The Friday Question: Catchphrase


When Badger Madge mentioned Nick Cotton’s upcoming return to the Square and the fact that he will inevitably crow ‘alright ma’ just before the drum solo – she unwittingly inspired this week’s Friday Question.

Catchphrases are burnt into the fabric of the tellybox. From quiz shows to sitcoms to soap operas – characters and presenters need a hook. Some are invented for the purpose, some come about organically… but all lodge themselve in the consciousness like a tapeworm on a sphincter in spasm.

What’re the best catchphrases?
Or the ones that make your extremities shrivel in horrible agony…

I don’t believe it!


You don’t get nothin’ for a pair, not in this game…

(It’s good, but it’s not right)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

106 Responses to “The Friday Question: Catchphrase”

  1. Dave Says:

    ‘It wasn’t rape’ – Gameshow favourite John Leslie.

  2. Swineshead Says:

    I’m currently actively revising my opinion on WAGs…

    This lovely website linked to us the other day.

    Can Phil Mitchell’s deflating head (as demonstrated on Harry Hill) be considered a catchphrase?

  3. Dave Says:

    I dunno but I love the fact that, despite Ricky Gervais creating the ‘Are you ‘avin a laugh’ catchphrase to attack shite like Little Britain you can still buy the mugs down your local market. Irony, evidently, is always lost on the lesser class, no matter how forcefully it’s shoved in their face.

  4. Swineshead Says:

    Bloody quiet this week. Tombstone’s banned, Piqued appears to have taken a vow of silence, Napoleon’s running the most complicated and infuriating online game in history, Clarry’s AWOL, Mikey’s vanished, Mingles is looking after old people… JQW’s actually studying, Dave’s constantly trying to get back in Ben’s game, Wenchy could well be dead, Edna’s keeping a low profile, Mrs Fortescue Whatsername is probably off with her fancy man, Indy’s on a Swedish time-lag, Kremble remains under his rock…

    What is going on?

  5. Swineshead Says:

    And Wally… where’s Wally?

  6. Swineshead Says:

    That Ricky Gervais ‘avin a laff’ construct was a bit rubbish. But then, I didn’t dig Extras. Stank of having your cake and eating it.

  7. Badger Madge Says:

    SH! Thanks! EVERYONE gets a bloody mention but me.


    who apparently inspired this post!

    *major diva strop*

  8. Swineshead Says:

    I knew there’d be one I forgot.


    I’ll make it up to you by linking your name at the top.

    Actually – what IS your reason for not commenting? Sheer laziness, I reckon.

  9. Badger Madge Says:

    Not commenting on this? Only just bloody got in.

    Off on hols all last week and this week haven’t had the time, my dear. Besides, there seems to be A LOT of traffic on here these days for little old me to even be heard… No wonder I get forgotten. *sniff*

  10. Dave Says:

    SH hasn’t seen fit to link me ONCE even though I’m a something of a WWM groupie these days and, as he’ll testify, my blogs far more folksy and betterer than his.

  11. Swineshead Says:

    I do read your blog Dave – and I have to admit it’s a good one. Maybe I should stop banning people, burn my lists and turn WWM into a linking love in.

    Or maybe I should keep banning people, continue making other people write ranty reviews, keep more complex lists and to hell with the readership.

  12. Swineshead Says:

    *wonders why Dave’s blogs aren’t racist, yet every comment he makes on WWM drips with vile xenophobia*

  13. Dave Says:

    Because if you ever met me you’d see how far from Xenophobia I am.

    I wouldn’t be anywhere near that country, the cunts.

  14. Swineshead Says:

    Ho ho – great gag.

  15. Dave Says:

    I’m going to get a job writing the jokes on Penguin wrappers.

  16. Nick T Says:

    I’ve been here too but the fooball talk drives me away.

    Read my blog, join this

    I’ve even done some work….

  17. Clarry Says:

    Do you think all acTORs and telly types dread the curse of the catch phrase? The success goes to their heads, they get too big for their boots, they move on to ‘better things’ and then fail miserably because they aren’t doing the character that got them all popular in the first place. And there they remain in limbo trapped forever, having to accept life as a faded, soapstar of yesteryear or keep making feeble comebacks.

  18. Toothed Varmint Says:

    And our survey said… KRRRR-KRRRRR!!!

    Is it a catchphrase?

    And oh – there are some invisible and semi-invisible readers, you know. People who are too shy or too stupid to write amusing comments. I am just a random representative of this silent minority, so I am. And a self-appointed one at that. So there.

  19. Badger Madge Says:

    Humph. See? It was ALL about me, and then DAVE comes in and now it’s all about HIM… Marriage proposals won’t work this time Dave! *sulks*

    *considers possibility of ‘silent WWM reader uprising*

    *looks at SH’s list…*


  20. Dave Says:

    In the battle to court SH’s affection, alas, I’ll always win, Badge.

