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Rockbusters is a competition conceived by Karl Pilkington that was played on Xfm from October 2002 until its final episode in July 2005, albeit with occasionally lengthy absences. The game became a staple of the Saturday afternoon slot, as fans of the show emailed in for the chance to win mediocre prizes. In spite of Ricky and Steve's insistence that the competition was rubbish, it was championed by many of the Xfm listeners. After Ricky, Steve and Karl finished the radio shows, the feature returned in the second series of the podcasts.


Despite its titular pun, the game has very little in common with Blockbusters. Rockbusters was an email only competition, having initially been a shambolic phone-in contest during its trial run. Karl - the creator and host of Rockbusters - would give out three clues on air, each of which corresponded to a band or artist. Though Karl claimed that the clues were 'cryptic', Ricky and Steve often argued that most of them were in fact just wrong. The clue itself would likely be a convoluted colloquialism that typically depended on the answer being mispronounced. To accompany the 'cryptic' clue, Karl would also provide the listener with the initial(s) of the band or artist in question. Having given out the clues earlier, Karl would then announce the results of each week's Rockbusters near the end of each week's show. Ricky would often challenge Karl on at least one of the clues that he had given out. There were prizes on offer every week for the competition's winner, who would be chosen at random by Steve. It was once noted on air that there was never a jingle for Rockbusters, unlike other popular segments such as Monkey News.


The prizes for Rockbusters were usually cobbled together by Karl, who would seemingly find all sorts of items to giveaway in and around the Xfm office. Occasionally, Karl would make more of an effort and bring in higher quality prizes. Ricky once remarked that Karl's approach for organising competition prizes tended to be focusing quantity over quality. The recurrence of certain prizes became something of a running gag in the Xfm series. For example, Karl seemingly had a copy of Ladder 49 to hand every Saturday afternoon for several weeks during the last series. This led to Ladder 49 being described as "the film that no one's seen, but is owned by every single Xfm listener." Many of the prizes that made up each week's bundle were compilation albums, often of music genres that were ironically never played on the Xfm airwaves. The bag which contained the competition's prizes was sometime referred to as the 'bag of tat'.


Early Existence

Karl's new feature was first discussed on air during the 31 August 2002 episode of Xfm Series 2. Initially, both Ricky and Steve seemed genuinely enthused; despite being unaware of the concept behind the competition. The contest's name appeared to alternate between What's the Song? and What Song is Karl Thinking of? According to Karl, the premise of this game was that he would tell 'a little story...that makes up a song title.' From this description alone, the link between What's the Song? and Rockbusters is obvious. Two examples were given by Karl in this first episode: Underworld's Born Slippy and Michael Jackson's Dirty Diana. A week later, the competition became a phone-in. Six callers failed to identify the song behind Karl's story, although eventually someone correctly guessed that it was Blur's Beetlebum. Over the course of the next month, the competition was hindered by the absences of Ricky and, in particular, Karl. After two weeks away from the show, Pilkington returned for the 12 October 2002 episode to launch two, brand new features - Rockbusters and Educating Ricky.

Initial Popularity

Along with Educating Ricky and Monkey News, Rockbusters quickly became a mainstay of the Series 2 shows. The demand for Rockbusters was perhaps proved best by the fact that many of the winners lived far from the London-based Xfm studios, and had to listen online instead. After some teething problems in its primitive stages, Rockbusters soon became a firm fans' favourite, something which Ricky and Steve reluctantly admitted on air. This period also coincided with Karl's talking role becoming even more prevalent in the show.

'Binning' Rockbusters

Though Rockbusters enjoyed early success, Ricky and Steve's frustration grew week-by-week at the poor quality of Karl's clues. The two often marvelled at how listeners manage to get the right answers week in and week out, no matter how ill-conceived or absurd Karl's clues were. Ricky has said on more than one occasion that it's probably better not to get the right answers. Karl's attempts to keep Rockbusters alive by 'tweaking' the format proved unsuccessful, as his audio recorded clues for song titles were perhaps even more confusing than the original format itself. By the 15 February 2003 episode, Ricky promised that it would be 'the last Rockbusters ever.' This lasted for some two months before the competition was ushered back in, as Steve conceded to Karl that 'most people want to see the return of Rockbusters.' Upon the return of Rockbusters, the quality picked up somewhat, before a slow decline led to the competition being axed again on air in the aftermath of the infamous 'Buy on Ferry/Christ, de Berg!' clues.


