The Whose Line is it Anyway Obscure Reference Page


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M-25: Notorious British Motorway. Many thanks to Lisa Shirley for submitting this info: "If you plan to use the M25 ring road around London to get you to your destination, be prepared for long delays (it's known as the biggest car park in Europe). Monday mornings and Friday nights are particularly badtimes, and everyone has a horror story to tell. It is not uncommon to see people sharing flasks of tea and sandwiches as they stand around waiting for the traffic to move - probably a good way to make new friends - "well,we met on the M25 between Junctions 5 & 6..." If you're looking for an excuse as to why you are late for an appointment almost anywhere in southern England, you need only say "I was on the M25..." - it will be nough." Source:
MAGNUS MAGNUSSON: Born in Akureyri, northern Iceland (thanks Steve P.), he will be forever known as the host of  brainbox quiz "Mastermind" which ran for more than 30 years, with his famous catchphrase "I've started so I'll finish." His daughter Sally is a journalist and TV presenter for the BBC.
BERNARD MANNING: The dangerous person who had just used the toilet which Colin and Ryan were assigned to clean in Mission Impossible, he is a loud, brash, obese comedian of the pre-PC era who tells controversial jokes about race, religion and sex. He offends many groups as a result though his Embassy Club in Manchester is sold out every night.
TERRY MARSH: According to Julian during a game of Alphabet, Paul looks like this man. He is a British world champion boxer of the 1980's who later was acquitted by a jury of the attempted murder of manager and promoter Frank Warren, who was the victim of a shooting in 1990. The curly-haired ex-fighter was last seen entering the political arena as a Liberal Democrat candidate. And Paul looks nothing like him.
"Mavis": Thanks to Matt: (Josie accidentally impersonated Mavis during a Film and Theatre Styles) is actually Mavis Wilton, nee Riley, a long-standing character in the UK's most popular soap opera "Coronation Street". Played by Thelma Barlow (brilliant actress) she was an ageing, doddery, huffing spinster for years until she got married to Derek Wilton and calmed down a bit. Josie also refers to Derek and impersonates Mavis in a round of Remote Control when asked to do "Coronation Street", also referring to another ageing character Emily Bishop and her moaning old soldier of a lodger, Percy Sugden. 
Trevor McDonaldThanks to Rob Torres for this suggestion and David Lee for clarification.
A highly respected journalist. He works for ITN (the company which provides news for U.K commercial stations). His programmes air on ITV.
RUSS MEYER: Often suggested for 'Film and Theater Styles'. Filmmaker whose films, apparently, exclusively involve large-breasted women. Made 'Beyond the Valley of The Dolls' and moved into the 'adult video' market.
WINDY MILLER: See  Trumpton
MORRIS DANCING: Referred to in Scenes From A Hat, this is an activity which takes place on Bank Holidays in Britain, involving a group of men dressed in breeches, hats, feathers and ribbons performing a jig-type dance to a tune usually played by an accordion. They are invariably a subject of ridicule. This from Mike Parry:  NO! NO! NO! Morris dancing is a central icon of English Culture. Indeed, it is the only thing that distinguishes English Culture from the general Anglo-Euro-Disney-Pacific-Soap-Tabloid culture that is rapidly taking over the world has lots of links.
MR MOTIVATOR: Referred to by Tony in Remote Control, he is a muscular, Lycra-clad man who used to do a daily fitness and workout section on GMTV.
JOHN MOTSON: "Motty" is Britain's most respected commentator on soccer matches and has been the BBC's main man at the big games since the early 70's. He is something of a cult figure thanks to his liking for sheepskin coats and bizarre statistics which he will throw into his commentary at the drop of a hat. His "matter-of-fact" delivery is regularly impersonated by comedians, making him subject of gentle fun-poking though he remains well-liked and popular throughout the soccer world and beyond. He was recently the subject of a tribute programme on the BBC in which celebrity football fans and fellow BBC pundits and commentators questioned him about his career and fired soccer posers at him to test his knowledge. As expected, he got everything correct.
MY LITTLE PONY: Referred to in Authors and F&T Styles, these were toy ponies introduced in the late 80's. They came in a variety of bright colours and were aimed at very young children, following the path of Sindy and Barbie dolls in that you could style their hair (mane) and buy accessory items like fences and stables. There was later a book series and an animated feature film.
