Amazing to think that there are children growing up who are so young, they never even got to see Have I Got News For You when it was on BBC Two. All that they know is it being on BBC One, clips that were on YouTube months ago and jokes about Eric Pickles being fat*. Because that’s the first thing you’d leap to on a satirical news quiz and you’re tasked with lambasting Britain’s questionable alliance between two political parties who failed to win a General Election, isn’t it? ISN’T IT Oh, and probably Micky Flanagan guest hosting or something equally horrible.
It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time there were enough comedic legends doing the rounds so that you’d occasionally get an absolutely killer pairing of guests jostling for position between Ian Hislop at his most scathing and Paul Merton at his very funniest (and of course the best host the programme has ever had, despite all The Unpleasantness).
Case in point: 11 December 1992. The guests: Peter Cook and Douglas Adams. PETER COOK and DOUGLAS ADAMS.
Okay, we’ll admit to wearing slightly rose-tinted ironic hipster glasses a bit, and are willing to recognise that your standard early 1990s HIGNFY episode would have someone like Tony Slattery or Jerry Mayes MP on it, AND you do get guests like Armando Iannucci cropping up on modern-era HIGNFY. But still. Peter Cook and Douglas Adams!
Shall we watch? Let’s watch.
At least until the YouTube link above these very words features the dread words “copyright claim” due to legal bastardry. It’s like The Man doesn’t want us to remember how good it could still be.
(*See, during THAT episode, it was Cyril Smith who was being made fun of for being fat. Ah, a different age.)