The 99p Challenge

The 99p Challenge was a BBC Radio 4 spoof panel show that ran for five series, from 1998 to 2004, hosted by Sue Perkins. It was closely based on a similar panel show called King Stupid that ran for one series in 1998, which was hosted by William Vandyck. The shows writers were Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, Jon Holmes and Tony Roche.

King Stupid Episode 1Edit

William Vandyck: Welcome to King Stupid, the only show on Radio 4 that started 20 seconds ago. It's the comedy panel game that's known in Spain as El King Stupid, known in Japan as Teenage Fighting Robot Shape-changer Atari Schoolgirl Panel Game and known in Germany as Answer All Questions Immediately.

William Vandyck: So we can get to know a bit more about your tastes and aspirations, tell me, if you were an international baddie, where would you hide your secret base?
Peter Baynham: I think I'd have my secret base in Pontypridd in South Wales, because I think it would give a much needed boost to the local economy. I could employ ex-miners to be my henchmen and presumably there'd be some sort of news report on BBC Wales. [speaks Welsh, then in Welsh accent] "massive missile pointed at America."
William Vandyck: Right. And if you had a tank full of deadly animals to drop people in what animals would you have?
Peter Baynham: Poisonous cows, without a doubt.

William Vandyck: Simon, where would you hide your secret base, and what's in the tank?
Simon Pegg: I'd have it in the Cotswolds. I'd disguise it as a massive cottage, about a mile high.
William Vandyck: And what's in your tank Simon?
Simon Pegg: I think I'd have to go for cats, William, because they can also be used as pets and they're nice, I like cats.
William Vandyck: "Deadly" was obviously the word you didn't hear there.

William Vandyck: Sue, where would you hide your base and what would you put in the tank?
Sue Perkins: I wouldn't have to hide my base, I'd just build it in Croydon. The thing about people from Croydon is that you can build anything wherever you like and they don't tend to take a lot of notice. In terms of animals I would have to say gerbils, a lady gerbil and a boy gerbil, and over a period of time they would breed, so that eventually the whole tank would be full of writhing gerbils and eventually two baby ones would make it up your nose and you'd suffocate. And I've thought about that quite a lot.

William Vandyck: If you were a baddie, where would you hide your base, and what goes in the tank?
Dave Green: I think I'd hide my base in my lower intestine and visit it using the miniaturisation technology that as an evil genius I would have invented. And obviously then intruders would be naturally repelled by my body's defenses like phagocytes and white blood cells.

Rhyming Couplets

William Vandyck: In the first round I'd like you to make up rhyming couplets in order to remember important dates and facts, par example, "In fourteen-hundred and ninety two Columbus, sailed the ocean blue", or "In nineteen hundred and ninety seven, there were thirty two articles by Bernard Levin". Okay, you can confer, but bear in mind that you're competing against each other, so duh!
Peter Baynham: In nineteen-hundred and ninety nine, the makers of Space 1999 are going to look pretty bloody stupid.
Simon Pegg: In fourteen-hundred and ninety two a lot of other things happened as well although we don't get to know about that which just goes to show that history is a construct devised of disparate, supposedly significant events designed to bolster the rigidity of the current dominant system, that being capitalism, doodely doodely doo.
Dave Green: For every year as long as I can remember, Christmas has been at the end of December.
Peter Baynham: In six they'd never heard of twix.
Sue Perkins: In sixteen Jesus got his first BA Honours in carpentry.
Peter Baynham: In nineteen hundred and ninety four, Jeffrey Archer did not give money to a whore.
Simon Pegg: In nineteen hundred and eighty six I lost my virginity, hooray.
Sue Perkins: Around about, I can't be specific so please don't write in, around about thirteen twenty eight, a horse managed to, accidentally I should point out, fall on Catherine the Great.
Simon Pegg: In nineteen hundred and eighty nine I had sex for the second time. That was the rhyme.
Peter Baynham: In nineteen hundred and ninety nine I'm going to have sex with a big equine.
Sue Perkins: And back to Catherine the Great.
William Vandyck: Any non equine sex related ones that we have?
Peter Baynham: No.

William Vandyck: So Dave, you won that round. For a bonus point, can you tell me your PIN number?
Dave Green: 1492.
William Vandyck: Okay, thanks very much.

