How we made Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow | Culture


Richard ‘Dick’ McCourt

I’d wanted to be a children’s TV presenter ever since I was 12. I had a place at Bournemouth University, but instead got a job as a runner at Children’s BBC, and ended up on screen when they were looking for someone to join The Broom Cupboard. Dom was a magician from Exeter. He was on another CBBC show called The Friday Zone and would come into The Broom Cupboard. The boss saw that there was chemistry and we were employed to do links as Richard and Dominic. As we become mates offscreen, we became Dick and Dom.

CBBC had just launched on digital, so they said: “Do you fancy doing some long links around the cartoons on a Saturday?” We said: “Yeah, sure.” Then they decided it should be an actual programme. Ali G Indahouse was big at the time, so they went: “How about Dick and Dom In Da House?” Then another boss – I think they were quite drunk at a dinner party – said: “In Da House isn’t original enough,” and somebody shouted: “How about Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow?” So the title came first.

The format stuck from the off – a gameshow with six studio contestants called Bungalow Heads. We were up against SM:TV Live (with H and Claire from Steps) on ITV and The Saturday Show (with Fearne Cotton and Simon Grant) on BBC One, so at first we hardly got any viewers. But by late 2002, we were pulling in half a million a week, which was unheard of on a digital channel. The BBC said: “This should be on BBC One.” And soon we were.

It was popular with kids, parents and students. The BBC were overjoyed. They realised they had a huge hit on their hands so they left us to it. We were just trying to do original content that kids would find funny. We didn’t set out to get complaints. We were the second children’s programme ever to be mentioned in the House of Commons. Blue Peter was mentioned for something boring. Then an MP called Peter Luff said of In Da Bungalow: “Why should the licence-fee payer be paying for such lavatorial content?” I don’t think you’d be able to make anything like it now. That’s why Saturday morning is now all just cooking.

Dominic ‘Dom’ Wood

I struggled with dyslexia and knew that academia wasn’t going to be my path, so I got into drama and joined the National Youth Music Theatre. I saw Chris Evans on The Big Breakfast and thought: “I want to do that.” I thought magic could be my tool to get into TV so I kept sending in my VHS showreel to CBBC. Then, one holiday morning, I switched on the telly and there was this fresh-faced new presenter from Sheffield called Richard. I thought: “You absolute pig. You’ve stolen my job!”

Covered … Dick and Dom in The Guide.
Covered … Dick and Dom in the Guardian’s Guide. Photograph: Kerry Ghais

You can’t manufacture a double act. We got on straight away and lived together for years. There was no big game plan, we just understood our audience – kids want to see you having fun. We didn’t plan to make it to BBC One and win Baftas. But we were delighted when Charlie Brooker called us “a carnival of cackling clowns” in the Guardian. Then we were on the cover of a Halloween edition, with me dressed as a pumpkin and Rich pouring custard over my head.

The producer used to play Bogies when he worked in the theatre, only he used a much ruder word. He thought: “Why don’t we try it on kids’ TV?” We screamed it in Madame Tussauds and it was really funny. Then we went to Nando’s, screamed in there for a bit, and it just evolved into this very naughty animal. This country loves a catchphrase and ours will be attached to us for the rest of our lives. If we snuff it in some horrific accident, you’ll know because Bogies will be trending on Twitter.

It’s hard to look back at Bungalow without it triggering traumatic stress disorder. That bit with the cow is deeply weird. Back then, a lot of great entertainment – like TFI Friday and Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 – was ad-libbed. Our script was just bullet points. It just said: “Cow gives birth.” So I’m stood next to a giant cow. The cow goes into labour with this weird noise and gives birth to Rich, who’s covered in this disgusting afterbirth that he slips around in like Bambi. He stands up and goes: “It’s me!” Then everyone cheers – and I get sucked back into the cow’s, well, wherever Rich came out of. I mean, you just don’t get that on TV any more.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.