The Mighty Boosh is a British comedy television series created by Julian Barratt & Noel Fielding for BBC Three. The series follows the misadventures of Howard Moon and Vince Noir, played by Barratt and Fielding respectively, as the two interact with a host of bizarre and often fantastically ridiculous characters and situations.
The Mighty Boosh is a comic fantasy with many non-sequiturs and pop-culture references. Episodes often feature elaborate musical numbers in a variety of genres, including electro (or new romantic music), heavy metal, funk, and rap, as well as many shorter songs. Julian Barratt writes the music and sings the psychedelic theme song, and Noel Fielding often sings the series' music. Fielding also designs many of the show's graphics. The TV series has many animated sequences, puppets, and obviously cheap but impressive special effects. Barratt has stated that he approached Fielding with the idea of doing a show like The Goodies, as it was a complete "world" rather than simply a sketch show. Fielding and Barratt play many of the supporting characters themselves, usually disguised on TV with elaborate makeup; Rich Fulcher takes on many of the other roles in the TV series and is the only other writer to provide additional material.
The dialogue is scripted but features some improvisation. In series one the TV show opens and often closes with Vince and Howard addressing the audience in front of a curtain; the viewer is led to believe that Howard and Vince wrote the show themselves. The second series departs from this format, instead starting in front of the characters' flat. Unlike the radio series, which is played as though "real", the characters on the TV series all seem aware that they are in a TV show, and Vince especially will often break the fourth wall to address the audience and comment on the action.
Little attention is paid to continuity; for instance, in the first episode of the radio series, Bob Fossil is forced to give up being boss of the zoo and renamed it "Howard Moon's Fun World", yet by the second episode, Jungle, he is back in charge.
See Also: Full list of characters
Though the various forms of The Mighty Boosh have many recurring characters, the current "central cast" consists of five characters:
Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) is one of the two main characters of The Mighty Boosh. He is insecure, awkward, uptight and pretentious, and falsely claims to be a professional in music, acting, poetry, novel writing, and photography. Although confident in his ability, he is usually shown to be defective in these pursuits and bores everyone around him with his tedious passion for jazz and jazz-funk fusion. In other words, he looks silly and is unaware of it. He is unpopular with many of the characters, including Mrs. Gideon who always forgets his name, Bob Fossil who often uses Howard as a puppet for his bizarre schemes and Bollo who often says his name wrong or ignores him completely. Also in one episode of the radio series Howard is constantly bothered by the zoo's security guard Graham, who never recognises him and in one scene attacks Howard with an electrical baton, but later in the show Howard gets his revenge. In essence, he is the complete opposite of Vince Noir.
Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) is the other main character. Unlike Howard, Vince is laid back, well-loved by the rest of the characters and takes a lot of time, effort and pride in his appearance. His favourite feature is clearly his hair (a prominent motif throughout the series), but he is determined to keep up with the latest fashions. He proclaims the virtues of accessorising and regularly criticises Howard's lack of style. Because of his fabulous hair and "glam" appearance, Vince is repeatedly mistaken for a woman in both television series.
Bob Fossil (Rich Fulcher) is the ill-tempered, eccentric owner of Bob Fossil's Funworld in the radio series and head-zookeeper of The Zooniverse in the television series (with Dixon Bainbridge as the owner). He gives the appearance of being in love with Bainbridge. He does not know any of the correct names of the animals and refers to them by obscure referential statements. For example, a bear (which Fossil regards as a latin term) is called the "Russian carpet guy" and a snake as a "windy man" or " long mover". During the memorial service for Bollo, Fossil is unable to remember the word "gorilla" and is forced to use a casette recorder to insert the word into his speech. In series two, he is much more successful, making a one-off appearance presenting the music showpie-face showcase in New York. He also makes appearances in series three, as the owner of the Velvet Onion night club.
Bollo (Peter Elliott for television series 1, Dave Brown for television series 2 and the radio series) is a gorilla who leaves the zoo to become a DJ and live in a flat with Howard, Vince and Naboo. He is Naboo's incompetent familiar; although he predicts trouble, he rarely gets anything else right, and often inadvertently reveals Naboo's magical secrets to Howard and Vince. He dies in the episode named Bollo, but he returns in the same episode when Howard is mistaken by Death for a gorilla. In Fountain of Youth, Bollo reveals to Vince that he is actually forty years old, but because he is a DJ, he says he is twenty-nine.
