Funny: Have I Got News for You
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- Headline round: "I Made Thatcher (What) Boasts Nigel"
Paul: Swallow! [laughter, Tony Slattery cracks up hysterically]
Angus: No, it's not a reference to food.
- Ian's Odd One Out choices are Adnan Khashoggi, Mark Thatcher, Robert Maxwell, and Sooty:
Ian: There is a connection with arms deals... and I'd better be slightly careful here... er, Maxwell was a crook and an arms dealer and he's dead and he can't sue...
- The Odd One Out round where all four selections include Jeffrey Archer in order to mention something Archer has lied about in the past. In order:
- Paul Merton's four include three fiddlersnote and an (alleged) expense account fiddler (Archer, who denied wrongdoing).
- Newsreader Trevor McDonald's four include three former police officers (including Archer, who nevertheless denied being a former policeman) and Princess Diana (who dressed as a policewoman to go "on a rave-up" with Sarah Ferguson in 1986).
- Comedian John Sessions' four include three medal winners and someone "who just meddles" (Archer, who claimed to be the son of a Distinguished Conduct Medal winner who merely had the same name as his real father).
- Ian Hislop's four include three graduates of Brasenose College, Oxford and a non-university graduate (Archer, who left school with three O-levels and took a three-year teacher training course based out of Brasenose, but who was never, contrary to his later claims, a registered undergraduate).
- With Peter Cook on Ian's team and Douglas Adams on Paul's team, hilarity in this episode was inevitable, and Cook got things off to a flying start with the opening story about the pending separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales by playing off a comment in the Daily Express that Princess Diana attracted young men "like moths", so "poor Charles" had men flapping against his window every time he turned the lights on.
- In his "Odd One Out" selection, Douglas Adams should probably have re-considered his choice of words to describe Jeanine "The Singing Nun" Deckers, who had died in 1985:
Douglas Adams: The Singing Nun is an ex-nun, in fact she's an ex-ex-nun, or- erm, because she's, she's died. A late ex-nun. (the homophonic nature of "late ex-nun" and "latex nun" registers with the audience and Adams, who laugh and look embarrassed respectively)
- The introduction of the Tub of Lard. Angus explains that it is "imbued with similar qualities and liable to give much the same performance" as famously rotund MP Roy Hattersley (who had pulled out at the last minute for the third time). It's then followed by Paul's completely silent reaction to the fact of his teammate.
- The Missing Words round from the Tub of Lard episode is one of the series' all-time classic rounds.
- Paul gets an easy-ish one to start:
Angus: Paul and the Tub of Lard, er, here are your headlines, which, as it's our last show, have something of an international flavour. Er, "Monsieur Clinton s'apprêterait de changer" what?
(the headline reads "M. Clinton s'apprêterait à changer de ____")
Paul: (beat) Right, well bearing in mind that I did metalwork... right, Mons- M., Monsieur Clinton, s'arrap- what does that sound like... s'arrap- dunno what that is. Changes the... er... is it, erm, di- erm, director of media... communications?
Ian: No. It's "Monsieur Clinton s'apprêterait à changer de underpants".
Tony Slattery: Oui! Oui! "Monsieur Clinton s'apprêterait à changer de pantalon pristinement blanc de Michael Winner"!note
Angus: (laughs) That's, erm-
Tony: (in French accent) Allegedly.
Paul: If anyone's interested, I can make a trowel.note Is it director of... media...
Angus: Yes, "directeur de la communication" is absolumment right.note
- Things quickly go downhill from there:
Angus: Next: "Die Bank von England gibt große" what "zu"?
(the headline is "Die Bank von England gibt große ____ zu")
Paul: (irritated) Well, how- I don't know. Erm, is it, er, "zhek tak uhl"? (sticks tongue out on last "word")
Tony: Angus, I know this.
Ian: Yeah, we know this.
Tony: I know this. "Die Banke von England gischte große schtinkpantsen der Britischer Filmendirektor... and, and, and his wife: Zu".
Ian: "Große amounts of money to fat Bundesbankers".
Angus: Er, nein, it's, er, "Besorgnis", is the, er...note
Ian: Bless you!
Angus: (off Paul's increasingly bewildered look) I'm amazed you didn't get it.
Paul: Am I - I'm not on one of John Simpson's trips, am I!? I'm sitting here with a tub of lard trying to answer questions in German!
Angus: Well, we shan't ask another one in German.
Paul: Well, good!
- And, in a great invocation of Exact Words, Angus does not ask another one in German:
Angus: Next, What "kak simvol yevrop-"
Paul: Oh, God...
(the headline is "____ как символ европеизации")
Paul: Well it's not Michael Winner, 'cause the second word's "kack", look. (audience laughter) Some of those letters are upside-down! Look!
Angus: They like it like that.
Paul: What's that one at the end!? It looks like a sort of seagull flying off! Look!
Angus: It's Russian.
Ian: That's an "A", Paul!
Paul: Oh, it's Russian, oh, I do beg your pardon!
Angus: They're allowed to do that.
Ian: Is it "Yeltsin"?
Paul: "Is it 'Yeltsin'?"!? (laughs derisively) I must have been off sick the day we did this at school!
Angus: It's, er, Yeltsin is-
Paul: The Tub of Lard's no bloody good, look! It says "Made in the EEC" here, I've not had a word out of it!
Tony: Is it- is it "perestroika" or something...
Angus: Er, it's nothing even remotely like that.
Ian: "Big Mac"? "Potato"?
Angus: It's slightly closer to home, it's actually "Lord Owen". (the missing words are revealed in Russian as "Лорд Оуен")note
- And things still manage to get worse for Paul, or rather for Ian:
Angus: Next up is...
Paul: (disgusted) Oh!
(the headline is revealed as "労基法改正きょう____")
Angus: "Rōkihō kaisei kyō" what?
Paul: Is it "bean-fried rice"?
Angus: It's, er, it's actually-
Ian: "Gary Rineker".
Angus: "Seiritsu" is actually the answer I was looking for. (the missing word is revealed as "成立")note Which means, er-
Tony: What does- what does that word mean?
Angus: "Labour standard law".note
Tony: Oh, of course! (smacks forehead as if to say "should've known that!")
