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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.

Comments

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  • Comment number 22. Posted by Brent-Expat

    on 18 Nov 2009 18:23

    I have to agree with simonwhan. No disrespect to Stephen Fry, but Jack Dee is far and away more capable of the dead-pan double-entendre. Fry is a bit too obvious. Rob Brydon is capable enough but lacks Humph's earthy curmudgeonly humor. I think that Jack Dee has the diversity to weave all the threads into that comfortable old chair of insanity the way that Humph did. It will look different, but feel just as good.

    I think that rotating hosts is a bad idea. With the sad loss of Linda Smith, Sandi Toksvieg is really the only viable female candidate for the role, if it comes to that.

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by simonwhan

    on 16 Nov 2009 19:16

    Clue's life post-Humph was always going to be a challenge. The idea of spreading the chairmanship across multiple presenters was one that I intitially welcomed but now I find myself missing the continuity of a single voice in the chairman's role. For my money, Jack Dee tops the bill. Like Humph he has a distinct voice and style and that unique ability to arouse laughter with a well-timed aside delivered in dead-pan, oblique manner.

    He has my vote to become the next full-time chairman.

    Vote No.1 - Jack Dee for chairmain campaign.

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by sellyman

    on 26 Jul 2009 09:30

    Having listened to the six shows of the revived series, I'd suggest trying Richard Wilson for chairman. Dear old Humph very successfully adopted the persona of a grumpy old twit, without which many of the show's running jokes don't work too well. Only a miserable old idiot would agree to chair a programme he thought was rubbish, with hopeless teams and a useless pianist. The jokes about Lionel Blair and Samantha also work much better if, plausibly, the chairman is too dim to spot the double entendres. None of the chairs of the new series really made it work, although Jack Dee came closest. It would seem that the chairman's role is pretty heavily scripted, so you don't need a comedian so much as an actor who can convincingly play a misanthropic old twerp, and who better to do that than Richard Wilson?

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by David Cooper

    on 21 Jul 2009 20:14

    I think the show works reasonably well with all three chairmen, but Rob Brydon is best (and I'm not Welsh). Double entendre just doesn't work with Stephen Fry: it's impossible to believe that the innocent meaning is the one he reads into it. Jack Dee has problems with his delivery which he needs to work on: e.g. "they can't spell, 'for toffee'" should have been read as "they can't spell for toffee".

    Even so, I wouldn't jettison any of them: keep alternating the chairmen, and yes, bring in Sandi Toksvig, and Pam Ayres (if she can bring herself to read out the blue-chip filth). There are geniuses involved in this show who will never find any other outlet for their superb work that can compete with the format of clue, so this program must keep going as long as they do.

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by Panoptos

    on 13 Jul 2009 07:24

    I wonder if you have considered Sandi Toksvig as a presenter of ISIHAC?

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by ooergosh

    on 6 Jul 2009 16:56

    Jack Dee is better than Stephen Fry - does the deadpan approach more naturally. Still not convinced though.

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by tts

    on 23 Jun 2009 18:00

    Giving the sexual orientation of some of the new chairpersons (no women yet, but I am sure the usual suspects will be wheeled out at some stage(e.g. Sandi T /Victoria W/Sue P, although if you could persuade Charlotte Green to chair one episide you may get a surprising increase in listeners) ) maybe it is time for the return of the late Sven?

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by ooergosh

    on 23 Jun 2009 17:20

    Like "Mrs Trellis" I felt sad that the instinctive wish for ISIHAC to come to an end after Humph died had been changed. I am willing, cautiously, to listen and of course delighted that something like the Uxbridge English Dictionary can still provoke glee.

    But, but, but.......

    It just isn't the same without Humph. Mr Fry is trying hard in a tremendously difficult role and one can attribute no blame to him but it just doesn't work. I'll listen to the other chairmen but I fear, unless someone steps radically away from the style and script that Humph personified, it will never work.

    And what do we do now? Wait for the next most frail panel member to go to the great Mornington Cresent in the sky?

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by fingles

    on 23 Jun 2009 11:42

    Well I would have added Clive James to that list.

    On the basis of the two I have heard, Fry just doesn't work at all.

    I really want the programme to work, it is just too much of my life for it not to be there.

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by Luminal Snowfox

    on 13 Mar 2009 02:42

    I've been thinking about this long and hard, and I would like to offer the following suggestions for a new, permanent chair:

    1) Sandi Toksvig

    She's a R4 veteran, she does a fantastic job with The News Quiz and she's got the right temperament.

    Also:

    2) Pam Ayres.

    Unassuming, Bruce Springsteen-loving, mistress of subtle sarcasm and innuendo. She knows how to give it and certainly knows how to take it...

    Just my 2p's worth

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