Have I Got News For You

“That’s why we have a revenue system. It’s to say, “That’s an obvious scam, can you please grow up and give us the money now?””

Ian Hislop

OK, I will own up: Have I Got News For You is basically the place where I learn all my news. Yes, really. I would not have known that Rebekah Brooks got a £7m payout if I hadn’t seen it on this programme.

And that is the first point in favour of HIGNFY. It is educational.

The second point in favour of HIGNFY is that it plays roughly the same role as The Revolution Will Be Televised – it allows the public to laugh at the government. As I have said before, this is a vital component in democracy. The kind of cynicism and sarcasm practised on HIGNFY is catching; it allows you to see through propaganda and think about what you’re being told. And, of course, it’s very funny: a British institution in its own right.

Perhaps I should explain. HIGNFY is a comedy panel show like Mock the Week only funnier. Editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop and general comedian/BBC presenter Paul Merton appear every week with two guest panelists – usually comedians and, hilariously, politicians – and a guest host. And they answer questions about the week’s news and generally make fun of politicians, propaganda, public figures and propositions – anything that’s been in the news is fair game. It’s clever, incisive, witty and definitely worthy of a place in your TV schedule. Fridays, at 9pm, on BBC1 – clear a space in your diary.

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