Angus: And, erm, and finally: What?
(the final headline is completely blanked out)
Paul: (sighs) "Fish found on Moon". "Antelope on bicycle". "Potato cures baldness... claims mad vicar".
Ian: Is it "TV's Angus shagging Merton's wife"?
Angus: (inclines his head) It's... close, it's actually "DLT quits Radio 1".note
Paul: Now you say it, it's obvious, isn't it.
Angus: Which valiant attempt at linguistic competence sees us winging our way towards the end of this round, programme, and indeed, series, and the final showdown seems to have ended with the hardly satisfactory conclusion that this week's down-and-outs are Ian and Tony with 16, and this week's upwardly mobiles are Paul and the Tub of Lard with 20!
(Ian grimaces while Paul moves the Tub of Lard up and down as though shaking its hand)
Ian: It is getting rather sad when I can't win against Paul when he's accompanied by a tub of lard, and the questions are in a foreign language! (trails off with half laughter half sob)
Angus: We did everything we could Ian.
Ian: I feel like Graham Taylornote ...
- Paul gets an easy-ish one to start:
- During Salman Rushdie's guest appearance, while he was still in hiding because of the fatwa calling for his assassination, his and Paul's first question was about Ray Illingworth making changes to the England cricket team which included getting rid of chaplains. Rushdie gave the answer, ending with, "... and I think there's not much to be said about that; he should be sentenced to death." Obviously this got a laugh and a huge round of applause, whereupon he turned to Paul and said, "Popular idea."
- Paul pretending to fall asleep and then to hang himself as Teddy Taylor rambled on and on about Europe. And Bob Marley.
- Angus also acquits himself very well in this episode:
- And then later:
[a headline from a leaked Conservative party memo turns out to be "We need to feed our friends in the press with good stories"]
Ian: [snorting] Sorry, it's just the idea of the government having a good story. Apart from "we're off."
Taylor: You're being very cruel to them.
Ian: We're being cruel to the government? You're about to vote against them in a no-confidence debate!
Taylor: That's a separate thing.
Angus: [primly] No more nasty remarks about the government, everyone.
- A great dual moment of improvising from Ian and Angus when Paul notes that he was confused with then-scandal-embroiled footballer Paul Merson, including an appearance of the Running Gag that Angus was having an affair with Paul's then-wife Caroline Quentin:
Paul: There was a thing going around that it was me for a while, there was a rumour going around, my wife got phoned up last week in the middle of the night, and she said...
Ian: I'm sorry. I am so sorry.
Angus: No, don't apologise, it, er, wasn't a problem.
- Paula Yates calling Ian Hislop the "sperm of the devil".note His comeback was an exasperated (she, and later commentators, had been badgering him over something which he had not in fact been mentioning) "even your insults emanate from the genitals".
- The Running Gag of Ian looking like pop star Jimmy Somerville reaches its climax during an "Impressions" round in which, after Paul steals Mike Yarwood's thunder by impersonating former Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Yarwood impersonates rugby league commentator Eddie Waring, and arts critic Melvyn Bragg impersonates... himself, Ian gives a falsetto rendition of the Communards' 1986 cover of "Don't Leave Me This Way". It must be seen to be believed.
- Piers Morgan's utter failure to turn the audience against Ian. "Jam."
Ian: [in response to Morgan mentioning Eddie Izzard] People like him.
- Paul, Ian, and Greg Proops singing "Let's go fly a kite", then later Paul and Ian singing Val Doonican songs. The latter prompting Angus to bury his face in his hands.
Paul: [singing] Patty McGinty, an Irishman of note
Fell in for a fortune and he bought himself a goat
[normally] You know that one?
Angus: [bewildered] No?
- The publication in the final round is Seafood International and everyone has been shouting the names of fish and seafood:
Angus: New Labour, new ____ ?
Peter Stringfellow: Prawns!
Angus: You can't just keep saying 'prawns'.
Paul: He CAN keep saying 'prawns', that's what we won a war for! The right of every citizen to keep saying 'prawns', whether it's funny or not.
- One of the all-time great moments on the show was during an Odd-One-Out Round featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu as one of the possible answers alongside John Prescott, Rod Hull, and the battleship HMS Iron Duke.note
Ian Hislop: Did Tutu train in Hull?
Angus Deayton: Tutu train? No, I don't think so...
- Swampy's reaction to being told that he had Neil Hamilton's support in his tunnelling endeavours: "Right, excellent! Who is he?"
- Angus — in his white suit — handing brown envelopes full of money to the Hamiltons at the end of their episode.
- Talking about Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair visiting the Globe Theatre...
Michael Parkinson: They went to see Shakespeare.
Paul: No, they went to see one of his plays. He hasn't been getting out for quite some time now.
- During the Odd One Out Round:
Angus: Who is Mr Abdala Bucaram?Ian: Is he an Iranian justice minister?Angus: Close, President of Ecuador.
- How does Paul block out anything he doesn't want to know? Answer:
Angus: Do you want to know more about Mr. Abdala Bucaram?
Angus: Well I'm gonna tell you anyway.
Paul: Well I don't wanna know!
Angus: Well, then I'm gonna tell you.
Paul: Well, when this bit comes up, I'll turn the telly off. And I'm gonna go [fingers in ears] "La la la la, I can't hear you! I can't hear you!" [Laughter] You can't make me know this!
Ian: Is this what you were like in school? I could imagine the metalwork class, no wonder you didn't pass!
Paul: CSE. CSE: 'Ungraded'!
Angus: Excellent work. Right, well, you better start shouting now, 'cause here we go. Mr. A-
Paul: DADADADADADA!! [Lots of laughter]
Paul: RADEDADA! [Makes a face]
Ian: This is like being at home with my two-year-old!
Martin Clunes: [to Angus] Why don't you let me say it, I dunno-
Paul: No, I'd like to hear Martin say it!
Martin: [takes the card] Right-o. Mr. Abda-
Paul: [bopping his head back and forth] DADADADADADA! [Smiles, Martin gives Angus back the card]
Ian: What about Michael? What about someone on your side?
Paul: Yes, I'd like to hear Michael say it!
