IT was the backdrop to Saturday nights throughout the 1990s, watched by audiences of more than 15 million at its peak. Now, if you so desire, you can return to Crinkley Bottom as Noel’s House Party is back on the BBC for one night only.


Crinkley Bottom?

If you are not au fait, Noel's House Party - presented by Noel Edmonds during prime time Saturday night TV - was set in a large country house in the fictional village of Crinkley Bottom, with many celebrity guest appearances, often with the stars posing as residents of the village, which, with a name like that served up plenty of double entendres.


It was a big deal?

Launching in 1991 and ending in 2000 - after ratings dropped by more than half - Noel’s House Party - a forerunner of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway - was once hailed “the most important show on the BBC”, featuring a variety of segments that became etched in the public consciousness at the time, including the 'Gotchas', where hidden camera practical jokes were played on celebrities.


Ah, the Gotchas!

Among the most memorable was a gobsmacked Gloria Hunniford having her radio show sabotaged by a producer who broke her records live on air and the Bee Gees being subjected to a bizarre interview where everything went wrong, including a window cleaner interrupting.


Wasn’t there a gunge tank?

That was another standout segment where gunge was dropped on celebrities or unpopular members of the public after a phone vote. 


And Mr Blobby!

Noel’s House Party featured Mr Blobby, a giant pink blancmange style character who caused mayhem wherever he went, but also spawned three theme parks and earned the Christmas number one in 1993 with the song “Mr Blobby”.


Why is the show back?

BBC Four is opening the corporation’s vast entertainment archive, stepping back in time to showcase some of the most popular Saturday night entertainment offerings, with tonight’s House Party dating to the first series of the classic show. It will be followed by a series 19 edition of Strictly Come Dancing and a 1979 episode of Blankety Blank, hosted by Terry Wogan and featuring panellists Lorraine Chase, Henry Cooper, Thora Hird and Kenny Everett.


It comes as?

BBC Four has been rebranded as an archive-focused channel as part of ongoing significant cost-cutting across the corporation. In May, the BBC announced plans to discontinue BBC Four as a broadcast channel within "the next few years", saying git was part of plans to streamline and modify services to create a "digital-first" BBC.


As for Noel?

Edmonds, who found fame as a Radio 1 DJ in the 1970s after previously working for Radio Luxembourg, went on to present an array of shows, from Saturday Morning Swapshop to Telly Addicts. Tonight’s BBC4 airing marks the first occasion in more than 20 years that Noel’s House Party has been shown on TV.


Where is he now?

The Ilford-born DJ and TV presenter, 73, now lives in New Zealand - describing it as “a paradise”. It was reported last month he and his wife, Liz, have splashed out on "at least" three properties in the South Island. He has a variety of business interests, including a media group and a conservation trust, and during the pandemic, founded an online radio network called Positivity Radio, that has more than 100 stations and is based in New Zealand but can be tuned into from all over the world.


Including one for plants?

While one station plays soothing music for cats and dogs, another plays solely for plants, broadcasting “Binaural beats with isochronic tones and music to stimulate plant growth”. Edmonds said: “We ran an experiment with two plants, one of which we neglected and the other we played Positively Plants to. The difference was absolutely amazing, and then we played those tones, because it's all about tones, we played those tones to the plant that didn't look so good, and it perked up again.”