The Boosh: Ten Years On

© BBC

What were you doing exactly 10 years ago? Too long ago to remember? Well, if you were tuned into Radio 4 you may very well have been experiencing The Mighty Boosh’s first foray into broadcast media.

This month marks the tenth anniversary of The Boosh – the first radio series from what became known as The Mighty Boosh. Written and performed by Julian BarrattNoel Fielding and Rich Fulcher, and also featuring Richard Ayoade, Dave Brown and Lee Mack, the award-winning show was produced by Danny Wallace and first broadcast on BBC London Live on October 16th 2001, later transferring to BBC Radio 4 and BBC 7.

It consisted of six fantasy adventure-based episodes: Stolen, Jungle, Jazz, Mutants, Tundra and Hitcher. Whilst there are areas of overlap between the radio series and series 1 of the TV show, there’s plenty to distinguish it and make it worthy of every Boosh fan’s attention.

To mark this auspicious occasion, here’s a round-up of some of our favourite moments. We’d love to know yours too….

© Dave Brown

© Dave Brown

Mog
Like many people, my introduction to the Boosh  radio series came via the TV show. In a way I wish I’d been able to experience the radio series without already knowing what the world of Boosh looked like. The soundscape creates incredible images in your head, but it’s impossible to see it differently to how the TV series presented it. I’d love to know what this sound-generated world would have looked like without having seen it on TV.

There are so many brilliant moments it’s hard to pick one. What’s more, each time you listen to it you hear something new. However, there’s one moment that makes me laugh out loud every time, although as with all the best bits of Boosh it’s hard to know why. My favourite moment takes place in ‘Jungle’ with the sudden appearance of Richard Ayoade as Tommy Nookah. His rat-tat-tat of instructions to Howard only last for a few seconds but the line “Let us whistle…STOP! The time for whistling is passed”  kills me every time.

© BBC

Afroharold

My first introduction to the Boosh was through the radio series. My son had it and I kept hearing bits, especially the songs and something about it was very intriguing. When I started listening to the series, I was convinced I’d heard Julian Barratt’s voice before but couldn’t work out where. It was ages before I realised it was from Dark Place. My favourite moment is from almost at the end of Hitcher, when Bob Fossil sings ‘The Fossil Rap’, anyone who can rhyme ‘fossil’ with ‘colossal’ is uniquely talented! Bob is being the hero for once, actually rescuing the lads. The other feature of the radio series that I noticed is that Bob is the first to speak in the first episode and the last to speak in the final episode.

Paulyne
If there is one moment that sticks out in my mind, it is when I sat on my dire economy flight one summer and decided to play the Boosh radio series on my iPod.
We’ve all had that moment when you laugh out loud to yourself alone in public and you know that everyone around you is looking around wondering what you’re on. On this particular moment however, during Tundra where Vince decides to sing a song about Howard in his honour after he vanishes and cries out ‘SHOOT YA FACE OFF’, I uncontrollably cackled out loud, choking on my Orange Juice and causing the steward to come over and ask me if I was okay in worry. That moment still puts a smile to my face just thinking about it!

You might think there’s some hilarious conclusion to this anecdote – maybe I told the steward what I was listening to and she burst out into a crimp… I wish. There’s just a rare few things that can cause a scene like that and the radio series really is that one thing you can have both in the background while you’re cleaning or just stick-on before you nod off in bed, listen to over and over again and never tire of it.

Ashley

As with The Mighty Boosh, my first introduction to the Boosh radio series was the episode Mutants. Though I went in expecting an audio version of the TV episode, I was delightedly incorrect and thus introduced to the fantastical world of radio Boosh. The general Mutants storyline has always been a personal favourite of mine in the Boosh as a result, and it’s the episode I’m most apt to throw on if I’m ever in the mood. The opening repertoire between Joey Moose and Bob Fossil never fails to crack me up, and it’s absolutely my favourite moment in the radio series. The episode opens with a “stressed out Mr Fossil”, but what drew me in was Joey Moose’s jaunty whistling. Fossil gives Moose the familiar task of transporting the jungle’s cobra, and is attacked in the process. “Hogan’s ghost!” he screams in true pseudo Aussie fashion, and to his incessantly high-pitched yelps Fossil replies  ”Joey…are you having sex?” Succinct, to the point, and utterly hilarious. Being the first thing I’ve ever heard from radio Boosh, this tiny bit of dialogue always stuck out in my mind and is an obvious choice, though to be fair the entire series is absolutely hysterical! I will, however, admit that I’ve always been a bit disappointed realizing how little Joey Moose was featured in the TV show after hearing his big-headed self go on adventures with Howard and Vince!

