Frank Skinner reveals brutal reason why Room 101 was axed

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

Frank Skinner, the iconic comedian, has disclosed the ruthless reason behind the BBC’s abrupt cancellation of the beloved show Room 101 in 2018. The 67-year-old, who had been the third presenter of the show during its TV stint, disclosed that a seemingly harmless question he posed to BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, led to the show’s demise after 24 years on our screens.

Frank, who announced the cancellation back in 2018, recently shared the incident with the Daily Star, stating, “I made the mistake of asking Charlotte Moore at a meeting what she’d personally put into Room 101, given the choice, and shortly after that, we were decommissioned.”

Room 101, named after the infamous torture room in George Orwell’s novel 1984, allowed celebrity guests to discuss their pet peeves and consign them to oblivion in Room 101. The show originated on Radio 2 in 1992, made its TV debut in 1994, and returned to radio last year with former presenter Paul Merton now at the helm.

Frank Skinner sat in the Room 101 hot seat between 2012 and 2018.

Frank Skinner looks to the future after Room 101 axe

Despite the TV show’s demise, Room 101 found a new lease on life on the radio, with Paul Merton leading the reincarnated version on BBC Radio 4. Merton, who succeeded Nick Hancock as the TV host, expressed his delight about returning to the franchise, noting that the audience response on radio was even more enthusiastic than on TV.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Frank Skinner reflected on his exit from Room 101 and humorously remarked, “Room 101 is dead. But I’m alright fiscally. I’ve done seven series’. I don’t feel that I have been washed up on the shores of stand-up.” Despite bidding adieu to Room 101, Skinner is gearing up for his self-reflective stand-up show, “30 Years of Dirt.”

Paul Merton seamlessly slipped into the Room 101 host chair in 2024, initiating intriguing conversations with guests like former Channel 4 presenter Steph McGovern about their pet hates. Other notable figures, including Claudia Winkleman, Mark Steel, Julian Clary, and Phil Wang, have also shared their gripes on the revamped radio version.

Show to return in radio form with former host

The demise of Room 101 on TV in 2018 didn’t dampen the spirits of the show’s former face, Frank Skinner. In his signature witty style, Skinner, who received an MBE for services to entertainment in the 2023 New Year’s honours, exclaimed, “Who the f*** cares? Room 101 is dead. But I’m alright fiscally. I’ve done seven series. I don’t feel that I have been washed up on the shores of stand-up.”

While Room 101 may no longer grace our television screens, it has found a new home on the airwaves. The radio revival, featuring Paul Merton as host, proves that the concept resonates with audiences. Whether it’s banishing pet peeves or engaging in hilarious banter, Room 101, in its radio avatar, remains a platform for candid discussions about the things we love to hate.

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