Get Your Own Back



Dave Benson Phillips


Peter Simon (Voiceover: 1995)

Lisa Brockwell (2001-4)


BBC1, 26 September 1991 to 1 January 2004 (190 episodes in 14 series)


For a while in the 1990s, Dave Benson Phillips felt the need to live a double life, a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence. By day, Nice Dave Benson was an utterly trustworthy father figure on Playdays; by night, Naughty Dave Benson was and still is the most unpredictable, crazy gungemeister since Stu Francis, (with the possible exception of Noel Edmonds). Peter Simon? Get out of town!

Dave Benson Phillips - gungemeister extraordinaire

The show mutated through a few different formats but the principle has remained constant throughout, which comprises of a child and a parent/relative/teacher/celeb who has committed some dreadful crime such as being old, singing badly or insisting upon a tidy room.

The First Foray

The show's first format started with three teams, later cut down to two from the second series onwards, where in the first round Brain Box, they have to answer a series of questions and for every correct answer, they have to do a chore and then go through the mangle where they have to take the chore item from point A to point B and then repeat until the timer runs out, every correct answer is worth 10 points and every item that got through is worth and extra 5 points.

The mangle in full force

At this point in the first series, the adult with the highest score got the Key to Freedom and a Clever Clogs certificate.

The remaining two have to play the second round called the Chumps' Challenge where it would involve either an obstacle course or a physical challenge.


After that round, the adult that scored the lowest combined score would have to face the Gunk Dunk where the child has earned the right to Get Their Own Back upon their parentrelativeteacherceleb by dunking them into a 2'6" deep pool of colourful gunge (total immersions usual), but the p/r/t/cs also has a chance to pre-emptively get their own back upon the child. This was by means of answering questions that had very obvious answers beginning with a certain letter, but - and here was the rub - they could not give answers beginning with that letter, which would of course have been far too easy. (For example, a man who was not allowed to give answers beginning with 'B' was asked, "What's the opposite of 'forward?'" and he came up with the answer, "Reverse", which was duly accepted). If the adult managed to come up with 5 correct answers within the time limit, the child would be gunged from above (in true Crackerjack/Noel's House Party-style). However, "children are not permitted without an adult" so the adults inevitably got it in the end. Yay!

Gunk Dunk in progress

A fun, energetic and chaotic show that filled a quarter of an hour in the Children's BBC block for the first three series, which left us wanting more. And by more, the Beeb translated it as extend the show by ten minutes.

The format for the fourth series remained the same, but a couple of new additions were added now that the show ran for 25 minutes. The first addition was that the child contestants got the chance after rounds 1 and 2 to play a mini game called Knockdown Bonus where if the child that completes a task first, they get to take away 10 points from the adult's score.

One of the knockdown bonus games: Popping all the balloons

The second addition was a newly added third round called Puzzle Time where the adult now teams up with the child on the opposition team and they both have to help each other for the adult to gain points.

Time to put the "T" in Teamwork

All Change

From the fifth series onwards, the format was given a change where it was now the kid who would have to gain points through a series of inflatable-dependent games in which the kid has to propel item A from location B to location C using implement D while their parent tries to prevent the same happening by use of implement E whilst randomly dressed up as a giant F and given miscellaneous handicap G. Points are awarded for each item A so propelled within a time limit.

After four rounds of games, the child who has gained most points has earned the right to dunk their grown up in the gunge tank. Above the grown up, there are three additional vats of goo filled with snot, custard and R.A.W. (Really Awful Waste) and the adult can avoid getting covered in them by answering questions, which is a multiple choice of two.

The Gunk Dunk from 1995 ready to unleash

In 1996, the show was given a "RADICALLY COOL" new look. Out went the fairground-themed setting and in came a battleground like arena. The final Gunk Dunk round was tweaked for this and subsequent series until 2000 where the grown up now has to answer questions with no multiple choice answers, if they get it wrong, the seat now cranks up a notch and the more they get wrong the higher height they get and the more speed the slide goes for the adult to go into the gunge.

The Gunk Dunk's RADICAL new look

The new look became a game changer for the show and became the era that viewers remember the most. There were a few additional features, depending on which series, that were also added to keep the show fresh.

The eighth series introduced guest presenters where kids wrote in to co-present with Dave for one show. At least it lasted one series until we get to...that later on.

The tenth series had a quick little mini game, which lasted one series called Know Your Foe where the grown up attempts to answers questions about the child that has nominated them for the gunge, if they get two out of three questions wrong, they will have to wear "THE SHOWER CAP OF SHAME".

Oh the shame.

Another quick little mini game that lasted one series was called Dodge the Splodge in the eleventh series. It's a bit like the Knockdown Bonus mini game from the fourth series but the adults go head to head against each other to answer a series of general knowledge questions and whoever buzzes in a gets a question right, they take away 10 points from the child's score, if they get a question wrong, their opponent gets the chance to answer it.

The podiums are poised and the questions are ready to be questioned.

There was also another mini game in the same series, which also lasted one year, where after the adult has answered questions in the Gunk Dunk, the child has a choice of pulling either lever A or B to win a special spot prize, the viewers at home get to see which one has the prize, but the child does not. They have 5 seconds to think about which one to choose and if the child pulls the wrong lever, they get covered in gunge and they don't win the prize.

The kid pulls the wrong lever and gets a vat of pink goo.

So there we go, a reworked look that paid off and a few other fun features to keep the energy going. We're pretty sure the new millennium is gonna keep the coolness factor but modernise it for the 21st century right?