Aggie

I’ll be the first to admit that it took me quite some time to find the radio series. However, when I finally did listen to it, it just made my love and appreciation for The Mighty Boosh grow even stronger. There are so many good bits in every episode but I cannot mention them all. First and foremost, listening to comedy is an odd thing because it relies so much on your own ability to conjure up images and in particular when it is something as special as the Boosh which as we all know can be quite abstract. Having seen the TV series before listening to the radio series might have been an advantage because one of my favourite bits can be found in the episode “Jazz”.

Howard and Vince’s conversation about porpoise racing is concluded as Howard states that he taught Vince everything he knows which prompts Vince’s slightly confusing “You might have taught me everything I know… but you didn’t teach me everything you know”. This is followed by a quick round of back-and-forth banter as Howard questions the statement and in the end dismisses Vince with a “See you later”. However, it is Vince’s final “Ok…” that never fails to crack me up. There is something utterly hilarious about that short, whispered word and I think the magic lies in the fact that it is so easily pictured. I can see Howard and Vince before me saying those exact words. Moreover, this fragment is a reoccurring feature in the episode as Bob Fossil throws out the knowledge line and then says “I don’t know… I read it in a porno”. For me, this is The Mighty Boosh in a nutshell and it works in all different outlets, no matter whether it is radio or television.

© BBC

So what do you reckon? Do the moments mentioned above do it for you too, or do you have other favourites? Go on, tell us about them in the comments section below.  Don’t be shy!

For anyone yet to experience the pleasures of The Mighty Boosh radio series you can get your paws on it now by visiting the TVO amazon store.

22 Comments on The Boosh: Ten Years On

  1. One of my favourite moments is in the first few minutes of Stolen when Bob Fossil’s talking to that kid who keeps pestering him about animals at the zoo. The boy says he wants to see the bushbabies and Fossil replies “We all wanna see the bushbabies, so if you see one draw me a picture and put it in your mom’s tights!” Never gets old.

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  2. I love the radio show, my favourite would have to be the spirit of Jazz one. I constantly have Noel singing ” A monkey stole my face, took me down to another place now I’m leader of there race” in my head. I love the boosh so much =]

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  3. I love it all. It never fails to make me happy or make me laugh.

    If I had to pick one favorite moment, it has to be in Tundra when Howard and Vince are talking about who would win in a fight, a shark or a polar bear.

    ‘When the shark is good and dry, then he pounces, picks up the shark, wears it like a long, grey hat.’ ‘Shark hat.’ ‘Very fashionable and efficient killer is the polar bear.’

    I miss The Boosh. I hope they do more things together soon. ❤

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  4. I love the part in “Tundra” when Howard is trying to get Vince to imagine he was face to face with a Polar Bear but has to go through various other mental images like “stocky Jesus” and “a big angry seaweed” before he finally gets to the Polar bear… but then of course they “get on quite well.” That line never fails to get me 😀

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  5. It was quite weird reading Lisa’s comment about the polar bear because I am just watching a programme about them! After reading all these comments/annecdotes – I have decided I must visit the radio series. Like watching the entire “Lord of the Rings” film (I always fall asleep three quarters of the way thru) I have been threatening to do it for years! It’s weird, I rarely listen to radio and then when I do I really enjoy it. It’s true it will be hard to wipe the mental images out of my head regarding the t.v series, but I don’t think you have to. I got into the Boosh in a backwards fashion anyhow. Saw series 2 first – was blown away by the comic landscape these guys had created – a whole new fantasy landscape that featured fashion, humour, cultural references I actually got and a whole heap of funny. It was as if a lightbulb went on in my mind. I had become very bored with television in general – it was just something going on in the background and nothing much really appealed – till this. I do miss it myself (as I am sure loads of fans do) and hopefully one day the whole gang will collaborate once more. Keep ug the good work V.O.

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  6. I meant to say Keep UP the good work – not ug! Sorry for typo!

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  7. What I love about boosh in general is how before you get it, its just weird, but as soon as you get it, you understand everything perfectly. Also this makes all the fans feel like a kind of family (right use of words?) because everyone who gets it seems to have this extra dimension to their personality which the Boosh somehow opens up. I find it makes a person very agreeable x

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  8. There are many great quotes in the radio series no doubt, but my favourite line is from the ending of the first episode where Fossil goes “You’re logic makes me feel like a dick!” xD

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    • I love that one too!

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      • Like others, I think the radio series has a briliance all of its own, quite different from the TV show. There are so many wonderful bits, but some standouts are:
        Vince and Fossil in the helicopter “drop the candy, mother F!”,
        “there’s a freakin bat in the cockpit!”I
        “I’d remember a pillock with sticks on his head”
        “That’s YOU!” – the exasperated Howard and Graham gets me every time!
        Vince and Howard at the secret lab “Don’t touch anything!” CRASH!
        Everything to do with the polar bear
        And like Mog, I love the “pursuit” with Tommy Nooka. I was once at a filling station with my husband and as he filled up the car he looked at the pump and said “That WAS a good price”. And didn’t understand why I fell about laughing.

