.
Anne and NickAnne and Nick. 
Many thanks to Lisa Shirley for the picture.
EALING COMEDY: Used as a Film & Theatre Style in episode 1.4.
Refers to films produced by the Ealing Film Studios which became a genre in themselves. British Ealing Studio comedies include 'Passport to Pimlico' (1949) and according to Michael Palin, 'A Fish Called Wanda', was a homage to that genre.
EASTENDERS: Another English soap opera. Apparently it's the BBC's most popular drama series, with a weekly audience of 20 million.
NOEL EDMONDS: Tony wanted to kill him in a hoedown. Host of 'Noel's House Party' featuring Mr.Blobby. Former Radio 1 Noel EdmondsBreakfast Show DJ In a recent Beeb Comedy Zone poll, 42% of respondents thought he was a pointless gimp. And this from Matt Rudd: Used to be a national treasure as the country's top DJ in the 70s but ever since going on to the TV has steadily declined in popularity. He is bearded - in fact he has been for years - and presents a variety show called Noel's House Party on the BBC at peak-time which used to be brilliant but over the last couple of years has declined in quality and popularity by some way.  So much so, that the BBC have just axed it (hooray). Like Jeremy Beadle, part of his niche  is to play cruel jokes on people and he is just generally annoying.
Many thanks to lisa for the picture.
ELDORADO: Thanks to Brian Rhodes for this:This show was 'a hopeless soap opera that failed centered around a group of English people living in a development on some spanish coast and their seedy goings on ... it really was a pile of sh*t'. So there you go ! See also Howard's Way (thanks to Christy for the suggestion )
EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: (referred to by Paul in a game of translation) This is an annual event in which each country in Europe enters a song from which judging panels from each nation then award marks for their favourite songs, ranging rom 1 to 12 points. The contest was the first taste of fame for the likes of Sandie Shaw, ABBA, Brotherhood of Man and Johnny Logan, who all had commercial chart success after winning the contest.
CHRIS EVANS: Clive once introduced Greg as "Britain's answer to Chris Evans" at the start of an episode. He is a TV presenter whose company, Ginger Productions (so-called because he has flame-red hair) produces many successful shows, past and present, including "Don't Forget Your Toothbrush" and "TFI Friday". He also owns national radio station Virgin 1215 and presents the breakfast show. Greg also briefly presented a show as a stand-in on the station in 1993 called "The Nescafe Big Red Mug Show". The reason the two were compared is because they are both famously bespectacled. As Greg is funny, the similarity ends there.
Sir RANULPH FIENNES: Thanks to Rob Torres for this suggestion: Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes is an English explorer described by the "Guiness Book of Records" as the world's greatest living explorer. He was one of the first men to reach both the North and South Poles; has participated in the discovery of the legendary Lost City of Ubar in the Rub al Khali desert of Oman, which Lawrence of Arabia called the Atlantis of the Sands; made the longest polar journey in history; ascended the Nile; and has lead a multitude of other expeditions and authored several books.
MICHAEL FISH: (referred to by Tony for the World's Worst weather forecaster) is, actually, a weather forecaster for the BBC and has been for years. He is ribbed because of his awful taste in check jackets (Tony can talk!) and is famous in the UK for failing to predict the hurricane which almost destroyed the south of England in 1987. We don't get many hurricanes in Britain!
FLOYD ON FISH: Was given as a TV show in 'Remote Control' in episode 1.9. Hosted by Keith Floyd, British TV chef and author.
PAUL GASCOIGNE: Referred to by Steve Steen in a Props round, he is an English soccer player regarded  by many as the most talented England has produced for many years. Sadly, he is just as well known for his antics off the field as well as on it, which include heavy drinking, fights in nightclubs, wife-beating and crashing single-decker buses. He is not renowned for his IQ level either, hence Steve's joke.
GMTV: (Tony's programme on Remote Control ) 'Good Morning Television' is the morning news, weather and general feature programme broadcast on ITV every morning except Saturday. And it is VERY difficult to watch.
HAMMER HORROR: Refers to horror films that were the product of Hammer Studios from 1935 to 1975. Were generally high quality, low budget horror films.
HELMET: With thanks to HW: A"helmet" is a condom in merrie olde England. There have been several references to helmets in the show over the years
HOB NOBS: Round English biscuit/cookie. Similar to digestive biscuits.
THE HOLIDAY PROGRAMME: Referred to by Rory in a hoedown, this is a weekly show on the BBC plugging very expensive holidays. The presenters are paid huge amounts of money to go to some sun-kissed resort which 95 per cent of the viewers could never afford. Sadly, one poor sod always gets the short straw, plugging breaks in somewhere like the Scottish Highlands.
GORDON HONEYCOMBE: Referred to by Paul as a last-ditch, desperate guess during a round of Party Quirks, this man is a veteran TV newscaster, now believed to be retired. The only explicable reason Paul could have had for blurting his name out is that it is rather an amusing thing to be called.
DOUGLAS HURD (Lord): Former M.P, now a British diplomat and author.
IN AT THE DEEP END: Referred to in a round of Remote Control, this was a popular BBC show in the 70's and 80's hosted by Christopher Searle in which he would receive training in a specialist field or activity in an attempt to become good at it, such as singing in an opera, commentating on a horse race or climbing a cliff.
IVOR THE ENGINE: Referred to in F&T Styles, this was a static cartoon series of the 70's and 80's. It comprised of five-minute episodes and told the story of a train called Ivor and his driver.
CLIVE JAMES: British based Australian TV presenter, author, wit,  journalist and documentary maker. Former President of the Cambridge Footlights. Has a show called 'The Clive James Show' with a similar format to 'Clive Anderson All Talk', which often has a variety of WLIIA? performers as guests.
Clive JamesClive James
JIM'LL FIX IT: See Jimmy Saville
JOYRIDING: Referred to in Scenes From A Hat, I'm not sure if this is an international term or not, but in the UK this is the act of taking a car without the owner's consent, enjoying an illicit drive, and then dumping it for the police to find and return to its rightful place.
DANNY LA RUE: Actor and entertainer renowned for his drag acts.
SUE LAWLEY: Host of 'Desert Island Discs' (which Clive claims he wanted to be on) and a chat show.
Sue LawleyThanks to lisa for the picture.
LIVERPOOL POETS: Group of poets (featuring Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough) whose works were critically dismissed. Was a style for John Sessions in a game of Authors.
'LOOK OUT BEA, HERE COMES VINEGAR TITS': Reference used by Tony at the start of a game of Prison Visitor. Refers to an Australian TV drama of the late 70's / early 80's called 'Prisoner' (known in the UK as 'Prisoner: Cell Block H'). Was set in a womens' prison. 'Bea' being one of the prisoners and 'Vinegar Tits' the evil warden.
LORD LUCAN: This is a reference from a game of 'Scenes From A Hat'.  The scene was things you wouldn't expect to find in a kangaroo's pouch, to which Tony said 'Lord Lucan'. John Bingham Lucan was the 7th Earl of Lucan. Born in 1934, he was an aristocrat and gambler. He has been missing since November 8th, 1974. Mr.Strange kindly informs us that Lucan allegedly visited a friend living at Uckfield in Sussex after killing his children's nanny and attempting to murder his wife Veronica. That woman friend, the last person to see him before his disappearance, later told the official inquest that Lucan did not leave her home until well after midnight. His bloodstained car was found later. More recently his family has applied for him to officially be declared dead.
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