Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

August 25, 2008

more on Clue

The note I mentioned in the Guardian has prompted a longer story in The Independent on Sunday.

In the piece producer Jon Naismith confirms the show will go on, but probably not till next year.

He says the programme will "rotate" guest hosts for a bit before settling on someone and names Stephen Fry as the favourite.

Now Mr Naismith is clearly about a million zillion times more knowledgable about these matters than me. Still I don't see Stephen taking that job. For a man who likes to do such a variety of work, taking on a second game show as chairman would see him typecast, I think. Does he want to be known first and foremost as a panel game chairman (as Nicholas Parsons is)? I think not.

And if Stephen does want to do it - why not appoint him right away? He'd be great, that much is clear. Why would you delay if someone of his talent and ability is keen?

The other candidates suggested in the article are Jarvis Cocker, Angus Deayton, Sandi Toksvig, Pam Ayres and Sue Perkins. I really don't see Sandi in the job as she has taken over News Quiz. Pam Ayres doesn't seem quite right either. Sue Perkins might be a go.

The whole article follows.

I'm sorry, we haven't a clue: Who will replace Humphrey Lyttelton?
One of radio's funniest shows is to return, but who can possibly replace the late Humphrey Lyttelton? The search is on, but the field is wide open, as Emily Dugan reports
Just as the nation had become resigned to the idea that the nonsensical radio quiz show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue would never again be heard on the airwaves, hope of a return for the popular series is on the horizon.
Recording was cancelled this year after the death of its much-loved chairman, Humphrey Lyttelton, known affectionately to his fans as Humph. Many anticipated that the show would die with its legendary host. But now producers have confirmed that it will return, and the hunt is on for a successor to Lyttelton.
The programme's producer, Jon Naismith, confirmed yesterday: "We have decided we want to continue with the show. We enjoy it too much to stop altogether." He added: "It won't happen straight away because we're still mourning Humphrey". Recording was likely to begin next year, he said. "We had thousands of emails when Humph died saying do please continue."
Often attracting audiences of up to 2 million, the spoof quiz show was widely viewed as one of the funniest radio programmes ever broadcast. Dubbed the "antidote to panel games" its run spanned more than three decades and its fan base crossed generations. The 51st series of the show, first broadcast in 1972, had been due to start recording when Lyttelton died, in April.
The first new shows will rotate presenters in the same way as the TV quiz Have I Got News For You, before settling for a full-time choice. The favourite at the moment is Stephen Fry. Naismith said: "I'm sure Stephen would be good: he's very funny and he's excellent on QI."
Barry Cryer and his fellow long-time panellists, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, have ruled themselves out. Cryer said that the programme-makers had met to compile a long list, which had included Fry, but that he thought a woman might be a better choice. "We all had our favourites, but mine would be a woman because then she couldn't be compared to Humph," he said.
Jeremy Hardy, a frequent contestant, who has also been tipped as a successor, yesterday dismissed the idea that he or any other regular would be in the running. "Humph had big shoes to fill and I wouldn't do it", he said. Hardy's wildcard suggestion was the singer Jarvis Cocker, who is known for his deadpan delivery.
Whoever gets the job, there is no doubt that it will be one of the hardest acts to follow. Lyttelton's one-liners were often the highlight of the whimsical programme.
After one "terrible" round, he remarked: "Nietzsche said that life was a choice between suffering and boredom. He never said anything about having to put up with both at the same time."
The pressure is already on for the new host of this treasured series to ensure that his joke does not become a reality.
And the next presenter is...
Stephen Fry
The leading candidate: quick-witted Fry has already shown his talent at hosting impenetrable quiz shows with the television series 'QI'. He has also been a guest on 'ISIHAC', and narrated a 'Humph Sunday' special.
Jarvis Cocker
A wild card entry suggested by Jeremy Hardy: like Lyttelton his background is in music and he is known for his deadpan delivery.
Angus Deayton
Straight-faced Deayton has been looking for a regular comedy berth since he was unceremoniously removed from 'Have I Got News for You'. Doubtless he won't have any problem making innuendos at the lovely Samantha with his track record.
Sue Perkins
Best known for being the second half of the comedy duo Mel and Sue, she is now a frequent guest on Radio 4 comedy quizzes.
Pam Ayres
Frequently heard on Radio 4 comedy programmes, including 'Just a Minute', she now has her own sketch show and is becoming one of the channel's leading ladies.
Sandi Toksvig
"The News Quiz' host and 'ISIHAC' regular is a staple of Radio 4 comedy and an obvious choice.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it, surprisingly, a very encouraging list of possibiltiies. The ISIHAC format would be a challenge to Stephen Fry. He would certainly have to change the Weltschmerz tradition of Humphrey, because Fry's Weltschmerz is too well-known and too close to the bone. Only a man so obviously at ease with himself and the world could get away with toying with melancholy as Humphrey did. Jarvis Cocker is an intriguing prospect - as unlikely as Lyttelton was in 1972. He could make it his own, with a little patience. I've greatly missed Angus Deayton since he left HIGNFY, and I don't care about his personal life. He's an excellent host and an always interesting personality. (Possibly just as well that Paul Merton has yet to appear on ISIHAC...)

Sue Perkins, Pam Ayres and Sandi Toksvig... not so sure. Which makes it look like I'm anti-Woman, and nothing could be further from the truth. But SP and ST are too much outgoing performers in their own right, and PA is at her best solo. There are definitely woman candidates: Jo Brand (who I'm sure would strike up an intriguing relationship with Samantha) or Jennifer Saunders.

Whoever takes it over: it will of course never be the same as it was under Humph (as Samantha would no doubt agree), but it could - simply because it's such a great game - be a new and likewise enjoyable era.

9:14 am  

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