In which I look at the Civil Rights section of the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition agreement.
Tickets for the new series of HIGNFY (in the UK) are available right now. I, of course, have applied for mine - I wouldn't be so silly as to direct more eyeballs to their site until I'd done the selfish thing, would you?
As I write, all dates are still available - which is unusual 45 minutes after tickets are released.
This BBC show is recorded in the ITV studios on the South Bank of the Thames, near Waterloo.
(Update: All tickets are now taken)
Last night I went to see HIGNFY being recorded, and it was Boris Johnson hosting again. Now, I'm not going to post as complete an account as previously, but sufficed to say it was good.... There is so much that will have to be cut, I think, to keep the lawyers happy. I won't relate it here but given the events of the day it should suffice to say that on several occasions Ian Hislop claimed that Paul Merton had received a Harrod's gift hamper...
Boris was on fine form as host, in his own inimitable style, though declarations that he was in charge lead to incredulity from the panel. To his credit, the retakes were quite minimal (though they didn't retake a bit on the odd one out where I'm pretty sure that Boris asked Paul and Emily to identify the odd one out - they were on different sides).
Sue Perkins was very good, and she managed to goad Boris into doing William Hague impersonations (which I hope William Hague will be amused by - the one he did after the credits ended up more like Jimmy Saville). Sue Perkins, for some reason, promised to do an impersonation of a Chechnan if he did Hague, she did not.... I'm actually quite pleased she didn't. Though she did do an impersonation of a tornado (the meteorlogical phenomenon) leading Boris to tell her that it was the other kind of tornado (causing him to stick his arms out aeroplane style).
Once again, we aren't visible on screen at all. People in next row were. Melissa over in Boris' office didn't manage to spot us, and so didn't say hello (and we didn't know what she looked like!)... though we think we saw Boris Junior in the audience (sat right in front of the audience camera for the zoom shot)
Emily Maitlis of Newsnight also appeared, and claims to have been the last person to see the Bishop of Southwark at a reception at the Irish Embassy before he 'got mugged' in an incident involving breaking into a car and throwing toys about....
Last night we went into London to see a recording of 'Have I got News For You?' Good show this weekm worth watching when it's on tonight (repeated Monday, I think). The Host was Jeremy Clarkson, with Julia Hartley-Brewer (political editor on the daily express, yes, they do politics) on Ian Hislop's team, and Mark Steel on Paul Merton's team. If you ever get a chance to see them, 'The Mark Steel lectures' are great bits of telly, they're not 100% correct in every detail, but they're generally pretty good and are very funny.
Anyway, here's some selected quotes from the recording (as near as I can get them):
Clarkson: I have given up smoking, so you'd all better be well behaved. --- TITLES Paul Merton dances to opening titles (in his chair) --- Hislop (on the Prescott playing croquet whilst running the country): I do think it would've been more terrifying if Prescott had been working. --- Clarkson (on a photo of Cliff Richard going on Holiday): He's not gay.... he's not gay on a startling scale. --- Clarkson: ...they'd like to see a woman in the Deputy Prime Minister's Office.... ... well, we all know where that one's going. --- Clarkson: I'm not used to autocue, I'm 46. I can't read that far.... You know what it says there? 'Paul and Mark answer'.... so fucking answer! --- Hislop (on Big Brother): I enjoyed watching Galloway in it. --- Clarkson: How many bodily fluids do you expect Michael Winner has eaten in his life? (this was about Michael Winner's role as a restaurant critic).
