‘Greatest Radio Comedy’ returns to Fairfield after 15 years

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, the flagship BBC radio comedy panel show, returns to the Fairfield Halls for the first time in 15 years later this month.

Radio genius: the cast of a SIHAC in late 2021 (from left): Omid Djalili, Jan Ravens, Tony Hawks and Jack Dee. It would be one of the last shows to include Barry Cryer (centre), who died earlier this year

It has always been billed as “the antidote to panel games”, although the programme has been around for such a long time, the panel games to which it was originally an antidote are now long gone.

ISIHAC consists of two teams of comedians being given “silly things to do”, sometimes to music. It was recently voted “Greatest Radio Comedy of All Time” by an expert panel for the Radio Times.

The show was launched in April 1972 and has been broadcast since on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service ever since.

Devised by Graeme Garden, the early panels included the likes of Barry Cryer, Willie Rushton and Tim Brooke-Taylor, with Colin Sell on the piano, and were chaired by jazz musician Humprey Lyttleton. The cast lists over the next five decades read like a Who’s Who of British comedy. And there was also Jeremy Hardy “singing”.

Lyttleton was still orchestrating the mayhem on October 16, 2007, the last time that Clue was recorded in front of a (nearly) live audience at the Fairfield Halls. It was one of the last shows Lyttleton recorded before his death in 2008.

Jack Dee has been the regular Clue chair since 2009.

But this will be the first time that he will have presided at a recording of the show in Croydon, as the Fairfield slowly gets itself back on to its feet after its controversial £67million lick of paint and nearly three years of covid.

The producers are recording two shows in the Fairfield’s Concert Hall on Monday, September 19. Tickets – at a bargain £7.75 (including the Halls’ booking fee) – were being snapped up quickly when they went on sale last night.

The Croydon recordings will be the first for Clue’s 2022 autumn series – the show’s 50th anniversary, which is due for transmission on Radio 4 from Monday November 14.

Next step in Fairfield’s slow rehabilitation must surely be Sue Perkins hosting Just A Minute, the other staple of BBC Radio parlour games, in her home town of Croydon…

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to ‘Greatest Radio Comedy’ returns to Fairfield after 15 years

  1. My family went to it last time at Fairfield and it was a great night out.

    Absolutely to be recommended.

    And, as you say, £7.75 is a bargain and – thanks to seeing this story on IC – we’ll be going again this time.

  2. This is now rescheduled, for obvious reasons, to October 26th, and all tickets remain valid for that.

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