Michael Parkinson: [given the card, puts on glasses] Mr. Abda-
Paul: [bopping his head back and forth] BADADADADADA!!! [More laughter]
Michael: You read it then! [Hands the card to Paul]
Paul: Yes, I'll read it.
Ian: Everybody... [Paul does a double-take as he reads the card]
Martin: Let's throw water at him, out of our glasses!
Paul: THAT NEVER HAPPENED! [Reads it again] I think that's funny, you should read that out! [Hands it back over to Angus]
Angus: And guess what would happen if I did?
- Paul randomly announces that he's given up smoking. The joke became the running gag of the episode, with Paul asking if anyone had a cigarette to someone from the audience tossing one onto the set.
Paul: I gave up smoking yesterday. I'm very pleased about everything. I haven't got any tension running up my body. I'm very relaxed, very, very calm. [pause, then shouts at someone off-stage] SHUT UP!!
- John Sergeant's first appearance, when he surprised everyone by being an amazing Deadpan Snarker. After they'd shown the famous clip of him being dragged out of the way by Margaret Thatcher's press secretary as he tried to ask her about the 1990 party leadership election:
John: It's a very badly edited version of what happened. I discussed with her what the position was. She then explained at length: "John...," she said. All that.
Paul: It's been cruelly distorted for the purposes of light entertainment.
John: Yes. I've come over looking silly there!
- The BBC told nobody to discuss Peter Mandelson at all. HIGNFY mentioned him repeatedly throughout the episode and the rest of the series, even though he had absolutely no relevance. It was just a protest.
- When Angus asks Paul his "Odd One Out" question, Paul looks thoughtful, and the screen dissolves to a soft-focus sequence of Paul and Ian skipping through a meadow while Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No.1 plays on the soundtrack. Eventually, the picture cuts back to Paul in the studio, who shakes his head and says, "Sorry, I was miles away."note
- The whole conversation about schools, especially:
Angus: [to Glenda Jackson] Can you remember your motto?
Glenda: [for clarification, pointing from herself to Ian] Who are you looking at?
Paul: That must have been a tough school!note
- One candidate for definitive Boris moment has to be on his second appearance. After his first appearance he had accused the show of being near-entirely scripted and rehearsed, leading to this exchange shortly in his second (immediately after which he apologized for his earlier remarks).
Paul: Why did you come back on this show again?
Boris: Well, basically, um, basically, it was, um, it was for the money.
- The discussion of the 1999 Turner Prize prompts another classic Boris moment:
Janet Street-Porter: Boris, what art do you have on your bedroom wall?
Boris: Erm... well, I paint myself, actually...
Janet: Do you?
Boris: Yeah, I do...
Paul: Do you get into bed before you're dry?
- Boris Johnson's photo is one of the options in every Odd One Out, and then they add insult to injury by making his bow tie spin around like a propeller -
Paul: Aw. That's not fair. You're making Boris into a figure of fun!
- Bill Deedes' appearance had several, such as when Angus Deayton asked him about his brief career as a cabinet minister in The Sixties ("I did...what did I do?") and when they show an embarrassing picture of him posing in a suit:
Deedes: I was young. I was foolish. It was...the spring.
- Paul shutting off the TV on David Shayler, then getting a newspaper from someone in the audience and doing the crossword.
- In something of a non sequitur, Paul mentions how camp-sounding the new fire engine sirens are, and starts doing impressions of an effeminate fireman; to invert it, Ian then plays on a story to do an impression of a butch, masculine ballet dancer.
- While talking about hospitals:
Liza Tarbuck: Hospital?
Paul: Big white building full of sick people.
Clive Anderson: No, that's here.
- When the news story is the birth of Leo Blair, Angus asks who was particularly horrified at Cherie Blair's choice of a natural birth rather than a Caesarean section:
Angus: It's the French, actually, who were horrified.
Paul: [incredulously] All of them?
- A news story about an apparently rigged phone vote for an episode of Stars in Their Eyes touches on the fact that the winner, a Freddie Mercury impersonator, didn't look much like the late Queen singer. The panel were then shown pictures of other contestants and had to guess the object of their impressions. After the panel successfully guessed a Frank Sinatra tribute and struggled with a Gloria Estefan tribute, the picture changed to... a publicity shot of Angus with Philip Pope and Michael Fenton Stevens as The Bee Gees parody group the Hee Bee Gee Bees. An embarrassed Angus referred to the use of the photo as "a producer's joke", and pretended to be proud that the Hee Bee Gee Bees' single "Meaningless Songs in Very High Voices" got to #79 in the charts.
- This exchange from when the subject of World War I poetry is brought up, just for the way Ian coincidentally sets up the perfect Rule of Three punchline for himself.
(after Ian reveals that he was in the Officer Cadet Corps at school)
Phil Hammond: I had you down as a war poet, Ian. I thought you'd be a conchie.note
Ian: Erm, that wasn't an option.
Paul: Ah, the war is so very bad, it makes me so very sad!
Ian: Siegfried Sassoon, that was.
Paul: I'd love to be in Piccadilly with some wench, but I'm stuck here in this bloody trench!
Ian: Wilfred Owen.
Jon Snow: "Stands the church clock still at three? [sic]/And is there honey still for tea?"
Ian: Rupert Bear.note
- At one point Paul is convinced that Angus is "part budgie" — Angus plays along.
- After Angus, as part of a story, states that something is elephant-sized.
Paul: [musing philosophically] Is a baby elephant elephant-sized, d'you think?
Angus: ...That would be the size of a baby elephant.
Paul: [stares at him in disbelief for a moment, then mimes writing] I'm gonna write that down; that's worth knowing.
- That's also one of the Richard Wilson episodes, and it is epic. His Odd One Out included the other guest, Michael Brunson:
Richard: Hmm.... If I was going down the road of, erm... alcohol, would I be in the- going in the right direction?
Angus: It would be an outrageous slur on one of our guests.
Richard: If I went down the road of haemorrhoids...
Michael: That would be an even worse slur!
Richard: Is it mental illness?
Michael: Quite- quite possibly!
Angus: It involves someone who isn't in the picture.
Richard: Oh for Christ's sake!
[Through further discussion, it's determined that the someone is Margaret Thatcher and the connection is that all the Odd One Out people have kissed her, except Michael Brunson, who made her cry in an interview.]
