After the tabloid revelations regarding the show's presenter Angus Deayton, cocaine and a certain prostitute, this week's episode of HIGNFY has been greatly anticipated in our household and many others. Since the show is shot the night before it goes out, the headlines are always topical and endless jokes about Deayton's private life were inevitable.
And did they disappoint? Of course not. Deayton introduces the show with "Good evening, and this week's loser... is presenting it." Just seconds into the first round, and Merton begins the comedic assault. Ian Hislop has brought along a copy of The Sun, and Merton The News of The World. The guests, Ken Livingstone and Dave Gorman quickly join in and Deayton seems to grow redder by the minute.
One of the finest moments from a show that is hard to do justice to in transcript:
Hislop: (Reading from the newspaper) "He made me groan all night long."
Is that all you did, Angus? Read off the autocue?
Whoever selects the headlines for the Missing Words round picked the easiest targets for sharp comments from the panellists, such as "-------: A great source of vitamins." Merton had also aquired a T-shirt with The News Of The World's headline, "TV's Deayton in Drug-Fueled Sex Romp". "It's also available in creme," he said.
One only wonders if they will keep this story running into the next episode? Knowing Merton's love of running jokes, it's a definite possibility.
Update, November 2002: Mr D has been sacked! This seems a little unfair to me, since his off-screen exploits didn't affect his ability to do his job and certainly many more viewers tuned in to watch him be given a hard time by the panellists. As we speak, there's calls for him to be reinstated, although the BBC are not known for going back on their resolutions. We shall see.