Along with the Quarantine Commentaries, one of my favourite pieces of lockdown-based entertainment has been No More Jockeys, a joyous and frequently hilarious parlour game from the minds of comedian and novelist Mark Watson, comedian and poet Tim Key, and comedian and psychopath’s assistant Alex Horne. I subsequently discovered that the game first appeared as a spin-off from a short-lived BBC Four panel show devised and hosted by the trio, We Need Answers. I further discovered that all sixteen episodes of the parent show are on YouTube, and that the second episode of the first series featured as a contestant none other than Robert Llewellyn.

You can date this show to a very specific timeframe, as the premise is that the questions have all been sent by the public to one of those text-messaging answer services that were a thing for about two or three years in the late 00s. There’s also the fact that Robert mentions that his dream car is a Tesla, and he has to then explain what one of those is. Our boy is on good form, greeting the in-built lunacy of the show with a mixture of bafflement and amusement, and even getting to do a funny walk at one point.

There’s much to enjoy about this programme, particularly the homespun graphics and sound effects, the various jingles repurposed from existing tunes (including, somewhat obscurely, the theme for ITV’s coverage of the 1986 World Cup), and – as with No More Jockeys – the chemistry between the three friends at its heart. Taskmaster fans will be able to identify some very early seeds of what was to come, not least as this episode’s Physical Challenge, measuring how many eggs each contestant could hold in one hand, made an appearance in the most recent series. Here, it leads to my favourite line of the episode, Tim Key excitedly shouting: “Of course he can hold the egg, he’s Kryten!”

One final thing of note – one of the questions Robert faces is: “Is it true that the ninth series of Red Dwarf was filmed in space?” Without wanting to open up yet another debate about what is or isn’t considered the ninth series, it’s a curious question as this episode aired whilst Back To Earth was being shot. It was presumably recorded pretty close to broadcast in that case, meaning that Robert probably squeezed this appearance in at some point between the shoot on the Coronation Street set on 31st January, and principal photography starting in Shepperton (which is referenced by question master Key) on 16th February. FASCINATING.

2 comments on “G&TV: We Need Answers (19/02/2009)

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  • Oh my goodness, a G&TV I actually saw and enjoyed when it first broadcast! I’m pretty sure I even saw this particular episode.

    I loved the weird, deliberately uncool style it went for, combined with Key and Horne’s trademark underplaying.

    Though I think the title might be bad because I could never remember it after the fact. I kept thinking “Any Answers”… which is a bit wide of the mark.

  • Enjoyed this, thanks for sharing but just to pull you up on one thing: it’s actually the saddest walk that Robert is forced to perform. The ‘was series 9 shot in space’ question, this must be the origin of the weird space episode of Tim Key’s Late Night Poetry Programme.

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