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"Lockdown has been hard on everyone including the artists and musicians who cannot perform. This group and show has helped us all. We sing, dance, laugh and cry together but most importantly are there for each other even though we've never met"
Annemarie Endicott (BNI Fan)

"The 'Doonifans' have become a community in their own right supporting each other with kindness and friendship, all week via the Facebook group and YouTube comments during the show. People have opened up about their mental health and are supported by strangers who have become friends. Scott and Amanda acknowledge pretty much every comment made and always have a kind word for anyone having a hard time. It has given us all a high point of each week...  In summary, I don’t know how a lot of us would have got through the last year without the huge effort each week by these two people"
Laura Poutney (BNI Fan)

The Covid Pandemic was rubbish. From March 2020, for over a year and a half, Coronavirus stopped every band we knew from playing gigs, took innocent lives too soon, knackered the economy, caused idiots to start panic buying loo-rolls, tanked small businesses, decimated the festival circuit, allowed some rotten and corrupt politicians to give lots of tax-payers' hard-earned cash to their even richer mates, whilst they had parties and told us not to, and no-doubt spelled the beginning of the end for many amazing grass-roots live music venues. It also forced live music ONLINE for over 18 months, for those who were prepared to soldier on in the face of adversity.

 

And that is how Scott Doonican's BIG NEET IN became a thing.

Whilst we were all told to stay indoors and to work from home, Scott decided to do his bit for the war-effort by entertaining the troops from the comfort of his music room, and why not... as you probably know, he loves to put on a show. Not only that, but because the rest of the band were in completely different counties at the start of the first national lockdown, he was joined each week by his partner Amanda, who from the outset, didn't want to appear in front of the camera (but over time created an army of zany puppet characters who took on a life of their own).

After the 4th BIG NEET IN, Scott packed his grainy mobile phone camera away and worked out how to improve the sound and visuals using the computer instead, and undoubtedly, as the shows progressed, both he and Amanda learned a lot about broadcasting technology (didn't every musician at this time?!).

The further you delve into this archive of shows, the more you will see just how far Scott and Amanda took things (warning it gets pretty bonkers the further you go)! From around Episode 10 onwards, the shows began to feature an increasing number of regular puppet guests, and also musical guests too. This may appear a little strange, but if truth be told, Scott needed someone or something to 'bounce off', because it's hard to be funny when you can't see or hear your audience. Without intending to, Amanda and her puppet characters became the vehicle to make the show more interactive, and it didn't take long until fans who had tuned in from the very first episode had taken characters like Gloria, Gordon, Morris and Percy into their hearts. This was what made every BIG NEET IN so different to anything else that was on the internet during lockdown. It wasn't for everyone, but for a very small pocket of the internet, it was a veritable treasure trove of bizarre comedy and music, with something of a cult-like following.

In the end, Scott and Amanda decided that their ultimate aim was to create a show like no other musician or comedian was doing online at the time. They wanted to fuse elements of The Muppet Show with the catchphrase-based humour elements of The Fast Show, whilst also ensuring that every episode harked back to the heydays of the Saturday evening TV variety show (very much like The Val Doonican Music Show did from the 60s to the early 90s).

The show even spawned several albums, including a double CD of the best of Scott's collaborations with the likes of Frank Turner, Eliza Carthy, Kathryn Roberts, 3 Daft Monkeys, Simon and Jeremy from the Levellers, Sound of the Sirens, Samantics and many more. A playlist of Scott's collaboration videos can be found HERE. 

Anyway, all of the shows that went out on Saturday night live, are here to relive... so grab a pack of beer, pour some wine, or mek a brew, but most of all enjoy the show(s)...

It is worth noting that Scott and Amanda still do a few BNI shows each year (including their now-annual Xmas Eve and New Year Hootenanny shows), and these will often be added on the Tour Dates page.  

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THE BIG NEET IN ARCHIVES RESOURCE PROJECT
We are incredibly grateful for the time and effort taken by a small group of Doonifans, co-ordinated by Rob Hurst, who took the time to re-watch all of the original episodes of Scott Doonican's BIG NEET IN, in order to create something of a complete viewer's guide to the entire series of shows. This amazing team catalogued all 69 of the original broadcasts (and they have plans to do the same for any future episodes or specials in the post-pandemic future), including the setlist played by Scott, any music videos featured in the show, notable arrivals of new puppets/characters, selected quotes from each show, the weekly pub quiz quiz questions and answers, special guest appearances, trivia, and wherever possible, information about the original pre-show and after-show that went out on 'Facebook Live' before and after each BIG NEET IN (that aren't included here in the BNI Archives). It was something of a Herculean feat, as there was over an entire week of viewing in just the first 69 shows alone, and we can't thank them enough for their time and dedication, so that people who want to relive the magic from a very strange time in the band's history, can do exactly that.

Here's what Rob Hurst, who co-ordinated the 'Big Neet In Archives Resource Project' has to say:

 

"What we've tried to do is to create a tool for fans to use, find things that they half remember or search for episodes where certain things happened (e.g. Amanda scaring the bejebus out of Scott with the spider!) and when our much-loved puppets debuted. 

 

Having three main people contribute means there is a slight change of voice in what was deemed significant or not, Lin [Hulme] on her shows, documented the source of video more, whereas I normally listed them as 'video', unless it was significant. Paula [McArdle], in her pre show and aftershows, put a much more emotive voice to her writing, which I really liked, and makes my own straightforward reading very different.

 

As more monthly irregular shows occur, I'll try to keep updating,
Rob


Contributors:
Rob Hurst, Lin Hulme, Paula McArdle, Matthew Jarvis
(with very occasional help from Scott Doonican when needed)
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