Richard: How do you know Michael hasn't kissed her? He might have.
Michael: I certainly have not. Let us get this on the record: I do not have a drink problem, I do not have haemorrhoids, and I have never, ever kissed Margaret Thatcher!
Paul: Quite often, those three are linked.
- Told by the BBC not to mention recent revelations about Peter Mandelson's sexuality, during a tangle about his mortgage, Ian says:
Ian: We've still got a problem on this programme, 'cos we're not allowed to say that Peter Mandleson is a hom-owner?Paul: What's wrong with gay people owning homes?
- During a story about the floods of 2000, including clips of people piling sandbags and other people in kayaks:
Jeremy Bowen: What I can't understand is what they do with the sandbags when there isn't a flood.
Paul: Oh, old people eat them.
Jeremy: And what about all those smug people with kayaks?? Why do they own kayaks when they live so far inland?
Paul: Ah, well, you see, people hoarded them during the Great Kayak Shortage of 1973. It was during the fuel crisis as well - they had a saying, "You can't have your kayak and heat it".
Angus: [to audience] You've been listening to Talking Bollocks.
Paul: [quickly] With your host...!
- After Ian casually mentions that he was born in the same Welsh village as Catherine Zeta-Jones (to English and Scottish parents) Paul becomes convinced that this means 'he's Welsh' and repeatedly insists that throughout the rest of the show. He uses it to get Ian out of trouble at one point, on a question about the suspicion that an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? had been fixed:
Ian: It was a very unlikely winner for an ITV quiz show — a rather agreeable woman who lives in Fulham.
[the audience oohs and everyone gives him a look]
Angus: As opposed to which winners?
Ian: Well... the ones who... who... live in less agreeable houses in Fulham, I suppose.
Paul: What are you rabbiting on about? You silly Welsh man!
- They had the art critic Matthew Collings on in the week of the Turner Prize, when the "Stuckists" had been protesting the idea that True Art Is Incomprehensible.
Matthew: Meantime everyone inside the Turner Prize didn't care what the Stuckists said.
Angus: And were you with the people who didn't care about what was going on at the Turner Prize?
Matthew: No. No, I said "right on!" to the Stuckists, and I said "cor, baby!" to the champagne-quaffers inside, and I felt loving towards both opposing camps.
Angus: So you're with the Stuckists.
Matthew: I was with them in spirit, but I was inside out of the rain, with the champagne.
- In the episode aired shortly after John Prescott punched a protester in the face after he threw and egg at him, Angus opened the episode by saying "In a week where our politicians have sadly shown a lack of restraint..." A member of the audience (really a member of production staff) then jumped the barrier and threw something at Angus; he pulled out a gun and 'shot' the guy, who fell onto the floor; he then moves on without comment. Funny by itself, but turned into a CMoF when at the end of the episode, as the camera pans out for the credits shot, the guy is still visible lying on the floor.
- Following Iain Duncan Smith's election as Conservative Party leader, the panel had a special round on him, and found little to say about him:
Angus: Round 2 this week features every fascinating fact regarding the life and times of Mr. Iain Duncan Smith.
(shot of Duncan Smith's head on a blue background, question marks appearing and disappearing around him as a snare drum plays on the soundtrack)
Angus: So, fingers on the buzzers. Er, what is Mr. Duncan Smith's official position?
Ian: (buzzes in) Don't know.
Paul: (buzzes in) He's the leader of the Conservative Party.
Angus: Er, leader of the Conservative Party is correct for two points. Which means at the end of this round, er, Paul... Paul and Michael lead by four points to two.
Angus: What's the proper way to eat spaghetti?
Clement Freud (with gestures): Spoon - fork - suck.
Paul: Also happens to be President of China.
- One of the questions was based on some dubious story about a town's police force discovering that recording themselves whistling theme tunes from cop shows and playing them over loudspeakers discouraged crime in the area, and Paul was so resolute in his belief that this couldn't be true that he borrowed Andrew Marr's phone to call and ask them. Angus, of course, was just trying to keep going with the show. Paul explains on the DVD that he really did call information to get the number (Angus: "Was that Directory Enquiries?" "Yes." "Were they helpful?" "Well, they've given me the number, which is all you can ask of them."), then dialed only most of it and pretended to be talking to the police station. He ended by daring them to trace the call, hanging up, giving Marr his phone back and telling him not to make any plans for his holiday.
- Charlotte Church revealing her meeting with George W Bush who asked what 'State' Wales was in, with Hislop jumping in with 'And you said, Terrible'.note
- Paul ignoring the first question of the episode and going straight for the scandal, especially since everybody had been waiting for it.
- Closely followed by Ian:
Ian: 'He made me groan all night.' What were you doing? Reading the autocue?
- Paul wearing a T-shirt with the article printed on it.
- Throughout this episode, Paul treats Anne Robinson — the first guest host, at a time when they still thought they'd eventually end up with another permanent host — like a job applicant. Plus, Ian repeatedly needling her about having worked for Robert Maxwell, even though she gave Paul's team a point every time he did. It also has The Weakest Link-style post-game Elimination Statement and Paul's impression of the queen as a London Gangster / one of the Kray twins.
- Paul also had the Running Gag of randomly shouting "BANK!", as done on The Weakest Link.
- During the Missing Words round:
Anne Robinson: Gaddafi to host what?
EVERYONE: Have I Got News For You!
- Guest host John Sergeant, being a professional broadcaster and better at it than many of the other guest hosts, provided cue points for them to cut a discussion short and go to the host giving the answer by saying "YES!", often in the middle of one of Paul's tangents. Paul reacted as though this was part of the conversation and reacted with hilarious confusion. "What do you mean, yes!?"
- In the first episode hosted by Bruce Forsyth, Ian's look of ever increasing bewilderment at the various references to Forsyth's previous shows (few, if any, of which he recognised) is priceless.
- Clement Freud, given an Odd One Out round with the choices of David Blaine, George Bush, the Cabinet, and Jonathan King. "Three of them... are illusionists... and one of them is just a... pedophile."
- Ian demanding all the money back from Jonathan Aitken that Private Eye had spent losing its libel case against him.
