What is Gunge?

Gunge is a brightly coloured, sticky & viscous substance that is known worldwide for its use in kid’s television; usually as a way for the children to ‘get their own back’ or embarrass the adults. Many game shows and slapstick programs also feature gunge due to its magnificent versatility and the obvious entertainment value.

A couple of well-known UK productions that feature Gunge:

  • Tiswas (1970s) – presented by several people including Chris Tarrant and Lenny Henry, Tiswas was a children’s tv show that featured a mismatch of comedy sketches, pop promos and competitions. Custard Pies were also heavily featured by way of the Phantom Flinger.
Chris Tarrant on Tiswas throwing a bucket of gunge over people in a huge cage

Chris Tarrant on Tiswas

  • Get Your Own Back (1990s) – presented by ‘The Godfather of Gunge’ Dave Benson-Phillips, the program featured children who wanted to ‘get their own back’ on an adult, be it a parent, teacher, carer or sibling. They’d compete through challenges to get a chance to pull the lever and drop their adult into a huge vat of brightly coloured gunge!
DAve Benson Phillips on Get Your Own Back with contestant hovering above the vat of gunge

Dave Benson-Phillips in Get Your Own Back

  • Noels House Party (1990s) – presented by Noel Edmonds, the Saturday evening show popularised the use of gunge on tv, paving the way for numerous other productions around Europe to introduce gunge segments. Edmonds’ infamous gunge tank is responsible for gunging hundreds of celebrities during the shows production.
Three images of the same woman. 1 she is clean. 2 she is sat in a gunge tank, 3 she is covered in gunge

Noels House Party Gunge Tank

  • Saturday Mash-Up (2010s) – presented by a number of people including Hacker The Dog, this Saturday morning children’s entertainment magazine programme brought gunge back to the forefront of kid’s tv with their gunge vote that resulted in many famous faces getting covered in MessySupplies’ gunge!
Promotional image from Saturday mashup. Man covered in slime.

Saturday Mash-Up Slime

  • Crackerjack (2020s) – presented by Sam & Mark, Crackerjack is a children’s tv show that originally aired between 1955-1984. Reinvented for 2020, Crackerjack features multiple sketches and games that feature MessySupplies’ gunge!

Female contestant covered in green slime

Crackerjack contestant

Gunge isn’t just used in television & media though, it’s also widely used at fundraising events, proving a popular and effective method to raise funds for charity or a project. Gunge The Teacher or Gunge The Boss or Gunge The Leader are hugely popular among youth & religious groups, holiday camps and schools too. Gunge Tanks & Dunk Tanks are just a few of the attractions used to draw a crowd and increase the money raised.

Man sat in a bathtub with purple slime being thrown over him to raise money for charity

Fundraising in a bathtub of purple gunge

Gunge vs Slime

They're essentially the same thing. Nickelodeon call it slime, while here in UK it's referred to as gunge.

In recent years Hand Slime has become fairly mainstream, however the ingredients and usages are quite different so it's important to not get Hand Slime confused with Slime or Gunge.

We'll cover this in a new blog post :)

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