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British Comedy

Times articles about the new series of "I"m Sorry I Haven't A Clue"
16/06/2009 00:00 GMT

Posted by lisa

The first episode of the new series of "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" is now available worldwide from Listen Again at (if you have trouble with that link you can also hear the show at

The Times printed two articles about the series in their June 16th issue.  The articles can be found at the following links (or use the "click here for more" link below to read a cut & paste of the text).

From The Times Comment section:

From The Times Arts & Entertainment section:

From The Times Comment section:

The Times
June 16, 2009

Happily Clueless
Hooray! The funniest show on radio returns, even if without its legendary host

Mornington Crescent. Mean anything to you? What about “the lovely Samantha”? Or “one song to the tune of another”? No? Then, reader, you may as well turn the page and move on. For the rest of you, rejoice, because I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue has returned to Radio 4. The sad news is that it returns without Humphrey Lyttelton.

The death last year of the chairman of “the antidote to panel games” ushered in a year of radio silence. Mourning fans of the funniest show on radio pined to hear Humph share news of how Samantha had abandoned her laser scoreboard because she had to nip off early “to meet an entymologist friend who's been showing her his collection of winged insects. They've already covered his bees and wasps and tonight she's hoping to go through his flies.” It was the pretence that Humph never noticed the double entendres that allowed the vulgarity to be broadcast at Sunday lunchtime and lent the comedy its punch.

Stephen Fry hosted last night's return, the first of three new rotating hosts, along with Jack Dee and Rob Brydon. Victoria Wood made her debut as a panellist “given silly things to do” alongside the regulars. The silly things range from playing a song on a swanee whistle, naming the late arrivals at a society ball, guessing what an object is from a description of its bar code (“thick black, thin white, thin black...”), minting new definitions (“pastiche”: what Sean Connery eats in Cornwall), and milking endless amusement from Lionel Blair.

The glue that held the show togther was Lyttelton, with his deadpan delivery and a comic timing that Rolex would envy. After a discreet interlude, the BBC has decided the game must go on. At least until someone reaches Mornington Cresent.


From The Times Arts & Entertainment section:

The Times
June 16, 2009

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, BBC Radio 4

One of the favourites on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue is the game One Song to the Tune of Another, in which the panellists commit terrible outrages in the process. Last night, in the first return of the show since the death last year of the much loved chairman Humphrey Lyttelton, they did not actually choose it, but then they didn’t have to, because the whole programme was in essence one great big performance of the old standby: One Show to the Tune of Another.

When Lyttelton died many of the programme’s admirers wondered how it could survive without him. The panellists — regulars Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer and Tim Brooke-Taylor — are certainly funny enough in their own right, but could anyone ever replace the wonderful, dry-as-dust Lyttelton and the caustic, world-weary way in which he deadpanned his way through lines of the most unutterable filth?

After being off the air for a year, ISIHAC returned last night with Stephen Fry in the Lyttelton seat, the first of three trial chairmen (the others are Jack Dee and Rob Brydon). Those of us who believe that Fry is a trifle overexposed these days, and while an undoubted national treasure is one that would best be buried in a time capsule for the delight of future generations, were more than a little concerned.

We need not have worried, however. Fry — donnishly smug whenever he gets the chance — managed to suppress his personality and delivered his lines without sounding too pleased with himself. They were, regular listeners will have been pleased to note, as disgusting as ever. The lovely Samantha was indisposed, and in her place was the rippling Sven. Sven, Fry reported, had the builders in at home. “But no matter how many times they ask for cheese and gourmet chutney, he always palms them off with relish.”

Crucially, the show’s producers took the sensible decision to leave the format exactly as it was. It has, after all, been going since 1972, and the audience no doubt like things just as they are, give or take the odd tweaking of the rules to Mornington Crescent. At times — and it does not give me any great pleasure to say this — the show just wasn’t terribly funny. Then again, it was often like that; there were often duff episodes that were rescued only by the leathery, laconic tones of old Humph. But it had its moments, most of them provided by Victoria Wood, who was making her debut on the programme. To hear her sing Hound Dog during a round of Just a Minim, a comic tour de force that managed to make the journey from Elvis Presley to Joyce Grenfell (and convince you that it all made sense), was a moment of pure radio joy.

Lyttelton’s great conceit was to behave as if he held the show, its contestants and, indeed, Mrs Trellis, in utter contempt, a trick that the benign Fry will never be able to pull off. I cannot wait to hear Jack Dee have a go.

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