The Big Fat Quiz of the Year is an annual British television programme broadcast in the last or first week of the year on Channel 4. Essentially, the show is a comedy panel game in the style of a pub quiz. Three teams, of two celebrities each, are asked questions relating to the events of the year just gone by, which they write answers to on an electronic board in front of them. At the end of each round, they then display their answers, scoring a point for each correct one.
The first edition was broadcast in December 2004. There has been another at the end of each year, as well as a special edition in November 2007 for Channel 4’s 25th anniversary celebrations and three themed special editions in September 2012, to celebrate Channel 4’s three decades. A second set of “decades” editions screened in September 2013 as well as a 10th anniversary special in January 2015 and a Big Fat Quiz of Everything in January 2016. Repeats can usually be found days later on Channel 4’s sister-channel E4 and/or 4seven. Stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr has been the host and quizmaster of each edition to date. Channel 4 has made full episodes of The Big Fat Quiz of the Year available to view on All 4.
For the first Big Fat Quiz, broadcast on 28 December 2004, the three teams of celebrities were:
Louis Walsh, Nadia Almada and Dame Kelly Holmes all made live appearances to read out the answers for the months of April, June, and August respectively. Recorded questions from Bono, Derren Brown and The Bear from Bo’ Selecta! were shown too along with films of Richard and Judy discussing events. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School in Neasden acted out news stories that happened throughout the year, such as Ricky Gervais winning two Golden Globe Awards for The Office and the Momart fire.
In 2005, Big Fat Quiz of the Year was shown on Boxing Day. The teams were:
Guest questioners in the studio included Jordan & Peter Andre and David Tennant. There were also recorded questions by several celebrities including Richard and Judy, Charlotte Church, Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Derren Brown and Kevin Pietersen. The mystery guests were Walter Wolfgang and a woman genuinely named Sue Doku. This year’s quiz saw the debut of Jon Snow giving fake news stories based on song lyrics, with “I Predict A Riot” and “Crazy Chick”. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School acted out the birth of David and Victoria Beckham’s third child and Jacques Chirac insulting British food on the eve of the G8 Summit.
In 2006 the show was broadcast on 27 December. The three teams were:
Guest questioners in the studio included Boy George, Myleene Klass & Matt Willis and Guy Goma (famous for incorrectly appearing as a guest on BBC News 24). Pre-recorded questions were asked by Lily Allen, Carol Vorderman, Courtney Love, Girls Aloud, and Sacha Baron Cohen (in his Borat guise). Channel 4 News reporter Jon Snow returned to give fake news reports about songs of the year, reporting on “Patience” and “America”. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School acted out The Da Vinci Code plagiarism claim and parents rebelling against Jamie Oliver’s school dinners campaign. Ian McKellen gave dramatised readings from the year’s bestselling autobiographies.
Russell Brand and Noel Fielding spent much of the show giving deliberately wrong – and surreal – answers, leaving them trailing far behind the other two teams. This was until towards the end when Jimmy Carr bowed to the pressure of the studio audience, and gave them 22 points for answering one question correctly, which was the amount needed to bring them back into contention at the time and ensuring that they subsequently won the quiz. This led Walliams and Brydon, who came last as a result, to exaggerate their chagrin at the turn of events that had seen Brand and Fielding emerge on top.
During a discussion about the Bob Skeleton event at that year’s Winter Olympics, the suggestion arose that a character with that name could be the star of Brand and Fielding’s next show together. The pair subsequently became known as the Goth Detectives (opposed to their original name, which arose from a joke Jimmy Carr made about their supposed parentage), which was suggested for the show’s title. Though it began as a joke, the pair eventually performed a Goth Detectives themed show for the Teenage Cancer Trust event at the Royal Albert Hall on 28 March 2007.
A special edition of the show, celebrating Channel 4’s 25th anniversary, was broadcast on 2 November 2007. The three teams were:
This show aired on 2 November 2007. Carr and Dee emerged victorious at the climax, and so had to take part in a special challenge which replicated the finale of The Crystal Maze. The pair had to collect silver and gold pieces of paper being blown around in a glass dome.
Vic Reeves and Joanna Fisher, who was a member of 1980s Channel 4 programme Minipops both came into the studio to ask bonus questions. Jon Snow read out a fake news report on The Snowman. Quentin Tarantino, Anna Friel, Jonathan Ross, Ram John Holder, Derren Brown, Jo Frost, Jools Holland and others appeared on pre-recorded filmed questions. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary school acted out classic Channel 4 programmes The Word and TFI Friday.
