Thursday, December 31, 2009

So Is Jack The New Host? I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

Happy New Year everyone. Here is my recap of episode four, broadcast December 7, 2009:

Opening: “We present I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, the antidote to panel games. At the piano is Colin Sell, and your chairman is Jack Dee.”Recorded At: Festival Theater, Chichester

Panelists: On Jack’s left, Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden. On Jack’s right, Tim Brooke-Taylor and David Mitchell.

Scorer: “And please welcome the lady whose entry is always warmly welcomed, our regular scorer, the delightful Samantha.”

Game One: Uxbridge English Dictionary
Surprisingly, Jack doesn’t give a lengthy explanation.

Game Two: Sound Charades
Lionel Blair, laser display board, but alas, no Hamish and Dougal.

Game Three: Incomplete Verses From Playground Rhymes

Game Four: Mornington Crescent
They don’t just play Mornington Crescent, mind you, but Trivia Mornington Crescent – in other words, lots of strange “facts” about each subway stop. Mrs. Trellis thinks she’s writing to The News Quiz, and has missed the point of that show as well.

Game Five: Just A Minim
On Just A Minute, panelists are asked to speak on a given topic for sixty seconds without “hesitation, repetition or deviation.” In Just A Minim, panelists must actually sing a song while sticking to the same rules, and can be challenged for breaking them in the same way. The round ends with a gong rather than Just A Minute’s whistle, and surprisingly, there isn’t a single joke at Colin’s expense.

Game Six: Adapt Proverbs To Fit Foreign Countries

Closing: “Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and David Mitchell were being given silly things to do by Jack Dee with Colin Sell setting some of them to music. The program consultant was Iain Pattinson, and the producer was Jon Naismith.”

By this point you're probably wondering if I'm going to keep recapping ISIHAC every time a new season airs. The answer is no. What I'm trying to do here is cover the ISIHAC host search, so I'll stop recapping the show as soon as we know who the new permanent host is.

Despite the best efforts of the BBC, I think it's pretty clear that Jack is the new host. He got close to unanimous praise as a guest host in Series 51, hosted the 2009 ISIHAC touring stage show, and is now hosting Series 52. He's probably the new host...but is that really a good thing?

I'm not trying to say that Jack's doing a bad job. He's doing a very good job - certainly better than Stephen Fry or Rob Brydon. It's just that when Humphrey Lyttelton died, the people associated with the show said that they weren't sure the show should continue at all, and that if it were to continue, the new host would have to be "someone of stature." If that's the case, why did they go with three frequent panelists as guest hosts for Series 51? Quite frankly, I found Series 51 a little disappointing. Yes, Stephen and Rob weren't spectacular - but more importantly, not even Jack was allowed to say anything Humphrey wouldn't have said. A new host should mean new blood.

Unlike some people, I'm not saying I want the show to change too dramatically. I don't think Barry, Graeme and Tim should reduce their appearances, and I don't want to lose all the catchphrases and running jokes. Yet after Series 51 ended, Jon Naismith said at one point that he was going to use Series 52 as a chance to try out some more unusual ideas for hosts. Why didn't he do that, and more importantly, if he had, would it have meant anything?

I don't think we're ever going to know.

More ISIHAC next week,


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