Despite Ricky and Steve's insistence that Rockbusters was finished for good, Karl managed to bargain with the pair on the 28 June 2003 show, and was offered a chance to save Rockbusters. Fortunately for fans of Rockbusters, Ricky begrudgingly accepted that Rockbusters could 'stay in the Premiership.' Nevertheless, a week later, Karl once again lost the right to keep Rockbusters on the air, after serving up three substandard clues for the listeners. Though Ricky seemed adamant that Karl had signed Rockbusters' death warrant, it made a return for the final episode of the series, with Ricky describing it as a 'special treat' for the fans.

Later Rockbusters

In the later editions of Rockbusters, Ricky appeared to have genuinely grown tired of flagging up Karl on the quality of his clues. There were far less threats to cancel the competition, and the feature's run remained uninterrupted during the final Xfm series. The Ricky Gervais Show's second series also used Rockbusters as a feature, and it was also played by Ricky, Steve and Karl when they filled in for Jonathan Ross over the festive period of 2005.

Final Return

After a six year hiatus, Karl unveiled three brand new Rockbusters clues on T4. These new clues were a surprise to both hardcore Pilki fans and Ricky himself who, after getting all the clues correct, saw that they were a vast improvement on the days of XFM.


Though most of Karl's clues were typically both unique and absurd, he would occasionally rely on particular formats for his clues.

Jamaican Fellas

Karl sometimes mentioned 'Jamaican fellas' in his clues to indicate to the listeners that they would have to affect a Jamaican accent in order to work out the answer. This was primarily done in order to pronounce 'de' and 'da' sounds, such as 'DeBarge' and 'Free da Pain'. Ricky would, perhaps quite rightly, be fearful every time Karl's clues began with the mention of a Jamaican fella, as some of the worst Rockbusters clues ever tended to derive from this format. An example of this is the notorious 'De Trout Spinners' clue from the 08 February 2003 show, which utterly astounded both Ricky and Steve.

Short Stories

Perhaps taking inspiration from his earlier feature What's the Song?, Karl's clues would, from time to time, consist of short stories. These were often tortured and inaccurate, such as his Alex Parks clue, where he needed multiple attempts just to read out the clue. Ricky rightly pointed out that this was because he was improvising the clue.

Two Easy Ones

Whenever Ricky challenged Karl on a clue being 'too easy', Karl pointed out that his tactic was always to give out two easier clues - in order to entice the listener in. He would then ensure that the third clue was extremely difficult, usually by making it illogical and nearly impossible to solve. Having said that, there were still only one or two occasions where Karl actually managed to 'beat' the listeners at Rockbusters.


Below is a complete list of Rockbusters clues, answers and (where necessary) explanations:

Xfm Series 2

Rockbusters #1: 12 October 2002

  • This young man prepared for his death. (WY) = Will Young
  • Better than the average homeless person. (S) = Supertramp
  • The little girl is hungry; what shall we do? (F) = Feeder
  • Exploding pet. (AK) = Atomic Kitten

Rockbusters #2: 19 October 2002

  • I'll take that book to the toilet with me. (LR) = Lou Reed
  • Blow the candles out before you eat the cake. (FL) = Flaming Lips
  • How can I wash up in something shaped like that? (NS) = N-Sync (N sink)

Rockbusters #3: 26 October 2002

  • At the moment I'm in a river full of logs. (JT) = Justin Timberlake
  • That lad's got bad asthma. (W) = Weezer
  • I saw Mousetrap the other night, but the heating was knackered and it ruined the evening. (C) = Coldplay

Rockbusters #4: 02 November 2002

  • I don't like them birds; they shouldn't be allowed in this area. (B) = The Bangles (ban gulls)

Many listeners guessed Boyzone and Ricky and Steve agreed that this was a more suitable answer.

  • He doesn't like women, yet he's got a couple of kids. That's a bit weird innit? (PD) = Puff Daddy
  • That bloke who does sport on telly, he's got a little kid. (DC) = Destiny's Child (Des's tiny child (as in Des Lynam)

Karl announced the answer as "Des tiny's child" and did not correct himself.

Rockbusters #5: 09 November 2002

  • That army has got some well nice trenches. (DW) = Dandy Warhols (dandy war holes)
  • The top of them curtains are wrecked; all the material's worn. (HV) = Holly Valance (Hole-y Valance)

During the show Karl got an off-air call from a woman saying, 'You know that thing at the top of the curtain is actually a pelmet, not a valance?' and he cut her off. The following week Karl reported that she called back to apologise and say that Karl was actually correct.