- Paul's teammate for this episode was Stanley Johnson, a writer and Conservative candidate who is perhaps more well-known today for being Boris Johnson's father. Proving that the acorn didn't fall far from the oak, he came across as a slightly bumbling yet strangely loveable Upper-Class Twit. For example, faced with the "Odd One Out" choices of George W. Bush, Jayne Mansfield, Balamory's Archie the Inventor, and Stanley Johnson himself, he claimed he could only think of "bust" (Jayne Mansfield being famous for her chest and Bush having said "Baghdad or Bust" according to Johnson). Paul immediately asked if he meant just for the question or in general.note He also began explaining the Tory candidate selection process to the guest host... former Tory Party leader William Hague, whom Ian noted was probably already well acquainted with the process.
- Winding up the discussion of a spinning headline story about allegations that EastEnders star Leslie "'Dirty' Den Watts" Grantham had broadcast webcam videos of himself masturbating (note that Hague has a thick South Yorkshire accent):
William Hague: At the time of this recording, we still don't know if Leslie Grantham will be sacked. (DUN. DUN. DUN DUN DUN D-D-D-D-) And if EastEnders need a replacement tough guy... "'Ello, princess."
Paul: (double Face Palms) Have you been practising that in your dressing room?
Hague: All day. Yes. All day, looking in the mirror.
Paul: (in a closer imitation of "Dirty" Den Watts) "'Ello, princess! 'Ello, princess!"
Ian: Is that what you said to Mrs. Thatcher at that dinner? "'Ello, princess!"
- 22:00-22:35 in this video. Epic win for both Paul and whoever edited it for maximum effect. (That whole episode is excellent; see also the Robert-Kilroy-Silk-doused-in-shit story — always a winner — and Ian MacMillan's treatise on pies.)
- When Michael Winner was a guest and Alexander Armstrong messed up a line from the autocue, Ian suggested that since Winner was a director, he should help. Winner gave Alexander some vaguely directorish advice and gave him his cue; he tried reading it again and messed up again. Ian, immediately: "Can we get another director? This one's hopeless!"
- Bob Marshall-Andrews, MP, asked if he hadn't been involved in a physical altercation at Westminster:
"I happened to be standing in the members' lobby, and I used a well-known Italian mafia expression, which is called faccio, which means a gofer or a lackey. And one of my colleagues — nice chap underneath — misheard what I'd said and, er, thought I'd cast aspersions on his absolutely immaculate and impeccable heterosexual credentials. So he proved his heterosexual credentials... by jumping on me. And I didn't enjoy it, but that's politics."
- About the introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples in Britain:
Ian: It starts on the twentieth.
Lorraine Kelly: Twenty-first.
Ian: Sorry! I was trying to get in early. I've a special dispensation, as it happens.
Paul: We still on for the twentieth?
[they look away from each other]
- This is arguably one of the all-time classic moments from Have I Got News for You. Paul's lightning fast comic reflexes:
Alexander Armstrong: What would happen if all the UK's power stations were turned off tomorrow?
Paul: It'd go dark at night.
Alexander Armstrong: More sinister even than that.
Paul: [in a Transylvanian vampire accent] It'd go daark at night! [imitates bats with his hands]
- The guest publication for the missing words round being announced as Global Slag Magazine prompting a loud cheer from one member of the audience, leading to bemusement from the panel.
- Michael McIntyre's impression of Jeremy Clarkson after the latter had played Prince Harry at tennis while on holiday:
(the news story is England cricket vice captain Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff falling off a pedalo while drunk on a day off during the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies)
Jeremy Clarkson: What other event overshadowed the pedalo accident?
Michael McIntyre: Was it a tennis match involving you and royalty?
Jeremy: Cricket. Stick to cricket.
Michael: 'Cos it read in the papers like a sort of romantic montage. (Jeremy looks perplexed) It says that you met on the beach, and then you were fishing (mimes casting a fishing line), and then you were playing tennis (mimes swinging a tennis racket)...
Jeremy: What papers?! Have you been reading the Daily Mail?
Michael: ...and you were calling him up in the hotel going "It's Jeremy. I'm in... the bar." He would run down... (mimes playing tennis again; as Harry) "Whose serve is it?" (as Jeremy) "It's my serve! If that serve was a woman..."
- Reginald D. Hunter's failure to understand a joke about Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond: Watch it here.
- Paul's refusal to accept that Barbed Wire Collector was a real magazine.
- Paul insisting that Prince Phillip set the Cutty Sark on fire and, later, that somehow a camel was involved.
- BRIAN BLESSED hosting the show, utterly reducing Paul Merton to laughter and face-palming over a dozen times.
- "Joining Paul, a comedian whose friend once told him if they're not laughing it's not comedy. Well, either that or you're just not SPEAKING LOUDLY ENOUGH!!"
- "Osama bin Laden's son, Dave…"
- It's the slight pause where BRIAN BLESSED has a straight face as if that's the truth, before bursting out into uproarious laughter. (As did everyone else.)
- "Newspapers have been doing their part to calm motorists with headlines like 'PETROL: WE'RE RUNNING OUT!' 'STRIKE SPARKS FUEL SHORTAGE FEARS!'"
- "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?! YOU'VE FAINTED SINCE THE START! YOU'RE DOING FUCK ALL!"
- "That's a fantastically elaborate prop for that joke!"
- His overabundance of energy, as mentioned, managed to break through Paul's usually unassailable deadpan attitude:
Paul: I want to go home.
- Jeremy Clarkson completely breaking down with laughter, after a lightning reflex response from Paul Merton.
- Ian Hislop and Tom Baker trying to one-up each other. With Dalek knitting jokes.
- Chris Addison broke down after Tom Baker kept making low brow and rude jokes, proclaiming, "I wanted to meet you so much when I was a kid. So much! And now look at it, my dreams are shattered!"
- Also, Addison's response when Tom Baker keeps calling him "boy":
Chris: I'm thirty-six, Tom Baker! Thirty-six!
- This exchange.
Tom Baker: Who should chip in to bail out the IMF according to Gordon Brown?
Paul Merton: Jonathan Ross.
Ian Hislop: Well, that's it. That's sorted that out. That's brilliant. (to Vince Cable, the other guest panellist) You see? Cheerfulness, practical solutions. Get Paul into the Lib Dems.
