For the last three decades, Have I Got News For You has been on hand to offer a sideways look at the week’s headlines, with no politician or celebrity safe from the acerbic wit of Ian Hislop and Paul Merton. The satirical panel show’s enduring popularity has meant it is now celebrating its 30th anniversary, with its 60th series due to kick off next week. To mark the milestone, we’re delving into the HIGNFY history books to bring you some surprising facts and figures you may not have known about the show...1. There have been 524 episodes of Have I Got News For You, spread out over 59 series since its debut episode on 28 September 1990.2. There have now been more episodes hosted by guest presenters than by the original host Angus Deayton, who left in 2002. Angus hosted 198 episodes of HIGNFY, while 326 episodes have been fronted by others. 3. Across those 326 episodes, 115 different people have sat in the host’s seat. 4. Alexander Armstrong holds the record for most guest host appearances on the show, at 34. He is followed by Jo Brand, who has guest hosted 24 times. 5. Andy Hamilton holds the record for most frequent guest, with 24 appearances on the panel. 6. Team captain Ian Hislop is the only person to have appeared in every single episode of Have I Got News For You. While fellow team captain Paul Merton has been with the show since the start, he took a break from series 11 of the show in 1996 – although he did make an appearance as a guest during the series, where he was a panellist on Ian’s team. 7. Despite this, Paul has won the majority of the series by a significant margin – he has triumphed in 44 of them, with Ian only winning five. Ten series ended up as a draw. 8. Even when you break it down into individual episodes, Paul still holds the record for the most wins, boasting 332 triumphs to Ian’s 167 – 25 were drawn. 9. The famous revolving back panels of the set have featured an incredible 2,623 different people. 10. The panels used to revolve with the help of three crew members winding a bicycle chain by hand. Nowadays, this function is carried out by two crew members. 11. US president Donald Trump is one of those wanted by Ian Hislop to guest present the show. “I have an awful feeling this may not happen,” he said. 12. Jeremy Clarkson once threw a biro at Ian during a recording of the show, which hit him in the face and he started bleeding. Ian claimed they had to stop filming the show but “Jeremy insisted that it wasn’t blood but red ink from the biro”. Ian continued: “He later apologised but said that he was only doing so because ‘his wife told him to’.”13. One of Paul’s personal highlights of the last 30 years was when the late Bruce Forsyth sat in the hot seat. “He was my favourite guest host,” Paul said. “He brought so much fun to the set and made it so unlike any other episode for its light entertainment values. “I find it funny that the show I liked the most is probably the one Ian hates the most!”14. The show has been recorded in four different studios over its 30 years. Its home for the majority of those three decades was at The London Studios on the capital’s Southbank prior to its closure in 2018. It subsequently moved to Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, and its upcoming series will be the first to record at the newly reopened Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. In 2001, it also recorded a one-off election special at the old BBC Television Centre in White City.15. The upcoming 60th series will see the reintroduction of a studio audience after the last run was filmed virtually. The audience in the studio will be socially distanced and at a reduced capacity. There are also plans for a second socially-distanced audience to watch the record from a separate screening room, with their live reactions being used to recreate the impact of a full audience.Have I Got News For You returns to BBC One on Friday 2 October. READ MORE:
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“I just set up my iPad on a table, I sat in a chair and experimented,” said David Bradley, the Harry Potter and After Life actor when HuffPost UK spoke to him about the filming he’d been doing at the start of lockdown.Filming needn’t be done from home anymore, as the easing of restrictions means shows can return back to studios. This could all change if the pandemic worsens of course, but for now, producers have been given creative license to get back to lights, camera, action!...But what’s it actually like on set?HuffPost UK spoke with Mark De Lisser, vocal coach on ITV’s forthcoming series of The Masked Singer, as well as Jason Maza, producer on soon-to-air Channel 5 thriller The Drowning, to get the scoop on filming during lockdown. First off, it’s a huge creative challenge“Regardless of your production, there will be creative compromises,” explains Jason. “It’s really hard to make art in this situation because it just becomes so clinical.”Jason notes that it’s “very very tough to have fun, or be in the moment” when everything is geared around making the set safe - but finishing filming “felt like an incredible, unbelievable achievement” after months of working out new ways to tell their story while obeying social distancing on set.For Mark De Lisser, not being able to get up close to singers has meant getting creative about how he judges sound.″As a choral director, I want the sound closer to me. I want to work on the diction and I want to work on the blend, but actually, being so far away, due to distancing, you lose so much,” Mark says. He continues: “We use our ears in a completely different way. For the BBC’s VE Day celebrations, filmed under lockdown, I had to really listen hard to make sure everything was balanced and where it needed to be.”Directors also can’t go closer than two metres to actors unless they’re in the same bubble (even the same bubble, people keep the same distance where possible). So if one bubble is comprised fully of actors, the director must distance themselves from the on-screen stars while on set.“Our director Carolina Giammetta had to keep two metres from the cast,” notes Jason. “It’s so much harder to communicate and create that bond. We were fortunate we had a brilliant cast and director, but this is going to be a continual problem.” Distancing on set is also a huge logistical challenge (that costs loads of money)It’s not just hard to tell the story properly with social distancing in place - it’s a massive administration nightmare too, and costs the earth.