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British Comedy

articles from The Guardian and The Times about ISIHAC's return with guest hosts
25/02/2009 18:00 GMT

Posted by lisa

Two more articles about the Clue guest hosts.

From The Guardian (

It'll take three men to replace one Humphrey Lyttelton

No one person could take over from Lyttelton. Perhaps that's why Radio 4 are replacing him with three British comedy giants

Jazz musician and radio broadcaster Humphrey Lyttelton, who died on April 25 2008 aged 86. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

You have to expect some plangent enthusiasm when a person's just died, but Iain Pattinson, the writer on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue sounded measured, not hyperbolic, when he said Humphrey Lyttelton made things about 10 times funnier than they were when he wrote them. "Which is the opposite of what usually happens," Pattinson continued, in case anyone thought he was doing that naff, self-deprecation thing they do at the Oscars.

I think, beyond the eulogy, there's a point here, which is that Lyttelton brought something particular to the way I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue worked.

It wasn't just any old comedy show; you couldn't fish those jokes out and use them for The News Quiz, or as a funny monologue-filler on Broadcasting House. The "isn't this a rubbish show, and aren't we all rubbish at it?" jokes needed it to be incredibly good, which they were. The double entendres in particular needed Lyttelton's delivery. The jokes were incredibly puerile, so they needed a presenter who would commit to them totally – any hint of "why am I even saying this? It's so childish!" would have sunk them. And yet at the same time, anyone at all self-satisfied (imagine Angus Deayton) committing totally to this childishness would have just sounded very annoying. The presenter had to be a total performer, but with a humility quite at odds with performing; it's a once-in-a-generation combination. I just cannot imagine anybody else doing it.

But now I'm talking myself out of finding a replacement for Humph, and I desperately would like him replaced, because I miss the show. It was more than one voice, and none of the others are dead. There is not one aspect of it I'd like to see binned; not even the swanee whistle is stale ... well, maybe that's a bit stale, but freshness was never really the point.

Humph is to be replaced by three men. It was announced today by the BBC that the rotating chairmanship is to be split between Stephen Fry, Rob Brydon and Jack Dee. Fry has been doing panel-duty on and off for 21 years, even before Willy Rushton died (I guess he did holiday cover), and I have to say, it never once did not amaze me, the disgusting stuff he came out with. I feel that he could bring something, not Humph-like, but definitely new, to the double entendre. Rob Brydon did a rendition of Danny Boy on the show once, so powerful and moving that he can do whatever he likes, really. When Jack Dee first appeared, on a special, he said he wouldn't do it again because his voice spoilt it. So I guess he will be making a feature of that: the opposite of Humphrey Lyttelton, the person whose voice makes everything much less funny.

Oh, it'll be fine. Only an idiot would worry about a situation in which three huge beasts of British comedy rotate in one tiny chair. They can't mess it up - maybe sometimes - but not all the time.


From The Times (

From Times OnlineFebruary 25, 2009

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue back with Stephen Fry, Rob Brydon and Jack Dee hosting

Veronica Schmidt

The hugely popular Radio 4 panel show I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue is to return to Radio Four this summer with Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon sharing hosting duties.

The new series, which will begin recording in April, will be the first since the show's iconic chairman Humphrey Lyttelton died last spring.

The news will be a surprise to many who assumed the programme was finished. The final series was cancelled last April after Lyttelton underwent surgery on an aortic aneurysm. He died that month, aged 86.

Famed for his endless supply of innuendo, Lyttelton, also a jazz musician and cartoonist, was the show’s host from its inception in 1972. It regularly attracted 2 million listeners.

A year before Lyttelton's death, regular panellist Tim Brooke-Taylor was asked to contemplate the future of the show without its presenter. He said: “Humph is the most important component. Willie Rushton and I talked about it once and we agreed that if Humph isn’t there it’s not worth doing.”

Gavin and Stacey star Brydon, stand-up comic Dee and the medium-straddling Stephen Fry all appeared on the show during Lyttelton’s 36-year reign in the chair.

Today, Brydon said he would not try to fill Lyttelton's shoes "because that couldn't be done - he was a complete one-off".

Radio 4 will begin broadcasting the series in June.

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