Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, July 7, 1999 Published at 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK


Wanted: The century's best jokes

Tommy Cooper: One of the century's great laughter-makers

What is the funniest joke of the 20th Century? Organisers of a millennium vault in the south of England want to find the best gags of the past 100 years so they can lock them away until the year 3000.

Organisers building the biggest time capsule in Europe are searching for reminders of the century that brought us Monty Python, Tommy Cooper, Morecambe and Wise and thousands of music-hall and schoolyard wisecracks.

Alongside the 100 jokes, there will be examples of food, drink and fashion, and messages from world leaders and celebrities.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and wartime entertainer Dame Vera Lynn are among those taking part in the project, according to organiser Steve Wilcock.

Collection point

"Everyone comes up with profound ideas about what should be in there but we are keen to see a complete cross-reference of today's society, and humour is an important part of that," he added.

A 100 cubic metre vault is being prepared in Guildford, Surrey, with the backing of the local council. Businesses are sponsoring parts of the project, which is hoping to raise money for charity.

Experts from the Science Musuem in London are advising the team on how to preserve items for 1,000 years.

Jokes are being collected by the Bargate shopping centre in Southampton, which has also approached comedians like Frank Carson.

Centre manager Paul Dalgas said: "We hope to lay to rest around 100 of the best jokes of the century - be they one-liners or more detailed stories.

"We shall set up a committee of gigglers to make the final decisions on which jokes will be placed in the vault for the people of the third millennium in 1,000 years time."

Click here for BBC News Online readers' suggestions for the vault.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media

Relevant Stories

07 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Your jokes of the century

03 Nov 98 | Office Life
That joke isn't funny anymore

22 Sep 98 | Talking Point
Is true comedy a thing of the past? Your reaction