  • I was in Texas the other week, I fell over and landed on my knees in a puddle. (WH) = Whitney Houston (wet knee Houston)

Rockbusters #6: 16 November 2002

  • The fella has only got one badge left. (E) = Elastica (his last sticker)
  • The unmarried lady is a friend I eat out with. (MD) = Ms Dynamite (miss dinner mate)
  • I really really love that woman. I love everything she does. (M) = Madonna (mad on her)

Rockbusters #7: 23 November 2002

  • Stop throwing that fruit about. (CB) = Chuck Berry
  • That Scottish fella has made an error. (M) = Mis-Teeq (mistake)
  • God, you can make a right load of toast with them. (G) = Gorillaz (Grillers)

Rockbusters #8: 30 November 2002

  • You've been dunking that for too long. (LB) = Limp Bizkit
  • You won't be able to play that game in this pub. The table ain't big enough (FD) = Fats Domino
  • Well, I've had a rubbish day so I'm happy it's over. (GK) = Gladys Knight (glad it's night)

Rockbusters #9: 07 December 2002

  • That'll never get off the ground. (LZ) = Led Zeppelin
  • That woman's got her husbands gloves and a pair of her own. (HH) = Herman's Hermits (her man's, her mitts)
  • You'll get a load of bacon off them. (L) = Longpigs

Rockbusters #10 (Christmas Special): 21 December 2002

These clues are Christmas-themed, but all mentions of the holiday have no bearing on the answer and were only inserted because Heat Magazine ran a feature that queried whether Karl would link the clues to Christmas.

  • There's a load of letters there asking for advice. Put them on Claire's desk. Oh and, er, have a good Christmas. (F) = Foreigner (for Rayner (as in Claire Rayner))
  • Ask your mum if you should, after you've wrapped the presents. (S) = Shalamar (shall I, ma?)
  • A couple of people were arguing in the supermarket at the fruit and veg counter, but it's busy in there 'cause it's Christmas so that's probably what brought it on. (B) = Bananarama (banana drama)

Rockbusters #11: 04 January 2003

  • 42 pounds for a torch? That's a bit pricey innit? (D) = Deee-Lite (dear light)
  • He'll fit some chocolate to your feet. (A) = Aerosmith

Ricky contested the correct band should have been Aerocobbler.

  • Do you think your kid will get that strawberry for me? (WP) = Wilson Picket (will son pick it?)

Rockbusters #12: 11 January 2003

  • Don't argue with him. He ain't gonna change his mind. (AA) = Adam Ant
  • He always gets what he wants and doesn't worry about anyone else. (P) = Pixies (picks his)

Karl originally forgot the answer as he had not written it down, but remembered it when he saw it on email.

  • I'll have to put that woman in the oven. (AB) = Anita Baker (I need to bake her)

Rockbusters #13: 18 January 2003

  • I've got three other jumpers like this one. (FT) = Four Tops
  • Those people can't make up their minds whether to sit in the sun or not. (C) = Charlatans (shall-I-tans?)
  • That Jamaican fella needs an aspirin. Why is that? (FP) = Freda Payne (free da pain)

Karl gave out the wrong initials for the last clue, announcing it as 'FD' instead of 'FP'. Many listeners guessed Fred Durst (forehead hurts).

Rockbusters #14: 25 January 2003

  • The weather stinks, dunnit? (R) = Rainbow (rain b.o.)
  • Look, gran, just get on the boat and help us out will you. (R) = Ronan (row, nan)
  • If you're going to do that with your drink, I'd wait for it to settle a bit. (CK) = Chaka Khan (shake a can)

Rockbusters #15: 01 February 2003

  • The Australian picks two blokes. (E) = Eminem ('im and 'im)
  • That builder is a bit cute. (BT) = Bonnie Tyler

The third clue this week was an audio clip of a dog being beaten, with the answer being the song it was inspired by. The correct answer was Smack my Bitch Up.

Rockbusters #16: 08 February 2003

  • Well, if he would've been wearing a helmet he'd have been alright. (B) = Busted (Bust head)
  • Why are them Jamaican men swinging fish around their head? (DS) = Detroit Spinners (de trout spinners)

The third clue this week was an audio clip of a woman screaming, followed by a baby crying and a loud 'splat' sound, with the answer being the song it was inspired by. The correct answer was Born Slippy.

