Synpet Newton’s Brush With British Comedy

If you’re from the UK, which several of you may be which 2nd place on the flag chart on the right indicates, you may have heard of a comedy quiz show called 8 out of 10 Cats on Channel 4. After getting a sudden spike of hits on the Synpet Newton video all from the UK (900 hits in about a week) a little while ago, 8[o/o]10C’s maker Zeppotron emailed me asking if they could possibly use the Newton video (which is below, to refresh your memory) on an upcoming episode.

I was already a big fan of several British comedy quiz/panel shows (of which America has very few, except notably Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on National Public Radio) like QI, Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You?, and TV Heaven/Telly Hell, so 8 out of 10 Cats was a delight to discover.

I had ripped the video from VHS to digital and uploaded it to YouTube a few years ago, and it got the attention of several tech sites and viral whats-in-now hubs (and was especially honored to have it appear on the Waxy Links list, that I read near-daily, here on May 5, 2008). Zeppotron, however, was pretty serious about it and even drew up a contract for use of the video.

Zeppotron mentioned being willing to pay a fee for using it, but the novelty of having it appear on a British comedy quiz/panel show was pleasure enough. Although not in the contract itself, I had asked optimistically if Jimmy Carr could have worn a giant foam Texas cowboy hat during his brief monologue as payment, but ultimately the contract merely specified 1 British Pound as payment, just to have something there presumably.

Alas, the clip was reported used on the show only as far as the live studio audience filming of the show, but did not make the final editing cut for the broadcast version of the show for the greater British public, unfortunately.

However, in the process of getting my uncle to sign the contract, he, as inventor of the Newton and lead for Synpet (which ultimately folded, instead of being sold off which I may have mentioned earlier) suspected that I may have the only known surviving copy of the actual VHS Newton promo cassette, plus authorized me to sign any future legal usage permissions for it to perhaps save time.

Also however, Zeppotron does still own the limited rights to the footage, so could presumably still publish the footage on the show (specifically for 8 out of 10 Cats and adverts for it, but not for any other reason) perhaps on a DVD extras feature of some kind sometime later, if warranted.

(I would embed a feed of the show here for example, but I try generally to run a family-friendly site and the show itself has a tendency to offer loads of swearing, although in a comedic context.)

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