Radio Memories – I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue (BBC Radio 4, 1972-present)

This is the long-running comedy panel game, that has actually become known as “the antidote to panel games”, Various panellists, usually comedians, are given rather silly things to do, and there’s lots of laughter from everyone while it’s done. I don’t remember the original chairman Humphrey Lyttelton, I became a regular listener when Jack Dee became his replacement.

Jack did come across as amusingly deadpan as ever. I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue often comes from theatres around the country, attracting big audiences, and we always learn a lot about the fascinating history of the town or city that they are in. There have also been a remarkable amount of running gags and bizarre games that have developed over the years.

The most of popular of these include Sound Charades, One Song To The Tune Of Another, The Uxbridge English Dictionary, and of course Mornington Crescent, the game that is difficult to play, and difficult to master. It’s around this point when Jack determines if any points should be awarded for the team’s efforts, and usually decides against it, no wonder their scorer doesn’t seem to be there half the time.

Regular panellists have included Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden, and when you hear Barry’s laughter at everything, for a brief moment it does make you feel like everything is alright in the world. Cryer and Garden also often team up to perform a sketch as Hamish and Dougal, the elderly Scotsmen. These exchanges proved to be so popular with listeners that they were given the spin-off series You’ll Have Had Your Tea.

Just like Just A Minute (is it OK to be a listener of both of these shows, or do people have to come down on one side?) this is a show that has now ran for so long that the next generation of comedians have come through to take part, keeping things amusing, and you soon realise why this has all been consistently popular for almost half a century.

Along with the regular series, there have also been several Christmas specials, along with some stage tours, and some books that have tried to explore just why the formula has worked, and continues to do so, but don’t think that you’ll be able to find the rules to Mornington Crescent anywhere, because that could fill a few books in itself.

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