I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue Live

Starring: Humphrey Lyttelton, Barry Cryer, Willie Rushton, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Jeremy Hardy
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN 1 846 07053 8
Available 04 September 2006

If you've ever wondered what it's like to attend a live recording of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, the antidote to panel games, now is your chance to discover how much fun they are, as the BBC releases a double CD compilation of some of the show's full recordings...

To be honest I don't wonder "what it's like to attend a live recording of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue". Not because I don't enjoy the series, but because I actually went to a double recording some years ago. In fact I have to say that if you only go to see one radio show being recorded it should be I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. While the 30 minute radio show is extremely funny, the live recordings are at least twice as enjoyable.

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue Live contains four extended editions of the programme, from 1995 and 1996. Hear Humphrey Lyttelton and the team setting up before and after a recording, catch the jokes intended only for the theatre audiences, listen to Barry and Graeme as 'Alec & Denzil', early ancestors of their much-loved Hamish & Dougal creations, and thrill to Jeremy Hardy's first ever attempt at singing on the programme.

However, I'm not entirely sure whether this compilation does what it claims to do on the packet. There's very little material from before or after each recording - which is a crying shame. What you do get though is a lot of material that would have otherwise been left on the cutting room floor to ensure that the shows fitted their 30 minute time slot. To be honest there is not a whole lot of behind the scenes material - in fact the third episode didn't have any material after the show ended.

I loved the unintentional "website" mistake. Here the script mentioned a "websit" which Humphrey Lyttelton pronounced as the script outlined. It was something of a surprise to learn that this was not an intention gag (as it appeared). In fact the panellists were also surprised that this wasn't intentional too - and tried to keep it in as it was much funnier. Whether they did or not we are never told.

The show's producer, Jon Naismith, introduces each programme and reminds us of a few topical issues from the time of the recordings, which allow us to appreciate some of the jokes. And, of course, there are a couple of rounds of Mornington Cresent - possibly the world's longest running in-joke. Naismith also tells us a few little nuggets about the stars too - especially the late, great, Willie Rushton and Tim Brooke-Taylor.

Whether you are a die-hard fan of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, or have never heard of the show before, this is a must own collection. Proof that old comics were (and indeed still are) much funnier than the majority of acts around today.

Darren Rea

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