Is Noel Edmonds about to unleash his Crinkley Bottom once more?

Newspaper speculation suggests that Noel Edmonds could be returning to the BBC ten years after Noel’s House Party was dropped from the main channel. Mr Blobby will be back too the claims suggest.

The BBC and Edmonds, according to The Mirror newspaper, have discussed a possible one-off special of the 1990s Saturday night entertainment show and if popular with audiences a whole new series could be commissioned.

The source told the newspaper: “It was a softly, softly approach because of the fall-out after the show was axed in 1999. The BBC, though, is determined to make it happen.”

The BBC have had a run of successful Saturday programmes in recent years, but with a gap left by the end of the Andrew Lloyd Webber talent shows, the beeb are apparently now on the hunt for a ratings banker.

Noel’s House Party, set in the great house in the fictional village of Crinkley Bottom, was so successful at its peak that the show not only spun-off specials such as Noel’s Garden Party and Gotcha Hall Of Fame a huge wave of merchandising followed including a music record, bubble bath and even theme park attractions.

The live 50-minute show made a superstar of Mr Blobby, a bumbling large pink and yellow character, who originally was devised to feature only as part of the Gotcha segment which saw celebrities at the receiving end of often hidden camera pranks.

The show was filled with popular faces playing the villagers, including Frank Thornton who was Edmonds’ next door neighbour, kindly pensioner Pru played by the late Pat Coombs and Tony Blackburn playing the village idiot.

Popular highlights of the show included the gunge tank, in which famous faces and the public would be gunked, Grab-A-Grand, Wait ‘Till I Get You Home, The Organ Game, The Pannel Game, Number Cruncher and The Big Pork Pie all proving a hit with audiences of up to sixteen million at the shows peak.

House Party started to decline when the rights were handed over from the BBC to Edmonds’ own production company, Unique, and revamp after revamp failed to build on its BBC produced success. At one point Edmonds walked out as host, leaving the show off-air for an edition – DJ and Channel 4 star of the time – Chris Evans offered to step in as host, Noel soon returned.

The format ran for eight years and 169 editions. After the show was ditched by BBC One Edmonds quit television presenting. Mr Blobby’s career however lasted longer. Devised as a fake Children’s BBC character, after House Party, he ended up being a real CBBC character; appearing on Saturday morning show Live and Kicking.

Noel was lured back into presenting by Channel 4, after a five-year absence from screens ,to host their new game show Deal Or No Deal.

Noel has a Channel 4 hit with game show Deal or No Deal

House Party Facts:

Trevor McDonald refused to appear on the programme after being the victim of a ‘Gotcha’

Two editions were aired live from America, Noel’s New York House Party was panned as an embarrassment.

Carol Smilie was the victim of two Gotchas and Derek Jameson, after bragging he’d never be caught, was set-up on four separate occasions.

NTV proved to be one of the most popular sections of the show. Unsuspecting viewers at home were suddenly – via small hidden cameras – broadcast to the nation. Most had a talent to share, lots of embarrassing photographs and stories to boot.

If a celebrity suspected they were part of a Gotcha they would be gunged later, such as Annabel Giles in 1995 who saw the ‘hidden’ cameras before the set up had even begun.

In 1993 the Gotcha Oscar was renamed to simply Gotcha after the real Oscar award ceremony organisers complained. The award – originally similar in design to the American originals – had to be altered too. All repeated clips of earlier Gotcha trophies were blurred out.

Stars appearing on the show – bar the Gotcha victims – would usually have to ring the door bell and appear as a fictional village character.

Across the eight years there were three different theme tunes for the show, however the original is still considered the best by most fans of the series.

The Great House in Crinkley Bottom, so the loose story in the series went, was the best dwelling in the village, however was home to the least-liked. Edmonds was portrayed as tight with money – his mother lived in a caravan in the garden, his twin brother (also played by Edmonds) was mainly confined to the attic and endless villagers would pour insults at Noel, mainly to do with being short.

The local newspaper was The Crinkley Bottom Observer. This would have highlights read from it at the start of each show. Often topical news from the previous week was included within the pages. For a while the paper was known as The Bum, in hommage to The Sun.

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