Have I Got News For You. Image shows left to right: Ian Hislop, Paul Merton. Credit: Matt Crockett
Have I Got News For You

Have I Got News For You

  • TV panel show
  • BBC One / BBC Two
  • 1990 - 2024
  • 600 episodes (67 series)

Long-running topical panel game with a strong political slant, featuring team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton. Also features Angus Deayton.

Have I Got News For You trivia

In 2008 a man was handcuffed and arrested after laughing too hard at an episode of Have I Got News For You. Christopher Cocker chuckled so hard at a joke Paul Merton made that he fell off his sofa. The thud startled his downstairs neighbour who thought he had collapsed, so they called the police. But when the police arrived Cocker refused to co-operate with the officers and hence was arrested.


Ian Hislop is the only person to appear in every episode of HIGNFY. However he nearly missed one episode...

The team captain sat through the recording of episode 7.4 on the 2nd June 1994 with appendicitis, having discharged himself from hospital. Straight after the show he returned to hospital for an urgent appendectomy.

Paul Merton took a break from the show in Series 11. He also had to call in sick once: he missed the 5th episode of Series 36 because of a kidney infection. Frank Skinner replaced him for the night.

Interesting guests include:

The Rt. Hon. Tub of Lard MP (an actual tub of lard in place of Roy Hattersly who had failed to appear again).

A handbag, replacing missing guest Nicky Morgan MP (story).

David Shayler - The ex-MI5 spy had been exiled from the country so a satellite link was setup.

Ian always sits on the right of the host and Paul always sits on the left. Except in the 1993 Christmas Special in which, for no stated reason, the two team captains swapped places.

In the 1991 Christmas Special, as Deayton was delivering the final joke, a huge crate of fake snow was dropped on him. He managed to say 'Goodnight', but only just as the audience went wild with laughter.

Two episodes of HIGNFY have been made which have not been broadcast on TV...

Have I Got Unbroadcastable News for You
Made on the 30th October 1995, this special episode was recorded for video, uncensored. It features Richard Wilson on Ian's side and Eddie Izzard on Paul's. It also includes special appearances from Germaine Greer and The Rt. Hon. Tub of Lard MP.

The Official Pirate Video
Filmed on the 3rd November 1997, this specially recorded episode was released just on video in time for Christmas 1997. With Martin Clunes on Ian's side and Neil Morrissey on Paul's.

Before the tabloid scandals hit, Angus Deayton was reportedly being paid £50,000 per episode. If the average episode took 2 hours to record, it could be said that this represented a pay rate of more than £400 per minute for the host!


During the week following the News Of The World story, reporters from all the main newspapers were attempting to get tickets to the next HIGNFY recording so they could report on the host's rough ride. Because of the demand, it is said that tickets for this recording were selling on the black market for up to £500.

The BBC's business editor Robert Peston was asked to appear on Have I Got News For You on the second episode of Series 36. However, the BBC banned him from appearing because they were worried about complaints if Peston was seen making fun of the recession.

One source for the show said, "The producers were told it wouldn't be right for somebody in a position of trust to be seen laughing in the current economic circumstances."


One viewer wrote in to complain that in the opening titles of Series 36 were wrong. In it, a Russian turns a valve in order to cut off oil and power to Western Europe. However, the viewer noted that the valve was being turned the wrong way.

Source: Series 36, Episode 6.

One episode featured an "Odd One Out" question which featured 16 pictures instead of the usual 4. Out of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Greg Dyke, Rebecca Wade, Piers Morgan, Richard Desmond, Richard Littlejohn, Delia Smith, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsey, Ken Hom, Anne Robinson, William Hague, John Sergeant and Sir Jimmy Saville, all of them sponsored Alistair Campbell to run the London Marathon except Gordon Ramsey, who actually took part in the marathon.

Source: Series 25, Episode 7

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