Vince Cable: That would be a struggle.
Paul Merton: Who for?
- After guest host Jack Dee - a very deadpan comedian with a staid manner - has talked about Somali pirates taking hostages in relatively serious terms:
Jack Dee: In a statement issued to the press, the leader of the pirates said A-HAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRR!
- Jack's arguing-banter with Frank Skinner, especially at the very end.
- Jeremy Clarkson wounding Ian Hislop by throwing a pen at him.
- An audience member stands up while trying to shoot the 'Credits Angle'. After getting busted on for it, Paul then shows everyone "how you do it."
- The Running Gag of Ian looking like Jimmy Somerville reaches another climax when he is paired with Somerville's former Communards bandmate Richard Coles, by now the Reverend Richard Coles, and guest host David Mitchell says how nice it is to see the Communards together again before cutting to a video of the band from the 1980s.
- The Reverend Richard Coles barely said anything that wasn't funny, but his CMoF was probably in response to a story about a New Zealand couple who had accidentally been given a huge sum of money by their bank and subsequently fled.
David Mitchell: Richard, as a reverend, you're a moral man, what advice do you have for this wayward couple?
Richard: Um, keep running I guess. Don't answer the phone, don't use your credit card... and if you want to salve your conscience, any donation to St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, we'd be very grateful...
David: What sort of amount is your church looking for in order to buy them absolution?
Richard: Well, I should think a tithe is probably the sensible amount, so 240,000 would be about right.
David: There you go. 240,000.
Richard: [into the camera] And could you please use your Gift Aid envelope? Thank you.
- This exchange between Lee Mack and Shappi Khorsandi.
Lee: Are you Muslim? Are you allowed a piggy bank?
Shappi: Only if it's a halal pig. (snaps fingers)
- During a sequence about the Large Hadron Collider, Ian at one point says they ought to go "down the collider", in his normal voice. Paul finds this hilarious and keeps repeating the phrase in a throaty disreputable Cockney voice.
- The entire section about expenses, starting with this.
Ian Hislop: [after being shown a picture of Lembit Opik] That's a very silly man. This is the BBC trying to balance out the effects of having a sensible Lib Dem on. This is expenses, the story that won't go away...
Charles Kennedy: [staring at Ian almost as if he has a second head] Was the implication of what you just said that you regard me as a sensible Lib Dem?
Ian: Yes. I'm sorry, that was almost pleasant.
- One of the guests for the edition immediately after the 2010 General Election was Lembit Opik — who had just lost his Commons seat in the biggest shock of the night. When Ian made a comment about being fed up with politicians' lies, Lembit responded, triumphantly:
"I'm not a politician!"
- Ian and Paul being asked to form a 'coalition team' and Paul moving to Ian's bench, Ian imitating Gordon Brown with an unconvincing speech about "this was what I always wanted", Lembit Opik being alternately bitter and laughing at himself over the loss of his seat, and most of all the triumphant return of the old clip as the final tag, with reference to the parties forming a coalition in the hung parliament:
Robert Kilroy-Silk: Their fate is in each others' hands, as they decide whether to share... or to shaft!
- It's like all the years they were showing that clip, it was secretly just waiting for that moment when it would suddenly be amazingly relevant.
- "I've got a dead kitten in me pocket!" [wild applause]
- Both of guest Chris Addison's rants against journalists in the episode after Cameron becomes PM:
"I don't understand why journalists don't appear to be able to see what the definition of a coalition is: "Those two people don't appear to be in the same party, how can they be in a coalition?" It wouldn't be a coalition if they were in the same party, it would be a majority government, you thick bunch of bastards."
- It's an excellent episode overall and you see Ian and Julia Hartley Brewer (both journalists) laughing quite gleefully during the rants!
- After guest host Bruce Forsyth spent almost his entire second episode as guest host skirting being sued for sexual harrassment by Laura Solon (the sole female guest) in the most creepy fashion ever, which culminated in him dragging her into a dance as the credits rolled, Paul and Ross Noble proceeded to partner up to upstage him royally with a hilarious dance routine.
- The seemingly impossible and utterly hilarious: John Prescott hosting Have I Got News for You. And taking the mickey out of himself. Constantly. Prescott has been one of the longest running gags on the show, with reference to his frequent tongue tiedness, weight and more having been with them since the beginning. Add to this his high profile affair, the easy fodder of MPs expenses and his soon to be official Peerage, and that he was willing to appear at all even then is worth entry on this page alone. He may not have been the smoothest performer in the Chair, but no one will ever be able to claim the man can't take being made fun of, and he managed some good jibes along the way too.
- Ian and Miles Jupp's attempts to explain who N-Dubz were.
- In the Christmas 2010 episode, guest Ross Noble revealed to the audience that host Alexander Armstrong was "a secret Geordie" (he was born in Rothbury in Northumberland); Armstrong proceeded to affect a Geordie accent, Noble affected an exaggerated version of his already pronounced Geordie accent, and the two had a rapid-fire, near impenetrable conversation about various towns in Northumberland to the utter bewilderment of Ian, Paul, and fellow guest Micky Flanagan.
- When discussing Samoa's change of time zones:
Gregg Wallace: So, who's responsible for this temporal shift?
Samira Ahmed: Was it... The Doctor?
- Discussing the riots that occurred in Samoa when they changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar:
Paul Merton: Hello, I'm Gregorian and this is my calendar Julian.
- Alan Johnson's explanation of how a car that ran on human waste actually worked.
Alan: Well, this is how it works. The driver's seat is connected straight to the fuel tank, and then someone tells you that your wife's recorded a conversation you had about penalty points.
- This exchange:
Ian: [about letters signed by imaginary people coming out of number 10] They all do this now. I mean, I think that they're all at it and the Prime Minister's office is sending letters from an imaginary person: Michael Gove. [Everyone, especially Alan Johnson, laughs.]
Paul: What diseased mind could have dreamt up such a creation?
