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Audio Comedy Review

Book Cover

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
A Third Collection


Starring: Humphrey Lyttelton, Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor
BBC Audiobooks
RRP: £25.00

ISBN: 978 1 0 5635 1042 0
Available 03 March 2008

This third collection of the much-loved comedy quiz programme contains three double volumes of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue - 12 episodes of inspired nonsense and pointless revelry in the ultimate antidote to panel games. Regulars Tim Brooke Taylor, Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden are given things to do by chairman Humphrey Lyttelton. Joining them for more moments of mayhem, puns and one-liners are Jack Dee, Tony Hawks, Jeremy Hardy, Sandi Toksvig, Harry Hill, Phil Jupitus and Andy Hamilton. So join Humph and company in these perennial favourites: Swanee Kazoo, One Song to the Tune of Another, Sound Charades, New Definitions, and Mornington Crescent...

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: A Third Collection contains Volumes 7-9 (each of which contains four episodes across two CDs. So fans of the series are getting 12 classic episodes for £25 - which is a bargain.

Each episode, which is recorded in a different part of the country, opens with a tongue-in-cheek look at the history of the surrounding area. As ever, chairman Humphrey Lyttelton is joined by Tim Brooke Taylor, Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden. Colin Sell is at the piano and the lovely Samantha keeps the score.

Many of the show's games have become legendary, but by far the best is Mornington Crescent - arguably the radio's longest running in-joke - along with the obligatory letter from Mrs. Trellis, an ardent fan from North Wales. This is closely followed by Sound Charades - mainly for Humph's introductions in which he recounts a strong homosexual double entendre surrounding Lionel Blair on the original Give Us A Clue. One of the examples in this collection is: "The master of the genre was undoubtedly Lionel Blair, and who will ever forget him, exhausted and on his knees, finishing off An Officer and a Gentleman in under two minutes?

Highlights from each episode include:

Episode 1: Recorded in High Wycombe, and guest starring Jeremy Hardy, the funniest moments include Aled Jones singing Tom Jones's Kiss in Musical Families and Quiz of Quizzes with is a tightly scripted amalgamation of a number of popular quiz shows.

Episode 2: Comes to us from Brighton and sees Phil Jupitus make an appearance. Highlights include the teams Sound Charades version of Soylent Green and the Handy Hints game in which the contestants give silly answers to genuine handy hints.

Episode 3: And we are in Bristol with guest Andy Hamilton. Highlights include Karaoke-cokey, in which the audience has to hum the tune of a song for the panel to guess. And the Complete Adverts in which we learn that Quillies throat lozenge had a poorly thought out tag line: "Suck Quillies" (say it out loud) - more of that later.

Episode 4: Recorded in Norwich, with guest Sandi Toksvig, highlights include at last this collection's first game of Mornington Crescent.

And so, onto Volume Eight.

Episode 1: Comes to us from Bradford and sees Sandi Toksvig make another guest appearance. Highlights include A Day in the Life magazine interviews with Cliff Richard and Anne Robinson in which Humph will occasionally stop and ask the panelists to fill in the rest of the sentence.

Episode 2: And we are in Torquay with guest Jeremy Hardy. Highlights include Celebrity Misquotes, in which the panelists have to make up unlikely quotes for famous celebrities - several of which are aimed at other panel members - and Soap & Flannel, scripted spoof soap operas where the teams try and slip in as many subtle product placements as possible.

Episode 3: Tony Hawks joins the team in Darlington. Highlights include the rendition of I've Got You Babe in Swanee Kazoo and Ladies' Film Club - a very un-PC look at famous film titles that are changed to reflect stereotypical women.

Episode 4: Recorded in Buxton with Harry Hill as the guest star. Highlights include the words to the Flintstones theme tune being sung to the tune of My Way in One Song to the Tune of Another, and another game of Mornington Crescent - this time it's the children's edition as Hill has never played it before. This results is lots of light-hearted patronising of poor Hill.

Next up is Volume Nine:

Episode 1: Comes to us from Belfast, with guest star Jack Dee. Highlights include Cinema Staplines and In Their Own Words which features a genuine (and rather scary) magazine interview with Paul Daniels.

Episode 2: Recorded in Salford with guest Jeremy Hardy. Highlights include Swankers, in which the team try and out brag each other, and Don't Kids Ask the Questions? in which a child asks a question and the team have to give a funny answer - the best of which was aimed at Tim Brooke-Taylor: "Why aren't The Goodies on any more?"

Episode 3: Comes to us from Dartford, with guest Tony Hawks. Highlights include the lyrics to The Smiths' Girlfriend in a Coma being sung to the tune of Tiptoe Through the Tulips in One Song to the Tune of Another, and another game of Mornington Crescent.

Episode 4: The final episode was recorded in Ipswich with guest Jeremy Hardy. Highlights include a game of Mornington Crescent using a SatNav which seems to have fallen in love with Jeremy Hardy, and Bushwhackers, in which George W. Bush quotes are played and then the teams are asked to finish his sentence - sadly the real quotes are funnier than anything you could make up.

If I have one complaint, it's that whoever compiled this collection obviously didn't actually bother to listen to the episodes. If they had they may well have chosen different programmes. Why? Well, there were several gags that were repeated across these six discs - which makes you wonder how many of the gags are normally repeated throughout the running of the show.

Firstly, in Volume Seven, episodes two and four feature the same gag by Humph. In both Gardener's Chat Up Lines and Musicians Chat Up Lines he opens with the same gag about Tim Brooke-Taylor. Then, in two different episodes of New Definitions the word "Piston" is used and in another two episodes the word "Lactose" is used - both giving the same definition as they did in a previous episode.

And shame, of all shame, the hilarious spoof Quillies throat lozenge ad, which I mentioned earlier, was actually hijacked from the 1980's radio comedy show Radio Active.

It would also have been interesting if the sleeve notes had indicated when each programme was recorded or aired.

So, another fantastic collection from the BBC. This will keep you laughing for hours. Personally I can think of no better way of spending £25 - but then I probably need to get out more.


Darren Rea

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