Rockbusters #17 (Accent Special): 15 February 2003

  • The northern lad remembers he has to tell his mom's daughter something. (O) = Oasis (oh, hey sis)
  • The person from Birmingham got a C in their degree. (T) = Toto (2.2)
  • The cockney fella isn't happy. Everything's going wrong. (DH) = Dan Hill (Down hill)

Nobody, including Ricky and Steve, was able to identify Dan Hill.

Rockbusters #18: 26 April 2003

  • The gingerbread man has only got one leg. (LB) = Limp Bizkit (Limp biscuit)
  • These people from the East Midlands swear a lot. (TTD) = Terence Trent D'arby (Tourette's Trent Derby)
  • Have a holiday in Italy. (TB) = Turin Brakes (Turin breaks)

Rockbusters #19: 03 May 2003

  • The hitchhiker needs a lift but in something bigger than a car. (VH) = Van Halen (Van hailing)
  • Don't be selfish, hand some of it out to your mates. (C) = Cher (Share)
  • The Scottish fellas can't get into their emails. (KL) = Kenny Loggins (cannae login)

Rockbusters #20: 10 May 2003

  • Me younger brother spotted you the other day. (JS) = Junior Senior (junior seen yer)
  • That champagne belongs to the boxer's kid. (AM) = Alison Moyet (Ali's son's Moët)
  • The vibrators. (B) = Buzzcocks

Rockbusters #21: 17 May 2003

  • Oh, they're havin' a few problems and that. They haven't got any rice left. (CC) = China Crisis
  • The Geordie fella doesn't know what he's being charged for. (BW) = Bill Wyman (bill? why, man?)
  • I had two bricks and I had to throw 'em at two women, right, and I didn't hit either of 'em. (MM) = Mister Mister (Missed her, missed her)

Rockbusters #22: 31 May 2003

  • The customer wanted some paint to darken up her room. The shop assistant knew what to do. (CB) = Cilla Black (sell her black)
  • It'd be all right if their heads weren't so big. (SF) = Small Faces
  • Chanel have got another perfume out. (NO) = New Order (new odor)

Rockbusters #23: 07 June 2003

  • That fella likes sucking on iron. (M) = Metallica (metal licker)
  • The Jamaican fella spots a boat. (D) = DeBarge (The barge)
  • Do you want a game of tug of war? Well, it's up to you, you own it. (E) = Europe (your rope)

Rockbusters #24: 14 June 2003

  • He's got American coins all down his spine. (N) = Nickelback
  • Jeremy Beadle has got a little bit of arthritis. What's going on there? (SLF) = Stiff Little Fingers
  • Foxy, Shipman and some country and western singer on a merry go round. (SD) = Spin Doctors (the country and western singer was Dr Hook.)

Rockbusters #25: 21 June 2003

  • If you're going to France by boat, you might as well buy your fags there because you'll get 'em a lot cheaper. (BF) = Bryan Ferry (buy on ferry)

Karl originally announced this as 'Buy It Ferry'.

  • This little foreign cafe's growing its own steak. (DA) = Del Amitri (deli meat tree)

Karl announced the initials as just being D.

  • The Jamaican fella might have screamed this on the Titanic. (CD) = Chris DeBurgh (Christ, de berg!)

Rockbusters #26: 28 June 2003

  • The doctor said part of the foot and the leg was no good, so he took 'em off and threw 'em away. (TB) = Tony Bennett (toe, knee, bin it!)
  • The Scottish monster has got a bit of a tan. (TD) = The Darkness (The dark ness)
  • Well, the 60's singer had a heart attack whilst he was 'avin it away. We won't be seeing him again. (FNM) = Faith No More (Adam Faith no more)

Rockbusters #27: 05 July 2003

  • All the police cars are on fire. (BS) = Blazin' Squad
  • The director of "28 Days Later" is shouting about sleeping outside. (DB) = Daniel Bedingfield (Dan yell, "Bed in field!" (as in Danny Boyle))
  • He wants to be a sailor. Why's that? (B) = Beyoncé (be on sea)

Rockbusters #28: 16 August 2003

  • This vegetable started life down under. (KO) = Kelly Osbourne (cauli Oz born)
  • The things that you normally find on the beach have been found floating round the moon. (TS) = The Specials (the space shells)
  • If you put that many in the post I'm surprised I didn't receive one. (FC) = 50 Cent (fifty sent)

Xfm Series 3

Rockbusters #29: 08 November 2003

  • That Teletubby has got lice. (TP) = The Police

(Karl messed up this clue. It was supposed to be "That Teletubby has got nits.")

