MR S: Hello?
CALLER: Hello, is that the BBC Puns Department?
MR S: Does it sound like the Puns Department to you?
CALLER: Oh, sorry, have I come through to Sarcasm?
MR S: Well done, you.
CALLER: I’m really sorry to have bothered you.
MR S: Oh, it’s fine, honestly. Don’t worry your head about it.
MISS A: Hello?
CALLER: Is that the BBC Puns Department?
MISS A: No, I’m afraid this is Anagrams.
CALLER: Oh. Is that not extension 8125?
MISS A: No, it’s extension 2158.
CALLER: I’m sorry.
MISS A: Don’t worry. It happens all the time.
MR P: Hello?
CALLER: Is that the BBC Puns Department?
MR P: No, this is Punchlines.
CALLER: Ah! You might be able to help me.
MR P: What’s the problem?
CALLER: I appear to be stuck in a comedy sketch.
MR P: What’s the sketch?
CALLER: It’s about a man trying to find the BBC Puns Department but continually getting the wrong number.
MR P: Have you tried phoning the right number?
CALLER: Yes! It’s not working.
MR P: Hmm. OK. Have you considered falling into a pond?
CALLER: No. I’ve just bought this shirt.
MR P: Custard pie?
CALLER: Not really my thing.
MR P: Anvil falling on your head?
CALLER: No. Look, you seem to be pushing me towards some kind of slapstick humiliation.
MR P: Oh, absolutely. The more humiliating the better. Appeals to the great British sense of Schadenfreude, you see.
CALLER: Isn’t Schadenfreude German?
MR P: Sorry, I can’t tell you.
CALLER: Why not?
MR P: You’ll have to ring the German department for that. Goodbye.
MRS W: Hello?
CALLER: Do you know if this is Puns?
MRS W: It is.
CALLER: Excellent. Do you have anything for Gary Lineker’s closing link on Match of the Day this week?
MRS W: Isn’t it the Pun of the Season competition?
CALLER: The Pun of the Season competition?
MRS W: Yes. You run the eight best puns used by Lineker to close the show this season, the viewers pick their favourite, and they can win a fabulous star prize.
CALLER: So you’ve not got anything new?
MRS W: No. In fact, I’m just clocking off. I’m going on holiday to the West Indies with my daughter.
MRS W: No, the Dominican Republic.
CALLER: Are you sure this is Puns?
PUN OF THE SEASON
Yes, it’s time for the MOTD Pun of the Season competition. Pick your top three in order, and if your selection matches those of our panel (me), and your name is picked out of the hat, then I’ll send you… I’ll send you… let’s see… I’ve got a David Gray CD I never listen to any more. You can have that.
(It’s the one with the really wishy-washy cover of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye on it, if that helps. You know, the one where he changes ‘you were a sleeparound’ to ‘you were a runaround’ in the first verse.)
To vote, just leave your three top choices in the comments field below. Here at the choices.
PUN A: Yakubu gets two goals on his Blackburn debut as Arsenal are beaten 4-3 (Sep 17)
Lineker said: “So Blackburn, it appears, are back on track/With no new talk of Kean for the sack/It was largely due to a well-fed Yak/As for Arsenal, they were… quite poor at the back.”
Our experts said: An early-season effort of which Richard Stilgoe would have been proud. It even drew a chuckle from Mark Lawrenson.
PUN B: Yohan Cabaye scores his first Newcastle goal against Wigan (Oct 22)
Lineker said: “So Newcastle go marching on thanks to their new Frenchman. Cabaye. [Lineker waves.]”
Our experts said: Ambitious effort. Needed the visual aid of a wave to make it work.
PUN C: Newcastle keeper Tim Krul earns his side a draw at Old Trafford (Nov 19)
Lineker said: “Well, that’s it from us on a Krul, Krul day for Fergie. Goodbye.”
Our experts said: Simple, no nonsense punnery, despatched with the clinical efficiency of a Lineker tap-in.
PUN D: Robin van Persie scores Arsenal’s winner against Everton (Dec 10)
Lineker said: “As it seems to have been an ornithogical week on Match of the Day, what better way to finish than with a season friend? A red-hot Robin. Goodbye.”
Our experts said: Are robins red-hot? We thought they were just red. Also, the build-up to Lineker’s punchline was so long that even Ronnie Corbett might have told him to get a move on.
PUN E: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech’s late error allows Wigan to gain a late 1-1 draw (Dec 17)
Lineker said: “Chelsea had the chance to apply the pressure but they failed to Cech out. Goodbye.”
