Have I Got News for Boris: Special Tribute
Friday: Have I Got News for Boris: A Special Tribute - (BBC1, 9.30pm)
There’s an argument to be made that the satirical quiz show Have I Got News for You helped make Boris Johnson’s career.
It certainly raised his profile by having him on as a guest numerous times, portraying him as a bumbling, charming, inconceivably posh but ultimately harmless figure who was always up for a laugh.
Johnson even presented four episodes, and his 2003 appearance saw him nominated for a Bafta.
This week, the long-running panel show returns for a new series, marking something of a diversion to the norm for the series which usually begins later in the year.
However, the schedules will be busy then, jam-packed with games and highlights programmes from the World Cup in Qatar (which itself has been the subject of the occasional barbed comment from HIGNFY panellists).
Being brought ahead in the schedules might be convenient, as the series’ first episode just happens to coincide with the date of Johnson’s final evening in No 10 Downing Street.
It’s a perfect excuse to devote an episode entirely to the outgoing – in every sense of the word – PM.
The title suggests a ‘tribute’ but knowing the show we’re unlikely to be seeing a glowing hagiography applauding his time in office.
The BBC have promised us “a romp through the soon-to-be ex-Prime Minister’s career and his distinctive contribution to British politics, on the eve of his departure.”
The job of satire shows such as Have I Got News… is to hold politicians on both side of the divide to account, and to have fun while doing it.
Those who are in charge of the country naturally present a larger target for the witticisms of Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, et al.
In fact, in 1998 the show went out of its way to circumvent a privacy edict designed to limit the amount of mockery that Labour’s Peter Mandelson was receiving in the media at the time.
So, it’s safe to say that Johnson himself might be in for an unpleasant evening from the show that once treated him so well, should he find time to tune in expecting a reverential tribute.
Mind you, you know what the day before moving house is like – packing always takes longer than you expect, and the telly remote is probably boxed up somewhere anyway.
That might be just as well.
Jack Dee, the deadpan host of Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, is the guest presenter for this episode, while Hislop and Merton are joined by journalist Janet Street-Porter and comedian Phil Wang.
The results of the Tory leadership election will come in just three days later, with either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak installed in Downing Street at the new PM by the Conservative Party’s members.
So is looks as though episode two will not be short of a talking point, either.
So sit back and enjoy the episode it’s bound to one to remember...even though you might want to forget some of his blunders..