  • I'm saving that money to buy condoms. (JC) = Johnny Cash
  • When you're making bread, add a bit of color for a change. (D) = Dido (dye dough)

Rockbusters #30: 15 November 2003

  • If you go to Chepstow you will. (S) = Seahorses (see horses)
  • ET's upset. What's he upset for, what's wrong with him? (ME) = Missy Elliot (missing Elliot)
  • I had a tape with Humpty Dumpty and Hickory Dickory Dock on it, but I broke it. (BR) = Busta Rhymes (busted rhymes)

Rockbusters #31: 22 November 2003

  • I'm going to the north east. What are you going there for? (S) = Seal (see Hull)
  • Ah yeah, she's related to the man in the lamp, you know. (G) = Genesis (genie sis)
  • The Jamaican fella would love to live there, but it's a little bit pricey. (DS) = Dire Straits (dear streets)

Rockbusters #32: 13 December 2003

  • I can't do any photos cos it's been nicked by a German. (AC) = Aztec Camera (has took/take camera)
  • If you keep eating, this part of your body will get bigger. (PC) = Phil Collins (fill colons)
  • The place where you go to take your dog a walk and that, or you might go there on a Sunday. People, sort of, might taste that area. (AP) = Alex Parks (A licks parks)

Even Karl accepted that the third clue this week did not work.

Rockbusters #33: 03 January 2004

  • Will you leave the entrance to me garden alone? (GG) = Gareth Gates (ger'off gates)
  • Don't phone but you can send a message on me mobile. (T) = Texas (text us)
  • We were sharing out the male sheep and that, and I think I got the best one. (DG) = Delta Goodrem (dealt a good ram)

Rockbusters #34: 10 January 2004

  • Don't be stealing my tools. Take your sister's. (NK) = Nik Kershaw (nick her saw)
  • Buy it if you want, I'm not that bothered. Think about it. Come back, right, come back if you want. Check some other places out first before you, you know. I'm not fussed. Shop around, come back. It's up to you. I'm not pushing you into anything. (SC) = Soft Cell
  • That's good, I can play ten pin bowling again. (O) = Outkast (as in I had a broken arm but now I'm out of my cast)

Rockbusters #35: 17 January 2004

  • The Jamaican fella wrote a review for "Phoenix Nights." (DC) = Divine Comedy (da fine comedy)

Karl later got confused and, in a Jamaican voice, announced it as "It's a divine comedy", making the accent superfluous to the clue.

  • We should all vote for Paul Daniels, David Blaine, Copperfield, The Great Soprendo, Tommy Cooper and Derren Brown. Why's that? What's going on there? (ES) = Electric Six (elect trick six)
  • Steve, what did your dad do? Ricky, what did your dad do? Can work on anyone. (E) = Erasure (he raised yer)

Xfm Series 4

Rockbusters #36: 28 May 2005

  • So if you got, like, a bulb and you look after it, and you teach it stuff and all that. What are you doing there? Do you know what I mean? (R) = Razorlight (raise a light)
  • People have a problem doing this when they get home from a night out drinking. What's the problem they've got? (K) = Keane (key in)
  • I had a vision of that Chinese flu. (C) = Caesars (see SARS)

Rockbusters #37: 04 June 2005

  • The fella let his wife know how he got the bruise on his leg. (CL) = Courtney Love (caught knee, love)
  • That Potter lad has a lot of bottle messin' about with the wizards. (TB) = The Bravery (brave Harry)
  • The Buddhists won't be able to get into their temple without these. (TM) = The Monkees (monk keys)

Rockbusters #38: 11 June 2005

  • There's a vehicle that sells kebabs. (D) = Donovan (donner van)
  • You're asked if you want that bit of the egg. You think about it, then you sort of decide against it. (YO) = Yoko Ono (yolk? oh... oh no)

Ricky was convinced the answer should have simply been "Yolk? Oh, no."

  • I don't think this burger will catch on. (M) = McFly (as in a McDonalds burger made of flies)

Rockbusters #39: 18 June 2005

  • Why don't you borrow some land off Mr. Boardman, Mr. Laurel or Mr. Fletcher? (LS) = Lisa Stansfield (lease a Stan's field)
  • I'm going to annoy those sea birds over there. (B) = Buggles (bug gulls)
  • What the Scouse fella said to the robber he found in his vineyard. (AW) = Amy Winehouse (ay, me wine house!)

