It’s the moment of truth at the climax to the national Wordhunt seen on Balderdash & Piffle earlier this year. Can presenter Victoria Coren persuade the editorial top team from the Oxford English Dictionary to rewrite the definitive record of the English language?
What’s the earliest evidence for pass the parcel? When and where were mushy peas first served up by that name? Who first said phwoar? Who pulled the first moonie or first went on the pull?
In Balderdash & Piffle you helped us dig up the evidence to rewrite the OED, guardian of the English language, 21 times.
In this special Easter programme, commissioned in response to the many thousands of pieces of evidence sent in by Balderdash & Piffle viewers, you have helped us rewrite the dictionary many more times again, with unprecedented results.
“Can you do better?” was our challenge to viewers when Jerry Hall investigated the origins of ‘cocktail’, Courtney Pine went on the trail of the word ‘cool’ and Daniela Nardini tackled the mystery of the ‘ninety nine’ ice cream.
As books, home videos, cartoons, film-scripts and childhood scribblings flooded in claiming earlier use of particular words and phrases on the Wordhunt list, the answer was clearly an emphatic “yes”.
Among the highlights of Balderdash & Piffle – The Results Show:
- Ringo Starr’s wedding and the first evidence for ‘made-up’ meaning happy.
- A furore over phwoar – just what is said to Barbara Windsor in Carry On Doctor?
- OED hand-wringing over hand-written evidence – can the Dictionary cite Derbyshire poet Clare Washbrook’s 1992 rhymes about mingers, the comics that bottom-obsessed Will Weaver from Eastbourne wrote about moonies as a 10 years-old, or Judy Barley from Scunthorpe’s excitement in 1976 at her PE teacher’s sexy legs?
- How cool is cool? Dickens, Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll all use cool many decades before the 1933 reference found by Courtney Pine in the series. But is it really the trendy modern sense?
- Have we cracked the conundrum of the ninety nine with an ingenious mathematical solution worthy of the Da Vinci code?
Click here for the OED’s Results.
This programme was made by Takeaway Media, Wingspan's parent company, which Archie ran with Neil Cameron.