Have I Got News for You (TV Series 1990– ) Poster

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Biting political and showbiz satire quiz.
G.Spider13 March 2001
Eleven years and still going strong. This is a topical news quiz which is never short of hilarious in its biting satire and ceaseless wit. In the chair is Angus Deyton, and competing are two teams, each made up of a regular captain and a different guest each week. The captains are comedian Paul Merton and Prive Eye editor and former 'Spitting Image' script-writer Ian Hislop. Guests over the years have included a wide range of politicians, celebrities and other well-known faces including Neil Kinnock, Ken Livingstone, Tom Baker, Charles Kennedy, Boris Johnson, Bob Monkhouse, Clive Anderson, Jo Brand, Harry Enfield, Rory Bremner, Jimmy Saville, Peter Hitchens, Trevor McDonald, Cecil Parkinson and many others. Here's to another eleven years.
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scones_099120 November 2004
I felt I should write this as the previous review had no mention of Angus Deayton's departure.

Though this should have been a tragedy for this great show, something good has come out of it, with a guest host every week. 'Have I got News for You' is a dependable British Comic institution. I can be found faithfully on a Friday night in front of my TV set, watching and laughing. The basic formula is: one guest host (expected to make obligatory self-derogatory remarks) two captains (almost without exception the comic geniuses that are Ian Hislop and Paul Merton) and two guests (who are expected to make jokes relevant to their fields, For many people it is a matter of choice, but I prefer Paul Merton's humour to Ian Hislop's.

The animated title scene is perhaps the worst part of this brilliant show- and it is only half a minute! The other problem is that because this is so topical, it cannot survive like Blackadder has, it lacks that timeless element. Generations to come would have to read up on some news reports to understand the jokes.

Sometimes, the guests can be superb, or less so, but the programme is carried solely on Merton and Hislop, and rounds such as the one where a newspaper is taken and a series of words blanked out are guessed.

On a more serious note, this is not a quiz show in the vein of Who wants to be a Millionaire or University Challenge- this is for fun. Some who are not entirely up to speed on current affairs may not enjoy all the jokes.

So if you find life tragic enough and long for a bit of humour, do watch it, because they've got news for you!

(I couldn't resist it)

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The very best of the UK panel shows
bob the moo16 January 2002
Hosted by Angus Deayton, two teams (Captains Hislop and Merson and one guest each) pick through the weeks news in a quiz format. Rounds include odd one out, working out a story from news footage, missing words round etc. Winning is not as important as making good jokes.

This is the original panel show that sparked off copies on other subjects, music (never mind the buzzcocks) sport (they think it's all over) TV (It's only TV but I like it) etc. However it's a very British style of comedy - relying on sharp wits and cynical, satirical views on news stories. Deayton provides the scripted lines, Hislop provides the cruel satirical wit and Merson provides the off the wall style humour. All three are very different but work together very well making for a constant stream of jokes that appeal to different senses of humour.

The chemistry is so good that the guests don't really matter. Some are very good and match the sharp wits joke for joke. However others are clearly out of their depth and are not able to keep up with the joking, rather just try to answer the questions straight. Many are on so that they can be the butt of jokes - politicians are the main group that walk a tightrope by appearing on the show. However the guests are not that important - indeed Merson's team mates have included an Elton John impersonator and a tub of lard (after guests dropped out at the last moment), yet the show was as funny as ever.

Overall very Private Eye Editor Hislop's sharp, cynical humour mixed with Merson's surreal brand of comedy held together in a quiz format makes for a very funny show that feels as fresh as it did all those years ago.
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Unfunny, Left Wing BBC Propaganda, Hard to Luag Once. Shame it used to be funny.
Info-340-3230678 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
My title says it all really. Just cheap and unfunny pokes of fun at anyone who happens to the right of Karl Marx. The cast used is stale and their early 2000's humour is anachranistic, like the politics of the host and guests. Week after week after week we have liberal left wingers from the arts and media deriding decent people who happen to have a different outlook to them. It is all really childish and we've seen it before - MANY, MANY Times I have always watched this programme since is inception over 2 decades ago, it was funny then, but now it is just a sad left propaganda production from the Biased Broadcasting Corporation.
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The popular (and great) British satirical news quiz
mattsday28 June 2003
Have I Got News For You is a satirical news quiz in which two teams compete for points, by answering questions on the weeks events. The show is often devastatingly funny, extremely witty and is always fresh and topical.

Hosted by Angus Deayton until 2002, the show features two regular team captains, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton who are each joined by a guest. From the second series in 2002 and in to 2003, the show has been hosted by a series of guest hosts, ranging from popular MP's like William Hague and Charles Kennedy to mainstream celebrities such as Charlotte Church and Anne Robinson.