    Now get back to the kitchen, biatch, and make me some Goddamn mashed potato,

    ‘Mashed Potato!’

    That’s that badger’s cathphrase innit?

  21. Swineshead Says:

    I’m lost now – so many comments. Amazing what a bit of moping does for a man… thanks you guys…

    TV – I wish this silent majority would talk once in a while. TALK.
    Clarry – I think that’s a myth about catchphrases killing a career… it’s the character not the character’s line…

  22. Toothed Varmint Says:

    I prefer obscure catchphrases. Like “It’s not Bucket, it’s Bouquet”, “Did you threaten to overrule him, Mr Howard?” or “Fuck you, Simon Cowell!” The last one is my favourite, actually. Come to think of it, it is also mine. But I am sure loads of people shout it from time to time. And a good thing too.

  23. Toothed Varmint Says:


    This lamp is too bright and these ropes cut the circulation in my limbs and torso… And please, will you stop hitting me with this hose? But sure, sure I’ll talk.

    *mumbles, dribbling*

    This is a local shop for local people!

    That’s a bona fide catchphrase. And very apt, actually.

  24. Dave Says:

    ‘One does not simply walk into Mordor’

  25. Swineshead Says:

    ‘Did you threaten to overrule him’ isn’t really a catchphrase though, is it?
    He may have said it loads of times, but it was all in one sitting…

    Trust Dave to come up with the geekiest option possible.

  26. Goerge Says:

    Fast Show was the master of the subversive cathphrase; ‘where’s me washboard?’ ‘Hi, I’m Ed Winchester’ etc etc etc.

    Also, from a certain programme shot in Baltimore, McNulty’s ‘what the fuck did I do?’ (Usually following the fallout from him rocking the boat or some such) is good.

  27. Goerge Says:

    ‘Make it so.’ Jean-motherfucking-luc-picard.

  28. Dave Says:

    Yeah. I’m surprise Spike Leigh didn’t have a go at Mr Jackson for not having a black Hobbit in there – as he did with Mr Eastwood’s flicks.

  29. Swineshead Says:

    It’s good but it’s not right – the only catchphrase from a show called Catchphrase that was supposed to be about catchphrases but didn’t actually feature a single catchphrase apart from the catchphrase mentioned at the beginning of this comment.

  30. Swineshead Says:

    Spike Lee or Spike Leigh?

  31. Toothed Varmint Says:

    If it isn’t – it bloody well should be, that’s what I think. Paxo is a legend. In my household, that is.

    I’ll tell you what I don’t like – it’s that “Nice to see you, to see you nice” rubbish. What’s this all about, eh? That’s lowest common denominator, is what it is. And semantically incorrect to boot.

  32. Dave Says:

    Sorry – Mike Leigh/ Spike Lee confuse the hell out of me because I’m a simple man.

  33. Swineshead Says:

    What about Bruce Leigh?

    I don’t know where I stand on Brucie. He seems like a nice chap, has a lovely wife but makes TV shows that rot the brain from the inside out.

  34. Dave Says:

    I thought that was Stan Lee, or is that Ang Lee?


  35. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Talking of certain programmes, there is this lovely phrase (one of many): “Here’s my counteroffer to your counteroffer – go fuck yourself, cocksucker!” by that lovely man Al Swearingen.

    By the way, did Lovejoy use to have a catchphrase? I can’t think of one.

  36. Toothed Varmint Says:

    It was Lee Mack. Probably.

  37. Swineshead Says:

    Bruce Lee ‘Leigh’ return of the Mack?

    I am deeply confused.

    Lovejoy’s catchphrase was: ‘Now THAT’S a fucking antique, Tinker!’

  38. Goerge Says:

    ‘Screw you guys, I’m going home.’

  39. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Bruce Lee “Leigh” return of Lee “Leigh” Mack “The Knife”. By Mike “Leigh” Lee and Spike “Lee” Leigh. With Bruce “Lee” Forsyth. Hope that’s clear enough.

  40. Dave Says:

    Inside Man’s good.

  41. Swineshead Says:

    Dave – keep your sexual preferences to yourself. I’m all for equality, but not in my back garden.

  42. Mel Says:

    SH “It’s good but it’s not right – the only catchphrase from a show called Catchphrase that was supposed to be about catchphrases but didn’t actually feature a single catchphrase apart from the catchphrase mentioned at the beginning of this comment.”

    Are you forgetting “Say what You see”?

    there another of the silent majority for you

  43. Toothed Varmint Says:

    I actually said “silent minority”, but I stand corrected. There’s more of us watchers than you will ever know. Scary, what?

  44. Swineshead Says:

    Argh! Another one!