        I could quote the radio show all day. Obviously.
        DO MORE, BOYS!

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  9. Richard Ayoade’s performance as Tommy Nooka was absolutely side-splitting, although, one thing I did notice just the other day that made me laugh, in what I believe was Stolen, where Vince is flicking through the TV stations, one of the channels goes “Now, the world of Lee Mack” and Vince just says “boring.” and changes it. Cheeky, made me laugh. But who knew you could land a ‘chopper on the back of a hippo.

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  10. My favorite bit is Fossils Porpoise Race commentary and Vince getting all upset about the tea making in “Mutants” …What is this? Vince Noirs Moonlight Cafe?…No thats a Mocca, I am NOT doing a Mocca…. . Absolutely hilarious. I “found” the Boosh through IT crowd. Absolutely loved the goth and I wanted to find out what else he had done. My husband then gave me the hole TV series of the Boosh as a present and I got the radio show via I tunes. Absolutely love all of them.

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  11. I just love the radio show to bits, and I never tire of listening to it, because–like the television show, like everything that Noel and Julian do–there’s so much stuff in it, so many wonderful little details, that I pick up and appreciate something new each time I revisit it. I have a bit of a long commute, so I tend to listen to the radio show while I’m driving, because it’s impossible to be cranky about traffic delays when it means more time listening to something that makes me laugh so much. I also tend to listen to the radio show before bed, because I find Julian and Noel’s voices quite soothing. I experience it a bit differently then, listening in the dark–it makes me a bit more aware of the little moments, the bits of improv, the way the timing and inflection make things so much funnier.

    It’s impossible to pick only one favorite moment, really, although people up above have picked out several of mine: Stocky Jesus and Vince’s mental imaging, shark hat, Vince’s “Shoot ya face off” tribute, Richard Ayoade’s Tommy monologue, Vince Noir’s Moonlight Cafe. But I think I’d add two more, of many. The first is “Married on the Morrow,” which remains one of my very favorite Boosh songs–it’s funny, but it’s also something more, and I love the way their voices blend on it. My second favorite is the entire opening conversation in Hitcher, particularly when Vince and Howard are talking about the Charlie books and Noel and Julian are clearly improving titles. Noel gets to “Charlie Gets to the Shops and Realizes He’s Lost His Little Purse,” and he can suddenly hear it in his voice, how close he is to totally losing it and laughing. You can hear the amusement in Julian’s voice too, and the banter after that is just so… it makes me smile. It’s funny in terms of the show, but it’s also lovely in terms of Noel and Julian as people, enjoying what they’re doing and enjoying the opportunity to amuse each other. It always makes me grin.

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  12. Love these. You’re all brilliant! xo

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  13. Sophie Leaver // October 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm // Reply

    I can’t quite remember what episode it is, but there’s a running joke between Howard and the zoo guard (Lee Mack), where the guard doesn’t recognise him and Howard eventually cracks and tazers him, telling him to say his name; “It’s a planet!” “Jupiter?!” “Smaller! Rhymes with spoon!” “Fork?!”. Brilliant banter.

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  14. “I look like a gay pirate on a fantasy weekend!”

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  15. Darren Smith // October 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm // Reply

    Blown into the tiniest fragments and re-assembled nothing like before is how I would describe my life since I found the Boosh. From minute one I was hook line and sinker’d and it took me a while to venture beyond the visible world of the Zooniverse and trample into the radio series but one Saturday afternoon I stepped into the veritable jungle room of familiar yet unchartered territory and my face has been on the milk carton of almost every other comedy since that very day. The Boosh is my life-force and has been for the last 7 years, I hope the day never arrives when I wake to find I have grown up and can no longer bring myself to say words like oblong, or marvel at the reconstructed beauty of a Boosh set. The radio series for me has been the golden thread that binds our world together, so quaint, so secluded yet inviting to all who come a treading by and an absolute must for every single Barratt B*tch or Fielding Floozy worth their salt, if you haven’t got it yet, get it before you fly aimlessly, ne’er to return, into the heart of darkness! I’ve said my piece, but have I really said my piece?

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  16. Personally I loved when Lee Mack was part of the crew way back in the day so to speak. He has a great voice for radio work and his bantering with Moon was fantastic! Wish we had such shows over here in the States!

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  17. The Mighty Xooberon // October 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm // Reply

    Listening to the radio series in work right now while all around me are losin g their minds, ‘Hello little deer come home and play, hello little deer come home and stay, hello little deer come home and play with me, me, me! Utopia!

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  18. Has to be from Mutants, something along the lines of ‘I’m Vince Noir, rock ‘n’ roll star!’ followed by Joey Moose with ‘Perhaps that should be Vince Noir, making the char’ (how do you even spell that?!) Anyways, never fails to make me actual snort with laughter! Love it! A little piece of abstract genius to brighten the day!

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