- Graham Linehan sees an upside to the possibility that the Rapture scheduled for the day after this episode's broadcast date might actually happen:
[the spinning picture reveals a man carrying a sign announcing "Judgement Day: May 21, 2011"]
Graham: [buzzes] Oh! I know this. This is the Rapture, where, erm, two hundred million evangelical Christians are going to disappear from the Earth, the day before my birthday! And it's gonna be the bestest birthday ever!
Alan Johnson: This is indeed the news that the end of the world is fast approaching - again. In fact, it's happening on 21st of May, so if you're watching the repeat, you've missed it.
- Round 1, "Fox or Cat", a game which involved spinning a large wheel which then stopped on either Defence Secretary Liam Fox (who had made headlines over his nepotism for his chum Adam Werrity) or a cat mentioned in a speech by Home Secretary Theresa May (the case of an illegal immigrant from Bolivia who had, according to May, only been allowed to stay in Britain because he owned a catnote ). It has to be heard in its full idiotic glory to be believed.
Victoria Coren: That is genuinely the best game I've ever played...
- The panel's entire discussion of Jeremy Clarkson's legal woes is excellent, but special mention must go to Ian's phone ringing at exactly the worst time imaginable.
- The Odd One Out round where the four choices are Sooty, Ken Livingstone, the "Kismot killer curry" and Tim Henman. After a very long pause (broken only by Paul pressing the buzzer "just to break the silence"), Ian connects them thusly:
Ian: Is it... Sooty was always asking "What did you say?", Ken appears to be a bit deaf, Tim saying "Did you say 'come on Tim'?", and... that curry... makes you deaf.
- Paul proceeds to deride this as the worst answer to a question he's ever heard:
Paul: Well, that's the worst answer this programme's ever had. Ever, of any answer, ever, in the history of man. Give him the points. For sheer inanity.
Stephen Mangan: It's, er, unfortunately it's not true.
Paul: Not true?
Stephen: No, it's not the right answer.
Paul: How can it not be true? Sooty's always saying "what did you say?", Ken Livingstone's deaf, Tim can't hear people saying "Come on Tim", so the curry's the odd one out because it's not a glove puppet, wasn't Mayor of London and never played tennis at Wimbledon!
Stephen: The more you say that, actually, the better it sounds...
Ian: And what was your answer? "I don't know"!
Paul: Well, it was still better than that one!
Ian: That's true!
- Paul's absolute disbelief at the "story" concerning a YouTube video showing a man shouting at his dog for chasing deer which had gone viral.
Dan Stevens: What was the Sun headline about this story?
Paul: "Humanity reaches the bottom of the barrel"?
- Gyles Brandreth completely derailing the episode seconds in with his admiration of George Osborne and Nick Clegg. Even Paul is taken aback.
Gyles: (on footage of Clegg and Osborne walking to a car together) Oh, two rather attractive young men going somewhere interesting!
Ian: You're not trying to get another job in the Tory Party?
Gyles: No, though it is actually almost compulsory nowadays to be gay if you are a Conservative. Ours is no longer the party with its back against the wall!
(a stunned Paul looks as though he's trying to twist his own head off, then slaps his forehead twice)
Marcus Brigstocke: It, erm... it got weird quicker than usual!
- Ian being the only person to know that Herman Cain was quoting Pokémon: The Movie 2000.
Ian: I'm probably the only one of us who ever sat through that...I had children at the time...
Paul: And you wanted to get away from them for a couple of hours?
- Paul's impression of the Conservative frontbench (represented as Upper Class Twits) being herded into a Gregg's to be filmed eating pasties to smooth over a tax scandal.
Paul: (miming holding up a tiny pasty) "Have you seen the size of these vol au vents? They're huge!" (pokes imaginary pasty with his finger) "Is there somebody in there?"
- The otherwise incompatible Susan Calman's perving/fangirling over Damian Lewis when they appeared together in Series 43. Also, her worryingly well thought out plan to kidnap a penguin and raise it as her daughter, Cynthia.
- Paul and Ian mercilessly tearing apart Jeremy Clarkson (partly as a representative of the Sun, for which he is a columnist, during the week the Leveson Inquiry declared Rupert Murdoch unfit to run an international corporation). Also, Ian and Nancy Dell'Olio flirting.
- William Shatner as guest host successfully left the entire panel - including Ian, Paul and guest Charlie Brooker - completely lost for words. Shatner, with his hilariously-misplaced gravitas, his constant jibes at his career and current engagements yet combined with basso profundo enunciation, left everyone in what Paul called "an enjoyable and surreal experience."
- When Shatner made a seemingly-tasteless joke about the G8 leaders at the summit:
- The running gag of Shatner being unable to pronounce Didier Drogba's name. Obviously deliberate, as Shatner grew up in French-speaking Canada and indeed pronounced Francois Hollande's name the French way.
- Charlie Brooker explaining what "chillaxing" is:
- Summing up the show, Shatner accidentally renames Paul "Paul Morton". Attempting a second go, he then calls Ian "Ian Hilsop".
- Hislop spent the whole thing ripping Alastair Campbell to shreds, and never has he been more on the ball.
- Alastair's responses included giving huge amounts of points to Paul and his teammate Nick Hewer for answering simple questions (and, in Nick's case, for being a Labour supporter). The game ends with Paul winning by 55 points to 2.
- Alastair playing the bagpipes of all things.
[during the Missing Words round]
Alastair: "(What) was the worst party ever" - and if you say "Labour", I will play my bagpipes again.
Ian: No, that would be ridiculous to say "Labour", it's "New Labour".
- Victoria Coren's flat refusal to believe that Ukraine has a psychic pig for Euro 2012.
- Everybody - Ian, Paul, guest host Alexander Armstrong, panellist Victoria Coren - tearing into Conrad Black on his appearance.
- The opening of the episode, with guest host Roger Moore:
- The clip of Ian's cameo in the Greek television adaptation of his wife's novel. Paul's expression of utter disbelief is priceless.
Paul: Who did you sleep with to get that job?
- More good audience participation: Stephen Mangan polls the audience as to how they scored on the recent survey to determine social class. After no one is (or will admit to being) "elite" and "established middle class" gets a moderate response, he gets to "traditional working class" and someone calls out "Ra-ther!"
- The entire panel, including a returning-but-subdued BRIAN BLESSED, grilling the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher.
