TV preview: Never Mind The Buzzcocks

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Mark Lamarr fronted 157 episodes between 1996 and 2005, while Simon Amstell managed 43 episodes until he left the show in 2011.

Since then, Never Mind The Buzzcocks has been like Have I Got News for You, a captainless ship overseen by the temporary helmsman each week.

Admittedly guest hosts such as Tim Minchin, Liza Tarbuck and Catherine Tate were great fun, guiding team captains Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus through the choppy waters of light entertainment with exceptional ease, but now there’s finally a regular skipper by the name of Rhod Gilbert, and he’s setting out to prove there’s life in the show yet even after close to 20 years.

And considering there has been 268 episodes across 27 series, as well as various one-offs and Christmas specials, one might understand if it had settled into a well-worn groove.

Why does the DJ and stand-up Rhod think the show is still going strong after so long? “It deserves to be there,” he explains, while the wind whistles around him - when we caught up with him to chat about the show, he was in the midst of a pre-Buzzcocks break in the windswept Brecon Beacons.

“Panel shows have been around for a fair old while and some of them have got their critics. Some of them you say: ‘Does this need to be there?’ And one about music and guests deserves its place on TV really.”

To be fair, he should fit right in to the role. Buzzcocks is at its best when poking fun at its guests (especially when they take it badly, such as Preston of The Ordinary Boys’ infamous walk-off, or more recently Huey Morgan’s inexplicable mug-breaking incident).

And Rhod is renowned for his impassioned rants and his penchant for flying off the handle, so it stands to reason that he should be able to hold his own when it comes to a bit of ‘light-hearted’ banter.

That’s not to say he’s not anxious about stepping in to the job after a string of popular predecessors.

“Those [previous presenters], they left an indelible mark on it, they really made it their own.

“ Inevitably it’s going to invite comparison. Inevitably the internet will be full of comments of ‘bring back this, bring back that’. ‘Preferred this, preferred that’. And I just have to knuckle down, get on with it and hopefully the way I do it works. I can’t think too much about them... even though I do,” he laughs with a resigned shrug.

We’re sure he needn’t worry about stepping into his predecessors’ shoes, especially with the calibre of guests he has lined up already.

In the first episode alone, Jupitus and Fielding are joined by Hackney-based rapper Professor Green, stand-up comedian and recent panel show favourite Roisin Conaty, The 1975’s frontman Matt Healy and sports presenter and former gymnast Gabby Logan.

Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Monday , 10pm, BBC2

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