Mock attack | 

Comedian Dara Ó Briain’s hilarious response after Andrew Neil shoots down Mock the Week

The BBC announced this week that the hit comedy panel show that was hosted by O'Briain will be cancelled after a 17-year run

Dara Ó Briain

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain fired off a sharp rebuke to Andrew Neil after the veteran broadcaster said the BBC’s Mock the Week “deserved to be cancelled”.

The BBC announced this week that the hit comedy panel show that was hosted by O'Briain will be cancelled after a 17-year run.

Following the news, Ó Briain said: “That’s it folks, the UK has finally run out of news.

“The storylines were getting crazier and crazier – global pandemics, divorce from Europe, novelty short-term prime ministers. It couldn’t go on.

“And so, regretfully, we are closing the doors on Dara and Hugh’s Academy for Baby Comedians.

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“We just couldn’t be more silly than the news was already.”

However, 73-year-old Neil tweeted: “Mock the Week deserved to be cancelled,” and linked a Spectator article in which the show was described as “well past its time”.

In part, the article stated: “After seventeen years and more than 200 episodes, the cackling and sniggering is finally over for the panel show Mock the Week.

“As the BBC announced yesterday: ‘The next series of Mock the Week will be the last, we are really proud of the show but after 21 series we have taken the difficult decision in order to create room for new shows.’

“No wonder the BBC has had enough. The show is well past its time. At its height of popularity in 2008, Mock the Week drew an audience of well over a two million viewers and regularly exceeded three million. By last year this number was hovering at a million and half.

In response, Ó Briain could not resist a hitting back at Neil, by referencing his short stay at GB News.

The host tweeted: “Still, at least I didn’t bail on it after two weeks and f*** off to my house in France, eh Andrew? All the best! X”

The show first aired in June 2005. Series regulars have included Hugh Dennis, with other comedy stars including Chris Addison, Frankie Boyle, Rory Bremner and Russell Howard previously featuring.

Mock The Week was created by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson, the duo behind comedy improvisation show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which ran in the UK before becoming a hit series in the US.

Patterson said the decision was "desperately disappointing but hopefully we will resurface again soon".

In a statement announcing the move, the BBC said: "We are really proud of the show but after 21 series we have taken the difficult decision in order to create room for new shows."

Angst Productions, the company behind the programme, said: "We're naturally hugely disappointed that Mock The Week is coming to an end and hope that we will be able to resurface somewhere some day in the future."

The upcoming eight episodes of the popular programme, airing in the autumn, will be the last, marking its end after 21 series and more than 200 episodes of the show.


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