  45. Toothed Varmint Says:

    The floodgates are open, the dyke is breached. Have you got enough fingers?

  46. Nick T Says:

    Nothing in this game for 2 in a bed.

    If they are silent, how do you know if they are a majority?

  47. Swineshead Says:

    Nick – they’re only saying that to freak us out. it’s like Christians and their all-powerful God (who you just can’t see, conveniently).

    If there are any other silent folk out there, SHOW YOURSELVES.

  48. Swineshead Says:

    Nothing. Not a sound.

    Even creepier…

  49. daveselectricblanket Says:

    This is like a Ron Paul Re -LOVE-ution!

  50. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Not only Christians, but also Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and, possibly, scientologists. And godless bastards like myself. We’re all here, shuffling our feet, getting ready to pounce… Now that’s freaky. Interesting times ahead, I’ll wager.

  51. Swineshead Says:

    How much will you wager?

  52. mostlylouche Says:

    I’d love to watch a bit of Lovejoy now. Proper Lovejoy, not the series where he is in America with a load of muddy cowboys.

  53. Toothed Varmint Says:

    How much have you got? I am really bull- (or it could be “pig”) headed, you know. All I know is that I constantly yak about this blog to people and that some of them decided to check it out for themselves. People love slagging TV off and here you show how to do it.

  54. Clarry Says:

    “I think that’s a myth about catchphrases killing a career… it’s the character not the character’s line…”

    SH – I know what you mean, but surely it’s one and the same thing. The catchy catchphrases makes you remember the character, ergo the actor is forever associated with the catchphrase and the character. This problem is particularly severe for the soap actors who haven’t got any previous work under their belts and can never break free of the character. Although, particularly severe strains of catchphrase like ‘I don’t believe it’ immediately wipe out any back catalogue of work – I bet it permeates his dreams…

  55. Swineshead Says:

    ML – They did a Lovejoy… in America?!


    Clarry – It’s best when characters are ascribed catchphrased they don’t really have. In The Wire Omar’s catchphrase is supposedly ‘Oh, indeed’ and Clay Davis’s is ‘sheeeeeyit!’… thing is, neither of them really say these phrases that often. The catchphrase is organic. Artificial catchphrases are far more annoying.
    Not that any of that answered your comment.

  56. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Do soap opera characters have catchphrases? Well, maybe “Reeeee-KAY!” is a catchphrase, but I don’t think so.

  57. wally bazoom Says:

    What’s Mr Chips doing?

    Ever seen the one where it looks like he’s pulling himself off in front of a snake? Funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

  58. Swineshead Says:

    Oh shit – another one I forgot. Sorry Mr Chipz…
    (he’s teaching kids how to poo in the corner of the classroom at present)

  59. indy Says:

    “Back in secondary school all the fuss was about Sex in the City.”


    “It’s not Bucket, it’s Bouquet” is a very good one as well. and what about, half-shouted, in pseudo-rage: “you’re fired!”?

  60. mostlylouche Says:

    Swineshead – there were actually some American episodes, later on but I was just making a tired and unoriginal joke about how Ian McWhats his face will always be Lovejoy to me even if he is being Al Swerngagan in Deadwood.

    Which other actors will always be haunted by a past appearance?

  61. Swineshead Says:

    Catherine Zeta Jones (she got her norks out in some awful BBC play).

  62. Goerge Says:

    ‘Which other actors will always be haunted by a past appearance?’

    The chuckle brothers. Typecast for life. Don’t think they’ll ever play an alcoholic cop for instance.

  63. Goerge Says:

    Without a doubt the single worst album review I’ve ever read. This is a new low for The NME, and that’s saying something. I’ve seen more journalistic integrity in one of Richard Littlejonh’s stools.

  64. indy Says:

    was not there some british feelgood dramedy that had some character saying: “purfect” or something like that?

  65. piqued Says:

    Does anyone remember Albion Market?

  66. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Per-fik. That’s David Jason, that is.

  67. indy Says:

    david jason – what was that about? was that the name of the show/the characther or the actor?

  68. piqued Says:

    He was in Only Fools and Horses and Inspector Frosty the snowman

  69. Toothed Varmint Says:

    The Darling Buds of May, Pop Larkin.
    C-Z Jones was there too, you know. And some other people.

  70. Swineshead Says:

    Darling Buds was alright. But then I was always a sucker for H.E. Bates… lovely stuff – good reading for autumn days… makes you all warm inside.

  71. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Good reading, I agree. Not such a good watchin’, far as I remember. Matter of taste, obviously.

  72. ugeine Says:

    Please read my sheit.

  73. Clarry Says:

    “Do soap opera characters have catchphrases? Well, maybe “Reeeee-KAY!” is a catchphrase, but I don’t think so.”

