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Whose Line Is It Anyway


Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Format: Improvisational Comedy

Created by: Dan Patterson, Mark Leveson

Presented by : Clive Anderson, Drew Carey

Country of origin: United Kingdom

No. of seasons : 10 UK, 8 US

No. of episodes : 142 UK, 220 US


Producer(s) Hat Trick

Running time : 24 mins UK, 21-22 mins US


Original channel : BBC Radio 4: 1988, Channel 4: 1988 - 1998 : ABC: 1998 - 2003, ABC Family: 2004 - 2006

Picture format: 4:3

Original run : September 23, 1988 - July 2, 1998 : August 5, 1998 - November 10, 2006


Whose Line Is It Anyway? (also abbreviated Whose Line? or WLIIA) was a short-form improvisational comedy TV show. Originally a British radio programme, it moved to television in 1988 as a series made for Britain's Channel 4. Following the conclusion of the British run in 1998, ABC began airing a version for the United States audience.

Whose Line Is It Anyway

The show consisted of a panel of four performers who create characters, scenes and songs on the spot, in the style of short-form improvisation games. Topics for the games were based on either audience suggestions or predetermined prompts from the host. Both the British and the American shows ostensibly took the form of a game show with the host arbitrarily assigning points and likewise choosing a winner at the end of each episode.



Whose Line Is It Anyway


Each typical television episode of Whose Line? featured four performers who sit in a line of chairs at the back of the stage. The host sat at a desk facing the large performance area in front of the performers. The host introduced each performer with a joke or pun, usually all related on a common theme or topic.

The remainder of the show was made up of games that are ostensibly scored by the host, who declared arbitrary point values after the game, often citing a humorous reason for his decision. The style of the games were varied (see Games, below). Some featured all four performers, while others feature fewer. Those performers not involved in a game remained in their seats at the back of the stage. Humorous banter between the host and the performers between games was also sometimes featured.

At the conclusion of each episode, a winner or several winners were chosen arbitrarily by the host. The "prize" for winning on the British version of the show was to read the credits in a certain style, chosen by the host, as they scrolled. On the American series, the "prize" was either to play a game with the host, or to sit out while the other performers did. After this game, credits simply rolled under the show's theme as the cast bantered off-microphone. Later in the series, the credit-reading, usually including all of the performers, was added following the "prize" game.

Each episode was edited from a longer recording session (though the games themselves were usually left uncut), each of which was typically cut to create at least two episodes. In addition, both versions of the show featured compilation episodes which compiled unaired bloopers and entire games that were cut from other sessions. The host would specially tape special segments for these programs to introduce the various clips. Each series of the UK version featured two compilations per season, while the US version featured them only occasionally.





Whose Line Is It Anyway


The number and type of games played varied from episode to episode. However, some games became more common over time, while others faded from use. New games were created throughout the run of both series. Some games, such as "Tag", are based on traditional improv games, while others were uniquely created for the series.

While all games are designed to test the performer's improvisational skill, some also test other skills, such as singing or doing impressions. Whose Line? features a number of musical games, which feature one or more of the show's resident musicians playing live backing music. Occasionally, pre-recorded music is also used.

Some games require suggestions or topics. The host sometimes calls to the studio audience for suggestions that a game requires, while for other games this information is written by the production staff, or is submitted by the audience in advance, and chosen from those submissions. The host also controls a buzzer, which ends most games.

After the first few seasons, recurring themes evolved around certain cast members and certain games. On both versions, it became common to poke fun at both the host and the other performers.






Whose Line Is It Anyway

Opening sequence An opening sequence used by the British version of Whose Line?, from 1994 to 1997The British version of Whose Line? had a visual opening sequence that changed over the series. In the first series, the title sequence showed clips from the actual show under the main theme. The sequence introduced in the second series featured shots of actors in various styles of dress and activity whose exposed skin had been blackened out as a special effect. The final sequence featured a white line on a red screen, out of which a series of four characters, drawn simply as white outlines, appeared and interacted. The style is similar to that of La Linea by Osvaldo Cavandoli. The same line figures were superimposed above a picture of Los Angeles' famous Hollywood Sign for the last series. The British version's theme song was written by Philip Pope.

The U.S. version of the show never had a set opening sequence. During the opening theme, the camera would pan the audience and the performers with the show's logo superimposed. Then, the camera would cut from performer to performer as Carey introduced each one; Carey himself would then come down the stairs of the audience bleachers to his desk to start the show.