NEWCASTLE SUPPORTER: Referred to during a Props game by Jim Sweeney when he flung a black and white chain of sausages around his neck like a scarf, Newcastle United are a top soccer team in England whose colours are black and white. The city of Newcastle is in the north east of the country.
NEWS OF THE WORLD: Clive introduced Steve Steen as the "News of the World's champion". A glossy tabloid filled with gossip, politics and celebrity scandal, this is Britain's biggest selling Sunday newspaper.
NODDY: Fictional children's character created by Enid Blyton. Noddy wore a long red hat with a bell at the end, lived in Toytown, drove a little yellow car and was friends with 'Big Ears'.
BARRY NORMAN: British film reviewer for the BBC. Impersonated by Rory on WLIIA?
ORKNEY ISLES: Remote Scottish islands.
PACKET OF CRISPS: Referred to by Paul in a credit reading, this is a packet of a foodstuff which other nations refer to as "chips".
PAGE THREE: Referred to by Tony during an Authors round while acting as a disembodied head which used to do the TV adverts for The Sun newspaper, Page Three is synonymous in Britain with a photograph of a bare-breasted model. The Sun, a tabloid which is Britain's biggest-selling daily newspaper, has been printing one such photograph per day since approximately 1970. Feminist activists have tried and failed to ban the photos, but to most men and women it is regarded as harmless fun which has now become tradition. 
NICHOLAS PARSONS: From Lisa Shirley - Nicholas Parsons is mentioned by Mike in a game of Bar Scene where Ryan has been invited to the Queen's Garden Party - "Nicholas Parsons covered in cheddar cheese". Is a game show host (Sale of the Century and Just a Minute) and was seen by lisa and Vanessa in fishnet stockings and stiletto heels doing the Time Warp with Jason Donovan. See his webpage here. From Andy McKinney he was also a regular on the Benny Hill Show, playing the straight man before Henry McGee came along. Also appeared as a priest in the "Curse of Fenric" story of Dr. Who's last season. 
PAXO: PaxoSeems to be a brand name. Make sage and onion stuffing as well as parsley and thyme, and apple and herb stuffing. Was mentioned by Josie in the game of 'Musical Producers' in the Christmas Episode (2.7). Tony was going to turn their swimming pool into a vomitorium. Josie sings: "Don't worry dear,relaxo. We won't really be sick, we'll use Paxo." and Mike replies "That's a good idea, what the hell is Paxo ?". 
PENALTY: Referred to by Tony in a round of Tag, this is a free shot at goal from 12 yards in a soccer match if a foul has been committed by a player in his own penalty area.
THE PEOPLE: Clive used this is as a pun when introducing Jim Sweeney as "The People's Champion" but from his subsequent comments on the other participants, he was actually referring to a lower market British tabloid newspaper called "The People" which is published on Sundays.
HAROLD PINTER: Born 1930, English dramatist, his plays notable for their equivocal and halting dialogue. Specialises in tragi-comedy. Plays include 'The Caretaker' and 'The Birthday Party'.
POINTS OF VIEW: A programme adapted by Paul for Remote Control, this is a ten-minute weekly show on the BBC which allows viewers to give opinions on the programmes of the previous seven days. 
POSTMAN PAT: Animated children's series about a village Postman and his black and white cat ( "..early in the morning...just as day is dawning...")
Postman Pat and his black-and-white cat.
PRISONER CELL BLOCK H: see 'Look out Bea, here comes Vinegar tits'.
PUBLIC INFORMATION FILMS: Films produced by the government to educate the public and most often children about various matters (e.g how to cross the road safely, etc). Form the basis of the Whose Line game 'Hey you down there'.
PUBLIC SCHOOL: Referred to by Tony in a Props round, this, rather oddly, is exactly the same as a private school in other countries, despite the fact that the name would suggest the opposite. It is a UK education establishment, not run by the state, to which pupils go to at great cost to their parents and only after a tough selection and interview procedure. They have a reputation for being very snobbish and also as a groundbreaker for homosexual awakenings and activity. The belief is that they are called public schools because most of the public can't get anywhere near them.
Captain PugwashCAPTAIN PUGWASH: Mentioned in a game of Authors in episode 2.3. Popular animated series which originally ran from 1958 to 1967, recently revived for a new 26 part series. Featured the crew of the ship 'Black Pig' , led by Captain Pugwash.
