The biggest names to have emerged from Mock The Week as it ends on BBC Two
Friday night will see Mock The Week come to an end on BBC Two after 17 years.
The finale comes after 21 series and more than 200 episodes of the show hosted by Irish comedian Dara O’Briain.
The programme first aired in June 2005, and another series regular has been Hugh Dennis, with other comedy stars including Chris Addison, Frankie Boyle, Rory Bremner and Russell Howard previously featuring.
As its time on BBC Two comes to an end, we look at some of the big name stand-ups who have emerged from the series.
– Russell Howard
Howard, 42, is well-known for his television shows Russell Howard’s Good News on the BBC and Sky’s The Russell Howard Hour.
But he first made his name through appearances on Mock The Week, where he was a regular panellist from 2006 until 2010.
The Bath-born comic, who previously won best comedy talent at the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, soon became well-known for his topical, observational style.
In 2009, before he left the show to pursue other commitments, Howard said: “What I love about Mock The Week is that it’s big belly laughs rather than that kind of sneering laugh…
“The great thing is that it’s topical so every time there’s a new story, we have to have a new approach to it.”
– Frankie Boyle
The acerbic Scottish comedian, 50, shot to fame after joining Mock The Week as a regular panellist in 2005.
He soon became known for his controversial material, with some of his gags, including remarks about the Queen and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington, deemed offensive by viewers.
Since leaving the programme in 2009, Boyle has authored five books and starred in a number of shows, including Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights in 2010 and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, which has run since 2017.
A vocal advocate for free speech in the arts, Boyle has since claimed Mock The Week producers avoided certain topics for fear of “frightening the horses” and causing offence.
– Dara O’Briain
While O’Briain had already built a reputation as a stand-up comedian and children’s TV presenter in his native Ireland, he cemented his reputation as the host of Mock The Week.
He made his hosting debut in the show’s first episode on June 5 2005 and has since become one of the most recognisable faces in British comedy, hosting numerous successful television shows and sell-out tours.
In 2020, when asked in an interview with Radio Times whether he thought Mock The Week would still be on TV screens after so many years, O’Briain responded: “Oh God no… I mean, you don’t presume that anything has any longevity.”
– Ria Lina
A rising star in comedy, actress and stand-up, Ria Lina is also known for her appearances on Mock The Week.
In November 2021, Lina, who first appeared as a guest on Mock The Week in 2020, was named as one of The Evening Standard’s Hottest Comedians You Should Be Watching Now.
The comic, who has taken award-winning shows to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Greater Manchester Fringe, has been described by critics as “like a Filipina Sarah Silverman” and “provocative and very funny”.
Since her first appearance on Mock The Week, she has featured on programmes including Have I Got News For You, Live At The Apollo and Just A Minute, as well as Amazon Prime Video’s Lovestruck High.
– Andy Parsons
Parsons, 55, was a regular panellist on Mock The Week for 11 series until he quit in 2015.
He began his career as one of the main writers on acclaimed satirical puppet show Spitting Image and as a stand-up comic, but he became a recognisable face on TV following his first appearance on Mock The Week in 2005.
Announcing his departure from the panel show after 10 years, the series stalwart called for a woman to replace him, writing: “Perhaps this will be an opportunity to make a female comedian a regular.”