Ian Hislop is the editor of the fortnightly satirical magazine, private eye and is known for being euro-sceptic and anti-football. Throughout the shows history, Ian's knowledge of pop music has been the butt of many jokes from the other two regulars, but he usually takes it in good humour.

Paul Merton, the second of the two captains, is a well-known comedian who works for the BBC in a number of other productions, such as Room 101. His comments during the show are typically off the wall and almost random to the extent of making him the bright star of the show's off-beat humour - particularly if he's on form.

The show's guests include people from all areas of the media - ranging from lords to comedians and from political leaders to actors and actresses. Some of the show's best guests have been the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone (who claimed he was once second in popularity to the pope), Spectator editor and Tory MP, Boris Johnson (who made such a hash out of all his appearances as to be one of the show's brightest and funniest guests), Guardian Columnist and well-known Feminist, Germaine Greer (who made certain to Ian Hislop she was wearing don't f**k me shoes) and the totally mad Eddie Izzard who asked if all the items in the odd-one out were made out of jam.

Many people have claimed that without Angus Deayton, the show could not work and is destined for failure. Two series later, the show is still running as well as it ever has, with the added bonus of the guest hosts being able to shine through and give a wave of freshness to the show. How could ever forget Bruce Forsythe's "Play your Iraqi cards right?'

It's just a show that can never get tired - as the news itself will never get tiresome - there'll always be scandals, lies and Have I Got News For You.
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The once great and satirical news quiz
kevinmorice3 November 2017
Once upon a time this was the most fantastic satirical news show. As it aged it gradually got tired of itself and degenerated to a point that it is no longer recognisable. There isn't any smart satire any more, it is just cheap digs at politicians, occasional rude words, penis references and forced jokes about meme pictures read out by a string of guest hosts.

Losing Angus Deayton was the beginning of the end for the show but in more recent years it has taken a much more significant nose dive in quality. The current state of world politics and clickbait journalism should lend itself to good satire, that they can't manage anything beyond 'Trump is stupid', 'Tories are evil' is just a waste of air time.
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One of the most biting comic panel shows of all time
simonaldra1 January 2012
Have I got news for you is a superb show. I've watched it for years, and while the circumstances of Angus leaving was rather silly and moralistic, it was the shows answer to Pink Floyd losing Syd. The show has become less predictable, and in many ways better with his leaving. Having two guest panelists every week is very fine and dandy, but the presenter being new every episode is simply brilliance itself.

My personal favorites as guest hosts would probably be Clarkson, Boris Johnson and of course Brian Blessed. But I digress.

The biting political satire of HIGNFY is beyond reproach. At times, a certain understanding of British society and British politics will be needed to understand gags. It's not that complex, though. If I can manage it as a Norwegian, I see no reasons why English speakers should find the humor too complex. Television far to often panders to the smallest denominator. Condecending, to say the least. HIGNFY is one of the shows that prove why such thinking is utter rubbish. It's funny simply because it's somewhat intellectual.

I have laughed my behind off more than once watching this show, for anyone with an ounce of anglophilia, the least bit, it is a must see show. For anyone who just loves a laugh, the same carries.

Not being able to watch this masterpiece of a satirical programe would be comparable to what Edmund Blackadder once called worse than an eternity in the depts of hell, with Satan and all his minions; in short, five minutes with him and a pencil.

I recommend this so hard it hurts.
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The show the politicians fear.
saville6 April 2001
Actor Angus Deayton, satirist Ian Hislop and comedian Paul Merton make a very formidable trio on this weekly quiz show. Each week they are joined by guests, with appearances by such people as Paula Yates, John Simpson and Tom Baker being particularly memorable. I don't know what Americans would make of it, because you have to be familiar with British celebrities and British news to understand it. Nevertheless, there is endless humour and it's a delight to watch the regulars score points against each other every episode. The format could go on forever but it wouldn't be the same without Deayton, Hislop and Merton.
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so angus has gone but the show must still go on
Mmyers20031 November 2002
I think Paul Merton is brilliant and so is ian hislop and so WAS angus Deayton but if there is to be a replacement for Deayton it has to be Clive anderson. The show is probably the best comedy show Britain has at the moment and it isn't even a sitcom. I'm surprised that paul merton hasn't done his own sitcoms because he'd be brilliant. The show should never end. Can't wait for the video release in late november to early december. great show.
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The Quintessential Quiz Show
leo_leouencour14 May 2004
Running for 14 years now, and through fire, brimstone and Presenter Prostitution Scandal, still going strong, the recent vein of guest presenters bringing strong new variety to the show.

