Have I Got News for You
Also known as
  • Have I Got a Little Bit More News for You
  • Have I Got a Bit More News for You
  • Have I Got Old News for You
  • Have I Got a Bit More Old News for You
GenreComedy panel game
Created by
Presented by
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series65
No. of episodes581 (as of 16 June 2023) (list of episodes)
Production locations
Running time
  • 29 minutes
  • 42 minutes (extended)
Production companyHat Trick Productions[2]
Original network
Original release28 September 1990 (1990-09-28) –

Have I Got News for You (HIGNFY) is a British television panel show, produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC, which premiered on 28 September 1990.[3] The programme focuses on two teams, one always captained by Ian Hislop and one by Paul Merton, each plus a guest panelist, answering questions on various news stories on the week prior to an episode's broadcast. However, the programme's format focuses more on the topical discussions on the subject of the news stories related to questions, and the satirical humour derived from these by the teams. This style of presentation had a profound impact on panel shows in British TV comedy, making it one of the genre's key standard-bearers.

The programme aired on BBC Two for its first ten years, before moving to BBC One in 2000 for later series. In 2003, extended episodes, with additional content, titled Have I Got a Little Bit More News for You, later simply Have I Got a Bit More News for You began broadcasting the following Saturdays on BBC Two, later moved to Mondays on BBC One and returned to BBC Two in 2021. Subsequent repeats are named Have I Got Old News for You or Have I Got a Bit More Old News for You.

Until 2002, Have I Got News for You was hosted by Angus Deayton, who was sacked following reports in national newspapers of several scandals about his private life.[4] Since then, the programme has been hosted by a different celebrity each week; many of them add their own comedy.

The programme gained recognition for its performance on British television and comedy, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 British Comedy Awards[5] and the 2016 BAFTA Television Award for Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme.


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The Have I Got News for You studio

Have I Got News for You was initially conceived as a pilot for the BBC called John Lloyd's Newsround. The BBC had commissioned Hat Trick Productions to make a television show which was like a more topical version of Hat Trick's Whose Line Is It Anyway? (developed by Mock the Week creators Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson), but it was decided that the show would follow a template more in keeping with Radio 4's The News Quiz. Hat Trick hired a producer with a track record in radio comedy, John Lloyd, and filmed a pilot with a title which aped long-running Children's BBC programme John Craven's Newsround.

After filming the pilot, John Lloyd decided not to proceed as chairman, and the job fell to comedian Angus Deayton, after try-outs with future News Quiz host Sandi Toksvig and a pre-fame Chris Evans in the main role.[6] The team captains, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop[7] and comedian Paul Merton, returned from the pilot.

Since its first broadcast in October 1990, the BBC has commissioned two series each year, the number of episodes being divided between the Spring series, broadcast from April to June, and the Autumn series, shown from October to December. The Autumn series takes a week's break to make room for the Children in Need special. For the first ten years of its existence, the programme was shown on BBC Two. Hislop has been the longest-serving member of the three on the programme since its premiere. He has not missed a single episode.[8] Merton took a break during the 11th series in 1996, saying he had become "very tired" of the show and thought it had become "stuck in a rut". In his absence, his role was assigned to celebrity guests, with Merton himself returning as a guest on Hislop's team. Merton returned for the following series as team captain, deeming that his absence had given the programme the "shot in the arm" it needed and that it had been "better ever since".[note 1]

By 2000, the BBC made a decision to relocate its late evening news bulletin from nine o'clock to ten o'clock, after ITV moved their long-running ten o'clock bulletin to eleven o'clock. The resulting move caused a gap in its schedule that needed filling; Have I Got News for You was moved to BBC One and given access to a broader audience in October that year. In 2002, Deayton was caught using illegal drugs and soliciting sex with a prostitute – a fact that he was ridiculed for on the programme,[9] after it became headlines – putting his private life under scrutiny by news media outlets.[10] Further scandal effectively forced the BBC to terminate Deayton's contract with them two episodes into the programme's 24th series.[11]

At short notice, Merton hosted the first episode after Deayton's departure,[12] with a series of guest hosts appearing for the remainder of the series, including Anne Robinson, Boris Johnson, and Jeremy Clarkson.[13] Despite an initial search for a permanent successor to Deayton, having a different guest host each week proved successful, with average audience figures increasing from 6 million to 7 million,[14] leading to it becoming a permanent feature in the programme's format in June 2003.[15]

