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The return of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue

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David Thair | 15:21 UK time, Friday, 12 June 2009

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After a long and understandable break, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue returns to Radio 4 at 6.30pm on Monday 15th June. Use the player above to listen to the opening of this historic episode.

For the time being, the show won't have a permanent new host but will be presided over by three familiar characters hosting two episodes each: Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon.

Here are some pictures from the recording of the first programme. Stephen Fry will be at the helm...

Stephen FryRegular panellists Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer will toot up a storm...

Graeme Garden and Barry CryerAnd Tim Brooke-Taylor will be joined by Victoria Wood who, despite having been invited 19 years ago, has incredibly never been on the show until now. Thankfully she felt right at home.
Victoria Wood and Tom Brooke-TaylorI'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue will be repeated on Saturdays at 12pm.



  • Comment number 1.

    A brave decision to return the show... but a great one too, it's just too good not to be on.

  • Comment number 2.

    It won't be the same, but different doesn't mean it won't be good and I think it's a great way to honour Humph, just like it did Willy.

  • Comment number 3.

    Predictable, though unnecessary, gay humour too often.

    Whole show was rather cringe-making.

    RIP Humph

  • Comment number 4.

    Well, all I know is, it made me laugh out loud, listening alone through my headphones. Humph has been one of my heroes for fifty-odd years, I've been listening to ISIHAC since it first started, and I've had the great good fortune and pleasure to see several live broadcasts. This latest edition will please Humph, wherever he is. I think he will have seen himself as a custodian, not the proprietor. The latest programme pleased me a lot, and I greatly look forward to listening to future episodes. The King is (sadly) dead, long live the King(s).

  • Comment number 5.

    Stephen Fry was one of the first people who came to my mind when I tried to think who could possibly replace Humph, and I desperately wanted to enjoy the show today, but I'm afraid I was very disappointed. Obviously I wasn't expecting an imitation of Humph himself, but the contrast between Humph's mock-bored tone and Stephen Fry's heavily modulated, over-emphatic one was just too great. The illusion that the double entendres were accidental was destroyed, and the whole show just didn't work. I'm hoping that it will be better with at least one of the other hosts. (Another idea I had was that Clement Freud might be perfect for the job. Maybe we just have to accept that the world is a greyer place now.)

  • Comment number 6.

    SF not the best choice as chair perhaps - the later ones may be more suited. Enjoyed Victoria Wood as a panellist.

    ISIHAC has always been gloriously filthy, in both hetero- and homo- ways, and long may it be so. I suspect commenter #3 has "issues".

  • Comment number 7.

    I really did enjoy Stephen Fry's sojourn as chair of ISIHAC, and am sure Rob Brydon and the rest of the men will be just as good. But I doubt they can achieve the distain for the whole process that Humph displayed. Having read much recent comment (ok the Guardian) about the lack of women on panel shows I began to consider which woman could do the job. It came to me in a flash - Ann Robinson, distainful, waspish and no discernable sense of humour. No one would believe her double entendres were not accidental. Of course then we'd have to have Sven weekly and Samantha would simply pop out on special occassions.
    Alternatively get Lionel Blair into the seat and be done with it.

  • Comment number 8.

    Oh dear. It's not the same, is it? It doesn't work hearing Stephen Fry speaking in phrasing that is so identified with Humph. Of course it was amusing - but it needs to travel further away from Humph if it's going to work. The Sven idea is risible. Ditch the Humph repartee and write some new stuff.

  • Comment number 9.

    Not one of the best, and I think Fry just got it wrong.

    Trying too hard maybe.

    Far too light a touch.

    I really like Fry, but if this is how he handles the chair, I am afraid, needs a change.Very two dimesional.

  • Comment number 10.

    It was a brave attempt, but will never be the same without Humph. Dear old Stephen Fry's presentation came over as a strained performance, i.e not natural. I am however looking forward to see how Jack Dee will fare, who happened to be the first name that came into my mind when considering a replacement presenter. No doubt he will be able to sound almost as (genuinely) disinterested in the whole proceedings as Humph.