Ricky contested the correct grammatical answer should have been "Ay, get out me wine house". After Winehouse's death, many comments on Youtube appeared paying tribute to "Aygetoutme Winehouse" as a reference to this show.

Rockbusters #40: 25 June 2005

  • When I'm ill I throw up horse food. What's going on there? (IH) = Isaac Hayes (I sick hays)
  • That garden tool isn't yours. Give it back. (ND) = Nick Drake (nicked rake)
  • That male sheep sounds fed up. Why's he fed up? (TR) = The Ramones (the ram moans)

Rockbusters #41: 02 July 2005

  • Richard's kid cuts hair for a living. (BD) = Barbara Dickson (barber Dick's son)
  • I have a problem saying the French word for "well." (K) = Kasabian (can't say bien)
  • Take 52 kebabs, times that by 27 kebabs. The fella is struggling to work it out. (DS) = Donna Summer (donner sum, er?)

Radio 2 Shows

Rockbusters #42: 24 December 2005

  • Put the, er...right, d'ya know them little information cards you get in a mobile phone? What's that called? But, put that on a spider's house. (SW) = Simon Webbe (SIM on web)
  • Diana Ross isn't, you know, sort of feeling that good at the moment. What's up with 'er? (ID) = Il Divo (ill diva)
  • That stuff that I put on my toast, *lick lick* it doesn't taste sharp enough. *lick lick* What's going on there? (JB) = James Blunt (jam's blunt)

Rockbusters #43: 31 December 2005

  • I've got snails, croissants and baguettes in me palm. What's going on there? (FF) = Franz Ferdinand (French food in hand)
  • Me granny's taking a penalty. She better get the ball in the back of the net. (NM) = Nana Mouskouri (nanna must score 'ere)
  • I'm where people go to relieve themselves after looking at elephants and that. What am I? (A) = Amazulu (I'm a zoo loo)

The Ricky Gervais Show

Rockbusters #44: Series 2, Episode 1

  • I don't want a house that far away from the water. I want to be right on top of it. (B) = Beyonce (be on sea)
  • That part of me leg is English. (B) = Britney
  • The fitness teacher has got a speech impediment. (KW) = Kanye West (can we rest?)

Rockbusters #45: Series 2, Episode 2

  • Steal that women's flower. (RP) = Robert Plant (rob her plant)
  • Keep whacking the cooker with a stick. (It doesn't have to be a stick.) = (B) = Beethoven (beat oven)
  • Venice. It's all water, innit? How would you describe it? (M) = Morrissey (more is sea)

Rockbusters #46: Series 2, Episode 3

  • That Jamaican fella doesn't want anything. (ND) = Neil Diamond (nil demand)
  • I ask them to pass me the ball by using their head. (E) = Editors (head it [to] us)
  • He's got the woolly ones, but I've got the ones that run and charge at you. (R) = The Ramones (the ram ones)

Rockbusters #47: Series 2, Episode 4

  • I went to the restaurant on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday if you want, and the fella who makes the food was there each time. (SC) = Sam Cooke (same cook)
  • Go into that woman's store and rip her off. (C) = Cornershop (con her shop)
  • You've had a go at laying down a track, but it ain't perfect. (E) = Eurythmics (your rough mix)

Rockbusters #48: Series 2, Episode 5

  • Those songs you sing at Christmas, that bloke who sings 'em is brilliant at it. (CK) = Carole King
  • I told the homosexual man that the grape tree was mine. (MG) = Marvin Gaye (my vine, gay)
  • I ask you, Ricky, if you believe in Father Christmas. What do you say? (S) = Santana (Santa? nah)

The T4 Appearance

Rockbusters #49: April 2012

  • That's a laptop... (A) = Adele (A dell)
  • The Spanish people are celebrating about the present they got for Jesus. (OM) = Olly Murs (Ole! Myrrhs!)
  • The Asian person's leg is a little bit angry. (TT) = Tinie Tempah (Thai knee temper)

Karl's Mam

In late 2002, Karl's Mam sent Karl her own clues that could be read out on air. Karl was quick to point out to Ricky and Steve that he felt she had not quite got the hang of writing the clues.