“There’s lots of different bubbles. Actors are in one bubble, the director and script supervisor in another bubble, costume in another bubble, and you have to keep two metres away from people in other bubbles,” explains Jason.“Even in terms of facilities - how do I get my crew from unit base to set. Normally we’d be able to do one mini bus. Now we have to put on three or four minibuses, it’s a continual expense to be able to deliver what we want.”Although actors can share social bubbles to avoid social distancing, it’s not always possibleActors are able to get close to one another if they are in a bubble together, but some actors aren’t able to bubble up, such as 74-year-old Deborah Findlay from The Drowning, as she’s in the vulnerable category so couldn’t go near another actor on set.“No one can come within two metres of Deborah on set, which is incredibly tough,” says Jason. “Ultimately there’s compromises you have to make: we had to be creative and find creative logical reasons why she wouldn’t be going up to her son at a funeral,” for instance.Crews have to get clever with camera anglesOne way to make actors in different social bubbles seem closer is by using clever camera angles to give the impression people are nearer than they really are.“We ask which camera angles can we use to sell it the best we can,” Jason says. “We use a lot of long lenses, which create the illusion they’re closer together.” Actors occasionally need to get close to the crew, which sometimes means they need to wear masks“Sometimes actors have to wear masks during their take as they’re close to the camera person,” explains Jason. “It’s really not ideal: acting’s all about being in the moment, listening, connecting, reacting: all of that’s out of the window.” When you have a mask on you need to be a better communicator which ultimately means that filming can take longer, costing more money. Although actors wore masks in certain unique instances when filming, the masks won’t actually be seen in the finished show due to more clever camera angles.Mark De Lisser reckons The Masked Singer couldn’t feel more pertinent right now.“We joked the other day that The Masked Singer is probably the best prepared show in the world for a pandemic because it’s all about masks,” he says.He agrees that it’s a huge inconvenience not to be able to go closer to the contestants. In the past, he says “you might be a little more tactile, but now there’s absolutely none of that. You have to be two metres apart and there has to be a perspex screen.”And when things go wrong, it means reacting at lightening speed“We had one incident,” reveals Jason. “We had an actor coming in to start, so he got tested, and found out he had Covid on Saturday. We had to recast on the Saturday, get them tested on Saturday, results on the Sunday, they were Covid free so were allowed to shoot on the Monday.“I can’t begin to tell you what would have happened if that’d been an actor that shot previous continuity, and then had to come back to finish off the show. It just would have been an absolute nightmare.”Elsewhere in entertainment, socially distanced audiences are becoming more popularStrictly Come Dancing, which returns to screens later this autumn, has been the focus of discussions around what to do about a live studio audience.For many shows like Strictly, having a live audience has been crucial to creating the energetic atmosphere. This year the show delayed revealing details about whether they’d have a studio audience or not due to the changing status of the virus.However, they have just announced they will return with a minimal, masked-up audience. Others shows that have returned with reduced, socially distant studio audiences include QI and Have I Got News For You. The Graham Norton Show is also set to return with a socially-distanced audience and guests.Real-life partners of actors are being dragged on setEastEnders has enlisted the real-life partners of actors for kissing scenes on the show, and is using clever camera angles to make actors and their real-life love interests appear as if they are characters on the show.People from the real-life social bubbles of the actors are also being called in to play extras on the soap opera. The show recently returned to the BBC after dropping off air earlier in the summer when they ran out of canned episodes and had to halt filming due to the virus.What’s the bottom line?Ultimately, producers are doing all they can to keep actors safe on set by following the guidelines, but bosses can only go so far and cannot control what actors and crew get up to on their own time, says Jason.He asserts that there’s no magic answer for how to get shows back in production smoothly until there’s a vaccine, and in the short-term, filming is just incredibly hard work.“I think there just has to be an understanding that trying to shoot with Covid is very very difficult and anyone that manages to get through their production without a hiccup has honestly virtually achieved a miracle.”There’s no magic answer...“We’re still learning, it’s a continual process,” says Jason. “It’s incredibly tough to shoot with Covid, that’s just the reality of it.”READ MORE
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Bill Gates' obsession with all things faecal continued apace on Tuesday as the billionaire philanthropist took to a Beijing stage armed only with a fierce determination to improve global sanitation.And a jar of poo.The stunt may remind some of the 1993 episode of the BBC current affairs quiz show, Have I Got News For You, where a last-minute cancellation by then Member of the UK Parliament Roy Hattersley led to the unfortunate Honourable gentleman being replaced by a tub of lard.We can certainly think of a number of people with whom Gates has shared a stage over the years that could be compared to a jar of excrement with very little imagination.The stunt, of course, was to underline the very worthy need to deal with raw human waste.Failure to do so can cause diseases not limited to dysentery and cholera, which kill many thousands of people every year.