Naboo (Michael Fielding) is a shaman who works Zooniverse's kiosk. He lives with Howard, Vince and Bollo in a flat in London, though he is originally from the planet Xooberon. He was sent from his home planet to Earth to protect an amulet from theft; however, he was only sent because he was mistaken for the planet's greatest warrior, Bannoo. Throughout the first and second series, Naboo uses his shamanic powers, often to get Howard and Vince out of the trouble they have caused by getting hold of Naboo's magic secrets. Naboo is 409, though he looks "about 12". He is said to be a renowned druggie, and that he and Bollo are "..on the weed every night, smoking their minds to mush."
- Vince and Howard make little effort to hide that The Mighty Boosh is a production with budget constraints (though the budget itself is not negligible). For example, in Bollo, when Howard is supposedly haunting Vince from beyond the grave:
- Vince: Are you really a ghost? That is genius... (swings arm at Howard's chest)
- Howard: What're you doing?
- Vince: Sorry, I thought I could put my hand through you.
- Howard: No, we spent all the budget on your hair, remember?
- Vince: Sorry about that. (leering at camera) It is looking good.
- There are various other fourth wall jokes made during the series'. Examples include Vince talking to 'Bryan Ferry' in Hitcher, and saying he must go and save Howard, because "he basically gets into trouble every week and I have to get him out. That's how the show works." Also, in The Power of the Crimp, Vince comes into the shop being all poetic and gloomy, and Howard asks if Vince is reading from his script.
- The first series is actually presented as a show within a show, with the characters playing themselves. At the beginning and end of each show Howard and Vince do a short introduction, and throughout the shows Vince talks to the audience under his breath and seems to be aware of the presence of cameras filming, though these addendums were later removed during seasons 2 and 3.
- Much of the artwork created by Noel Fielding for the series features polo mints in some form or another. For example, in the opening title sequence, the logo is displayed amidst a field of swirling polos in the background. Also, in Bollo, the Ape of Death and his minions appear to be wearing large polos as part of their outfits. The Hitcher is also portrayed with a polo for his left eye. In Electro, Vince wears a black codpiece covered in polos over his trousers while performing in his new band.
- Both Vince and Howard are shown to have very distinct musical tastes. Howard takes pride in being a multi-instrumentalist (he has been seen playing keyboard, electric guitar and trumpet in the show) with a passion for jazz since his youth. This is in contrast to Vince's taste for more contemporary, yet pre-1990's genres such as electronic or rock-based music, particularly Gary Numan. He is supposed to have converted many of the animals into fans of this artist. Youth subcultures associated with these styles of music are also touched upon, with the two leading characters (mainly Vince) often trying to cast themselves into certain stereotypes (goth, mod, rocker, et cetera), sometimes to attract members of the opposite sex, or to get into a band. Howard, despite being a jazz nut, has at various points formed a fairly successful electro band with Vince, that does not seem to have been influenced by Howard's jazz tastes at all.
- Mrs Gideon (played by Victoria Wicks) is the centre of Howard's failing love life in series one. However hard he tries, Vince always seems to get far more attention and recognition than him. This comes to a climax when, after returning Mrs Gideon's prize python, Tony, she cannot remember Howard's name, despite his having worked there for 10 years. Vince has to hold up a giant placard with "HOWARD" scrawled on it to aid her memory. This theme and Mrs Gideon are confined to the first series.
- The show has had a few particularly memorable moments when inanimate objects in a scene have been replaced by a person dressed as the object, personifying it. A Rich Fulcher character tells the others to "gather round" so he can inform them of something, and all characters will lean in, including a prop from the scene, now replaced by an actor dressed to resemble the prop. The 'prop' is then told to go away again. The line heard runs similar to "Gather round everyone... Not you, naan bread." Though used infrequently, trademark gags like these can increase the show's cult following.
- Vince has sometimes helped a supporting character in some way or another and as a show of their thanks they give him a horn to blow in case he is in danger. When he uses the horn, they are preoccupied in an odd manner. For example, Sandstorm in the series 2 episode The Fountain of Youth, is seen masturbating to pictures of DIY catalogues when Vince sounds his horn. In the series 1 episode Hitcher, Bryan Ferry cannot hear the horn over his hoovering.