Rockbusters #7: 23 November 2002

  • This group would be good at doing your hair. (TP) = The Platters
  • This group sound like dinosaurs. (TR) = T. Rex
  • This group like to be by the sand and the sea. (TBB) = The Beach Boys
  • This guy sounds soup-perb. (GC) = Glen Campbell

Rockbusters #8: 30 November 2002

  • This group are nice on toast. (TJ) = The Jam
  • This man liked his wine. (DM) = Dean Martin
  • Hope you're not speeding when you meet these. (TP) = The Police
  • Sounds like these lads work for the hospital.(GP) = Gerry and the Pacemakers

Rockbusters #9: 07 December 2002

  • This group would go well with your Christmas dinner. (TC) = The Cranberries
  • They make a few good cupboards. (TC) = The Carpenters
  • This group thinks of lots of things. (I) = Imagination
  • She'd really like Blackpool. (FA) = Fairground Attraction

Ricky's Favourite Rockbusters

Despite Ricky's evident frustration at many of Karl's clues, he did appear to actually enjoy a handful of them, going as far as to call Karl a genius on some occasions. Examples where Ricky appeared to approve of Karl's clues are listed below:

  • That army has got some well nice trenches. (DW) = Dandy Warhols (dandy war holes)
  • I really really love that woman. I love everything she does. (M) = Madonna (mad on her)
  • Well, I've had a rubbish day so I'm happy it's over. (GK) = Gladys Knight (glad it's night)
  • That woman's got her husbands gloves and a pair of her own. (HH) = Herman's Hermits (her man's, her mitts)

Ricky spent a good half a minute laughing after Karl gave this result out.

  • Do you think your kid will get that strawberry for me? (WP) = Wilson Picket (will son pick it?)
  • Me granny's taking a penalty. She better get the ball in the back of the net. (NM) = Nana Mouskouri (nanna must score 'ere)

Ricky's approval of a clue would typically be signified by him telling Karl 'I'll give you that one'.


Below is a list of every known Xfm Rockbusters winner, in chronological order:

  • Sam
  • Cath Turner
  • Chris Beaumont
  • Paul Sloman
  • Pete, Catherine and Laura
  • Simon and Daisy
  • Amy Massey
  • Elliot Kay
  • Tom Gibbon
  • Nicola Rodgers
  • Jonathan and Louise
  • Mark Leader
  • N/A (Rollover)
  • Mandy Thompson
  • Rob Preston
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Richard Perks
  • Helen Perrot
  • Gerald Preston
  • Gina Farey
  • Steve Martin
  • Dan Mason
  • Sandra Cassidy
  • Aidan
  • Dave Suckling
  • Joe
  • Gina Farey
  • Tina
  • Katherine Jakeways
  • Laura
  • Matt Briggs
  • Stephen Gunning
  • Mike Gosling
  • Martin Williams
  • Paul
  • Gina Horastead
  • Ian Shillam
  • Gavin Thomson
  • Jenny McKean
  • Rob

Gina Farey appears to be the only person in the history of Rockbusters to win the competition twice.


Whilst most listeners appeared to be avid fans of Rockbusters, some were damning in their condemnation of the competition. One person even emailed in to declare that if the answer to a Rockbuster clue was 'New Odor', he would never listen to Xfm again. Another listener sardonically pre-empted his answers to a week's clues before they had been read out, guessing "No Van Ear" (Nirvana), "Kid Creosote" (King Creosote) and "Harry Seek-'em" (Harry Secombe). A more enthusiastic listener sent Karl a clue to guess for himself, which Karl correctly identified as "Lie In, No Rich Tea" (Lionel Richie).

As already mentioned frequently, Ricky and Steve were often scathing in their attacks on Rockbusters, and could not understand why anybody liked the feature. Steve, who often defended Karl from Ricky's remarks about other features (such as Monkey News), appeared to have no problem telling Karl on air exactly what he thought of Rockbusters. In spite of everything that was said against Rockbusters by Ricky and Steve, it remains to this day one of the most fondly remembered aspects of the Xfm shows.

On-Air Cancellations of Rockbusters

In total, 12 of the 41 editions of Rockbusters contained Ricky and/or Steve informing the Karl and the listeners that the competition was over. These claims were made during Rockbusters #3, #6, #14, #16, #17, #18, #19, #22, #24, #25, #27 and #31. Evidently, these threats to cancel Rockbusters were hollow, as Karl persistently managed to persuade Ricky and Steve to allow him to continue the feature.