TV provider Freeview has released a new ad campaign underlining the breadth of content available on its channels.The latest spot from Anomaly mashes together memorable visuals and soundtracks from some of the UK's most identifiable shows, informing viewers just what is on offer in the network.It builds upon The Other Way campaign, which previously leant upon beloved IPs to stir up a connection with the brand.The ad features audio cues from the likes of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV’s Dave, claiming the brand possesses 95% of the UK’s favourite TV shows.The creative features some of these, including Match of the Day, Have I Got News for You, Gogglebox, Thunderbirds and Big Brother.Neema Shah Khan, head of marketing at Freeview, said: “Together with Anomaly we’ve created a truly unique ad, celebrating the nation’s favourite TV theme tunes and reminding TV lovers everywhere that Freeview provides all these shows (and more) for free.”
‘Have I Got News For You’ panellists Ian Hislop and Paul Merton have addressed the lack of female politicians who have guest hosted the topical show over the years.In the past 54 series of ‘Have I Got News For You’, the show has featured a number of prominent politicians serving as guest host for an episode, from Boris Johnson and William Hague to John Prescott and Alastair Campbell.But of the 11 politicians who have sat in the presenter’s chair, only one of them has been a woman, with former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe having presented the show on two separate occasions.However, during a fresh interview with Radio Times, Ian and Paul have insisted this lack of female MPs isn’t for lack of trying, claiming that “everyone you think should have been asked has been”.Paul Merton explained: “The producers always ask more women than men.Ian Hislop also said: “There was a period where people said, ‘Why haven’t you had French and Saunders on?
An episode of Have I Got News For You where Jo Brand took an all-male panel to task over their jokes about sexual assault was the most complained about BBC show of the past two weeks, figures reveal.The broadcaster received a total of 234 complaints about the programme, which was first shown on November 3.At the time, many viewers took to Twitter to accuse panelists of trying to “downplay” recent sexual harassment allegations within Parliament.While Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts called journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer a “big strong girl” following accusations that former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon repeatedly touched her knee at a dinner a number of years ago, Ian Hislop laughed over one allegation of a Tory MP taking his personal trainer to the cinema.“Some of this isn’t high-level crime, is it?” Hislop said.“Compared to say, Putin or Trump.”
Jo Brand has received widespread praise after taking last night’s Have I Got News For You guests to task over why sexual harassment should be taken seriously.The comedian offered a ringing rebuke following a series of jokes by the all-male panel over recent misconduct allegations within Parliament, with viewers accusing panelists of trying to “downplay” harassment.While Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts called journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer a “big strong girl” following accusations that former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon repeatedly touched her knee at a dinner a number of years ago, Ian Hislop laughed over one allegation of a Tory MP taking his personal trainer to the cinema.“Some of this isn’t high-level crime, is it?” Hislop said.“Compared to say, Putin or Trump.”Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images
Have I Got News For You is back on the 21st of April, and its first host will be... Captain Picard!The series no longer has a fixed presenter, with a different guest host every episode.There'll be nine episodes in the new series, but no word yet of who'll be stepping into Professor Xavier's shiny shoes after the first one.In the most PatStew quote ever, he told the Independent:"A long awaited and anticipated moment in my career has arrived.I am to host the season opener of Have I Got News For You.
Following a nine-month pitch process, a BBC source told Business Insider that BBC2 has shortlisted three ideas in the hope of capturing the spirit of NBC's 41-year-old brand for BritishHat Trick Productions, the production company behind "Have I Got News For You," is in the mix with a format titled "That Thing On Friday Night."