Although I wasn’t completely won over by the first episode of the new Radio 4 topical news quiz, I Guess That’s Why They Call It The News, it showed enough promise for me to return for episode three this evening.
The chair, Fred MacAulay, has hit his stride, especially with a very funny warm-up act (an act that the radio audience alas does not get to hear). The panel was all change from the first show, and this quartet had more repartee amongst them than the first show’s quartet.
As in the first show, though, I suspect that many of the funniest moments will not make it to the final radio show. Last time it was because malfunctioning buzzers, this time it was drawing a beetle – and the visual humour in both doesn’t really work for a radio show. Other good jokes too either were too long, too tangential or too not Radio 4 – and so, whilst funny, will I suspect not make it into the final 30 minute version.
What didn’t strike me last time, but became much clearer this time around, is also how the funniest moments generally seemed to be when the cast was deviating from the script. Perhaps what the show really needs to be more of a success is simply less scripted humour and more trust in the ability of the panel to make people laugh. But for a show that it costs nothing to attend (other than my priceless time, of course) it was an enjoyable enough evening.
An update on the corridor staffing situation: as ever, Broadcasting House’s corridors were almost bizarrely heavily stewarded, but I can report good news. At least one of them can tell a good joke.