'Private Eye' editor Ian Hislop and veteran funny man Paul Merton spearhead this quiz show, led formerly by respected actor Angus Deayton, of 'One foot in the grave' fame have sculpted a masterpiece manifested in this programme. At first, I was wondering how a show about current affairs could be so comic, but the news provides us with an inexhaustible supply of scandal, potential parodies, and hilarious opportunities to lambast politicians and such like, which is what 'Have I got news for you' has been inspired by for the last fourteen years.

Joined by two guests, usually politicians, comedians, journalists, or Boris Johnson, the format surprisingly has never grown tiresome, and with recent classics such as Angus'... Well, departure, the infamous 'Tub of Lard' episode, and 'Elton John' Joining the guests, I am hopeful this show will continue for many years to come.
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Its become all so predicable
james-6010812 September 2020
How is the show unable to find anything funny in the feminist movement, remainers, being woke, being politically correct, the democrats, extinction rebellion. they seem like a goldmine of material. It's all so depressingly predictable, going after the usual suspects, isn't edgy or clever. Trump is an idiot, Brexit was bad we get it. oh Lord we get it. like a stuck record.
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Still around then
studioAT11 April 2015
Yes, it's still on, 25 years later. Yes, it's sort of become a staple in the British comedy landscape. But that doesn't make it good.

When HIGNFY is funny,it's on the money in terms of satire. However in recent years it's just become almost a send up of itself. The same old guest hosts back time and time again. We've seen what they can do, next please.

The best bit of the shows run for me was when Brucie was on the first time and pretty much reminded the nation why we love him.

I'm not saying axe it, the BBC aren't flush for comedies right now, they need it. But maybe give it more of a rest between series. Maybe then it'll come back a bit more refreshed, and funny.
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Have I Got News for You
jboothmillard11 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the best comedy quiz shows I know. They take the latest news, turn them into questions and the people in the chairs answer them. This used to be really good when twice BAFTA nominated Angus Deayton used to present, unfortunately he got in trouble for sexual activities. But don't worry, the show is still going on. Instead they always have a special guest as the host. Ian Hislop and BAFTA winning (and 8-time nominated) Paul Merton as Team Captains are the only two that haven't left. They always have a guest helper in the team to help them both with questions and laughter content. The best part of the show for me is either the beginning and end sequence where they give a bit of news and show a joke picture, or when they fill in the blank space of a headline. It won the BAFTA for Best Light Entertainment (Programme or Series) (also nominated 6 times), and it was nominated for the Lew Grade Award, Best Graphic Design and Best Entertainment Performance for Boris Johnson. It was number 2 on The 100 Greatest Funny Moments for Deayton's affair accusations, and it was number 70 on The 100 Greatest TV Programmes. Very good!
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Very good satirical panel game
DavidYZ19 April 2017
This is a very funny BBC panel game with two teams and a host. Angus Deayton hosted it for over a decade, but since he was fired it has had many different guest hosts. One team is led by Paul Merton and the other by Ian Hislop. Each team has different celebrity players each week. However, many celebs have been the host and/or contestants multiple times.

The show has several rounds and is very good at making fun of politicians, current affairs etc.

Some episodes are much better than others, depending on who the participants are.
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A British Comedy Stable
freemantle_uk6 May 2008
Have I got News for you is normally a very funny show, with Paul Merton and Ian Hislop both being intelligence and having good comedic timing and willing to make fun of themselves. HIGNFY is a topical news quiz with a guest host, and Paul Merton and Ian Hislop as captains of the team. They make jocks of whatever is big in the news, whether it politics, international relations, economic or celebrity, the list is numerous. The guest host can normally be anyone famous, from politicians such as Boris Johnson, William Hague or Charles Kennedy, to presenters like Jeremy Clarkson, Adrian Chiles or Des Lynam, to comedians like Jack Dee or Bill Bailey. Other guests are also on the show, I really enjoy it when David Mitchell is on because he is just great, especially one time after the Local Elections in 2006 and the cabinet reshuffle with Charles Clarke was offered a number of jobs and John Prescott had an affair. The show doesn't pull any punch, which makes the BBC lawyers worried at times. There are recurring jokes such as the camp German Ambassador, Ian Hislop being sued in the past and Ian Hislop and his views on the Euro. HIGNFY is the standard bearer for shows of this natural and none have come close to matching it for intelligence or comedic value.
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Still A Winning Format
screenman16 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
'Have I Got News For You' instantly became my favourite TV programme, and continues to be after all these years.

The simple format of a panel quiz-show with bite is excellent. It's produced cheaply in a straightforward way, almost celebrating the tackiness of some of the props - not unlike 'Shooting Stars'.