Between 1990 and its spring season in 2018, the programme was recorded at The London Studios, the former home of London Weekend Television; it briefly was recorded at BBC Television Centre for a 2001 Election special, the Friday after the elections were completed. Since the 2018 autumn series, recording is conducted at Elstree Studios,[16] although the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom in 2020 impacted production of series during that time. The spring series saw Hislop, Merton, and the celebrities for each episode filming episodes virtually from their own homes, against a superimposed CGI recreation of the studio. In contrast, the 2020 autumn, 2021 spring, and 2021 autumn series were filmed at Riverside Studios in London under safety measures to prevent the spread of infection, which included socially distancing panellists and host with screens while on set. Initially audience numbers were reduced – half those attending each recording being allowed in the studio, and the other half watching the recording in the studio's cinema – but upon the British government implementing a second lockdown, all remaining episodes in the series were recorded with a virtual audience.[17]


Episodes are usually set to around 30 minutes in length, and are edited from the footage taken from a longer recording session the day before an episode is broadcast. The time frame given is used to allow the programme to retain the topical elements that an episode will feature, while allowing for any potentially defamatory material to be cut by the BBC's team of lawyers to avoid legal issues. The focus on each episode is on four panellists – the show's two regulars, and two guests – split between two teams, answering questions related to topical items in the news that occurred within the previous week, but the format often forgoes this aspect and the scoring system in favour of the panellists' witty exchanges, jokes, and satirical discussions on the question's relevant news item.

Each episode consists of a general format that is largely unchanged since the programme first premiered. All begin with an introduction by the host, who gives out a set of satirical, fictional comedic news stories that are often accompanied with a video clip from news programmes or general public recordings to provide the joke, followed by introductions of the episode's guest panellists. After this, the episode focuses on four rounds that generally follow the same arrangement:

After the rounds are completed, the host then gives out the scores, denoting which team is the winner. If time permits, the episode may feature a bonus round called the "Caption Competition", in which panellists are given a single or two pictures to make amusing captions to. The episode always concludes with the host making an additional set of satirical, fictional comedic news stories, accompanied by a picture to provide the joke; in rare cases, a video clip is used.

A repeat with a running time of 40 minutes, titled Have I Got a Bit More News for You, is often aired on the weekend, and features additional content cut from the original episode, and can often include scenes and outtakes made during the show before the opening credits or after the ending credits.[18]


Main article: List of Have I Got News for You presenters

The format of Have I Got News for You is derived from the comedy that can be generated by each guest that participates in the programme, whether as a panellist or as a host. Although the show features a variety of comedians, it has also included politicians, television personalities, actors and news media personalities, several of whom have appeared more than once. As of 16 October 2020, Alexander Armstrong had appeared most often, mainly as guest host and also as a panellist, while Andy Hamilton had appeared most often as a guest panellist.

On rare occasions the programme has had a participant cancel or otherwise be unable to appear. Production staff try to find a replacement, but this is often challenging at short notice. For an episode in 1993, nobody could find a suitable replacement for Roy Hattersley (then an MP, having recently stepped down as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party) after he pulled out at the last minute; he had cancelled on two prior occasions. He was replaced by a tub of lard. The programme's host compared Hattersley to the tub of lard, claiming that "they possessed the same qualities and were liable to give similar performances".[19]

Accounts vary as to how much panellists are paid to appear on the show. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Parliamentary register of interests showed him earning £1500 for a claimed four hours' work,[20] while Nick Clegg was paid £15,000 to host an episode.[21]


Main article: List of Have I Got News for You episodes

Criticism, controversy and litigation

Throughout its broadcast history, Have I Got News for You has drawn considerable criticism from guests, politicians and viewers about its content, sometimes ending in court.

Home media

The series has seen many releases on VHS and DVD, mainly consisting of straight-to-video compilations from other seasons. They were all released by Hat Trick through Video Collection International/2Entertain, under license from the BBC.

Internet spin-offs

During the late 1990s, the website haveigotnewsforyou.com, run in association with Freeserve, featured interactive versions of the show's games, including the missing words round and the caption competition, offering prizes.

Have I Got News for You started broadcasting a video podcast, The Inevitable Internet Spin-off, on 13 April 2007.[18] It was initially planned to run for six series, from series 33 to 38, taking it to the end of 2009.

From the beginning of Series 37, a new internet feature, Have I Got News for You, News... for You, was introduced. A short programme featuring typical opening and closing sequences (without the presence of a live audience) as well as other short sketches, it has so far been presented by Alexander Armstrong, and run fortnightly, bridging the gap between series 37 and 38.[33]

On 1 October 2009, the last "webisode" episode was made available via both the BBC iPlayer and YouTube.[34]

Other shows based on the Have I Got News for You format

Shows based on the Have I Got News for You format are broadcast in other countries:

See also


  1. ^ The Very Best of Have I Got News for You (2002): DVD commentary
  2. ^ Hat Trick Productions: VHS VC6587.