    What did sound so wrong to me was on the closing credits: "[the panel] were being given silly things to do by Stephen Fry".

    Oh yeah, and as nice as Sven is, bring back the lovely Samantha!

  • Comment number 11.

    Let me say something positive first before saying something negative: what an absolutely wonderful idea to bring back "I'm sorry I haven't a clue." And to get someone of the calibre of Stephen Fry and the other two to host it. Although I would prefer Fry - I would be happy to hear the others do their work although I am guessing that the programme will eventually gel with one host.

    The sad part is that although BBC trails itself as being available on radio, TV and internet, this show cannot be podcast. Why? For those of us who work for aid agencies on behalf of the rest of the UK population in time zones far removed from Grenwich, being able to listen to a favourite radio show makes all the difference. Not being able to avail of a podcast means either having to wake up in the middle of the night or sneak home from work (which is not always possible)- and that is assuming that the Internet connection is up and running at that particular time! (It frequently isn't).

    So, please BBC, give us a podcast of "I'm sorry I haven't a clue." If you can do it for other comedy panel programmes, why not this one?

    Best wishes,

    Dan in Vientiane. Laos

  • Comment number 12.

    Please, please, please podcast this programme so that its many fans outside the UK can listen to it, please!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Am I being thick or do the BBC iplayer and listen-again features not work on the internet outside the UK?

  • Comment number 14.

    I thought this was one of the best ever. I think Stephen Fry is brilliang chairman Iian (sp?) has slightly modified his style to suit him i would say he should be full time chairman. I missed samantha but I thought this was a great show. Victoria Wood livened it up a bit and they all couldn't stop cracking up. I think Humph would be proud. The only thing Fry has to do is what Humph always said "I just read the lines without knowing what they mean" I think Fry perhaps is a little too clever for his own good but I think will make a brilliant host.

    Si in Cambs

  • Comment number 15.

    I think we have to accept that ISIHAC will never be the same again, but this was a brave attempt by SF who has a terrible load on his shoulders...

    I agree with previous comments above that Jack Dee could be a perfect chairman. We need someone innocent and bored...

  • Comment number 16.

    In answer to message 13, the bbc iplayer DOES work outside the UK - at least it does in the US. I've had problems sometimes with the "listen again" feature, however, so when it's available, the podcast is a more reliable option.

    I haven't actually heard the Stephen Fry episode yet; I found the blog while following the link to the website, and was interested in your comments re: Humph vs Stephen. It's hard to imagine anyone taking the place of Humph, and losing Clement Freud so soon after makes it even harder to predict how the program will develop in the future.

    Incidently, this is my very first blog, both reading and contributing!

  • Comment number 17.

    Case in point - have just tried to "listen again", and received an error message to the effect that the content does not appear to be working. This often happens with the new player - the old one was much more dependable. It sometimes sorts itself out after a few days, but can be a bit hit-and-miss.

    So let me add my voice to the request for podcasting ISIHAC!

  • Comment number 18.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know what a loss Humph was to the show, but I listened to the first of the new series and it made me feel so good. There has been so much negativity in life over the past few months, and to know that our spirits can be raised periodically by such good comedy radio is wonderful. Thank you to the team that put the show together, and in paricualar, thanks to Stephen who did a great job in the chair. And what about Victoria! What a natural. Long may she be part of the programme. Thank you again.

  • Comment number 19.

    So, listen again is working now! Loved the show. I agree with rhondabob that Victoria Wood is a great addition. I really liked Stephen Fry's approach to the job of stearing the craziness; just as funny, but with a warmer, gentler feel to the humour. I'd love to see him as the regular chairperson, with occasional guest hosts.

  • Comment number 20.

    Similar panel, same format, same script, different chairman.

    One of the things about Humph was that he acted diffident or grumpy, as if he thought the whole thing was ridiculous and couldn't wait for it to be over as soon as possible.

    Stephen Fry on the other hand comes over as smug and self-satisfied and speaks his lines as if they are intricate and clever witticisms.

    Even though he's got exactly the same script as Humph, he delivers it as if he's wonderful and funny and precious and has an audience that is just begging him to be wonderful and funny and precious.

