17. Dannii Minogue versus Mark Lamarr - The Word (1991)
That’s what you get for taking the piss out of a Minogue’s box office performance, smoothie.
16. Anne Robinson versus The Welsh - Room 101 (2001)
The Weakest Link mama and consumer queen faced calls for her sacking over ‘racism’ after an appearance on Room 101. She suggested putting Welsh people in the room of doom. “What are they for?” she wondered, before branding them “irritating and annoying.”
15. Bouncer’s Dream - Neighbours (1989)
One of the most iconic moments in (the imported) Australian soap came when Kerry Mangel played her wedding video. Adorable Labrador Retreiver Bouncer responded by nodding off and dreaming of his own nuptials to Rosie the neighbouring sheepdog. Anne Charleston who played Madge was “mortified”.
14. Debbie McGee - The Mrs Merton Show (1997)
Needs no explanation.
13. Ghostwatch (1992)
An elaborate Halloween ruse saw light entertaining luminaries Michael Parkinson and Sarah Greene stage an investigation into a ‘haunted house’. Viewers across the country didn’t get that it was a wind-up, and heebie-jeebies ensued.
12. The sex people - I’m Alan Partridge (1997)
Only Alan’s mousy personal assistant can save him from the brink of an orgy.
11. Preston Walks Off - Never Mind The Buzzcocks (2007)
The Ordinary Boys’ Samuel Preston surprised the indie world when he married his Celebrity Big Brother housemate, glamour girl Chantelle Houghton. And by the time he guested on Buzzcocks the stress was getting to him. Things started badly when host Simon Amstell mocked his band’s modest success, and nosedived when he started reading from Chantelle’s autobiography. So he got up and left.
He later admitted: “I’m struggling to think why I would have acted so weird.”
10. George Galloway pretends to be a cat - Celebrity Big Brother (2006)
It was hardly controversial enough that the controversial MP chose to enter the house while he was sitting in Parliament. Then he decided to do an impression of a cat and lick milk out of Rula Lenska’s hands.
9. Five Star - Going Live (1989)
Essex Jackson 5 knock-offs learned the perils of live TV phone-ins in spectacular style. Caller Eliot said in front of millions on Saturday morning kids’ TV viewers: “I’d like to ask Five Star why they’re so fucking crap?”
8. Bubbly In The Fridge - EastEnders (2011)
Even in its recent dreadful nadir, EastEnders can still deliver ultimate OMG viral moments. Like here, when Zoe ‘Tanya Turner’ Lucker’s character Vanessa found out about Max and Tanya’s secret liasons and went violently postal, trashing the house and declaring she’s going to “kill you Branning scum” with the dreadful, fabulous camp that only a veteran of Footballer’s Wives could ever really muster up.
7. Nonce Sense - Brass Eye (2001)
“Genetically, paedophiles have more in common with crabs than they do you and me. That’s scientific fact. There’s no real evidence, but it is scientific fact.”
Those were the words spouted by DJ Neil Fox in a ‘public information’ film, a ruse by satirist Chris Morris to show how easily celebrities will take up causes without researching them. Also duped in the spoof news show’s paedophile edition were Gary Linekar, Seb Coe and Phil Collins.
6. Beth and Margaret - Brookside (1994)
Brookside was at the peak of its popularity, and thanks to a headline-grabbing storyline that saw her help murder her abusive father. Anna Friel was one of its biggest stars. Even so, it seems strange now that the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss should attract so much controversy. 9 million viewers watched the landmark moment.
5. Stuart and Nathan - Queer As Folk (1999)
The first episode of Russell T Davies’ groundbreaking gay drama pulled no punches from the start. Sexually athletic Stuart (Aidan Gillan) took naive schoolboy Nathan (Charlie Hunnam) home after his first night out on Manchester’s gay scene. What followed was the longest and most-explicit gay sex scene on British TV ever before or since.
The programme received 163 complaints, none of which were upheld.
3. The Ninth Doctor’s farewell - Doctor Who (2005)
Regeneration was always a staple of Doctor Who, but for the generation who joined the club post-hiatus, they’d never gone through it before. The 2005 reboot was a glorious success, but there was a sting in the tail with Christopher Eccleston’s premature exit. But what an electrifying, big-hearted exit it was.
2. Batman and Robin - Only Fools And Horses (1996)
1. PJ and the paintball - Byker Grove (1991)
Long before they took over light entertainment, Ant and Dec were renowned as PJ and Duncan, stars of the Newcastle youth drama. Its most memorable moment came when PJ was accidentally blinded in an illegal paintball skirmish against rival youth centre Denton Burn.