It was nice to think that Humphrey Lyttelton would live forever.
When - alas - he died last April I was confronted with the sort of dilemma that R4 faced when John Peel (Home Truths) and Ned Sherrin (Loose Ends) died. Should we take the programme out of the schedules forever in the belief that that presenter was so intimately bound up with the programme that it would be impossible for anyone else to present it - or should we continue in a different way?
It took me a while to work out how to proceed on Saturday mornings and there was a chance that Home Truths would work out post Peel. In many ways it did - but, after nine months, not quite enough to convince me to keep it.
Some immediately thought that we should end 'Clue' - that Humphrey's dry and self-deprecating wit was so central to the alchemy that it would not work without him. I waited before saying anything - not least because the programme team was much affected by the great man's death. But in the event the programme and the station received a fair amount of correspondence suggesting they could not do without 'Mornington Crescent', 'One Song to the Tune of Another' and other assorted brilliant tomfoolery. And the programme team decided they would like to come back - after a period of time
So - unlike 'Home Truths' I thought we should go ahead. I said a while ago (on Feedback) that 'Clue' would return but did not specify when and how. These judgements are tricky.
For Clue we wrote down the names of three people we thought we would like to chair the show - and we knew we would not immediately ask one person to do all of the first run. That would be a big burden - post Humphrey. The three names we wrote down all said yes. And here they are - Messrs Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon. It's wonderful they all agreed. Of course it won't be the same as before - but these are three men of huge talent and I am confident that the show will work. So fingers crossed, and I look forward to the shows.
A reminder of the dates of the recordings and the venues, with two programmes being recorded each night:
Sunday 26th April at Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket, London, with guest host Stephen Fry.
Tickets will be available from 1000 on Tuesday 3rd March
Sunday 17th May at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, with guest host Jack Dee.
Tickets will be available from 0930 on Monday 2nd March.
Thursday 4th June at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, with guest host Rob Brydon.
Tickets will be available from 0900 on Monday 9th March
Please contact the theatres for tickets.