PUNCH AND JUDY:Children's puppet show seen for years on English beaches until the PC lobby decided to get it banned as it supposedly promoted domestic violence. 
QUESTION TIME: (Rory's programme on Remote Control) A political discussion programme which debates the national and international issues of the week. It has five panellists, including politicians from the three leading UK political parties. Clive Anderson has been a guest in the past.


Another woman whose name, when mentioned, caused Tony to throw-up during 'props') (episode 2.16). Thanks to Andrew Tidball for this info: Esther Rantzen hosted a TV show in the UK in the early 80's called 'That's Life'. It was a sort of a consumer watchdog show combined with really bad variety acts like people whose dog's could "talk". And from Matt Rudd: is a respected TV presenter and producer though is probably more famous for her teeth than her shows, which probably lies behind Tony's cruel jibes. She used to anchor a consumer show called "That's Life!" and now presents her own Ricki Lake-style show.
Also host of the BBC documentary series 'The Rantzen Report', Many thanks to lisa Shirley for the picture.
ROGER: Euphemism for sex.
JIM ROSENTHAL: (slow thinker, according to Rory in Sports commentators) is a sports anchorman and to be fair quite good at it. He is just a little monotonous in his delivery on screen and that gets him criticism, hence Rory's comment which would have raised a laugh in lots of British sports-loving households.
JIMMY SAVILE: (credits read by Steve Steen in his style, referred to by Tony in World's Worst) is a buffoonish DJ in his early 70's who was a pioneer of the British music radio revolution in the mid 60's. He is universally believed to be at best eccentric, at worst mad, and for years he presented a TV series called "Jim'll Fix It" in which he made youngsters ambitions come true, such as singing with their favourite band. He is now SIR Jimmy Savile, having been knighted a few years ago for services to charity. He runs the London Marathon every year and has raised millions of pounds, mainly for kids causes, in doing so. Steve impersonated him perfectly and he does say "now then, now then" and "you see" rather a lot. (Thanks to Matt Rudd). Also released the singles  'Ahab the arab'/'Very unlikely' - 1962 and 'The bossa nova'/'Don't do anything I like' - 1963.
SELLAFIELD: Controversial nuclear waste reprocessing plant prone to leaks of radioactivity, particularly into the Irish Sea.
SHAG: Euphemism for sex (also a carpet reference for some).
SKIPPY: An Australian TV show of the 1960s featuring 'Skippy the Bush Kangaroo' - the marsupial version of Lassie or Flipper.
MRS. SLOCOMBE: Referred to by Tony Slattery in his game of bartender were he was in love with cats. Mrs. Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Slocombe was a character from the British 70/80s sitcom 'Are You Being Served'. She was a middle-aged shop-assisstant with seemingly purple coifed hair who talked a lot about her, um, cat. A sample of dialogue: "It was so cold last night my pussy was frozen solid." Mrs. Slocombe was played by  Mollie Sugden.
SootySOOTY: Harry Corbett and his teddy bear hand puppet Sooty first appeared on British television in 1952. Sooty's name came from Harry trying to distinguish his puppet from other toys by rubbing soot over it. By 1955 Sooty was a star with his own television series despite never having uttered a word. (Thanks to E. Burns for this suggestion)
SPORTSNIGHT: Steve Steen supposedly whistled the theme tune during a round of Film Noire. It no longer broadcasts, but was a weekly sports highlights show on the BBC until the mid 90s, usually on a Wednesday.  Steve actually got the theme wrong when he whistled - his tune was the theme to the BBC's flagship Saturday sports show, Grandstand.
NOBBY STILES: According to one of Clive's intros, Ryan is the most famous member of the Stiles family after Nobby. Probably true, because Nobby Stiles is a national hero as a midfield player with dentures who was part of the England soccer team which won the 1966 World Cup, a feat which despite endless attempts, we've never managed to repeat!
STINGRAY: From 'props' in episode 2.5. One of the Gerry Anderson series. Kind of like the Thunderbirds underwater, though 'Stingray' appeared earlier (thanks to Mike Parry). From Andy McKinney  A clip from "Stingray" was used on "Film Dub" with Ryan, Tony and Greg (the one where Ryan says"Did I tell you I'm on fire?").
STOCKPORT: Referred to by Tony in a Scene To Music, this is a small town in the north west of England on the outskirts of Manchester.
