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Published January 1st, 2005 | by Mike Barnard

8 Out of 10 Cats: Claws Out Review

Classification: 15 Director: Various Rating: 3.5/5

Panel ‘game shows’ are odd television programmes, with their pre-planned mix of comedy and questions often being little more than a chance for the comic talent to show off; scores are normally a minor issue to be mentioned in passing. Yet they can be hugely entertaining, as this best of compilation of Channel 4 show 8 Out of 10 Cats very often proves to be. Out to catch the Christmas rush, it will liven up Boxing Day with the family, although may be forgotten about by New Year.

The basis of the quiz element of 8 Out of 10 Cats is opinion polls, surveys and statistics from around the world. Deadpan comic Jimmy Carr asks two teams to identify contemporary hot topics and link stats to facts, but this is all a playground for the guests and Carr alike. Perhaps the best feature of this show is the choice of captains: Sean Lock of TV Heaven, Telly Hell and Dave Spikey of Phoenix Nights. Dave makes for a good smart take on the discussion while Sean can be relied upon to offer more risqué humour. It is this trio that ensure the guests are never safe and have made it a ratings winner.

For 8 Out of 10 Cats: Claws Out, it is claimed more than 60 minutes of unseen footage has been unearthed that were deemed too rude to broadcast on TV. The programme can be near the knuckle, but here some might say it goes even further. We get to witness what might be considered some of the most un-PC comments and wisecracks that will leave fans of the show in stitches. These, together with the already broadcast elements, have been made into three best of shows that follow the format of the regular series. Whatever the question, the teams have got the incontestable, incontrovertible answer to it, blending polls and stand up comedy.

Highlights include the many leftfield comments made by Vic Reeves and confounding remarks made by Johnny Vegas that will leave you laughing with a bemused look on your face. The sight of Hollywood star Christian Slater in hysterics because of Vegas is a sight to be seen. David Williams makes amusingly welcome lewd references to host Jimmy, while discussions of male empowerment enrage Janet Street Porter and Trisha Goddard to hilarious effect. The guys on 8 Out of 10 Cats rarely show much decency, and it is all the better for it. Oh, and Big Brother’s Jade Goody’s description of her puzzled mind is a joy.

The only problem with this type of DVD is that it may be a one-hit wonder: once you have seen it, the jokes are unlikely to have the same effect and many of the time-sensitive aspects may lose appeal. However, watching Claws Out is an extremely entertaining way to spend nearly two hours and good to have as a back-up on a rainy Friday night with a few beers and friends.


Around 20 minutes of quips and gaffs that did not make it into the three main shows. These are generally one-liners and often fall a little flat, but it is worth it for the additional Christian Slater and Johnny Vegas scenes as Slater continues to be amused by the baffling exploits and comments from Vegas.

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