William Vandyck: It's time for our biographies round, I will describe myself as a character from history, and you have to determine my identity. Okay, you ready? Who am I? I was the ruler of France between 1799 and 1815. British soldiers knew
Sue Perkins:[Interrupting] Napoleon.
William Vandyck: Sorry, shh. British Soldiers knew me by the nickname 'Boney'.
[All panelists are now constantly interrupting with "Napoleon".]
William Vandyck: I haven't finished. I gave my name to Napoleon brandy, the Rune de Napoleon in Paris, I'm not listening, and the Napoleonic wars. My set of, shh, my set of laws for the French state was known as the 'Code Napoleon', I hail originally from Corsica, the home of Napoleon, and uh, shut up, and the psychiatric condition, shut up, known as 'The Napoleon complex' is named in my honour. Now if you think you know the answer, don't be afraid to take a guess now, you can buzz... [a buzzer is heard] now! [another buzzer is heard] Dave got there first.
Dave Green: I think it was Napoleon Bonaparte.
William Vandyck: I'll just check the card... yes it is Napoleon, two points to Dave!

The 99p Challenge Series 3, Episode 1Edit

Armando Iannucci: "The thing is," said Harry, "if Slytherin is so bad, why don't you just abolish their house? You've got the power." "Ah," said Dumbledore, who hoped no one noticed he was played by a new actor, "that's not the point." Hermoine spoke, "All this magic is fun, but it's straying a long way from the national curriculum. What if OFSTED come?" "Well, er," said Dumbledore, fiddling with his owl, "can we stick to the point? You three must never go in the very special secret hall, which you'll obviously go in later, for that hall contains Voldemort's treasure: his 99p!"

Newspaper Announcements

Sue Perkins: Open any newspaper, and what do you get? Ink all over your hands, and, if you read Richard Littlejohn, garbage all over your eyes. But let's assume we turn immediately to the announcements page, the births, marriages, deaths or simply announcements like "To Doctor David Banner, congratulations on finally becoming a hulk! You're incredible! Love Mum".
Simon Pegg: I saw in the back of the Hendon and Edgeware advertiser...
Armando Iannucci: [Laughs] This is The News Quiz.
Simon Pegg: I didn't know I was going to say that then. "Mr and Mrs Nicholas Braidwood would like to announce that their cat Harry has given birth to a litter of snakes. They're not proud but they feel it could be a sign."
David Quantick: A very sad announcement, "RIP Sparky the hamster, 2002 - 2003, in loving memory and thanks for leaving us £40 million. We don't know how you managed to amass all that money in the short, cage-confined ten months of your tiny little life, or indeed how you managed to write a will, but what the hell, we're not complaining. Now let's search the cat."
Bill Bailey: "I like trains. I'm not ashamed."
Armando Iannucci: A couple, "Births: Ms A. Widdecombe of Westminster is delighted to announce she has split in two to reproduce asexually." This one's a nice one actually, "Deaths: Mr Geoffrey Hubbard, 82, passed away quietly in a hurricane."
Simon Pegg: I saw this in the Crouch End Finger, "Baron Victor Von Frankenstein would like to announce the animation of his latest monstrosity, no name as yet, but there will be a party in the old windmill on the hill on Tuesday, bring a pitchfork."
Armando Iannucci: "Mary and James Humber are pleased to announce their daughter has split up from that dreadful busker."
Bill Bailey: "Hans Blix is on his way round. Put the bunnies in the hutch, put the bunnies in the hutch, SH."
Amrando Iannucci: "John Hurt and a facehugging alien would like to announce the birth of a baby daughter through John Hurt's stomach."
Bill Bailey: "Tesco are proud to announce a marriage of quality and value."
David Quantick: "Is your cat too small? We can make your cat bigger. Write to 'Making Small Cat Bigger, Hendon.'"
Simon Pegg: "Lose weight, sell your lungs."
Armando Iannucci: "Sidroysip Fertility Clinic are pleased to announce the birth of a baby boy to two of J Steps, Joan and Mary Naysmith and Ellen J Farrow. We'll be able to clarify which two when we go back through our paperwork."
Bill Bailey: "Troubled by paying too many beggars in the streets? Spread your beggar payments with direct debit. Or pay online at"
Armando Iannucci: I would like to consolidate all my gifts into one tramp.
Bill Bailey: You can do that.
Simon Pegg: Into one easy tramp.