Our experts said: Less obvious than the Krul pun, perhaps. But a sign that Lineker clearly has a penchant for creating amusement from goalkeeper surnames.
PUN F: Bobby Zamora scores the winner as Fulham come from a goal down to beat Arsenal (Jan 2)
Lineker said: “There’s plenty Zamora where that came from. Goodbye.”
Our experts said: When the ball hits the net/Who’s the scorer? I’ll bet/That’s Zamora. Or: When you’re sat in row Z/And the ball hits your head/That’s Zamora. Nothing else.
PUN G: Peter Crouch scores a spectacular goal for Stoke to stall Manchester City’s drive for the title (Mar 24)
Lineker said: “So, can Manchester City do it? After Crouch’s wonder goal, it might be a tall order. Goodbye.”
Our experts said: Even most tabloid newspaper sub-editors are encouraged to steer clear of Crouch/tall headlines now. Every so often, though, one slips through.
PUN H: Yaya Toure scores twice at Newcastle to take Manchester City to within one victory of the title (May 6)
Lineker said: “City go top thanks to two goals from Yaya. A real Toure de force. Goodnight.”
Our experts said: While several newspapers the next morning went with headlines along the lines of: “Are City title favourites? Ya Ya,” Lineker played it safe. Wisely.
OK, I guess you want to know who was last on Match of the Day, don’t you? Well, it was Aston Villa again, obviously. The Premier League’s most boring team of 2011/12 have featured last on MOTD more often than anyone else. This weekend, they ended an undistinguished season by losing to the team in the season’s most controversial kit.
Last on MOTD: Norwich 2 Aston Villa 0
Commentator: Dan O’Hagan
If there’s one episode this season that demonstrated the contempt in which some clubs hold their fans, it was Norwich City’s decision to report a 17-year-old supporter to the police last month for leaking details of their kit on the net 12 hours before the official launch.
Norfolk Police showed remarkable restraint when faced with such a staggering waste of their time and resources by a football club who seemed to have no respect for either – or indeed much knowledge of the law on copyright infringement. (It’s only a criminal offence if someone makes money from it or it causes the copyright owner serious damage. That’s serious damage. Not minor inconvenience.)
Instead, a police spokesman, showing a gift for understatement, said: “It has subsequently been agreed by all parties that the matter can be resolved through a face-to-face meeting.”
Norwich City’s chief executive, David McNally, made a statement touching on the importance of protecting intellectual property. Which would have been fine, had the club’s kit launch not been accompanied by a promotional video trying to tap into fan creativity.
That video, featuring several first-team squad members and celebrity fan Stephen Fry, urged Norwich supporters to send in films of themselves showing off their skill with a football and then kicking it away – with 10 clips selected to be knitted together into a compilation under the slogan ‘Pass It On’, and released in August.
The promotional video didn’t make it clear if Norwich City would respect the fans’ intellectual copyright on their home-made films by, say, paying them for use.
After all, it would be remarkably hypocritical for Norwich to see intellectual copyright enforcement as a one-way street. And it would a great shame if the club only showed an interest in building relationships with supporters if there was money to be made. Let’s hope not, eh?
Norwich’s new kit (which is yellow and green, surprisingly) got its first match outing against Villa on Sunday. Thanks to first-half goals from Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson, the strip has a 100 per cent record. Perhaps this means it’s lucky. Or perhaps Villa just aren’t very good. The rumours doing the rounds are that Villa manager Alex McLeish’s likely replacement for next season is Norwich’s Paul Lambert. Neither boss had much success in dismissing those rumours post-match.
The Match of the Day coverage of the game was utterly pun free thanks to Dan O’Hagan, a man described by the Guardian in October as “[maybe] Britain’s oddest commentator” thanks to a refreshingly idiosyncratic performance on the show.
O’Hagan has popped up only occasionally on MOTD this season, usually doing a Norwich game, but maybe we’ll hear a bit more of him in 2012/13. A bit of eccentricity in a football commentator is never a bad thing.
As for the Lineker puns? Well, he made one about halfway through about retiring Arsenal coach Pat Rice, as he was thrown high by his players after the victory at West Brom: “I thought it was only at weddings that you threw Rice into the air.”
The sign-off, though, was done without wordplay. After such an incredible finish to the Premier League season, there was no need for it.
“We’ll leave you with the first-time Premier League champions Manchester City,” Lineker said. “It was never in doubt really.”