The 2007 show aired on 30 December 2007. The teams were:
Guest questioners in the studio were Christopher Biggins, Cerys Matthews and John Smeaton, a baggage handler at Glasgow Airport who helped foil a terrorist attack. Pre-recorded questions were asked by Take That, Gordon Ramsay and Thom Yorke. Jon Snow returned with a faux news report on “Umbrella”. John Hurt read out extracts from the autobiographies of Peter Andre and 50 Cent. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School returned to act out David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy and when a judge criticised The Jeremy Kyle Show. Paul Croft, the man who had a tattoo of Dumbledore done on his back before J.K. Rowling announced Dumbledore was gay, was the mystery guest.
This was the first time that Rob Brydon had been on the winning team, despite having appeared on the panel every year since the first show in 2004. Also, it was the first time (and, as of the 2012 edition, the only time) that the previous year’s winning team – the Goth Detectives – had both returned to defend their title.
The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2008 aired on 28 December on Channel 4 at 9:00pm. The teams were as follows:
Due to the furore caused by his and Russell Brand’s infamous phone call to actor Andrew Sachs, which resulted in his three-month suspension from the BBC at the end of the year, this was the first occasion that Jonathan Ross did not appear. He also declined his customary executive producer credit. Despite Big Fat Quiz not being a BBC programme, Ross himself had thought it inappropriate to do any broadcasting work during the corporation’s censure (the same reason that was given for his decision to temporarily concede hosting duties of the British Comedy Awards – broadcast on ITV – around the same time).
This was also the first year that Rob Brydon was absent, leaving host Jimmy Carr as the only regular fixture throughout the Big Fat Quiz of the Year’s entire run to date (although neither Brydon nor Ross had been panellists for the special Channel 4 anniversary edition).
Guest appearances included Katy Perry, the Fonejacker, Jodie Kidd
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, Mark Foster, Christine Ohuruogu, James Degale, Alan Carr, Sarah Silverman, John Hurt and Sir Alan Sugar. Jon Snow gave news reports on “That’s Not My Name” and “I Kissed A Girl”. The children from Mitchell Brook Primary School also returned acting out the divorce of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills and Jay-Z headlining that year’s Glastonbury Festival.
The 2009 show was recorded on 7 December and aired on 1 January 2010. The teams were:
Peter Andre appeared as a guest questioner and musical comedian Tim Minchin asked a question in song format about Google Street View. Newsreader Jon Snow again appeared with news reports on “Poker Face” and “Bonkers” and the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School also reprised their regular slot, acting out the Parliament expenses scandal and Kanye West invading the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards. Other guest questioners included Sir David Attenborough, cricketer Stuart Broad, actor David Tennant and rapper 50 Cent. Swansea cagefighters Daniel Lerwell and James Lilley, who successfully fended off a homophobic attack in a nightclub (they were dressed in drag for a stag night), were the mystery guests
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Ross and Brand made a number of references to the Sachsgate scandal of 2008 which occurred last time they appeared together. There was also a discussion about changing Brooker and Mitchell’s team name to The Curmudgeons after they refused to dance to the Lady Gaga song “Poker Face”.
Mitchell and Brooker were the eventual winners and were asked by Jimmy Carr after their victory if they wanted to do a dance. Despite pressure from the audience, they kept up their premise of not dancing.
The 2010 show was recorded on 13 December and aired on 3 January 2011. The teams were:
Guest questions were provided by Nicole Scherzinger, Jack Black, Simon Pegg, Russell Brand, Seth Rogen, the cast of Misfits and Will Ferrell. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School made their annual appearance acting out news stories, which included The Stig scandal and the Icelandic volcano eruption, as did Jon Snow with his fake news report of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé’s “Telephone”. Lola, the cat put in a wheelie bin in August by Mary Bale appeared as a mystery guest. Louie Spence posed a question in the form of a dance routine representing the story of the trapped Chilean miners.
The 2011 show was recorded on 14 December and aired on 27 December 2011. The teams for this year were:
Guest questions were provided by Cee Lo Green, Michael Sheen, Tulisa, Lee Evans, Muppet drummer Animal, Rastamouse, Downton Abbey star Jim Carter, Lenny Kravitz, and Professor Brian Cox. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School made their annual appearance acting out news stories, which included the arrival of a cat at 10 Downing Street and Cheryl Cole’s firing from The X Factor, as did Jon Snow with his fake news reports of popular songs (Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and Jessie J’s “Price Tag”). “Supergran” Ann Timson, who was seen in a February 2011 viral video fending off four burglars with just her handbag, appeared as a mystery guest. The Only Way Is Essex cast members Lydia Rose Bright, Lauren Goodger, and Kirk Norcross appeared to present a question about the show.