- Ian gets a brilliant line when Brian refers to him and guest Ken Livingstone as "my friends on the right", pointing out that Ken is left wing.
- When the revelation comes around that Brian Blessed was once voted one of the sexiest men with a long beard, Ken quips "to be fair, you were in a competition with Osama bin Laden".
- Throughout the show, Brian offers to fistfight... basically, everyone in the United Kingdom (plus an old IRA member).
Paul: Line up in alphabetical order. Adams, you're first.
- Bridget Christie takes several swipes at Tony Blair during the discussion of Thatcher's death. One of the funniest:
BRIAN BLESSED: The celebrations of Thatcher's death have been criticised by all sides, including Tony Blair. Blair said this: "When you decide, you divide. I think she would be pretty philosophical about it, and I hope I will be too." Although, philosophically speaking, he'd be dead!
Ken Livingstone: He believes in an afterlife, he'll be looking down on the celebrations.
Bridget Christie: Or looking up...
- Following a joke about mixing of choral and rap music, Hislop comes out with the title Zadok motherfucker. Paul has several different reactions to this, culminating in throwing a glass of water over his face... which he apparently didn't realise was full. This sparks a minor Running Gag for the rest of the episode, as he does it again and his teammate Reginald D. Hunter throws his own glass over him towards the end.
Paul Merton: You've never said [censored] before!
- Ian's teammate is the Reverend Richard Coles, making his third appearance on the programme, and his second since becoming a vicar. In the pre-credits teaser, Paul tells the audience that, because of Ian's "disgraceful performance" the previous week, he has to sit with a vicar at all times lest he "befoul the air". Coles points at Ian and barks, "So (bleep)ing watch it!"
- The discussion of the news story concerning a vortex to another dimension being discovered in Brighton.
- Ian shredding the Daily Mail for their article on Ralph Miliband was both funny and awesome.
- Bernard Cribbins and Paul Merton extemporising a song based on Antigone with (apparently) no warning or prep time.
Stop hanging about, Antigone.
You're making a mess on the floor
We just cleaned up last Saturday
We don't wanna do it no more...
- Bernard's priceless anecdote about Noel Coward (with pitch-perfect impression) choosing his song "Hole In The Ground" on Desert Island Discs.
- Nick Hewer's apparently bottomless well of disdain for... well, pretty much everything. Except possibly Samantha Cameron's kissing technique.
Sue Perkins: Nick, I'm going to ask you a question: when was the last time you were excited by anything?
(Nick pretends(?) to think, unsuccessfully, of an answer)
- On the removal of the portrait of English poet and Hertford College, Oxford alumnus John Donne from the college's portrait gallery in the interest of presenting a more gender-balanced picture of famous former students:
Sue Perkins: He has been replaced by Hertford College, because they want to put more women on their walls. They have taken the picture of John Donne down.
Tony Law: (enjoying how the words roll off the tongue) John Donne down...
Nick Hewer: Wasn't there room for both of them?
Sue: Not in this world, Nick! There's a new order coming in, and it's got tits!
- Hosted by Jo Brand (like the last Election episode in 2010 way back in Series 39) and featuring comedian Romesh Ranganathan and Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow (no, not that one), the episode was a glorious row of zings against all the political parties.
- Jon Snow, normally a straight-laced announcer, has surprisingly well-timed comments have received rounds of applause:
(about Lib-Dem minister Vince Cable's stolen bike, in tandem with the near-extinction of the Lib-Dems)
Jon Snow: That means he's lost two seats.
(regarding bad developments during the election)
Jon Snow: There's a lot of pain in the country.
(after it came to light that only the women leaders of the SNP and Greens are left in their posts)
Jon Snow: Only the women have staying power.
Ian Hislop: You'll do anything for applause, won't you?
Jon Snow: I'll do anything for a woman!
- The fact that the show's crew interrupted recording twice to report the resignations of UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg, and Labour leader Ed Miliband - leading to groans from the panelists about their banter being obsolete.
- Jon Snow, normally a straight-laced announcer, has surprisingly well-timed comments have received rounds of applause:
- In a carry-over from Episode 5, the panel's ribbing (led by BBC presenter Robert Peston) of Labour MP Chuka Umunna's declaration of a leadership bid for the Labour Party was met a few minutes later by the show's crew interrupting recording to tell them of his withdrawal. Paul Merton's statement of disbelief says it all:
- During the "I leave you with news that..." gags closing the show:
Frank Skinner: The owner of one of Britain's best-known stately homes appalls visitors with his lewd behaviour.[A picture of a frog clinging to a reed with its legs spread out is shown]Frank: After pressure from the party, Nigel Farage agrees to take a break over the summer to get fit.[The exact same picture as before is shown again]
- Paul's way of dealing with two bad jokes:
"Shall I go for three in a row?... I can't think of anything that's not funny. Over to you, Angus."
- The Family Fortunes Parody where Paul ended up being on the list of "What do you want for Christmas?"
- Also from the same thing is the "Fag Break" during the filming after Ian leaves randomly and Paul and fellow guests Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey decide to have a smoke break in the studio. Paul, Angus, Martin and Neil start talking about holidays and Ian. Capped off when Ian returns and pretends to act like he had snorted coke backstage.
- In the missing words round:
[blank] on sodomy charges
- Martin Clunes' impression of British astronaut Michael Foale single-handedly patching the hole in the Mir space station. [Posh accent] "Helleaugh, I've brought some felt! We don't really have a space programme in my country, but we do have lots of felt!"
- On Jiang Zemin's state visit to the UK...
Martin Clunes: His route went past my flat window, and I actually videotaped it, in case somebody shot him!
- A classic "In the news this week..." joke: the clip, presumably from an environmental protest, is of a guy playing a dolphin being clubbed to death. Angus introduces it with the matter-of-fact description, "A man in an appalling dolphin outfit is quite properly culled."
- Paul starting a rousing rendition of "Two Little Boys" and getting the audience to join in, halfway along.
- The time the panel were confused about what a harrow is, and the host asked the room in general, "Has anyone ever ploughed anything?" and instantly someone called out, "Oo-er, we have."
- "Rock on, brothers!"
- The Running Gag of all of Ian's impressions sounding like Alan Bennett (which Paul has pointed out a few times over the years).