We have just returned from tonight's recording of the BBC's 'Have I Got News for You'. There have been rumours that Boris Johnson would soon appear. I didn't know about these rumours so it was a pleasant surprise when Boris walked out. Merton and Hislop got applause... Boris got a cheer. We arrived at 6pm with doors opening at 7pm. We did not get in until 7:15pm, and not to put too fine a point on it, the wind chill was rather unpleasant. The people for the filming of Parkinson were out of the cold quicker. The show is filmed in the ITV studios on the south bank.
Once in, we found that we did not have a great choice of seats, we were in the far left, with views of Merton, Guest, and Boris. I could just see Ian Hislop's scalp. We are very out of shot, so don't even bother trying to spot us in the audience!
Just after we got to our seats, we thought it prudent to visit the facilities. On the way we saw Des O Connor. He was looking stressed for some reason. At this stage we knew not who the guest presenter was at this stage, and we thought it might be he. A cheer 'hello, Des' received nothing back. Ah well.
The warmup woman was Jo Caulfield. She had a tough job as we were all rather cold. She did bring the welcome news that they had just turned up the heating.
At this point she introduced the panel, in the order of Paul Merton, Ian Hislop, Boris Johnson, then I think it was Sara Cox (apparently a Radio 1 presenter) and Dr. Phil Hammond (A very funny man). Hammond was on Hislop's team.
Before filming, everyone told a joke for a sound check. Hislop's joke was about Bush being told that three Brazilian soldiers had been killed. Bush replied 'how much is a Brazilian?' Sara Cox's joke was about a zoo with only one animal. A small dog. It was a Shit Zoo. (Shitzu is a dog breed). I honestly cannot remember Mark Hammond's. Boris' joke was about dyslexic devil worshippers who pledged allegiance to Santa. There was a pause and Boris said 'that was a good joke!'
Seleted quotes (or possibly misquotes), you may want to stop reading at tis point if you have yet to see the show:
Hammond: I've given up the will to live there, Boris
Hammond: We're all brought down by our own foibles and failures. Aren't we? Boris?
Hislop and/or Hammond: Have you tried to snort the coke? Boris: A long time ago... unsuccessfully.... I sneezed.
Boris: Sunlight is the best disinfectant (when discussing his idea that EVERYONE in government should HAVE to publish a diary, so that the public would be swamped by them, it made sense, honest!). Boris used this phrase in an article about Bush and Al Jazeera, another topic which was under discussion, though I would be surprised if it made the final cut as it was a bit serious, though it did end with Boris and Ian pledging to go to jail together!
Hammond: it's all about killing the poor again.... (this guy has his finger on the button)
Boris: Never mind, never mind ... stagger on...
At the 40 minute mark: Boris: ... and so, to round two! Remember; this is a half hour show.
Boris: Now for the wheel of fortune... no, the wheel of news.
Boris spins the wheel which lands on Bush (erratically) and Boris announces 'It's a yellow chap!' The wheel segment is yellow. We get the locked door story.
Boris: Bush attacked Baghdad... Genghis Khan attacked Baghdad... Hislop: .. that's the other round, that's the odd one out round! This was said during round 2, but there was no odd one out round, so it doesn't seem to indicate foreknowledge of questions.
Boris: .... hang on, I quite like Men and Motors (the TV channel)
Boris: Est-ce que nous sommes arrivés? .... that's French!
Boris: You're actually right! Merton: Was I? Boris: You're actually wrong.
Boris: Where were we? (it was the way he said it)
Hislop made a paper plane and threw it at Merton. Paul Merton unfolded it and read out loud: - I love you... let's get rid of the other three, they're holding us back.... give us a kiss, it's Christmas?!?!
Boris: That brings us to the end of the paper plane..... discussion.
Boris: I can only assume we're reaching the juddering climax...
Merton: (1 hour and 20 minutes into the recording, or thereabouts) If we go for another 10 minutes we'll be going out live!!
Boris: You've done very well, but you weren't specific enough.
Merton: We do a thing now where Boris does a few retakes.... Boris: How do you know it's just me? Merton: You're the one who kept f**king up the autocue!
Merton: You know how well it's going to go by where we pick up. Boris: On Ian Hislop's team....
Boris: It's a joke at our expense, isn't it? Merton: Not at our expense, no.
The whole thing was well over an hour and a half of solid entertainment, and they now have the job of editing it down to half an hour. Boris was a star, a thoroughly solid chap - though he did look a little confused at times. He complained that the autocue kept stopping and Paul Merton explained that it stops when he does.
They managed to work in gags about Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, trying to make Boris give the impression that he had moved on from Liverpool (as Boris says, lovely city, great people).
I shall look forward to seeing the edit. Sara Cox did make some contributions, though nowhere near as many as the others, and it will be interesting to see how this comes across. She made enough so that the edit could make her appear to be a major part of the show on the night.
Mark Hammond was a star, as, of course, was Boris. I hope they keep his contributions about the social policy is all conspiring as a means to kill the poor, this came up in about three places and hung together very nicely.
(I have since discovered that Boris' site announced his involvement in the show, I did not see that until Friday)