Whose Line Is It Anyway


Whose Line Is It Anyway? was created by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson in 1988 as a radio show on BBC Radio 4. This early incarnation of the show is notable as being the origin of the show's tradition of having the performers read the credits in an amusing style; as it was a radio show, it was necessary for somebody to read the credits, and it was decided that it might as well be done as part of the programme proper, rather than being done by a traditional BBC Radio announcer. This approach to reading credits was pioneered by the earlier BBC radio show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again. Indeed the title of the show itself is a comedic riposte to another radio show, What's My Line. The radio series consisted of six episodes, with Clive Anderson as host, with John Sessions and Stephen Fry as regulars.

Originally, the producers asked the BBC to move to television; however the BBC was hesitant about this move. By the time the BBC decided to move to TV, the show went to Channel 4 with little change in format. Both the British radio and television programmes were hosted by Anderson during their runs. Original plans were to have Sessions and Fry as regulars with the rotation of two performers, however Stephen Fry and John Sessions pulled out at the last minute; nevertheless Fry convinced Sessions to continue. With the exception of Sessions in the first series, there were no fixed regulars on the show, though there were many recurring regulars. The British television programme lasted for a total of 10 series, with 142 episodes in all (including the six radio episodes) and remains one of the most famous TV shows on British TV. One of the early North American broadcasters of the British series was the Canadian youth channel YTV, though many episodes were edited for adult language and content.

Most episodes of the British television programme were primarily shot in London. However, half of the episodes for each of series 3 and 4 were taped in New York, and series 10 was filmed entirely in Hollywood in the same studio that would host the American version. This final season was first broadcast only in the U.S. on the Comedy Central cable channel. Reruns of the entire British TV series had been running on Comedy Central since the early 1990s, though some episodes were edited to remove games, rearrange games in a show, or remove potentially offensive content. Repeats of the British series moved to BBC America in April 2006; however, the network has not shown any episodes taped prior to 1994.

The show was brought to the attention of Drew Carey, who worked with regular Whose Line? performer Ryan Stiles, a co-star on The Drew Carey Show. Carey convinced ABC to air test episodes in the United States. The show turned into an inexpensive hit (though less so than the British version) and ABC kept Carey on as host. The show ran on ABC for six seasons, benefiting from the low expectations of its Thursday-night time slot, as ABC was not expected to mount a serious threat to what was then NBC's longtime Thursday dominance in the Nielsen ratings. While the network would regularly premiere two new episodes in one night, there were several occurrences in which some episodes were skipped or postponed until a later date because of the airing of other new shows or specials.

The format of the American version was essentially identical to the British programme. A main difference was Carey's use of the game-show facade, explicitly stating at the start of each episode that "the points don't matter," and sometimes emphasizing this throughout the episodes. The difference in standards in the U.K. compared to U.S. primetime meant stricter censoring of both language and content on the U.S. series. Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, frequent performers on the British show, were featured in every American episode, and Wayne Brady also became a regular toward the beginning of the second American season.

The American version was cancelled by ABC in 2003 because of low ratings; the network aired the remaining unaired episodes in 2004. In that same year, the ABC Family cable network, which had been airing repeats of the show since 2002, began showing brand-new episodes. New episodes appeared into 2005. ABC Family also played episodes cobbled together from unused footage of older recordings from 2005 to 2006.





Whose Line Is It Anyway


UK version From left: Stephen Frost, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Tony Slattery on the U.K. version.The original BBC Radio 4 broadcasts consisted of host Clive Anderson along with two guests and the two regular contestants, Stephen Fry and John Sessions.

Clive Anderson stayed on as host when the show moved to television, with John Sessions resuming his role as the only regular in the first series. He subsequently became a rotating regular in the second and third series. Stephen Fry appeared only occasionally on the television series.

Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie first appeared in the second and third series respectively; they each gradually increased the frequency of their appearances to the point that both appeared in every episode from the eighth series on. Stiles is the most prolific performer on the show, having appeared in 76 of the series' 136 episodes (including compilations).