The 2012 edition aired on 30 December 2012. The teams, which did not take team names, were:
The in-studio final bonus questions were provided by Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes Nicola Adams, Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen, Hannah Cockroft, Helen Glover, Ed McKeever, Etienne Stott, and Peter Wilson. The Great British Bake Off finalists Brendan Lynch, James Morton, and John Whaite provided a live guest question. Recorded guest questions were provided by PSY, Gerard Butler, Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis, Felix Baumgartner, Kylie Minogue, Cheryl Cole, Simon Callow, Jenson Button, Tom Daley, Warwick Davis, and Charles Dance (doing a dramatic reading from Fifty Shades of Grey). The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School once again made an appearance acting out the Diamond Jubilee Concert. Providing the song lyric as news story segment was Jon Snow, reporting on “Call Me Maybe”. The mystery guest was Gary Connery, the stunt-double for the Queen, who skydived out of a helicopter during the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
During the show, Whitehall and Corden had pizza delivered and ate it with red wine.
The 2013 edition was recorded on 10 December and aired on 26 December 2013. The teams, which did not take team names, were:
Danny Dyer appeared in the studio to provide a live guest question. Pre-recorded guest questions were provided by Russell Brand, Anchorman 2 stars Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, and Paul Rudd, Olly Murs, Christine Ohuruogu, Louis Walsh, Richard Osman, The Great Gonzo (promoting Muppets Most Wanted), Harry Hill, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Educating Yorkshire teachers Mr Mitchell and Mr Burton, The Great British Bake Off series 4 runner-up Ruby Tandoh, Rizzle Kicks, and astronaut Chris Hadfield. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School returned to act out Edward Snowden’s spy leaks. Jon Snow reported on “Wrecking Ball” and Charles Dance read from the autobiography of Lauren Goodger. The mystery guest was Natalie Holt, who threw eggs at Simon Cowell on the final of Britain’s Got Talent.
The show was dedicated to comedy agent and producer Addison Cresswell, who died on 22 December 2013.
Also, Jonathan Ross brought most of a turkey, a loaf of bread and champagne. He ended up making sandwiches for the others.
The 2014 edition was recorded on 1 December and aired on 26 December 2014. The teams were:
Pre-recorded guest questions came from Michael Palin, Tom Daley, the cast of The Inbetweeners, Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer, Lily Allen, Rio Ferdinand, Pixie Lott and Status Quo members Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. Paralympic gold medallists Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans provided the in-studio guest question. Charles Dance read from the autobiography of Joey Essex. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School acted out the Bernie Ecclestone trial. Jon Snow gave his news report about “All About That Bass”. The mystery guest was Dean Farley, the jogger who ran into David Cameron.
Mel B’s performance received notable negative attention on social media and in the press as having brought down the show by being perceived as sour and humourless.
The second Big Fat Anniversary Quiz was recorded on 29 September 2014 and aired on 2 January 2015, to mark the tenth anniversary of the series. The teams that took part were:
Pre-recorded guest questions came from Ian McKellen, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, Chico, Gregg Wallace, Ellie Simmonds, Peter Andre and Abbey Clancy. Louie Spence provided the in-studio guest question in the form of an interpretive dance about the 2013 horse meat scandal. Charles Dance read from the autobiography of Jay-Z. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School acted out the launch of the Large Hadron Collider in 2008. Jon Snow gave his news report about “Sex On Fire”. The mystery guest was Jon Morter, who started the Facebook campaign to make Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name” the Christmas number 1 in 2009. A Dalek also appeared in the studio to ask the final bonus question, and to “exterminate” Carr at the end of the quiz. Brand and Fielding referenced their past name as the “Goth Detectives” several times. They got many of their correct answers from an ongoing text conversation with members of the live studio audience. The ruse was discovered when Carr took Brand’s phone, called one of the numbers, and an audience member answered.
The 2015 edition was recorded on 14 December 2015 and aired on 26 December 2015. The teams, which did not take names, were:
Pre-recorded guest questions came from Quentin Tarantino, Rita Ora, Simon Pegg, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, Josh Groban, Olly Murs, Katie Price and Heston Blumenthal. The Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain, provided the in-studio guest question. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School acted out Jeremy Clarkson’s dismissal from Top Gear. Jon Snow reported on Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. Charles Dance read from “List of the Lost”, the debut novel by Morrissey. The mystery guest was Cecilia Bleasdale, who took a photo of a black and blue dress which appeared white and gold on the photo, leading to the dress becoming an internet meme.