Double Trouble

It's 2001, you're excited that GYOB is coming back after being off the air for a whole year, it has arrived, KING DAVE IS HERE AND...he's brought along an assistant who goes by the name of Lisa Brockwell. But hey, they have two hosts now, surely there's gonna be an exciting new format for the 21st century where it can't all be presented by one host right? Oh, it's the same format from what we had in the 90s. So, does that mean that the Gunk Dunk is unchanged? Wait, both grown ups are now up against the gunk dunk?

Dave and Lisa

OK, we're being a little harsh here, it's nice that they haven't changed the winning formula format that was implemented since 1996 because "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" right? Well, that's kind of true here, but there was just something off about it. It just seemed like the atmosphere felt a little tired and that's not because of the new set that looked absolutely astonishing and made it feel like an actual battlefield arena, it's because during the games, it seems as though they look a little bit strained and claustrophobic, did they cut them down to size or what?

The new set

Anyway, let's move on to the updated Gunk Dunk game where now both adults are up against the gunge. For the child that scored the most points, they get to crank their adult up a notch (two if there's a 60 point margin) and from there on, both kids have to answer general knowledge questions and for every one they get right, they get to move the adult up a notch until they're at the maximum height to get dropped in the plop. This is actually quite a positive change because as funny as it was with adults trying to answer questions to avoid getting cranked up, it did become stale over time.

Double that Gunk

Lisa Brockwell OK addition to the new 21st century era for the show, but Dave could've handled it on his own if they weren't gonna bother changing the format.

An additional feature was added for the fourteenth and final series called Goo Who?, which is where the audience get to decided who is the most deserving to be gunged in the Gunk Dunk, but before they vote, the adults get 10 seconds as to why they should NOT be gunged, after that, the audience vote with their foam hands and cheer loudly as possible to who goo. Oh, and it doesn't add to the child's score anyway so...a waste of a feature there.

Out With The Box and In On The Road

GYOB gasped its last breath on television in 2003 and marked the end for a show that had a strong start to get us ready for the weekend in its early years became must watch midweek afternoon telly before we all had to calm down and do our homework later that night. It's last few years in the early 21st century felt like a shadow of its former self and the Beeb quite rightly pulled the plug on the show before any more damage was done.

The television show may be no more, but a well known phrase reminded us that "Legends Never Die", and they were right because over a decade later, a live on stage version of the programme, with a portable gunge booth, was performed during the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe, with Dave Benson Phillips returning for hosting duties.

Key moments

Peter Simon often appearing on the celebrity episodes and randomly tripping up and falling into the gunge - even if he wasn't scheduled to be a contestant!

Dave himself ended up in the gunk dunk three times, the first time was during the 1992 Christmas special when Philippa Forrester pulled him in after she'd been dunked herself. The second time was the 1996 Christmas episode where Dave ended up as one of the contestants and Peter Simon took over as presenter for that edition. The final time was during the Christmas 1998 episode, which was presented in the style of a trial, with Dave as the convict (complete with prison outfit) and former contestants Kirsten O'Brien and Mr Blobby as the judges. Dave's questions were read out by Mr Blobby and were not translated in to English which led to the inevitable of Dave ending up in the gunge for a third time.

The final episode was a celebrity edition with Dick & Dom who just larked about the entire show and didn't take any of the games seriously.


Dave - "What do we do?" Audience - "CRANK THEM UP!"

"Pull that lever and get your own back!"

"What's the connection between you two?"

"There are some very obvious answers to these questions beginning with the letter 'F' (or whatever), but unfortunately, your answers can't begin with that letter..."

"I'll have that".

"How do you feel?"

Dave also regularly referred to the adults' forthcoming gungebath as "a drop in the plop" and probably a number of other things in addition.


Devised by Brian Marshall. Games devised by the Chatterbox Partnership.

Theme tune

Martin Cook (1991-95)

Steve Brown (1996-2000)

Matt Katz (2001-04)

Richard Webb (1998-2004)


The show was sent lots of (presumably unsolicited) ideas for games by children - and why not? - so formally invited ideas from viewers, inviting lucky bugg... sorry, successful designers onto the set to see their game played for real. Or, rather, as close an approximation to the submitted game as could be fashioned from the BBC budget.

Do you, like us, lie awake at nights wondering whatever happened to Lisa Brockwell? Then rest easy, for the mystery is solved. She previously had a stint presenting on Watford Hospital Radio, as of 2023 she runs a dance and yoga group.

Christopher Smith, who played Robert Sugden in Emmerdale between 1989 and 2001, appeared as a contestant in 1993 (when he was eight years old) and managed to gunge the producer of Emmerdale at the time, Morag Bain.

Radio 1 and 6 Music DJ Gemma Cairney appeared as a contestant in 1994 and wanted to get her own back on Saracen (a.k.a. - Michael Lewis) because he has never lost a game on Gladiators. Needless to say, Saracen won.

In 1995, the programme courted controversy by introducing 'The Furnace'. In this tweak to the format, the child would have to bring along a prized possession, and if they were beaten in one of the games by their adult team mate, their possession would be placed into the furnace and duly burnt. The introduction of the furance resulted in numerous complaints to the BBC's Points of View programme, ranging from upset caused to children, to the needless destruction of objects. As a result, it was revealed that the items placed into the furnace were not in fact burnt, with their demise being recreated through computer trickery, and the child being given their possession back after filming. Nevertheless, the furnace section of the programme was edited out of all subsequent episodes, and did not return in the following series.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

Opening titles from 1991, 1992 and 1994 in the BBC Motion Graphics Archive


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