Many of the show's performers, including Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence and Sandi Toksvig, were regulars with The Comedy Store Players, an improvisational group based at London's Comedy Store. Other regular performers from the British version included a variety of British, American and Canadian comedians, notably:

Niall Ashdown Wayne Brady Rory Bremner Chip Esten Stephen Frost Archie Hahn Mike McShane Greg Proops Caroline Quentin Jan Ravens Brad Sherwood Tony Slattery Steve Steen Jim Sweeney Additionally, the series occasionally featured celebrity guests as performers, including:

Peter Cook Julian Clary Eddie Izzard Phil LaMarr Rory McGrath Ardal O'Hanlon Catherine O'Hara Jonathan Pryce Griff Rhys Jones George Wendt

On the original BBC Radio series, the music was provided by Colin Sell, but when the show migrated to television, Richard Vranch (also of The Comedy Store Players) became the musician until the last season of the British show, playing electric guitar and piano. For the tenth series in Hollywood, Laura Hall took over, playing mainly keyboards.




Click here to see a great Whose Line Is It video clip

Whose Line Is It Anyway

US version Drew Carey opening an episode of the U.S. edition of Whose Line?Drew Carey hosted the U.S. version of Whose Line?. He was joined by the U.K. version's Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles as regular performers. Wayne Brady also became a regular in the second season. The fourth seat was most commonly filled by other U.K. veterans, including Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood and Chip Esten. Several newcomers joined the rotation: Denny Siegel in the first two seasons and Kathy Greenwood starting the third season after having appeared in two episodes of the previous season. Other fourth-seat performers appeared for only a few appearances (some as few as one), including Jeff Davis, Karen Maruyama, Patrick Bristow, Ian Gomez, U.K. veteran Josie Lawrence, Drew Carey Show actress Kathy Kinney and then-Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert.

Like the U.K. version, the show occasionally featured celebrity fourth-chairs: Robin Williams, Kathy Griffin, and Whoopi Goldberg each made appearances. Other celebrities made guest appearances for individual games, including:

Sid Caesar David Hasselhoff Florence Henderson Hugh Hefner Jerry Springer Joanie "Chyna" Laurer Richard Simmons Katie Harman Jayne Trcka Lassie

Laura Hall, who also featured in the tenth series of the British version, joined the American series for its entire run. From the second season onward, other musicians joined Hall. Linda Taylor made frequent appearances playing guitar and also some keyboards; other musicians such as Cece Worrall-Rubin on saxophone, Anne King, Candy Girard and Anna Wanselius all appeared alongside Hall (and sometimes also Taylor) on occasion.




Whose Line Is It Anyway

DVD release

DVDs have been released for both versions of the show.



The first release of the U.K. series, featuring the first two seasons, was released in America on March 27, 2007 and in the UK in January 25, 2008. Also, British episodes were released on VHS (in the U.K. only) in the mid-1990s. Additionally, a play-at-home book was printed in 1989, related to the British series.

All of the U.K. episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway? are available for free on 4oD [4] (for Windows XP and Vista users only). Series 9 and 10 have been added due to high demand.







The first DVD, Season 1, Volume 1, of the U.S. version of Whose Line? was released on September 26, 2006. It comes in "censored" or "uncensored" versions. Both releases include the first 10 episodes of the first season, with the episodes being the same on either version. The first seven episodes have had their original theme music (including all credits and ad bumpers) replaced with the version used on the rest of the episodes. The original music is still played when these episodes appear in reruns on ABC Family.

Warner Bros. released Season 1, Volume 2 on October 9, 2007, but only in an "uncensored" version.





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Car Repair 

For the best car repair service 
go to Don's Auto Clinic at 

1950 Ellesmere Rd #21 
Scarborough ON, M1H 2V8 

Phone: 416-438-9575 

Make an appointment 
and don't worry about                     what kind of service
you'll get because it's the best.
I've been going there for at least 5 years.
(Zane Ladhani---ownerof Zane's Comedy Warehouse

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 

Chinese Food 

Kim Kims Hakka Chinese

 Restaurant www.kimkim.ca 

Chinese Food is great and there are a lot of restaurants
but if you want to go to one of the best chinese food
restaurants in Toronto then go to Kim Kims at 

Kim Kim Hakka Chinese Restaurant 1188 Kennedy Road
Scarborough, ON M1P 2L1 416-757-8300
(Near Kennedy and Lawrence) 

I ususally have the Curry Chicken on Rice
but you'll be happy with whatever you order. 

If you can't handle spicy food tell them when you order. 

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 

  Real Estate Services 

One of Toronto's Best Real Estate teams is
the Wright Sisters.

They are the right choice 
whether you're buying or selling property. 

Lindsay & Melanie Wright Sales Representatives 

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., 
Brokerage 2237 Queen Street East Toronto ON M4E 1G2 

Office: (416) 699-9292 
Toll Free: 1-866-921-9292 Fax: (416) 699-8576

Tell them Zane sent you.