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Look up gunge in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Gunge is a British colloquial name for slime — a runny substance similar to paint, that is often featured in game shows. It is used by covering or dropping over a victim, often inside a Gunge Tank, with the intention to cause embarrassment and making a mess. More recently, Gunge has been popularised by the BBC and ITV with shows like Get Your Own Back and Mad for It. It has also been used on Big Brother. Gunge is often used in charity and fundraising events too, in which certain figures are often sponsored to get gunged in front of a public audience.

The slime meaning for the word originated in the late 1930s, probably as an alteration of the word gunk.


History of gunge on TV


In Britain the popular BBC show Not Only... But Also featured a closing sketch called Poet's Corner in which that week's guest would be challenged to an improvisational poetry contest against Peter Cook, with Dudley Moore acting as referee. Each contestant would sit at the corner of a square tank of BBC Gunge on a rigged seat that could be triggered so as to catapult the occupant into the tank. The referee would sit at one of the other corners in a similar chair. Any use of repetition, hesitation or deviation from the challenge theme would precipitate the offender into the tank. The sketch always ended with all three personalities in the tank, chest deep in slime and spouting poetry.


The legendary UK Saturday morning children's show Tiswas used the concept of gunge in abundance. Having already established messy slapstick humour through custard pies and buckets of water being thrown over presenters and guests, Tiswas had taken to locking up adult volunteers into a cage. Once inside the Cage, the inhabitants would normally be soaked with buckets of water at random points in the show. Where gunge became involved, was thanks to the tin bath perched on top the Cage. Through a handle, this tub could be tilted, dropping its messy contents onto the people below.

While famous for its custard pie humour, it would not be unusual for Tiswas to have buckets of food and imitation mud/horse manure poured over people. Custard and baked beans were popular choices.


In North America, You Can't Do That on Television, a Canadian children's show popular on Nickelodeon, routinely subjected its characters to gunge when they said, "I don't know.", or any other phrase related to slime, the colour, water, or pies. It became a staple of the show where other actors would try and encourage their peers to say a phrase to get them "slimed". This aspect of the cult show later became iconized in Nickelodeon's slime logo, and live events where kids would be offered the chance to get "slimed" or publicly humiliated.

In Britain and Europe, in the early eighties, children's gunge-based gameshows were the norm. Particularly shows like How Dare You! on ITV and Crackerjack on the BBC ensured that the gunging element featured on shows for the decade to come. On How Dare You!, one of the main games was 'Teach Them a Lesson', where children got the opportunity to drench their teacher or representitive from their school in gunge whilst sitting above a knee deep filled gunge tank. After this game the teachers were sometimes knocked off their perch by one of show's presenters and into the gunge tank.

Later in the eighties, the BBC launched Double Dare, based on the US style format, but much sloppier than its US counterpart. Also, gunge started to appear on mainstream shows such as Game for a Laugh on ITV and Noel Edmond's Saturday Roadshow on the BBC.

Other countries in Europe also started to have gunge elements on mainstream shows. Un Dos Tres on TVE in Spain often had contestants throwing buckets of gunge at each other. Also, Donnerlippchen, a TV show in Germany, had many messy games; the climax of the show was dunking the team's suited boss in a dunk tank.


In Noel's House Party, the public often voted to determine which celebrities on the TV show would be gunged in the Gunge Tank. In later years, the Gunge Tank became the Gunge Train, and celebrities were forced to take a ride on the train and were covered in gunge throughout their journey. Celebrities usually returned with their suits ruined and faces unrecognisable. Sometimes audience members were gunged on the show for reasons of revenge by family members or friends.

The entertainment factor attached to the process of gunging was realised by the producers of the charity event Comic Relief, who held an event, in cooperation with the Guinness World Records at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham where an attempt to set a record for the Most People Gunged Simultaneously took place on March 12, 1999. 184 gallons of gunge was splattered over 731 people.

All across Europe TV producers were ordering more gunge segments to be fitted into mainstream TV shows due to its popularity with viewers. In Germany, on SAT1, Halli galli [1], Glücksritter (RTL)[2], Glücksspirale [3], plus the German version of NHP - Gottschalk's Haus-Party, all involved a high dose of gunge. Halli Galli had audience members plucked out of their seats and sent down a messy gunge slide and into a pool. Likewise, Glücksspirale and Glücksritter had contestents plucked out of the audience and gunged in the most spectacular ways.

Towards the end of the nineties, with the demise of Noel's House Party and the dwindling audience figures for other European shows, the gunge segment in many mainstream shows started to fade.

Throughout the 1990s, gunge became a focal feature in many children's TV shows. Teenagers and celebrity guests are often seen competing in quizzes on Live & Kicking, and are gunged if they lose. Popstars Lee Ryan, Ben Adams, Katy Hill, Lesley Waters, Katherine Merry, Heather Suttie and Victoria Hawkins were gunged on this show. Many other shows used gunge throughout - Fun House, Get Your Own Back, Run the Risk and Double Dare.


In 2000 a children's gameshow called Insides Out featured gunge throughout the programming, most notably a tug of war involving intestine like ropes over a pit of gunge and the final game, an inflatable assault course of the digestive system where gunge would drop at unexpected points whilst the contestant was going back and forth to pick up body pieces. Other kids' programmes such as Xchange, Best of Friends and Diggin it also featured gunge or messy activities from time to time. Dick and Dom in the Bungalow and Holly & Stephen's Saturday Showdown (previously Ministry of Mayhem) featured messy segments through out the programmes, but more recently Toonattik featured a gunge quiz. In 2006, S4C introduced a kids Show called Waaa!!! where kids are sat on a chair that moved along rails over tanks of gunge and failing to answer a question correctly resulted in then being dropped into the gunge. In 2007 Scratch and Sniff's Den of Doom launched which from the promo saw kids fall in to a pool of gunge similar to the one used in Get Your Own Back.

The most regularly watched show containing a gunging finale is the Saturday Show, the child and the adult, normally Simon Grant, if the grown up lost they got gunged and they were in the same gunge tank the following week and the child took home the prizes, but if they lost they got gunged and they took home with them a "I Got GUNGED On The Saturday Show" Certificate

Gunge tank

A gunge tank is the device from which the gunge is dropped overhead onto people.

Usually constructed with plastic transparent walls, the tank is made up as a box shape with three walls, and usually a front door for access. It usually has a chain which is connected to a mechanism which releases the gunge when pulled. There is usually a seat in the tank for the victim to sit on. The gunge tank is commonly used in television programmes, notably the British TV series Noel's House Party & Crackerjack. More recently, Gunge Tanks have been used in children's Saturday morning TV programmes such as Holly & Steven's Saturday Showdown.

Gunge tank and gunge alternatives

A gunge tank does not have to be used, however this gives the gunging an authentic look. Other alternatives can be used such as a bath were someone pours the gunge onto the victim who is sitting in the bath, a shower cubicle - which is similar to the Gunge tank but has no seat or release mechanism so someone will have to pour the gunge over the victim's head standing on a high object or a pool similar to the one used on How Dare You! & Get Your Own Back or a smaller one similar to the one used on Nickelodeon's Slime Time Live. Gunge games or messy games makes use of gunge or alternatives. A gunge dunk is similar to a gunge tank but instead the victim is seated above a pool of gunge and when a target is hit the chair swings back and the victim falls into a vat of gunge, this is however more commonly used with water.

Use as a crowd control device

In 2006, researchers at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, US, patented a device which releases a stream of slime, making pavement very slippery[4]. It is intended to be used in crowd control.


See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gunge". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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