I'm sorry, we haven't a clue: Who will replace Humphrey Lyttelton?

One of radio's funniest shows is to return, but who can possibly replace the late Humphrey Lyttelton? The search is on, but the field is wide open, as Emily Dugan reports

Just as the nation had become resigned to the idea that the nonsensical radio quiz show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue would never again be heard on the airwaves, hope of a return for the popular series is on the horizon.

Recording was cancelled this year after the death of its much-loved chairman, Humphrey Lyttelton, known affectionately to his fans as Humph. Many anticipated that the show would die with its legendary host. But now producers have confirmed that it will return, and the hunt is on for a successor to Lyttelton.

The programme's producer, Jon Naismith, confirmed yesterday: "We have decided we want to continue with the show. We enjoy it too much to stop altogether." He added: "It won't happen straight away because we're still mourning Humphrey". Recording was likely to begin next year, he said. "We had thousands of emails when Humph died saying do please continue."

Often attracting audiences of up to 2 million, the spoof quiz show was widely viewed as one of the funniest radio programmes ever broadcast. Dubbed the "antidote to panel games" its run spanned more than three decades and its fan base crossed generations. The 51st series of the show, first broadcast in 1972, had been due to start recording when Lyttelton died, in April.

The first new shows will rotate presenters in the same way as the TV quiz Have I Got News For You, before settling for a full-time choice. The favourite at the moment is Stephen Fry. Naismith said: "I'm sure Stephen would be good: he's very funny and he's excellent on QI."

Barry Cryer and his fellow long-time panellists, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, have ruled themselves out. Cryer said that the programme-makers had met to compile a long list, which had included Fry, but that he thought a woman might be a better choice. "We all had our favourites, but mine would be a woman because then she couldn't be compared to Humph," he said.

Jeremy Hardy, a frequent contestant, who has also been tipped as a successor, yesterday dismissed the idea that he or any other regular would be in the running. "Humph had big shoes to fill and I wouldn't do it", he said. Hardy's wildcard suggestion was the singer Jarvis Cocker, who is known for his deadpan delivery.

Whoever gets the job, there is no doubt that it will be one of the hardest acts to follow. Lyttelton's one-liners were often the highlight of the whimsical programme.

After one "terrible" round, he remarked: "Nietzsche said that life was a choice between suffering and boredom. He never said anything about having to put up with both at the same time."

The pressure is already on for the new host of this treasured series to ensure that his joke does not become a reality.

And the next presenter is...

Stephen Fry

The leading candidate: quick-witted Fry has already shown his talent at hosting impenetrable quiz shows with the television series 'QI'. He has also been a guest on 'ISIHAC', and narrated a 'Humph Sunday' special.

Jarvis Cocker

A wild card entry suggested by Jeremy Hardy: like Lyttelton his background is in music and he is known for his deadpan delivery.

Angus Deayton

Straight-faced Deayton has been looking for a regular comedy berth since he was unceremoniously removed from 'Have I Got News for You'. Doubtless he won't have any problem making innuendos at the lovely Samantha with his track record.

Sue Perkins

Best known for being the second half of the comedy duo Mel and Sue, she is now a frequent guest on Radio 4 comedy quizzes.

Pam Ayres

Frequently heard on Radio 4 comedy programmes, including 'Just a Minute', she now has her own sketch show and is becoming one of the channel's leading ladies.

Sandi Toksvig

'The News Quiz' host and 'ISIHAC' regular is a staple of Radio 4 comedy and an obvious choice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Recruitment Resourcer / Recruitment Account Manager

£20 - 25k + Bonus: Guru Careers: Are you a Recruitment Consultant looking to m...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'