    Erm, now you mention it, probably not. I can think of these ones for Easties:

    ‘Ello Ma – Nick Cotton
    ‘Go on. Get outta my pub!’ – Peggy Mitchell
    ‘Ooh, I say!’ – Dot Branning
    My Arthur…. – Pauline Fowler

  74. Toothed Varmint Says:

    I don’t know who Seasick Steve is, but this NME review is, undoubtedly, a putrid piece of crap. Which is fine. It’s NME after all. Is there any point in even taking it semi-seriously?
    There are no good music publicatons anyway.

  75. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Eastenders “catchphrases” are as generic, boring, unimaginative and plain stupid, as its characters and, by extension, writers. QED.

  76. ugeine Says:

    ‘Which is fine. It’s NME after all. Is there any point in even taking it semi-

    They introduced me to a lot of bands. It’s a bit like your cool uncle becoming a pisshead.

  77. ugeine Says:

    ‘Which is fine. It’s NME after all. Is there any point in even taking it semi-

    They introduced me to a lot of bands. It’s a bit like your cool uncle becoming a pisshead.

  78. Swineshead Says:

    Not wanting to patronise, but growing out of the NME is an important phase in every young man’s life.

    (It really has gone down the shitter recently, mind)

  79. Toothed Varmint Says:

    >They introduced me to a lot of bands.

    There’s that, of course. But I used to prefer MM, truth be told.

  80. ugeine Says:

    ‘Not wanting to patronise, but growing out of the NME is an important phase in every young man’s life.’

    It’s not patronising at all, a good point really.

  81. Clarry Says:

    That review was terrrible. I know we all make huge, sweeping statements about films and telly that we like/hate here on WWM, but that bile-filled review really took the biscuit. I’m fairly sure that the three or so comments supporting James McMahon were written by him or maybe his mum.

  82. ugeine Says:

    I think there’s a big difference between blogging on something and been paid to review it for a magazine, though.

  83. wally bazoom Says:

    ‘OW!’ – Michael Jackson

  84. piqued Says:

    Albion Market?

  85. Swineshead Says:

    Mama-ko, mama-sa, mama-ma-ko-sa

    (Michael Jackson)

  86. Mikey Says:

    The landmark Graham Taylor documentary ‘An Impossible Job’ is being shown next week. Therefore my submission is “Do I not like that..(?!)”
    Even though he may well have said it only once, it has become Mr. Taylor’s catchphrase.

    Mention was made of catchphrases that were never actually said…
    “Beam me up Scottie”, “Elementary my dear Watson” a couple that come to mind.

    Finally, what about Sybil Fawlty and “I know” ,”I know” etc when on the phone to Audrey?

  87. Clarry Says:

    P – No, I don’t remember it. Looked it up and I can see why it sank without trace. Did you used to watch it?

  88. Alan Fish Says:

    ‘It’s only gay if the balls touch’ – Ken Barlow

  89. Swineshead Says:

    That was Dave, by the way.

  90. Barry Norman Says:

    Which one?

  91. wally bazoom Says:

    ‘HunHURR’ – Heather Smalls, M-People

  92. Melvin Starfish Says:

    ‘MMM MMM MMM MMM MMMMM MMMMM MMMMM’ – The Crash Test Dummies.

  93. Melvin Starfish Says:

    ‘Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba BAH ba ba ba ba-ba ba ba ba BAAAAH SWEET LIKE CHOCOLATE!’

  94. Barry Norman Says:

    Where’s everybody gone?

  95. Swineshead Says:

    Maybe you scared them off with your pretending to be people you’re not, Dave?

  96. Barry Norman Says:

    This isn’t Dave. I’m TV and pickled onion person Barry Norman.

  97. Swineshead Says:


  98. Barry Norman Says:

    Ask me any question and I’ll prove it.

  99. Swineshead Says:

    How many pickles can a man eat in one sitting?

  100. Barry Norman Says:

    97. Easy.

  101. Swineshead Says:

    Don’t do that, Dave. It’s a bit silly. Besides – you haven’t got my little avatar so we can tell it’s not me.

    It wasn’t me, was it? Was… it?

    I’m bored bumless. It’s Perry’s fault for making that confounded game. Thankfully he can’t do that too regularly.

  102. Barry Norman Says:

    My job turns me slowly insane as the day progresses. I don’t have the kind of brain that can be systematic and repetitive for hour on end so i lose all sense of reality come four.

    Good question though.

  103. Napoleon Says:

    Jesus. I’m EXHAUSTED. Now then, my favourite catchphrase is …


  104. ugeine Says:

    Hello? What a crap catchphrase.

  105. Barry Norman Says:

    Dom Jolly fan, I reckon.

  106. gbb Says:

    “Our survey said…!”


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