The heart of the show rests with a wry lampooning of the latest news and its makers. It is often hilarious, and pulls very few punches, not least of which was when its own long-term presenter, Angus Deayton, himself became the stuff of lurid tabloid headlines. Hislop and Merton staged a spectacularly embarrassing ambush on the air, which surely sealed the poor man's doom as much as the stories themselves.

That was poetic justice, but it was also a great pity. The three men together had an amazing chemistry and although there have been excellent programmes employing guest presenters, none of them have adequately replaced Deayton. Today, it suffers from a lack of consistency.

When we stop to consider how steadfastly the BBC supported Jonathan Ross - despite the fact that his misconduct actually took place on television - restoring his wholly unrepentant loutishness within just a few weeks, it does tend to smack of dual-standards that Angus Deayton has never been allowed rehabilitation. Perhaps the latter upset too many politicians, of which the BBC is now so manifestly afraid. However, recent revelations about their shenanigans make Deayton's behaviour pale almost into insignificance. He certainly never betrayed the public trust.

Whatever the case, I for one would dearly love to see him back.

The BBC have always been very good at satirical programmes. Radio 4 had a long-running Friday-night series called 'Weekending' which I thought was actually funnier. It offended a lot more people, if the number of writs were any guide. Now long gone and also sadly missed.
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Prick up Your Ears.
Howlin Wolf30 July 2007
This is up there with "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" as Britain's most purely enjoyable comedy panel show. In fact, HIGNFY probably has even greater prestige because it's the longer running of the two and has managed to survive the loss of a permanent presenter without too much damage being done. If we're honest, then Buzzcocks is gamely trying, but it will never reach the heights of old without Mark Lamarr. "News" has always lived and died on the quality of the rapport between its guests and regular show members, so as long as you have a strong figure in the hot-seat you're guaranteed plenty of laughs even if it's been a slow week for headlines.

Apart from the witty team captains, the genius of this show is that it brings politics into everyone's front room, and the disingenuous cheaters liars and back-stabbers in the media are never allowed to wriggle off the hook like they so often do on "Question Time". I'll never forget, for example, when Piers Morgan was left humiliated and sulking like the big baby he is after one particularly memorable appearance. Public figures either get the chance to permanently destroy their reputation, or else come across as genuinely likable human beings - either way we can sit at home enjoying all of it. It's the modern equivalent of a spectacle like the Christians being thrown to the lions, and it provides consistently top-notch viewing. Bravo to the regulars, and of course the BBC for being brave enough to stick with it all this time. May it have many future runs ahead of it.
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Still going strong!
new_life_25522 October 2004
Fourteen years on, and its still hilarious! I love this programme - my Friday evenings aren't quite the same without it. And why? Three things: 1. The sharp comments and satire. 2. Ian Hislop. 3. Paul Merton. Before 'that-unfortunate-incident' there was a fourth reason, that being Angus Deayton. Such a dreadful pity that such a fabulous host had to give up. Ah well, at least most of the guest hosts are good too. My particular favourites were Boris Johnson (who had no control over Paul - but then, who does?) William Hague (surprisingly so) and Ann Robinson (deducting points and giving them, umm can't remember much actually...) Anyway, here's to many more years on the air!
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TVs Deayton in Drugs Romp with Vice Girl
mulders_dumblonde9 June 2002
any one in any country which doesnt have this show i pity you!!! it has to be the funniest show ever broadcast although it can be a little confusing to people who dont keep up with the british news - especially the "news of the world" in light of recent events... it also happens to have the sexiest british man ever as the host ("TVs Mr Sex" angus deayton) with the funniest, most surreal man on the planet (Paul Merton) to his right and the worlds most cynical, witty and prematurely balding monkey (the oh so bitter and adorable Ian Hislop who, allegedly, is only 45)to his left. i love this show and i love the panellists - please watch it if you are able for the good of your heart, health and country!!! every epsiodes a classic but the whole drugs/hooker/elephant scandal was unmissable so was the next episode with the mahogony stain tan guy from bargain hunt !!!
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SimonN8 September 2000
One of the best, and certainly the most consistent, comedy shows on television. Ten years old and it's as funny as it was when it started. Some of this is, I guess, down to the fact it's a topical news quiz and so there's an infinite amount of new source material to use, but still no other topical comedy program comes close. Even the repeats are some of the funniest programmes on television, which for a current affairs show must be something of a miracle.
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always watchable
james-31631 May 2000
Always watchable, always topical, always funny. Might be a shade bewildering to non-UK residents, or those unaware of the storylines discussed. The best satire/news show on British TV. The only down-side is that it is sometimes a little reliant on the quality of the guests. Although, having said that, given that one week a non-attending guest was replaced by a tub of lard, the regulars themselves can carry it alone.
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