A special entitled The Big Fat Quiz of Everything was recorded in October 2015 and aired on 5 January 2016. The teams were:
Pre-recorded guest questions came from Little Mix, Gareth Malone, Paul Whitehouse, Joey Essex, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Dom and Steph Parker from Gogglebox, Kevin McCloud, Darcey Bussell and Alesha Dixon. Chris Kamara provided the in-studio guest question. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School acted out The Great Fire of London. Jon Snow reported on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
In 2012, three Big Fat Quizzes were recorded as part of Channel 4’s 30th anniversary celebrations, each representing one of the past decades. The shows were recorded on 30 August, 12 September and 19 September.
The show was recorded on 12 September 2012 and aired on 16 September 2012. The teams, which did not take team names for this special, were:
In-studio guest questions were provided by Kriss Akabusi and Samantha Fox, who presented the final bonus question. Recorded guest questions were provided by Su Pollard, Michael Fish, Clare Grogan, Roland Rat, Nik Kershaw, The Proclaimers, Anne Charleston, Charles Dance (doing a dramatic reading from the autobiography of The Krankies), and Sonia. The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School made an appearance acting out Live Aid
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. Providing the song lyric as news story segment was original Newsround anchor John Craven, reporting on “Thriller”. Bunty Bailey, the actress who played the female love interest in a-ha’s “Take On Me”, appeared as a mystery guest. The four winners were “presented” a Sinclair C5 by Samantha Fox.
The show was recorded on 19 September 2012 and aired on 23 September 2012. The teams, which did not take team names for this special, were:
The in-studio final bonus questions were provided (after a fashion) by Mr Blobby. Recorded guest questions were provided by Zig and Zag
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, Chesney Hawkes, B*Witched members Lindsay Armaou and Keavy Lynch, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Vic and Bob (Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer), Linford Christie, and Charles Dance (doing a dramatic reading from the autobiography of Melanie Brown). The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School made an appearance acting out the launch and repair of the Hubble Space Telescope. Providing the song lyric as news story segment was former BBC Nine O’Clock News presenter Michael Buerk, reporting on “I’m Too Sexy”. John Simmit and Nikky Smedley, the portrayers of Teletubbies Dipsy and Laa-Laa (respectively), appeared as mystery guests.
The show was recorded on 30 August 2012 and aired on 30 September 2012. The teams were:
The in-studio final bonus questions were provided by the Cheeky Girls. Dragons’ Den dragon Duncan Bannatyne provided a live guest question. Recorded guest questions were provided by Gregg Wallace, Nick Bateman, Peter Andre, half of McFly, Gareth Gates, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, and Charles Dance (doing a dramatic reading from the autobiography of Katie Price). The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School made an appearance acting out the cheating scandal on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Providing the song lyric as news story segment was Channel 4 News presenter and Big Fat Quiz regular Jon Snow, reporting on “It Wasn’t Me”. Howard Davies-Carr and his two sons Harry and Charlie, stars of the popular viral video Charlie Bit My Finger appeared as mystery guests. Big Brother voiceover announcer Marcus Bentley read the final scores.
Due to the success of the Decades specials in 2012, Channel 4 commissioned two additional Decades specials to air in the autumn of 2013.
The show aired on 22 September 2013. The teams, which did not take team names for this special, were:
Anneka Rice provided a live guest question. The mystery guest was Stelios Havatzios, the ’80s Athena Baby in the L’Enfant poster. Recorded guest questions were provided by Toyah Willcox, Kim Wilde, Jim Bowen, Bob Carolgees, Carol Decker, Trevor and Simon (Going Live!), Tony Robinson, Gordon Burns and Charles Dance (doing a dramatic reading from the autobiography of Chas & Dave’s Chas). The children of Goldsmith Community Hall made an appearance acting out Operation Deepscan. Providing the song lyric as news story segment was John Craven, reporting on “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”.
The show aired on 29 September 2013. The teams, which did not take team names for this special, were:
Diane Youdale (the one-time Gladiator Jet) provided a live guest question. The mystery guest was Todd Watkins, who gained fame for kissing a 77-year-old woman on a The Word segment called “The Hopefuls”. Recorded guest questions were provided by Mr. Motivator, Goldie, Andi Peters, Tony Mortimer, Melinda Messenger, Daniela Nardini, Sally Gunnell
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, The Shamen’s Mr. C, the members of Hanson and Charles Dance (doing a dramatic reading from the autobiography of Vanilla Ice). The children of Goldsmith Community Hall made an appearance acting out the cloning of Dolly the sheep played by Hannah MacDonald. Providing the song lyric as news story segment was Martyn Lewis, reporting on “Livin’ la Vida Loca”. In the penultimate round, Carr announced that he had hired the gunge tank from Noel’s House Party and the losers would be gunged, however Ross convinced Carr himself to go in it and was gunged by Jet.