BBC One quiz show Have I Got News For You (HIGNFY) returns to celebrate its 50th series tonight. As if that wasn’t enough, the show also celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is set to host the first episode, alongside long-standing team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.
Here are some of the best HIGNFY moments over the years:
The former host set the tone for the masterclass in humiliation with his opening line, declaring: “Good evening and welcome to HIGNFY, where this week’s loser is presenting it.”
Ian and Paul whipped out copies of the News of the World, which reported that Deayton had sex with a prostitute and on one occasion took cocaine in a hotel. At one stage, Paul also unveiled a T-shirt featuring the front page of the newspaper, to the presenter’s evident embarrassment.
After being shown footage of Ulrika Jonsson at the beginning of the show, Ian said: “Is there anything else going on in this country apart from Z-list celebrities having sex with each other?”
Poor Angus had a sheepish look on his face from the first excruciating minute until the last. But he bore it all with a stiff upper lip.
Paul read out extracts of the book, saying at one point: “I wish I was making this up,” while Ian quipped to him early on in the show: “You’re not aware of anything.”
The show is often credited with boosting Boris’ popularity, and his appearance also earned him a Bafta nomination in 2008.
When Piers was fired from the Daily Mirror after the paper published hoax photos in 2002, the news clip of his sacking was shown a couple of times on HIGNFY. Five years later, Ian chose Piers as one of his pet hates on BBC One series Room 101.
Paul won that show with the Rt. Hon Tub of Lard MP alongside him.
The pick of the bunch had to be Play Your Iraqi Cards Right, a riff on Sir Bruce’s popular ITV game show Play Your Cards Right. “Higher or lower?” cried Brucie. “I don’t think this programme can get much lower,” joked team captain Ian.
Sir Bruce has called it one of the best experiences of his career. A year later, he was back on top as the host of Strictly Come Dancing.
Talking about some unpopular moves instigated by former cricketer Ray Illingworth, then chairman of the England selectors, the author said: “He’s banned God’s chaplain from the dressing room. He should be sentenced to death!” Cue laughter from the audience.
But the former Conservative MP didn’t see the funny side: “His idea of wit is a barrage of filth and the sort of humour most men grow out of in their teens.
“The edit got rid of much of it but there’s no amount of money for which I would go through those two recording hours again. At one stage I nearly walked out.”
Jezza was host at the time and pointed to the autocue following another ribbing from team captain Ian: “Do you think I wrote those?” he asked. The response was swift: “Just like when I read your column. I think ‘God, I wonder who did this!’”
As everyone chuckled, Clarkson threw his pen, but Hislop was left bleeding from a cut to his face. “We had to stop recording,” the star later recalled. “He refused to believe it was blood. He said it was red biro and then apologised to me afterwards.”
Have I Got News For You returns to BBC One tonight.