- Vince is often mistaken for a woman due to his somewhat androgynous appearance. Bainbridge refers to the pair as "Howard Moon and his ugly girlfriend" and Kodiak Jack refers to Vince as a "young, nubile princess", while the Ape of Death believes Vince is Howard's wife. He describes himself in Party as the Confuser: "Is it a man? Is it a woman? Ooh, I'm not sure I mind". In Journey to the Centre of the Punk, Vince's brain cell says that is in fact bisexual
- Howard is often mistaken for Vince's father. In the 2006 stage show, Vince opens a fan-letter that reads "Dear Vince, I think you are so amazing and brilliant, and your hair is so big and tall and nice and I really like you. The only thing is, is why do have to have your dad in the show?" Also, in The Fountain of Youth, a clip shows Vince and Howard as children in school, but Vince appears to be 10 years old and Howard still looks around 40. Another boy asks Vince "Is that your dad?", to which Howard angrily replies "We're the same age!".
- The ages of the characters and their relationship seems to change over the course of the show.Back in series one, Howard is much older than Vince: in Tundra, Howard was apparently writing poetry in the 70's, implying he is at least in his late 40's which Vince can't possibly be; in Jungle, Vince states that Howard took him out of school at 16 to come and work at the zoo, where Howard was already employed; and in Electro Howard states he has had a career as a successful jazz musician and his flashback is seen in black and white Implying it was a long time ago. In Fountain of Youth in series two, they are the same age, and are seen at school together (although Howard looks older). In series three however their relationship appears to be a running joke. In Eels , Vince states that he has known Howard 10 years, meaning they cannot have known each other at school (although rather confusingly, they are shown in a flashback as children together in the same episode). In The Power of the Crimp, Howard implies he is older than Vince, but then in the Strange Tale of the Crack Fox they are said to have been to school together, travelled together, college together, and worked together for their whole lives. In party it changes part way through the show again: Howard states he is 32, ten years older than Vince (at which point both look at the camera suspiciously, and ominous music plays), but then in the same scene, a flashback is shown where they are the same age.
- Whenever faced with life-threatening danger, Howard often says "Don't kill me, I've got so much to give!". Faced with similar danger, characters played by Rich Fulcher often say "A little to the left!"
- Vince's friend Leroy is often mentioned, but never actually seen. In Electro, he and Vince have a Glam-Folk band, but both are in such thick makeup, Leroy can't be seen. In Mutants, he takes Howard's light blue trousers and Howard walks off to remonstrate, but again he is not seen by the audience. In series three, Leroy apparently lives near them in Dalston.
- Throughout the radio and TV series, Euro is the currency used, despite the fact that the series is set in Britain, where the Pound sterling is used.
- It's a recurring theme in the show, that when something is mentioned, the one replying (usually a one-time character) would say "(noun)? what is (noun)?" for example, when Vince is talking with Brian Ferry in the forest and mentions he works in a zoo, Brian replies, "Zoo? What is zoo?"
- bob fossil is often seen to touch/rub his nipples sexually at random or inappropriate times, and in series three he makes an appearance in a belly-dancing costume (The Power of the Crimp), and in a hula-girl outfit (Party). Other Rich Fulcher characters such as Kodiak Jack have also been seen to do this, usually in Vince's presence.
- Howard is often mentioned to have particularly small eyes wheres Vince has big eyes.
- Naboo frequently replies to unusual circumstances with "I don't believe this".
- In every episode of series' 2 & 3, Bollo has been heard to say, "I gotta bad feelin' about this," usually in response to some situation either he and Naboo, or Howard and Vince are in.
- Tony Harrison often makes incredible claims about himself: at various points he states he has a gift for strategy, navigational skills that are 'second to none', and most amazingly, a heavy goods licence. At various points he is heard to say "This is an outrage!"
For full list see: Mighty Boosh Music
Most, if not all, episode of the Television series, Radio series, and many of their stage shows and short skits feature the characters of the Mighty Boosh performing a musical song. Such songs include The Hitcher (Rap), Soup Song, Love Games and many others.
Fielding and Barratt conceived of The Mighty Boosh whilst working on Stewart Lee's Edinburgh show King Dong vs. Moby Dick in which they played a giant penis and a whale respectively.
Barratt and Fielding took The Mighty Boosh to the Edinburgh Festival in 1998, recruiting fellow comedian Rich Fulcher, whom the pair had met working on a television series called (Un)natural Acts. The show won the Perrier Award for Best Newcomer. During their residency at the Hen and Chickens Theatre in North London the following year, they built up a cult following and introduced new characters whilst developing old ones.