    This is a programme I've adored for almost 20 years. On the basis of this week's programme, I don't want to listen to it in future. It's a huge disappointment.

  • Comment number 21.

    I loved Humph's off-hand approach, it conveyed in a subtle way the idea that as a celebrated jazz musician he was too good for the gig. Somehow the words "next chance I get, I'll fire my agent" were always hovering in the background. Stephen Fry, on the other hand, is known primarily as a comedian, so it would be difficult for him to be convincing as the reluctant host. Being funny is what he does best, so playing it straight, as if he enjoyed every minute and considered it an honour to be asked, worked better than if he had pretended to be bored. That way, it would have seemed as if we were getting "Humph Lite", whereas we actually got Stephen Fry at his best.

  • Comment number 22.

    At the risk of undermining good order and with an unnecessary nod toward the 'other show' would it not be fair to suggest that the rules of Just a Minim need ammending? Surely it would be much less funny if the 'words on the card' could be repeated?
    Yours with no comic timing,

  • Comment number 23.

    I achieved a lifetime ambition by being part of the audience of a recent recording of the show in Newcastle. Absolutely fantastic! It is a difficult task for the presenters to follow Humph and at the moment I think they are feeling it. I sincerely hope the show continues and the presenter(s) will in the future present in their own style and allow Humph his.

  • Comment number 24.

    Personally I found the first episode highly enjoyable, and the presence of Victoria Wood was a welcome addition. As far as 'Humph vs. Stephen' goes, I really don't like making a judgement and comparing in this manner. Humph is gone, and fans have to accept the personality of whoever chooses to fill the chairman role. It can't be easy for Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon, all of whom have been successful panelists, to take over from Humph, and I for one am prepared to give all of them at least a couple of series before I come to a conclusion as to whom I prefer. As a personality, I personally like Rob Brydon the most, but it's very much wait and see as to how he performs as chairman.
    With regards to a few preceeding comments - I find it curious that people are complaining about 'gay' humour and the character of Sven. Sven has appeared numerous times in the past and as I recall some of the gay innuendo then was stronger than in Monday's episode. It is worth recalling past episodes for reference, particularly the 1970s - Humph's approach back then was rather bouncier and more traditionally 'presenter-like' than it became. His gravelly world-weariness was something that evolved over the years, and ought to be kept in mind when considering and comparing the effectiveness of new presenters.
    As far as Ann Robinson goes, the further away she is kept from ISIHAC the better, IMHO - the fact that Sandi Toksvig once referred to her as a 'poisonous tw*t' (not twit) on the show might see to that!

  • Comment number 25.

    When Angus Deayton 'left' Have I Got News it took quite a while for the scriptwriters to stop writing for his style and to match whoever was presenting. Wven now they don't always get it right.

    In the same way, I guess it will take a while for the scripts to be "de-Humphed".

  • Comment number 26.


    i agree. there will be a period of rebalancing. SF was reading a script written for HL when there should have been a script for SF.

    The point of the show is to entertain not to be some kind of a religious worship?

    to look forward not back?

  • Comment number 27.

    Victoria Wood excellent
    Stephen Fry unsubtle and over emphatic
    I agree with sad old pedant
    Good to have the show back but something definitely lost

  • Comment number 28.

    I was going to write a reasoned couple of paragraphs to welcome back the latest incarnation of a much-loved friend when I realised post 24 by Mountain_me is for me pretty much on the money. Couple of other points, I have a collection of ISIHACs over the years (legally bought BBC cassettes and CDs I hasten to add) and you should have heard the shambles of the the pilot!

    And my vote for a new chairman would have been S'rAlan - deadpan, grumpy, quick witted and sharp.

  • Comment number 29.

    I love ISIHAC, and I like Stephen Fry - but they aren't a good match. I think it needs someone more understated - leave your egos at the door! RustyNumbat put it very well. Let's see how the others fare - I'd hate to see it fade away.

  • Comment number 30.

    Stephen Fry seemed acceptable enough: Humph could never be replaced obviously: recommend more innuendo rather than obvious filth (i.e. words with four letters). A little so called gay humour does no harm but Samantha was sorely missed today.