There was a nice story at this point about Michael Winner's cigars. It went that he'd made himself so unpopular with the crew that there was a suggestion that everyone should take a cigar, stick it up their bottom and return it to the box. Nobody refused.... or so the story went. --- Clarkson: Round 3 is the odd one out... round...... that doesn't make any sense, I wouldn't write it like that! --- Julia Hartley-Brewer: Can I talk about your other co-presenter, James May? (there had been a few James Hammond gags) Clarkson: Please do! JHB: About his hairdo - I had the same hairdo when I was four - and I'm a girl! --- Clarkson: I'll start again, I'm going to get it right this time - watch --- JHB: Can I just say that I'm worried I might give birth before the end of the show? Clarkson: Am I beating Vorderman? No, 10 minutes to go. (Carol Vorderman presented last week) --- Clarkson (on the complaints about noise from the ex-aerodrome where 'Top Gear' is recorded): It used to be a World War 2 base, and then a Harrier base, and we've arrived with our little 1.2 and it's 'Ooooh, get the noise!'.... Fuck 'em! (Top gear is recorded as Dunsfold aerodrome in Surrey) --- Clarkson: Oh, I don't know, I'm rambling now. Merton: Unusual for you to leave the car behind. --- Clarkson: Your dog's dead, Jeremy, your dog's dead. (trying to regain composure after making a joke about gassing badgers, something which he has got into trouble for previously, iirc) --- Clarkson: I'd like to thank Ian Hislop and Julia Hartley-Brewer, Paul Martin and Mark Steel. Merton: Paul who? That's my real name. I don't mind. --- PICKUPS (I.e. reshooting the links for editing if needed) Merton told 'the Barry Cryer joke', didn't give it quite the same emphasis as I heard it told before. --- Clarkson (before doing a reshoot of a link): Earlier on you were kind enough to laugh at the jokes in this. I'd like to think that they've matured and become funnier. --- Clarkson: Oh, you want me to say Merton this time? --- Mark Steel (on Top Gear being shown in hotels throughout the world): So... do you have to do a pornographic version of 'Top Gear'? --- (The last thing was to record a trailer) Merton: They're not going to put that out, are they? Clarkson: They are now, because I'm going to refuse to do another one!
In which I post an announcement about HIGNFY tickets being available - this post has been modified so that it talks about how to GET tickets, and thus be useful the rest of the time.
Yes, we were fortunate enough to see the recording of "Have I Got News For You" again. We had much better seats, but I doubt if you will see us on screen in the establishing audience shots at the beginning and end. We were in the bank of seats right behind Ian Hislop, I always had the impression that when Ian looks at the audience that he looked at the central bank, but no - he cranes right round to look at this chunk of crowd.
There were rumours during the day that Lorraine Kelly would front the show, and then a rumour that it would be newsreader, Anna Ford.
Jo Caulfield was the warm up act again, doing much the same schtick, and she introduced the participants. First Ian Hislop, then Paul Merton and then the host. It was Anna Ford. They were joined by David Mitchell (I didn't know the name, but the face rang a bell) and by Bob Marshall Andrews QC MP (Labour).
It was a very different show to Boris'. Both were excellent, but they were different. Anna Ford had obvious slick professionalism when it came to using the autocue, but was much more guarded.
Some choice quotes, fewer than with Boris - and I think most of them will stay in. Some of these are key lines which start or end a particularly amusing bit.
Merton: In what way do you think he's Bonkers? Andrews: Who? Merton: Tony Blair. Andrews: He's not Bonkers, he's neurotic.
There was then a discussion of the definition of a neurotic and a psychotic. This was wonderful, and I would be surprised if it was cut.
Ford (talking about a conservative statement): They really shouldn't allow Boris to answer questions.
Ford: Archer's Literary Agent has agreed that 'his latest novel is not one of his best'. There was a stunned silence as everyone present seemed to collectively consider which of his novels could be considered 'best', and what this implies about the quality of his latest. Everyone then started laughing.
Ford (in a deep voice): You Are A Nutter!
Bob: .... and I didn't enjoy it, but that's politics! (talking of the actions of another MP upon his person)
Hislop: Mysoginistic Troubadours of Hate Merton: Everyone's got a bad album.
There were some retakes, one of which was due to the lawyer worried about something Bob said. This was hilarious, probably the best bit of the entire recording - and due to the legal thing unlikely to be shown. I won't relay it here.
Paul Merton was in good form during the retakes, acting the 'luvvie' and hamming it up very successfully.
Ford: It's never like this on the News! Merton: It would be if we were on!
Following HIGNFY's transmission last night, I thought I'd return a few links. Firstly, BorisBlog linked to my report of the filming. A big traffic spike resulted, and I got my usual weekly traffic in a few hours. I hope some people stuck around for a bit! Makes me wish that post had been a little more coherent instead of a 'get it down before I forget' job!
Secondly Boriswatch has a report (and some photographs... naughty!). It looks like I might have had to squeeze past Boriswatch to get my seat.... well, I would have done if they hadn't been last in. (last in and they got a better seat than me? Grr!)
Boriswatch was also lucky enough to go along to the after show party, and their report talks about that, too.
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)