In 1999, they returned to the Edinburgh Festival with a new show, Arctic Boosh, which sold out every night and won a nomination for the Perrier Award. It was the first time Dave Brown worked on a Boosh show playing a variety of characters, as well as acting as choreographer and photographer.
In 2000, while performing their third stage show Autoboosh at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, they won the festival's Barry Humphries Award. Noel's brother Michael and his friend Pete (who worked in Dixons) also went along for the journey, but ended up going on stage with the cast every night. Michael became a permanent fixture.
In 2006, The Boosh went on tour again. The main story, "The Ruby of Kukundu" - in which Howard and Vince travel to the Arctic and Spain respectively in search of the mystical gem that can restore the life of Naboo, slain by The Hitcher - draws heavily upon the well-known "Tundra" scenario used previously in the TV pilot, both the TV and radio series, and the Edinburgh show Arctic Boosh.
The Boosh were signed by the BBC soon after the success of Autoboosh and in October 2001 The Mighty Boosh radio series, produced by Danny Wallace, was first broadcast on BBC London Live, then BBC Radio 4 , and later BBC 7.
Like many other successful British comedies, The Mighty Boosh made the transition from radio to television in 2004, when an eight part television series - also called The Mighty Boosh - was commissioned by the BBC. It was directed by Paul King and produced by Baby Cow Productions. The pilot was directed by Steve Bendelack, and a large portion of the it was used in the actual series, in Tundra.
Series 1 of the television version of The Mighty Boosh expanded on the radio series. It was first broadcast on BBC Three on 18 May 2004 and, from 9 November, also on BBC Two, although in a different order and with the mild swearing censored or edited out. (The censors were not infallible in their task, however. In one case, a word that had been bleeped out in a particular scene was left written in fully legible form on Howard's back seconds later.) A second series began showing on BBC Three on 26 July 2005, though strangely with a smaller budget. A full-length preview of the following week's episode was available online at the BBC's Boosh webpage. Series 1 was released on DVD (Region 2) on August 29, 2005, and Series 2 on February 13, 2006. Series 1 and 2 have also been released on DVD (Region 4) in Australia. .
The pair also told Steve Jones that they wanted to call series 3 "series 4", so that future generations can wonder where the third series is.
- The show credits as executive producers comedians Steve Coogan and Henry Normal, the owners of the producing company Baby Cow Productions. Steve Coogan had also expressed interest to guest star in the episode 'The Call of the Yeti' of the Mighty Boosh as the character of Kodiak Jack as revealed by the audio commentary, however Barratt and Fielding had to decline as the character had been promised to Rich Fulcher.
- Fielding's parents have both had parts in the television show. Noel's mother played a witch on the board of shamans (along with Barratt's father who played another member of the board), while his father played Chris de Burgh.
- Also a member of the board of Shamans was Noel's six year old 'nephew', who plays Kirk, (he's actually the nephew of Dee Plume, Noel's ex-girlfriend) and is described by Saboo as 'an erotic adventurer of the most deranged kind'. This line was an improvisation by Richard Ayoade playing Saboo. In the DVD commentary Noel Fielding proudly states that his cousin responded well to the improvisations, and also that he feels he may have created a 'luvvie' because the child has now joined a drama club.
- In the first episode of Series One ("Killeroo"), the opening part of the Dies Irae from Mozart's Requiem is played when Howard appears to be losing the boxing match. When he falls to the ground, the opening of the last chorus from Bach's St. Matthew Passion is played.
- The Mighty Boosh won Best TV Show at the Shockwaves NME Awards 2007.
- The official fanclub members are known as Modwolves, in reference to characters from the 'Jungle' episode in series one.
- The Mighty Boosh 2006 Tour won a 2007 Chortle award for the best full-length show.
- The two girls in the electro band are played by real-life electro outfit Robots In Disguise. They also feature in Nanageden and the Crack Fox
- Official The Mighty Boosh Website
- "Unofficial official home of the Boosh"
- The Mighty Boosh at the Internet Movie Database
- BBC comedy site
- Top Ten Mighty Boosh Clips A selection of Mighty Boosh moments
- Stand-up routines, interviews and other rarities featuring the stars of The Mighty Boosh
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