  • Comment number 31.

    If its diffidence and disinterest we need how about Jeremy Hardy? He seems suitably grumpy a lot of the time. Otherwise I agree with everyone else, lets write scripts for those in the chair now not for those who were.
    (What a legend!)

  • Comment number 32.

    Another vote for Jeremy Hardy here. With a string of 'previous' on the show, he would seem to be the natural addition to the permanent line-up; the chair to then rotate between the four regulars, or possibly be returned to Barry Cryer for a while until things settle down.

  • Comment number 33.

    As always the funniest thing on the BBC. Witty, irreverent, intelligent and a real joy.
    But... it is a little like finding someone else living in your grandmother's house. Give me time and I will get over it. Just please stop writing the script for Humph.

  • Comment number 34.

    So much better with Jack Dee.

    Early days but might just have areplacement for Humph.

    Will wait to hear Rob Brydon though.

    Would love Pam Ayres to be given a go.

  • Comment number 35.

    I totally agree with Fingles, it was a massive improvement with Jack Dee - so much more natural and done in the spirit of Humph.

  • Comment number 36.

    We so enjoy Sorry ..... but we did think that Jack Dee was marvellous, he has just the right 'attitude' to enable the Panel Members to feed off his comments. So much better than Stephen Fry, certainly not the right person for the job!

  • Comment number 37.

    I too agree that Jack Dee was much better than Stephen Fry. I still missed Humph, but at least with Jack Dee I can imagine getting used to him and eventually finding it natural to have him as the chairman, which I couldn't with Stephen Fry. It will be interesting to see how Rob Brydon gets on.

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm completely in agreement with the comments regarding Jack Dee's stint as chairman. The disinterest and deadpan delivery suited the scripts well. I realise that Humph's shoes will be nigh on impossible to fill for many listeners, but this was certainly an improvement over Steven Fry's attempt. I usually enjoy his work such as Q.I. but he didn't quite seem to fit the role, as previous commentators have opined. I shall, however, reserve final judgement until Rob Brydon has had his go. Good luck Rob.

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm with you guys. Jack Dee is just the right host - a little bored, ironic and vaguely disinterested, just the thing to balance the rest of the panel, and the intentional vapidity of the format. I missed SF, but Rob Brydon trying to be too nice is not what we need at all. I love the show, but couldn't listen with Rob as chairman. Please, please, try to persuade Jack to trake the chair

  • Comment number 40.

    Humph was a legend. A purveyor of blue collar filth to middle England.

    Congratulations to all involved for continuing with ISIHAC. I hope that "Yon great Jazz trumpeter" has enjoyed (with mild indifference) the uspurers. Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon have all made a terrific effort. Well done and many thanks.

    Now that I've listened to all three new chairmen, is it fair to like one more than the others? Probably not, as each were so different from the rest. The chuckling-wink was captured by Fry, the sarcastic scorn by Dee, and the innocent playful dryness by Brydon. Yet, all three showed just how awesomely irreplaceable Humph is.

    Personally, I enjoyed Brydon a smidgen more - the relaxed timing and occasional adlib felt a tad more natural. Humph's spirit seemed to breathe through Brydon's delivery more; Brydon's not quite yet the purveyor of blue collar filth - but he is at least the paperboy.

    Looking forward to the final episode.

  • Comment number 41.

    Just listened to Rob Brydon, and thought he was OK, but I think I preferred Jack Dee. Stephen Fry is one of my favourite panellists on Just a Minute, but here he was all wrong. So I'd be reasonably happy with either RB or JD, with JD just shading it. But it would take time for either of them to feel completely right, and it's not completely obvious in advance who would be better when they had a few series behind them.

  • Comment number 42.

    Although Brydon has another show to do, I have to say the Dee has been by far the best.

    His dry delivery suits the role much better than the nother twos perky presentation.

    Its Dee for me.

  • Comment number 43.

    Of the three, I felt that SF tried too hard, JD's timing was off, but to me RB just sounded relaxed and natural, and I enjoyed his shows much more than the others. I guess it's really down to one's personal preference. I'd like to hear Sandi Tosvig give it a go, but I wonder if the Beeb should look outside the world of comedy? After all, Humph was no comedian originally!