  1. ^ "Have I Got News For You Audience Tickets". Hat Trick Productions. Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Hat Trick Productions - Have I Got News for You".
  3. ^ Have I Got News for You? Radio Times entry at the BBC Genome Project
  4. ^ "Was the BBC right to sack Angus Deayton?". BBC News. 4 November 2002. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  5. ^ "2011 Winners". The British Comedy Academy. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  6. ^ What's Funny About...Series 2 Episode 2 of 6 on BBC Radio 4 from 29 September 2021/BBC Radio 4 Extra 30 September 2021: Ian Hislop & Jimmy Mulville on Have I Got News For You with TV veterans Peter Fincham and Jon Plowman.
  7. ^ "Ian Hislop: My 20 Years at the Eye". Independent. 2007. Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  8. ^ "15 fascinating facts about Have I Got News for You". Radio Times. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Deayton in the lion's den". BBC News. 24 May 2002. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Deayton 'feels a fool' over reports". BBC News. 20 May 2002. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  11. ^ "Quiz host Deayton fired by BBC". BBC News. 30 October 2002. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  12. ^ "Show goes on after Deayton exit". BBC News. 1 November 2002. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  13. ^ "HIGNFY Jeremy Clarkson". BBC Press Office (Press release). BBC. 7 December 2002. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  14. ^ "TV quiz denies Clunes is new host". BBC News. 29 April 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  15. ^ Deans, Jason; Tryhorn, Chris (10 June 2003). "Forsyth boost for BBC news quiz". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  16. ^ "HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU - Free audience tickets: SRO Audiences : the tv audience company". SRO Audiences. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Sro audiences". www.sroaudiences.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  18. ^ a b "A lot more news for you : News 2007 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  19. ^ Leo McKinstry (13 September 2003). "I prefer the tub of lard". The Spectator.
  20. ^ "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests (161121: Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob )". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  21. ^ "4 Things Nick Clegg Could Buy With His *Surprising* 'Have I Got News For You' Pay". HuffPost UK. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  22. ^ "Contempt of Court – Attorney-General v British Broadcasting Corporation; Same v Hat Trick Productions Ltd Times, 26 July 1996; [1997] EMLR 76". Swarb.co.uk.
  23. ^ "Ex-Tory MP loses libel action". BBC News. 21 January 1998. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  24. ^ Robins, Jane (7 November 1998). "Have I got news about the editors at the BBC...". Independent. Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  25. ^ Wilson, Jamie (21 December 2000). "BBC eases privacy edict". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Fry boycotts 'pathetic' quiz". BBC News. 16 April 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  27. ^ Media Monkey (28 November 2007). "Widdecombe disgusted by Carr's 'filth'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  28. ^ Self, Will (4 December 2007). "Have I got news for you: TV satire's lost its teeth". Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  29. ^ "Ray Winstone calls Scots 'tramps' on TV quiz show". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  30. ^ Caroline Davies (3 April 2018). "Ian Hislop and Paul Merton under fire for female host remarks". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Have I Got News For You Heidi Allen episode pulled due to Euro elections". BBC News. 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  32. ^ "Top 10 Have I Got News For You guest hosts: Damian Lewis to Boris Johnson". Metro. DMG Media. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  33. ^ Parker, Robin (22 April 2009). "Have I Got News for You internet spin-off to bridge TV run". BroadcastNow. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  34. ^ Alexander Armstrong Went Wild at Roman Polanski's Party - Have I Got News for You - BBC Comedy Extra on YouTube
  35. ^ "NPR Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me". NPR. 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  36. ^ "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me... « Night Listeners". Nightlisteners.com. 13 May 2009. Archived from the original on 1 December 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  37. ^ "Dit was het Nieuws stopt na dertien jaar". Trouw. 23 July 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  38. ^ "Jan Jaap van der Wal en Peter Pannekoek naast Harm Edens in Dit was het nieuws". AVROTROS. 14 November 2017. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  39. ^ fi:Uutisvuoto
  40. ^ "Legendaarinen Uutisvuoto tekee paluun! Nähdään jatkossa MTV3-kanavalla". MTV3. 13 September 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  41. ^ "Viga!" (in Estonian). err.ee.[permanent dead link]
  42. ^ "Have I Got News For You". 20 November 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  43. ^ ""Nytt på nytt" tilbake" (in Norwegian). NRK. 11 January 2001. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  44. ^ "Nytt på Nytt Web page (continuously updated, live as of November 2022)". NRK TV (in Norwegian Bokmål).
  45. ^ Pedersen, Pål Fredrik (25 March 2017). "Nytt på nytt kåret til tidenes underholdningsprogram". Nytt på nytt kåret til tidenes underholdningsprogram (in Norwegian). TV 2. Retrieved 3 November 2018.

Further reading