Have I Got News For You. Image shows from L to R: Ian Hislop, Paul Merton.

Have I Got News For You

BBC One and BBC Two panel show about the news. 543 episodes (61 series), 1990 - 2021. Stars Angus Deayton, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.

Catch-up on Episode 9 on BBC iPlayer   Series 59, Episode 1 is repeated today at 11:15pm.

Have I Got News For You. Romesh Ranganathan.

Series 61, Episode 6

Romesh Ranganathan guest presents - his fifth appearance on the programme, and third time in the host's chair. Joining him is guest panellists Jo Brand and Lemn Sissay.

Further details

This episode came in the week that saw the fall out of the country's local elections, the Queen's speech in the House of Lords, a step towards the next part of the covid roadmap, and Coldplay launching their new single on the International Space Station.

The panel's attention turned first to the Labour Party's performance at last week's local elections, with leader Sir Keir Starmer reshuffling his shadow cabinet this week amid disappointment within the party at the poll results.

"These are the election results, which were extraordinary" said team captain Ian Hislop.

"Can I just say I thought the Labour Party did really well," replied Jo Brand, continuing "I mean, they took Wales, didn't they, pretty much right across the board?"

"Yes, they did," replied host Romesh Ranganathan.

"So, well, that's one country out of four," said Brand, with tongue in cheek.

"Jo, can I just ask... are you deliberately trying to sugar coat this, or is this what you genuinely think, that this was a good result?" responded Ranganathan.

"I'm just lying because it seems to be the way to get ahead in life. Everyone else is doing it" joked Brand, continuing, "You know... I think I'm a very positive person."

"You're a glass half full kind of Labour person," laughed Hislop.

"Yeah, cause I've drunk most of it!" joked Brand.

"What did Keir do next? What was his next move?" asked Ranganathan.

"The reshuffle?" replied Paul Merton.

"Yes. He had a reshuffle where, some people you didn't know lost jobs you didn't know they had, while some other people you hadn't heard of stayed exactly where you didn't know they were," joked Ranganathan.

"He's actually taken the chairs on the Titanic and moved them about, but there's no Titanic and there's no chairs, there's just a group of people changing places with each other and then saying 'you're this' and 'I'm that'. 'I'm this now and I'm going to do that', and they won't do it," pointed out panellist Lemn Sissay.

"It feels like you lack a little bit of faith in the process..." laughed Ranganathan.

"It was all just a mess, and people who said Starmer's incompetent and has got no judgement, well the test was, could he reshuffle the chairs on the Titanic. What he did was throw them overboard and jump into the iceberg," joked Hislop.

"He also did a round of interviews and told the BBC 'I will change things that need changing and that is the change I will bring about'. Change number one... fire speech writer," joked Ranganathan.

Later in the episode, the panel's attention turned to this week's covid recovery roadmap developments, with the announcement that people will be allowed to hug each other in the UK from Monday.

"Holidays! Hugging! All these things are going to happen providing there's no setbacks," said Merton.

"Yes, this is the devastating news that we've reached stage three of the covid recovery road map, which means that from Monday, people will be able to hug us again. As if things haven't been bad enough... I mean, my mum has asked if she can come round my house at 11:59. She'll be queuing outside my house like I'm launching the iPhone 12," joked Ranganathan.

"I think there's quite a lot of people not really looking forward to the hugging thing, who have rather enjoyed not having to," said Brand.

"Have you enjoyed not having to?" asked Hislop.

"Yes I have. I'm getting a taser," joked Brand.

The panel also found time to discuss a strange new recipe from Nigella Lawson.

"Nigella Lawson came up with a recipe that was a chicken dish with 40 cloves of garlic. And the name of the dish... 'Chicken Halitosis'" laughed Brand.

"One of the less successful Walt Disney characters..." joked Merton.


Paul and Jo won, 7 points to 5.

Broadcast details

Friday 14th May 2021
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Ian Hislop Team Captain
Paul Merton Team Captain
Guest cast
Romesh Ranganathan Host / Presenter
Jo Brand Guest
Lemn Sissay Guest
Writing team
Colin Swash Writer (Additional Material)
Ged Parsons Writer (Additional Material)
Dan Gaster Writer (Additional Material)
Kevin Day Writer (Additional Material)
Shaun Pye Writer (Additional Material)
Fraser Steele Writer (Additional Material)
Geoff Norcott Writer (Additional Material)
Katie Storey Writer (Additional Material)
Matt Hulme Writer (Additional Material)
Ian Pike Writer (Additional Material)
Rajnish Razdan Writer (Additional Material)
Production team
Paul Wheeler Director
Jo Bunting Series Producer
Jo Maney Producer
Richard Wilson Executive Producer
Katie Taylor Executive Producer


Jo Brand doesn't miss hugging people

The panel discuss the new Covid rules.

Featuring: Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Jo Brand.


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