MPs Scandal Boosts Have I Got News For You

Ian Hislop and Paul Merton: Have I Got News For You

The ongoing MPs expenses scandal has given Have I Got News For You a new lease of life, with Paul Merton and Ian Hislop finally given something to get their teeth into.

Fair enough, Merton rarely treats any of the political or general current affairs topics seriously, but with Hislop given something to really have a go at after a couple of years of bland newspaper headlines to discuss, the show really is on the up again.

The secret of this I feel is as much about the subject matter as it is about the relationship between the two stars.

Merton can sit weeks on end talking randomly and interjecting with phrases such as “Dontcha know” and answering every question with “Is it the Duke of Kent?” but without the energy and conviction these can easily be forgotten or overlooked.

Taking the MPs expenses scandal as an example however, the fire that we see in Ian Hislop as he talks about this astonishing series of revelations seems to be reflected in the quality of surreal and off the wall observations that are then produced by Paul Merton.

This of course makes them the strangest of double-acts – they evidently aren’t a comedy duo, one is editor or a satirical magazine and the other spends his time talking about silent movies and improvisation.

It’s great to see Have I Got News For You looking so healthy however. For that we should thank the beleaguured British Government flailing around like a listing schooner in a storm (and the Daily Telegraph of course) who seem to have been brushing away every attempt at serious satire since 1997 with spin and disregard.

The best thing about corrupt public servants is that we can laugh at them.


About the author

I'm Christian Cawley, a massive fan of UK fantasy television (particularly Doctor Who) and British Comedy.

"Quintessentially British" is my look at those two very British flavours of sci-fi/fantasy and comedy.
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