1. Aston Villa: 10 (2L: 4, 3L: 5) – Champions
2. Fulham: 8 (2L: 4, 3L: 4)
3. Sunderland: 7 (2L: 8, 3L: 0)
6. Norwich: 7 (2L: 3, 3L: 5)
4. West Brom: 6 (2L: 6, 3L: 4)
5. Stoke: 6 (2L: 3, 3L: 8)
7. Wigan: 5 (2L: 8, 3L: 6)
8: Wolves: 5 (2L: 3, 3L: 7)
9. Swansea: 4 (2L: 8, 3L: 6)
10. QPR: 4 (2L: 4, 3L: 3)
12: Liverpool: 4 (2L: 3, 3L: 5)
11. Blackburn: 4 (2L: 2, 3L: 7)
13. Tottenham: 4 (2L: 2, 3L: 2)
14. Chelsea: 3 (2L: 1, 3L: 7)
15. Everton: 2 (2L: 10, 3L: 4)
16. Newcastle: 2 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
17. Bolton: 1 (2L: 4, 3L: 6)
18. Arsenal: 0 (2L: 6, 3L: 1)
19. Manchester United: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
20. Manchester City: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
2L = On second last (Swansea 1 Liverpool 0)
3L = On third last (Chelsea 2 Blackburn 1)
(Teams receive one point every time they are last on Match of the Day. Teams level are separated by the number of times they are on second last, then by the number of times they are on third last. MOTD2 not included.)
Last on MOTD 2011/12: The complete list
May 13: Norwich 2 Aston Villa 0 (Commentator: Dan O’Hagan)
May 6: Wolves 0 Everton 0 (Alistair Mann)
Apr 28: West Brom 0 Aston Villa 0 (Martin Fisher)
Apr 21: Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 0 (John Roder)
Apr 14: Sunderland 0 Wolves 0 (Steve Bower)
Apr 11: Blackburn 2 Liverpool 3 (Alistair Mann)
Apr 9: Aston Villa 1 Stoke 1 (John Roder)
Apr 7: Sunderland 0 Tottenham 0 (Steve Wilson)
Mar 31: Fulham 2 Norwich 1 (Dan O’Hagan)
Mar 24: Chelsea 0 Tottenham 0 (Jonathan Pearce)
Mar 21: Blackburn 2 Sunderland 0 (Alistair Mann)
Mar 17: Wigan 1 West Brom 1 (Jonathan Pearce)
Mar 10: Aston Villa 1 Fulham 0 (Steve Bower)
Mar 3: Stoke 1 Norwich 0 (John Roder)
Feb 25: Wigan 0 Aston Villa 0 (Alistair Mann)
Feb 11: Fulham 2 Stoke 1 (Nigel Adderley)
Feb 4: Wigan 1 Everton 1 (Guy Mowbray)
Jan 31: Swansea 1 Chelsea 1 (Simon Brotherton)
Jan 21: Norwich 0 Chelsea 0 (Guy Mowbray)
Jan 14: Liverpool 0 Stoke 0 (Guy Mowbray)
Jan 4: Tottenham 1 West Brom 0 (John Roder)
Jan 2: Blackburn 1 Stoke 2 (Guy Mowbray)
Dec 31: Norwich 1 Fulham 1 (Martin Fisher)
Dec 26: Stoke 0 Aston Villa 0 (John Roder)
Dec 21: Wolves 2 Norwich 2 (Damian Johnson)
Dec 17: Newcastle 0 Swansea 0 (John Roder)
Dec 10: Liverpool 1 QPR 0 (Steve Wilson)
Dec 3: QPR 1 West Brom 1 (John Roder)
Nov 26: Norwich 2 QPR 1 (John Roder)
Nov 19: Sunderland 0 Fulham 0 (Nigel Adderley)
Nov 5: Liverpool 0 Swansea 0 (Simon Brotherton)
Oct 29: Wigan 0 Fulham 2 (Martin Fisher)
Oct 22: Bolton 0 Sunderland 2 (Steve Wilson)
Oct 15: QPR 1 Blackburn 1 (Simon Brotherton)
Oct 1: Sunderland 2 West Brom 2 (Steve Bower)
Sep 24: West Brom 0 Fulham 0 (John Roder)
Sep 17: Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 1 (Steve Wilson)
Sep 10: Wolves 0 Tottenham 2 (Steve Bower)
Aug 27: Aston Villa 0 Wolves 0 (Jonathan Pearce)
Aug 20: Swansea 0 Wigan 0 (Steve Wilson)
Aug 13: Fulham 0 Aston Villa 0 (John Motson)