The 99p Challenge Series 4, Episode 4Edit

Celebrity Cash-in Videos

Armando Iannucci: David Attenborough's When Walruses Collapse
Nick Frost: Cut Your Hair, The Brian May Way (Five copies sold)
Marcus Brigstocke: Has anyone seen Bomb Your Way To A Happier You, with Donald Rumsfeld? It's very good. It's an easy-to-follow video. It will take you step-by-step through the first stages of carpet bombing suspicious-looking foreigners, and you will be amazed by Donald's Happy-Go-Lucky "Yes you can!" approach to self-esteem building through murder.
Peter Baynham: Ross Kemp's Heartbreaking Bottle-nosed Dolphin Birth Mishaps. The former Eastenders star presents 2-hours of these beautiful, intelligent aquatic mammals developing complications during giving birth to their calves. Ross Kemp, over the top, very emotional, going "OH GOD, 'E'S ONLY JUST BEEN BORN!"

Armando Iannucci: Sad news, Your High-Hairedness, Sir Francis Drake's attempt to transport a sense of irony to America has failed.

Survival Tips

Armando Iannucci: If you find yourself in an aeroplane that's lost all engine power and is hurtling from the sky, be sure to get up and walk around regularly to avoid deep vein thrombosis.
Nick Frost: One that I've learnt at an early age; Never drink a whole swimming pool.
Armando Iannucci: It is the one thing you should do if you can't swim and have fallen into a swimming pool.
Peter Baynham: You can always tell which way North is by throwing a stick in the air and saying "Hey there, Mr. Lucky Twig! Point the way for me!"

Future Catchphrases

Nick Frost:
  • "To the max, dude!"
  • "Your computer's RAM capacity is laughable to me, you megahead!"
  • "Take your hoverboots and dash, cred-snatcher!"
Marcus Brigstocke:
  • "Yeah, your mum makes gravy for leopards."
Armando Iannucci:
  • "Don't peck at my neck, swanface."
Peter Baynham:
  • "Shame about Gatwick..."

Speed Dating

Marcus Brigstocke:
  • Oh, hey there. Are you aware that your name rhymes with "glue", "shoe", and "poo", whereas mine only rhymes with "carcass"?
  • So where are you from? I'm from prison!
Armando Iannucci:
  • I love European cinema. My favourite is Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo.
  • I love comedy as well. My favourites are anything in which Steve Martin plays a dad.
  • Hey, you are the kind of baby-making machine I'm looking for. I wanna have at least 10. I don't want much involvement in the upbringing; that's your job.
  • Can we just hold hands and thank Jesus for bringing us together?
Peter Baynham:
  • HiSue.Gottapackinalot,obviously.Speeddating.SoI'veactuallytookthelibertyoftakingacoupleoflinesofspeedbeforeIactuallycamehereWHYAREYOULOOKINGATME?!
  • It's weird, this, isn't it? (Sue: Mmm.) ...Not this, this. [vomits]
Nick Frost:
  • I love you! Marry us!
  • Don't you love the way a fresh box of ammunition smells?

Armando Iannucci: I've just uncovered Kate Moss' skeleton... oh no, it's Kate Moss!
Marcus Brigstocke: Ah ha! A pot. ...Ooh! And another pot. ...oh look, a bit of pot. ...Wow, another pot- Is anyone else bored?
Armando Iannucci: This is interesting. We've just dug up a 40-year old telephone order for a Domino's Pizza... and we're in luck, because I can see the guy coming with it across the road.
Nick Frost: Hang on... I've found some mud! Oh? What's that? Some more mud?! Good God! This must be a buried mud supply which was never retrieved when they took all the other mud!
Marcus Brigstocke: Oh my God. I've just found the keys to Wales.

Nick Frost: Ladies and gentlemen! Marvel at the fish-eating vegetarians! They eat a flapping animal with a head and a tail, yet they insist it's a vegetable!
Peter Baynham: ...Oh my God, it's the square dogs. Ladies and gentlemen, turn away boys and girls, 'cause it's distressing. Specially-bred, completely square dogs with no legs. Here they come, being brought in on forklift trucks driven around the ring. They're in a lot of distress. What kind of life must it be? Now the forklift truck drives up to the burning square hoop and pushes each one through and onto a wooden pallet. You may vomit.

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