British Comedy Guide

Paul Merton

Suki Webster and Paul Merton to record radio play

Suki Webster and Paul Merton are to record My Obsession for the radio, their play about an obsessed fan.

British Comedy Guide, 4th January 2018

Longevity, banging on and on, is the key component of national treasuredom. In his slick Sale of the Century years it was hard to imagine Nicholas Parsons might ever achieve the status, but now, aged 94, and having presented 975 episodes of Radio 4's Just a Minute/c], without deviation but with plenty of repetition, the mantle maybe fits. The BBC celebrated his half century with a tribute, Just a Minute: 50 Years in 28 Minutes, which had living panellists compete with departed wits; a ouija board parlour game. Paul Merton interrupted Peter Cook's 60 seconds on the Loch Ness monster, Jenny Eclair was superseded by Patrick Moore on foolishness. By the time Stephen Fry cut in on Kenneth Williams and Barbara Castle on the subject of Gregorian chants, it was tricky to work out who was in the studio and who wasn't. "I don't think we can have psychic challenges," a youthful Parsons reminded his departed guests; we can now.

Tim Adams, The Guardian, 31st December 2017

50 Years of Just A Minute: Nicholas Parsons in Conversation with Paul Merton (New Year's Day, 6.15pm, Radio 4) has the irrepressibly perky host quizzed by his unfailingly puzzled guest, and can be relied upon to get to the big questions. Did Parsons sport his trademark cravat back when he worked as an engineering apprentice on the Glasgow docks? And how does it feel to have seen his own fame increase while Arthur Haynes, the TV comic he was once the straight man for, has faded away into obscurity?

David Hepworth, The Guardian, 30th December 2017

Odd to reflect that not so long ago there were mutterings HIGNFY had run out of steam. Then came Brexit. And Trump. And who knows what lies ahead next year? That said, it can still seem a little stale on those nights when Merton and Hislop rest too heavily on our familiarity with their respective personas. Tonight's episode gathers highlights, including, presumably, Jo Brand's silencing-the-boys admonishment moment.

Jonathan Wright, The Guardian, 22nd December 2017

Why Just a Minute hides a far more ruthless reality

Just A Minute has become one of the nation's most beloved radio shows -- but it began as a classroom humiliation, inflicted on daydreamers by a history teacher at Sherborne School in the Thirties.

Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 1st December 2017

Paul Merton still fears HIGNFY will be canned

The comedian, who has been on the show since its launch in 1990, says he 'can't afford to be complacent'.

Mark Jefferies and Nicola Methven, The Mirror, 29th November 2017

BBC Radio's Christmas 2017 highlights

BBC Radio has announced its festive comedy offerings for 2017. Radio 4 will celebrate 50 years of Just A Minute, whilst other specials include comedy drama Anansi Boys, 15 Minute Musical, Dead Ringers and Count Arthur Strong.

British Comedy Guide, 22nd November 2017

HIGNFY attacked for anti-Tory bias

Have I Got News for You makes five times more jokes about the Tories than Labour, a Sun probe discovered. Conservative MPs branded the BBC show propaganda yesterday.

Joe Kasper, The Sun, 9th November 2017

Paul Merton to interview Nicholas Parsons for Just A Minute special

Just A Minute host Nicholas Parsons is to be interviewed by Paul Merton for a special Radio 4 show linked to 50 years of the panel show.

British Comedy Guide, 1st November 2017

As HIGNFY returns for its 54th series, it's hard to know how to feel about this telly institution. It has undoubtedly lost something of its bite with Ian Hislop and Paul Merton having long since adopted roles they could play in their sleep. Plus, the show is probably marginally to blame for the ascent of Boris Johnson. But, still, in these absurd times, someone's got to take the mickey. The urbane Alexander Armstrong hosts.

Phil Harrison, The Guardian, 6th October 2017

Preview - Have I Got News for You

The BBC's long-running satirical panel show enters its 54th series tonight.

Ian Wolf, On The Box, 6th October 2017

BBC announces major Edinburgh festival coverage

Edinburgh Festivals' 70th anniversary year is to be celebrated by the BBC with a dynamic showcase highlighting the cultural standing of this international event.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 24th July 2017

Star comics on camera in their early Fringe days

A stash of film shot in the 1990s chronicles the rise of comedy's big names including Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Jo Brand.

Dan Glaister, The Guardian, 16th July 2017

How comedy captured the Edinburgh Fringe: part 3

In the third part of our Fringe history, two long-forgotten venues put comedy before theatre with the help of Austin Powers and a Wonder Dog.

Ben Venables, The Skinny, 11th July 2017

Preview - Have I Got News For You

A General Election campaign is fertile ground for the panel on Have I Got News For You but this one has exceeded expectation in its ludicrosity - with manifesto lies, ministers who can't do basic arithmetic, a prime minister who refuses to debate and caustic interviewers who won't let them get a word in edgeways.

Gareth Hargreaves, On The Box, 2nd June 2017

Paul Merton on becoming the Beatles for a day

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper, the comedian imagines what it would have been like if the band had reunited...

Radio Times, 29th May 2017

Preview - Have I Got News for You

One of the big questions in the comedy world at the moment is whether we are experiencing a new satire boom?

Ian Wolf, On The Box, 21st April 2017

TV humour is lewd, lavatorial & lacking any form of wit

The problem, however, is bigger than just one show. For the abject and high-profile failure of The Nightly Show raises a disturbing question. What has happened to British comedy? The sheer unfunniness of much of it is beyond depressing.

Christopher Hart, Daily Mail, 18th March 2017

Bath Comedy Festival gets new sexy sponsor

Bath Comedy Festival and VisitBath have announced a sponsorship collaboration with Lovehoney, the UK's largest online sex toy retailer.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 9th March 2017

Paul Merton: 'Alan was my comic hero'

Alan Simpson, of writing duo Galton and Simpson, has died at the age of 87.

The pair created sitcoms including Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe And Son.

Comedian Paul Merton became friends with the pair after working with them. He explained to Radio 4's PM how they worked "writing everything together face to face". He added not only "did they make each other laugh, but they had the eye to know what would make the audience laugh as well".

BBC News, 8th February 2017