Have I Got News For You is a long-running satirical show broadcast on BBC1. I know the minimum that you can write is 100 words, but because I’m such a huge fan of this show this review will be much longer than that. I do feel that this show has progressed in that the segments are now much longer. I felt in 1990 that the show was based more on the quiz element as opposed to the way in which it is structured now. The show has so many highlights. For instance, the famous way in which Paul Merton answered the following missing words:
“I made Thatcher_______ says Nigel” Paul Merton: “swallow.”
There was also the appearance of Caroline Quentin, Paul Merton’s then-wife, during which she told him that he should “get out more.” There was the Margaret Thatcher special, which was, quite possibly, the worst episode ever because Edwina Currie and Derek Hatton absolutely loathed each other. Then, of course, there was the episode with the Tub of Lard. Roy Hattersley had been billed to be a guest but, for the third time, he’d pulled out. Poor Paul was forced to answer questions in foreign languages, as it was the last episode of the series. That said Paul and the Tub of Lard won the game! In 1994, the infamous appearance of Sir Teddy Taylor who kept rambling on about his anti-EEC stance caused friction because it got the point where Paul Merton, so fed up with his team-mate’s rambling, he mimed making a noose and hanged himself. In fact, rumour has it, that after the programme was broadcast, several MP’s made nooses and hanged themselves when Teddy Taylor next spoke in the House of Commons. Salman Rushdie also appeared as Paul Merton’s guest. But, because he was still in hiding, the guest was billed as “the return of the Tub of Lard.” In 1995, there was the appearance of Paula Yates, to whom Ian Hislop didn’t take too kindly. He was wildly criticised for being intrusive about a woman’s body, despite the fact that he never mentioned anything about the woman’s body!! There were of course, numerous election specials and infamous episodes, including the David Shayler episode in 2000, where Paul Merton was so bored with his team-mate that he switched off the television, then, after he’d switched it back on, he got up and went to the audience and shook their hands. Once audience member gave him a newspaper, and he continued to read it throughout the episode!
With so many highlights like this, and so many omitted (I don’t think there’s enough room for all of my personal highlights!!) there is no doubt that this programme is, by now, an institution!! Long live Have I Got News For You!