I’ve Still Got News For You
While it may have begun back in 1990, Have I Got News For You is still going strong today, with Paul Merton and Ian Hislop still at the helm to present the delights of the week’s news and reviews. Tonight’s guest host is the straight faced Jack Dee who has proven to be a major success in the past with his unique style of humour.
Have I Got News For You has a reputation for pushing the boundaries of UK libel law to the limit – something which Ian Hislop knows about with his Private Eye magazine. In fact, each show is carefully scrutinised by lawyers ahead of being aired. While Merton has been a team leader for some time now, Hislop is the only person to have appeared on every show.
Even though there is no doubt that the show has had another burst of life lately, many people have wondered how long the show can survive in the cut-throat world of TV satire. We have seen the emergence and disappearance of Spitting Image as well as the recent launch of Headcases and similar satire shows, but perhaps the fact that the BBC signed up to 38 series of the show can explain its longevity (with two series a year the contract runs out in 2009).
Have I Got News For You is loosely based on the BBC Radio 4 show The News Quiz. While originally transmitted on BBC 2 for many years, it is now a firm fixture in the BBC 1 format and attracts significant viewing numbers. There have been many highlights over the years, but the merciless ridicule of Angus Deayton in light of his publically aired personal problems will stay with many viewers for quite some time. There were rumours that Merton and Deayton were not the best of friends off screen, with a number of quotes linked to Merton that were none too complimentary about his fellow star.
Despite scandal and infighting, Have I Got News For You is still a popular staple of BBC programming. Who knows, maybe the hue and cry has even contributed to its popularity.