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BBC..Have I Got News for You Nigel Farage

9 Nov

When Sgt Brodie is not planning to wreck revenge on America’s Military Industrial complex he is quite a funny guy or at least his alter-ego is. Damien Lewis was back on our screens as the host on topical news show – Have I got News For You.

The show was celebrating ten years since Angus Deayton was sacked, or as the BBC preferred to promote it ten years since guest presenters have hosted the programme. Panel guests were Harry Shearer who is known to fans of The Simpsons as the voice of Montgomery Burns. Also joining regulars Ian Hislop and Paul Merton was Nigel Farage, the public face of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

While I think the programme as a whole is on the wane, tonight’s episode was quite amusing. There were the inevitable jokes from the big story of the week, the US election and it was pretty much open season on Mitt Romney who bore the brunt of most jokes.

His perceived aloofness and his gaffes provided most of the humour. A recurring joke in this segment picked up on some of the more extremist Romney gaffes, like the infamous 47% video, and Damien would turn to Farage to ask what UKIP thought of such right-wing craziness.

Other stories where the exposure of Labour MP Denis McShane for alleged false expense claims. It seems this chap and Farage have history, as Farage took a lot of delight in mocking Mr McShane’s ‘misfortune’.

Although I am not sure if Harry Shearer was brought on for any particular reason (maybe the US elections), but I was beginning to see a trend with Farage. The show moved on onto the saga of ‘Mad Nad’ – Tory MP Nadine Dorries who for some reason thinks she can best serve the interest of her constituents from thousands of miles away in the Australian jungle where she will appear on the soon to start ‘I am a celebrity get me out of here’. Again there was a Farage connection.

For her sins ‘Mad Nad’ has been suspended from Conservative parliamentary party, and there were rumours of her moving to UKIP, Farage did not exactly appear to welcome her with open arms.

Like I said good episode and it looks like there is still some occassional burst of life in the programme.

Have I Got News For You …and Jimmy Savile

12 Oct

They say it never rains it pours, but in the case of Jimmy Savile it has turned into a category 5 hurricane of revelations. I never really liked him, as I found the whole shell suit, gaudy gold chains, big cigar and “now then now then” persona creepy and weird, but the breath and nature of the revelations has still shocked me.

I caught tonight’s episode of Have I got News For You, the start of a new season, and I was curious to see how they will deal with the topic being as it is till very fresh and escalating in seriousness and distaste as each day goes by

Tonight’s show was hosted by Clare Balding riding a wave of popularity after her much lauded presentation duties at both the Olympics for the BBC and the Paralympics for Channel 4.  Regulars  Ian Hislop and Paul Merton were joined by Ken Livingston and Graham Glinner, the writer behind the ‘Father Ted’ series.

The first news item they dealt with was the Tory Party conference and the jokes were on Dave’s twit-tering, Boris’s popularity and George Osborne (He doesn’t get the single name treatment) getting roundly booed at the Paralympics.

It moved on from there to the Savile story. Paul Merton started off by categorically denying the existence of a much rumored outtake transcript of an episode of  Have I got News For You from a few years back when Jimmy Savile appeared. It was said to detail Paul Merton confronting Savile as a pedophile.

That’s not to say there weren’t uncomfortable moments from his appearance on that episode, a clip was aired where he was asked by Ian Hislop “What do you do in your caravan?” Savile’s answer “Anyone I can lay hands”. More disturbingly and although not broadcast tonight on the same show he was asked by the then host Angus Deayton “You used to be a wrestler”, Savile’s reply “I still am….I am feared in every girls school”.  No. You can’t make it up.

As Glinner pointed out the vile innuendo in hindsight was some sort of attempt at “using the truth to mask the truth”.  Making a open joke of the whole sordid affair and people will think there is no way can it be true cos he wont be joking about it so openly.

The rest of the programme veered from mildly funny to very unfunny (claire Balding’s joke at Abu Hamza being surprised to fly into an airport in America, he was expecting to fly into a building) going via a long vent from Balding on what she called Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame. A reference to  the paper’s website obsession with young female celebrities yet ready to take the high ground on Savile.

I am not sure if the The Savile affair had cast a pall over the rest of the programme or if its age and that of Ian and Paul have begun to tell, Have I Got New For You seems to have lost its edge. Well it has been 22 years.

The episode with Jimmy Savile.