Pink Dog

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The News: new comedy quiz

Microphone - CC0 Public Domain

Went to see the recording of the first episode of a new Radio 4 comedy news quiz tonight: I Guess That’s Why They Call It The News. Chaired by Fred MacAulay, it’s got a tough slot, filling the space between The Now Show finishing for the summer and The News Quiz starting in the autumn.

Understandably for a first episode, there were a few rough edges (smooth somewhat later) – such as the malfunctioning buzzers (the humour arising from which will, sadly, I guess be mostly edited out) and the absence so far of much repartee having developed amongst the panel. Perhaps its biggest problem is that it doesn’t seem to have a clear purpose other than being just another comedy show featuring a panel talking about the news. There are many of those already and there are some extremely high standards in that field. So to really make a mark, it’s either got to be amazingly good or find a niche that makes it more than just News Quiz lite.

The niche it is trying for is deliberately strange and silly answers, which it managed reasonably – but they’ve got to be of a consistently high standard in order to make the show work. There were plenty of good jokes, and with the ability to edit down and hence only use the best material, there should be a pretty enjoyable show to broadcast. Moreover, Fred MacAulay’s chairing and warm up were very good and it was just the first performance.

Full details of broadcast times are on the BBC website and as it’s in the Friday 6:30pm slot, it will also be appearing in the BBC comedy podcasts.

It was recorded at Broadcasting House, so the evening also featured the traditional long queue to get in (several hundred people, one security scanner – never a happy equation though it’s also the permanent equation there) followed by the traditional standing of staff in the corridors (what’s with having to have quite so many people standing in the corridor point which direction you should go?). But when the tickets are free, it would be mean to complain much.

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