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28 October 2014
I'm sorry I haven't a clue

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Radio 4 comedy
»I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
30th Special


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The Panellists- Graeme, Tim and Barry

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is 30 years old this week. How come it's lasted so long?

Graeme: Because it started in 1972.
Barry: That would do it!
Tim: If I was to be serious, I think the main thing is Humphrey Lyttelton. He has one of those voices. He's funny, he's absolutely filthy, but not filthy - "brilliant-minded" by Iain Pattinson. The really sad thing about this anniversary is that Willie Rushton is not here because he's such an integral part of it. I had a chat with him actually the week before he died and I said, "When will this ever finish?". And he said, "Well it can go on as long as Humph's around". And I think that's what we all feel now.

Graeme, you devised the show and it's been said that the inspiration was greed and laziness. Can you explain?

Graeme: Well, that's quite true, yes. We'd been doing I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again on the radio and Bill Oddie and I had been writing most of the scripts and we discovered that we were paid more for writing scripts on television. And it was not quite such hard work as writing for radio. So I came up with the idea because I'd done a panel game and been a guest on a panel game and thought 'this is quite easy really'. All you do is you give people a set of rules and hope that they're funny and then you just broadcast the funny bits. So David Hatch and myself made up a panel game with 'apparently' serious rounds.

Do you remember who picked the theme music?

Graeme: David Hatch I think picked it. He played it to me in his office and said, "What about this?" And I thought, "That's totally inappropriate. That will do!"
Tim: There's another reason I remember it was David because you (Graeme) had been on a panel show with Gyles Brandreth and you said, "This is really easy. It's money for old rope. So let's get a bit of that money and we'll provide the old rope! Wasn't it?
Graeme: That's right. In fact we nearly called it Old Rope.
Tim: Unfortunately we didn't get the money.
Graeme: The music is a piece of music called the Schickel Shamble. That's for anoraks out there.
Barry: Monte Carlo or Bust, wasn't it?
Tim: Yeah.

There was going to be a TV version of Clue but you were deemed too old for television.

Tim: Well, we did a pilot. BBC weren't interested, naturally. So we did a pilot for ITV and everybody seemed to like it. We didn't get it quite right but it was going in the right direction. It went to the central area where they decide what to put on and they said, "Yes, great programme but could we have some younger people in it?"
Barry: Can I apologise for hogging this?
Graeme: Yes, of course you can.
Barry: I apologise for hogging this.
Graeme: At the back of all our minds was the worry that it is such a radio programme. It really exists on radio and works on radio and is about radio and putting it on television might somehow take away from its myth, might somehow spoil the radio show. We were never 100% about it.
Tim: I was 100% about it as long as you kept going on on radio at the same time. That was pure greed though!
Barry: Willie was ambivalent as I remember, sort of bolt fast at one point.
Tim: I would actually quite like to have done it in a way because then we could have done some visual jokes which you can't do on radio. So there would have been an extra element and we started to try and put those on the pilot, didn't we? And not many of them worked because they technically wouldn't work!


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