'Naked Jungle' 20 years on: A look back at the UK's most infamous TV shows

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Keith Chegwin rarely shied away from discussing Naked Jungle. (Photo by Danny Martindale/Getty Images)
Keith Chegwin rarely shied away from discussing Naked Jungle. (Photo by Danny Martindale/Getty Images)

This week marks 20 years since one of TV’s most bizarre and infamous events, Channel 5’s Naked Jungle.

The Keith Chegwin (fully) fronted programme was broadcast on June 6 2000 to an audience of shocked viewers as its host and contests appeared - as the title suggests - completely starkers (although Cheggers did wear a hat).

While it was broadcast post-watershed, that still didn’t stop people from deriding it as one of the most awful things to have ever graced the small screen. In fact, it topped a Radio Times 2006 list of the worst shows ever made.

Ever the good sport, Chegwin seemed to take it all in his stride as throughout the years he willingly discussed the show that saw him stripping down to his birthday suit, even after the terrible reception.

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The late, great star even parodied himself in a Life’s Too Short special in 2013 where his alter-ego appeared nude on stage.

So in honour of one of TV’s most unforgettably awful programmes and its milestone anniversary, here are the best of the worst - six more of the UK’s most infamous television shows.

Shafted (2001)

The Robert Kilroy-Silk show 'Shafted' was short-lived. (ITV)
The Robert Kilroy-Silk show 'Shafted' was short-lived. (ITV)

Robert Kilroy-Silk’s foray into gameshows didn’t get off to a good start, in fact it never really got off the ground as the first few episodes of ITV’s Shafted were so badly received it stopped at just four instalments.

The game saw contestants go through a series of money-building rounds before ultimately choosing to 'share' cash with an opponent or 'shaft' them to take the whole prize themselves. Although, it lacked the charm of the famous 'split or steal' format of Jasper Carrott's Golden Balls and the entire thing was rather lacklustre.

One key point of ridicule stemmed from Kilroy-Silk's introduction to the show as he asked players whether they wished to "share" or "shaft" their opponents with some interesting hand gestures. In later years, his infamous catchphrase was mocked on Have I Got News For You - and deservedly so.

Come Back Mrs Noah (1977)

Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft may have been the brains behind several successful British sitcoms including Are You Being Served? and 'Allo 'Allo! but one of their other projects, Come Back Mrs Noah, cannot be said to be held in the same regard. At all.

The space themed sitcom saw beloved Mrs Slocombe star and national treasure Mollie Sugden cast as the titular Mrs Gertrude Noah, a housewife in the year 2050 who is accidentally sent into the cosmos with a small crew after her competition-won visit to a new space explorer goes awry.

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However, it proved to be more of an astronomical failure due its poor jokes and weak premise, and unsurprisingly only lasted for one series - a shame considering the writing and acting talent it held.

Horne and Corden (2009)

Matthew Horne and James Corden in a 'Horne and Corden' sketch. (BBC)
Matthew Horne and James Corden in a 'Horne and Corden' sketch. (BBC)

Off the back of the success of the hugely popular Gavin and Stacey, James Corden and Matthew Horne landed their own sketch show Horne and Corden. However, upon its 2009 debut the comedy programme was panned by critics and audience alike with Corden going on to express his regret that the show was made.

The show was criticised for its childish sense of humour and excessive nudity, with Rachel Cook in the New Statesmen describing it “as funny and as puerile as a sixth-form revue".

Luckily for Corden however, it didn't affect his career too much as he was able to rise to fame through his and Ruth Jones’ beloved sitcom before landing roles in big budget Hollywood films, gaining acclaim via theatre work and going on to front The Late Late Show. Not bad.

Royal Grand Knockout Tournament (1987)

Prince Edward prepares for It's A Royal Knockout. (PA)
Prince Edward prepares for It's A Royal Knockout. (PA)

The Royal Family, they’re just like us! Proving no-one is immune to failure and embarrassment, several members of the country’s most famous family were left red faced after signing up to an ill-advised 1987 televised charity special of It's a Knockout.

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The Grand Knockout Tournament - or It's a Royal Knockout - was spearheaded by a young Prince Edward who brought along his sister Princess Anne, brother Prince Andrew and then sister-in-law the Duchess of York to captain four teams comprised of showbiz and sporting stars.

The participant list proved to be a bizarre blend of stars including John Travolta, Anneka Rice and Meat Loaf. To top it all off, one of the hosts included Les Dawson, Paul Daniels was a timekeeper and Aled Jones, Rowan Atkinson and Barbara Windsor were heralds of the event. Talk about a mixed bag.

The tournament, which saw the famous faces chuck plastic hams at each other among other humiliating activities, was not well received by the public and is likely something the Royals don’t like to be reminded of too often.

Eldorado (1992-93)

View of the cast of the BBC television soap opera Eldorado pictured together on the specially built set in Spain circa 1992.  (Photo by Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images)
View of the cast of the BBC television soap opera Eldorado pictured together on the specially built set in Spain circa 1992. (Photo by Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images)

Tony Holland, the co-creator of TV juggernaut EastEnders, was behind the creation of another soap. However, this one was rather short-lived as it was aired on the BBC for just one year between 1992 to 1993.

Eldorado was set in the fictional town of Los Barcos on the Costa Eldorado in Spain, exploring the lives and loves of British expats, but despite its exotic location it failed to establish itself as a serious soap contender.

The show was called out for its poor acting, bad plots and sound issues due to the echoing created through filming in the purpose-built Spanish villas.

The Los Angeles Times noted at the time it had been given the unfortunate nicknames “Helldorado,” “El-bore-ado,” and “Disasterado”. Predictably, the BBC have not commissioned a soap in the same vein since.

Heil Honey I’m Home (1990)

Jojo Rabbit and The Producers might have won acclaim using imitations of Adolf Hitler for comedic purposes, but 1990 live action sitcom Heil Honey I’m Home didn’t receive quite the same reaction.

The conflicting-neighbours comedy saw Hitler (Neil McCaul) and Eva Braun (DeNica Fairman) transformed into a typical sitcom husband-and-wife who happened to live next-door to a Jewish couple, Arny (Gareth Marks) and Rosa Goldenstein (Caroline Gruber).

Intended as a spoof of cliched 1950s sitcoms, the pilot episode explained the show has recently been discovered through tapes thought of as lost.

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The comedy was commissioned by satellite channel Galaxy, a part of British Satellite Broadcasting which later became a part of BSkyB. Despite a whole series being filmed, it never made it to air as BSkyB cancelled it upon acquiring British Satellite Broadcasting and the other instalments have never been made public.

Understandably, many considered the series to be in poor taste. The Board of Deputies of British Jews stated at the time: "We are against any trivialisation of the Second World War, Hitler or the Holocaust.”

Writer Geoff Atkinson addressed the series in 2013, noting that some of the intended satire was not as strong as he had wanted it to be in the final product.

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