JANET STREET-PORTER: A British television journalist and media commentator. Head of the BBC's youth features. Presented 'Coast to Coast' on BBC2. Caused a stir with a Channel 4 program on 'Netnerds'. Also executive producer of 'London Underground'.
SUNDAY SPORT: Clive introduced Tony as "everyone's Sunday Sport". This is a British downmarket Sunday tabloid which concentrates solely on printing soft-pornographic stories, sexual services and pictures of naked women. It is also famous for printing outlandish and outrageously untrue stories on its front page, such as "World War II Bomber Found on The Moon".
SUNDAY TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT: Clive introduced Mike as this at the beginning of one episode. The Sunday Times is a British, intellectual high-ground Sunday broadsheet newspaper which is renowned for containing many supplements, including the literary section, which is the largest.
TAKE THAT: Referred to by Tony during a credit reading, they were a five-piece singing "boy band" with a massive teenage girl following who had huge chart success in the UK and other parts of the world in the early to mid 90s before splitting at their height. However, they never managed to achieve significant success in the USA.
JIMMY TARBUCK: British comedian. Now has his own talk show on TV.
THUNDERBIRDS: Very popular animation series of the 1960's. Used puppets on strings and spawned other series such as Stingray, and other Gerry Anderson shows.
TREASURE HUNT: Josie's allocated show in a game of Remote Control, this was an 80's and 90's programme shown on Channel 4 in which two people would team up to guide jumpsuited blonde Anneka Rice around some part of the UK in a helicopter. It adopted the traditional Treasure Hunt format with a set of clues which would eventually lead them to an item of treasure associated with the area. If they guided Anneka, whose bottom became the most famous in TV thanks to this show, to the haul in the allocated 45 minutes they won a cash prize.
TRUMPTON: A programme which Steve and Tony adapted for F&T Styles, this was an animated kids show made in the 60's and 70's which was set in a small village called, er, Trumpton. It featured the famous fire brigade of Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb and local flour maker Windy Miller. Two characters from the show were also used in a Film Dub when Josie had to tell Tony that her newborn baby was his. Two other shows were made using similar animations - set in adjoining villages called Camberwick Green and Chigley - and both were equally as successful. Thanks to Mike Parry for this link:
TUTTI FRUTTI: Referred to in a round of Remote Control, this was a BBC comedy drama of the 80's starring Robbie Coltrane as the leader of a small-time rock 'n' roll band.
The Twiglets ZoneTWIGLETS: Twiglets are described by their manufacturer as "crunchy, knobbly, whole-wheat sticks. Oven backed to be delicious and wholesome ... AND they're 89 % Fat Free." See our infamous Twiglets Zone for more information.
MURRAY WALKER: Motor racing commentator with a distinctive voice. From Matt Rudd: Murray Walker (impersonated by Rory in Sports Commentators) is a national treasure. He has commentated for nearly a half-century on Formula One grand prix racing and is renowned for making brilliant gaffes in his commentaries.
WHIRLING DERVISH: Mike turned into one in 'musical film review' in episode 3.16. Refers to a 700 year old discipline practised by members of various Muslim orders of ascetics, and, as described by the whirling dervish site: "During the ceremony, the dervishes remove black cloaks to reveal the tennure (white religious robes with voluminous skirts). They turn independently, shoulder to shoulder, both around their own axis and around other dervishes, representing the earth revolving on its own axis while orbiting the sun or possibly God."
Whriling DervishesWhirling Dervishes
DESMOND WILCOX: British journalist and documentary maker.
WOLVERHAMPTON: Paul referred to this town while reading the credits as a taxi driver. It is a major part of the so-called "Black Country" in the Midlands area of England on the outskirts of Birmingham.
YELLOW PAGES: Referred to by Tony and Sandi in F&T Styles, this is a telephone book issued to all UK localities which lists businesses, shops and services.

 we also recommend: Julie's WLiiA? Dictionary

Many thanks to Lisa Shirley, Lisa Thompson, Dean Bedford, Mary Ann, Brian Rhodes, Christy, Grandma, Andrew, Rob Torres, Janet Gray, Mike Parry, a nameless Slatterette, Andy McKinney, E.Burns, David Lee, HW, Steve P., and all other contributors. Huge thundering applause for the referencing wonder, Matt Rudd, for all his additions to this page.
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