Extremely popular radio comedy. ISIHAC is a self-styled antidote to panel games, in which players are given silly things to do
- ISIHAC; Clue
- Panel Show
- 1972 - 2012 (BBC Radio 4)
- 429 (58 series)
- Humphrey Lyttelton, Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, William Rushton, Stephen Fry, Jack Dee, Rob Brydon, Bill Oddie, Jo Kendall, John Cleese
- Iain Pattinson
- British Broadcasting Corporation
This show started out as a spin-off from the BBC radio series I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again. The idea being that I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue was an unscripted version of the original.
ISIHAC is a parody of the traditional panel show, with games designed to humiliate and confuse. Points come for show's lovely (and fictitious) scorer Samantha.
Games include the self-explanatory "One Song to the Tune of Another"; mad word game "Cheddar Gorge"; "Sound Charades" (a game based on the TV show Give Us a Clue which differs in just three ways); "Word for Word", the opposite of word association; and the game based on the London Underground that is almost impossible to play - "Mornington Crescent".
Legendary host Humphrey Lyttelton presided over the first 50 series. In the series that followed the host's death the role of chairman was handed over to Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon. The trio took it in turns to present the show.
Jack Dee's episodes were generally the best received by the audience, and thus Dee has been installed as the new host.
Our Review: ISIHAC is one of Britain's most loved radio shows. It is amongst the handful of legendary British audio comedy formats, listened to around the world. The show has won several awards and attracted many fans; it is easily one of the most popular programmes on BBC Radio 4 (even repeats bring large ratings).
The programme is considered so good, that some of its more famous fans do not want to appear on it for fear of spoiling it; amongst them Armando Iannucci.
Following the death of host Humphrey Lyttelton in 2008 there was a big question mark over whether the show would return. However, later in that year, producer Jon Naismith and the regular panellists publically announced that they would like to continue... an idea that was backed up by letters from listeners. As a result, new episodes were recorded in London with guest host Stephen Fry, Southampton with Jack Dee, and Newcastle with Rob Brydon. Following that series Jack Dee was named the new permanent host.
However, the show continuing may have been a mistake. The new incarnation has come under criticism, with Dee sometimes struggling to match the delivery of the legendary 'Humph'. However, the show is still clearly popular enough to return for more series and perhaps now Jack Dee has been with the show a few series it will settle down into a comfortable rhythm again.