Presenting a comedy panel show is no easy job, sometimes you have to be a comedian just to deflect the scathing jokes that may be coming your way. Like when Paul Merton said: “About Angus Deayton: His name is Angus. The G is silent.”
But a presenter is hired to go along with the banter, keep composed and keep the show running at a nice pace, which is sometimes difficult when comedians want to digress. Take Have I Got News For You, when Angus Deayton left the post, there was a void for many years and they still do not have a permanent anchor, but rather employ a number of special guests. But what makes the perfect host on Have I Got News For You, there have been many pretenders who have sat on the throne.
There have been many good hosts of the show, which is basically a vehicle for the jokes of Paul Merton and the political sneering of Private Eye editor Ian Hislop (who stands as the most sued man in British Press history). Boris Johnson for instance was expected to be lampooned for his buffoonery by the sharp witted panellists sitting either side of him, but he held his own and came out it smelling of roses. Brian Blessed was another hilarious guest, with his huge booming voice and theatrical streak he took the show in a more pantomime direction which was a nice change.
However, there have also been many awful guest presenters which have flopped, who we shall not name here. But in the 10 years that Angus Deayton has left the show wide open, there has been a juggling act to replace him and getting the right person on board every week can be a hit and miss affair. Which is why the BBC employ a safe pair of hands every week rather than try new talent, just to keep things ticking along. For instance, Damian Lewis has appeared four times, Jo Brand eight times, Jeremy Clarkson nine times and Alexander Armstrong has been on 20 episodes now. Maybe it is time they put someone in the chair permanently. I vote Boris Johnson! At least that will keep him out of parliament.