Trump, Toblerone and a tub of lard
We look back at the lasting appeal of long-running comedy quiz show Have I Got News For You ?
HOLD the front page. Not many TV shows can boast a tub of lard as one of their star guests or attract a wide variety of hosts from Sir Bruce Forsyth and Brian Blessed to Benedict Cumberbatch and Jo Brand.
Have I Got News For You? is back on BBC1 on Friday nights for a new series and team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop say there is no danger of them ever running out of news stories to provide them with comedy material.
The topical comedy quiz began in 1990 on BBC2 with Angus Deayton as the resident host. He remained at the helm for 12 years and since then a variety of politicians, comedians, entertainers and actors have attempted to keep order.
Paul and Ian say they have had a drink after every show for entire 28-year run of the quiz and that the series stays fresh because the line-up constantly changes.
Politicians, the royal family and celebrities are all fair game for Have I Got News For You? But Ian says: “The week of Trump’s election, the big story for Paul was the fact that Toblerone were increasing the space between the wedges: “I’ve rarely seen such genuine passion.”
Paul wails: “It was my childhood!”
The Rt Hon Tub Of Lard MP made an appearance on Paul’s team in 1993 when politician Roy Hattersley failed to appear on the show for the third time in a row.
Paul went on to win, despite the tub’s lack of input and it was said the lard was the ideal replacement because it was “liable to give much the same performance and imbued with many of the same qualities.” Roy Hattersley eventually appeared on the next series.
So who would be Ian and Paul’s dream guest?
“Well I’d like Blair. I think he’d be terrific,” says Ian. “And I think Lionel Blair’s an excellent choice,” laughs Paul. “So that can be both our answers. Tony Blair and Lionel Blair.
“Actually, that would be the funny thing. You could ask Tony Blair about dancing. And then you ask Lionel, ‘So, these weapons of mass destruction…”
Ian, Paul and the host’s chair – all still going after 28 years
Ian Hislop, Angus Deayton and Paul Merton with guests Donna McPhail, Salman Rushdie and that infamous tub of lard back in 1993
Sir Bruce Forsyth was among the many guest hosts