  • Comment number 44.

    What with all this 'ageism' and axing of ladies of a certain age, my fear is that Samantha will be the next one for the chopper. Perhaps we should table a motion?

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree with DeviousDon. Look for someone who is not firstly a comedian. Humph stood apart from the panel but he had the wit and a musician's timing to control the band and make his contributions tell. How about Stan Tracey? Right age, a musician and on the strength of his recent conversation with a rather wet Prom interviewer a few nights ago, he has the acerbity to inject a bit of salt into proceedings.

  • Comment number 46.

    First choice to replace the irreplacable Humph would be Stephen Fry, closely followed by Rob Brydon. I was very suprised to hear on Feedback that Jack Dee is the majority favourite; I was at the Mayflower, Southampton, to watch the recording and thought Jack looked very uncomfortable throughout. It's a hard job for anyone to take on, maybe there could be more guest hosts before a long term decision is made?
    Overall just glad it's back on the air.

  • Comment number 47.

    Time to get a grip: ISIHAC was brilliant and Humph no less so, but even the most diehard fans must admit some episodes were a bit hit and miss and to imply it can't be improved merely shows a lack of imagination.
    I think that to have brought us gently back to ISIHAC V3 via three 'members of the family' was a bit weak and shortsighted. Stephen Fry pulled off a rare flop, Rob Brydon was good but is better as a guest and Jack Dee was the most like Humph - hence his popularity with fans.
    The beauty of this show is that it changes frequently and reflects and satirises popular shows elsewhere (one reason the 1st SF show was such a disappointment is it didn't include any new games).
    Surely for ISIHAC to rise above the criticisms found on this page and keep going forever it needs to keep up with the times and, in doing so, attract younger viewers to replace the ones too deaf or too dead to listen next year.
    I therefore suggest the Chair should be David Mitchell, Victoria Coren or Charlotte Green (think about it - CG could have been born to replace HL).
    And when Barry or Graham or Tim dies we should take a month to mourn and then get another grip and not pretend the show can't go on.
    In the meantime, can't Lucy Porter be persuaded to be a guest. That awful Simon Mayo vehicle does her no favours - she is a lot brighter and funnier than she has ever been on his show, which is so good i forget the name. Sorry.... in keeping with BBC public blogging policy i have to end with a well meaning rant of some sort.

  • Comment number 48.

    UED: Triumph; verb - attempting to replace a much loved icon. (courtesy of Tony Hawks, circa years ago)

  • Comment number 49.

    As a fan of ISIHAC for some years and having bought the cd`s i jumped at the chance of seeing the show live and duly bought tickets for the Symphony Hall in Birmingham.WHAT A LET-DOWN ! At least 80% of the show was material that had been released on the cd`s that i have, and i havent got all of them. The ad-lib lines were well rehearsed, to quote Rod Stewart,the `spontaneous` laughter and jokes equally so.If they really needed to use old material, then surely they could have found some from the 30 odd years worth that hadn`t been released before.Having already paid to hear those jokes/games/songs etc i came away feeling, not elated and aching from laughter as i had expected, but with a deep sense of having been cheated, conned and angry at the rather smug way that the panel had performed on stage. Much as i love the show and respect the comedy genius of Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden and the contribution of Tim Brooke Taylor/Guest ( Jeremy Hardy on this occaision), this was a very poor show, and a shameful con trick to play on loyal followers. And whilst Jack Dee is a good comedian, he didnt come across as a suitable host for the show at all.I wonder how Stephen Fry fared as host ? He strikes me as being eminently more suitable.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm looking forward to the new series, of course. But I'm with DeviousDon and PlainChant. I'm not convinced a comedian-by-trade is right as chair. After all, Humph wasn't. How about another musician, such as Jools Holland? Or even an actor such as Judi Dench, a known Clue fan. I could imagine her sniping at Samantha and possibly having the hots for poor old Colin Sell...

  • Comment number 51.

    Please, please, please can we have a podcast if the new series?


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