As Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are back for an eighth series of their off-the-wall panel show Shooting Stars (Monday, BBC2, 10pm). We caught up with the zany duo to chew the fat... You first met 25 years ago when Vic was performing in a pub in south-east London. What do you remember about that night? VIC: "When Bob first turned up, I was wearing a Bryan Ferry mask, had pieces of wood strapped to my feet, and was tap dancing to a recording of tin cans, pots and pans." BOB: "I just remember laughing like a drain. I'd never seen anything like it. These were the 'coal not dole' Thatcher years, when stand-up was quite serious and dominated by political comedy, which had never interested me." You're famed for your bizarre props. What's coming up in the new series? BOB: "The buzzard from the Christmas Special is back. He's very lacking in confidence and Vic basically abuses him. And there's Archie Andrews, a ventriloquist's dummy who delivers the questions, on his hand, to the guests. But usually it's not a question, it's a picture of someone's private parts, just to see the reaction." VIC: "There are also squirrels doing surveillance. I spot that Bob's wearing a wire, follow it and it leads to this surveillance van operated by squirrels." Will you be doing any more film spoofs? BOB: "We're doing The King's Peach. Vic plays the King and I play the costermonger who sells him said peach that cures his stutter." VIC: "But it turns out to be the last peach in England. And his stutter is only cured for the amount of time it takes the peach to wear off." We hear there's also a crime drama called Ambrosia Road. What's that about? VIC: "It's about hierarchy within the police. Everyone in the force has a bird on their shoulder and, for the lowest-ranking, it's a robin. We are detectives, so we have owls, and then the chief of police, played by Jack Dee, turns up, and he's got a big white eagle." What guests do you have lined up, and what challenges will they be facing? BOB: "Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning in EastEnders, has to enter our version of The Cube - which is made of tin foil and broomsticks - and throw the severed head of Pat Butcher into a bucket. We also put Chris Tarrant in a small Perspex box with a tramp, and perform an exorcism on Tess Daly." Are there more song and dance numbers in this series? VIC: "We've got our own dance troupe now - Knickers, Knackers and Knockers. There's a song about Henry VIII being capable of flight, and the Time Wolf, who can stop time with his eyes. They're all done in quite a rock opera type of way." BOB: "We've also got a song about Puff Daddy escaping from a terrible shipwreck. We see him swimming away from the wreck in his big fur coat, and the chorus is: 'How the hell does he float, when he's wearing that coat?'" So will we be seeing some new moves? VIC: "The choreographer used to be in Hot Gossip and she tried to get us to do some moves. We've got our leg-rubbing dance, and we use letters of the alphabet to remember our steps. We'll say, let's do this one in the shape of a P. So we go up and then round. Or for an F, we'll go up, sideways and jump back. We're going to copyright it." Would you consider putting out an album of your songs? BOB: "We could put them into a West End musical." VIC: "We'd appear in it for the first six weeks. Then Michael Caine can take over Bob's slot, and Miriam Stoppard can do mine." BOB: "Also I'd like us to remake On the Buses with me as Reg Varney." VIC: "I'll be the goofy one, and Paul Whitehouse can play Blakey." How do you see yourselves fitting into the British comedy landscape? VIC: "We're probably in the place that Spike Milligan was in with regards to everybody else when he was doing Q. We're not mainstream - we couldn't do that - but we've been on telly for over 20 years filling that gap." BOB: "The weirdest thing is that no one's come to replace us, despite a daft double act being such an obvious thing. The nearest is probably Ant and Dec."
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.