Harrington: Another night to think the old ones are always the best ones

Friday, 27th May

The old Clue gang including Barry Cryer who have now all passed away apart from Graeme Garden, left

TO the Royal Albert Hall, and the continuation of the 50th birthday celebrations of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.

The long-running radio comedy show – a self-styled antidote to panel games – was marking the big anniversary with new recordings.

Clue has become a focal part of BBC Radio 4, the equivalent of going into a pub, faraway, and overhearing the four old blokes in the corner telling old jokes and winding each other up.

The sad part is that so many of those old blokes are no longer with us. Willie Rushton, Jeremy Hardy, Tim Brooke-Taylor and last year Barry Cryer have died, leaving the jokes behind.

My friends at the Camden New Journal have campaigned for a plaque for Messrs Cryer and Brooke-Taylor to be erected at Mornington Crescent station, a wise suggestion.

If only Transport for London and City Hall would stop dragging their feet at the idea.

One of the few original panelists remains, Graeme Garden who, despite being in semi-retirement, was in the hall on Monday night.

For my money, while other, younger comedians have appeared over the years, none has ever come close to “getting” the silly games.

He was joined by Harry Hill, one of the younger generation (he’s 57) who could trade jokes with the original set, a heavily pregnant Pippa Evans and Tony Hawks.

Now, I won’t give too much away. There’s nothing like listening to Radio 4 and thinking “I’ve heard this all before”.

They’ve got Radio 4 Extra for that, but when these recordings are aired in July listen out for a nice cameo by BBC Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell and a frankly shambolic performance of one of the Albert Hall’s favourite songs being massacred by the kazoo players in the stalls.

For the rest of us in the gods, we were above the plastic instrument playing antics.

In fact, we were so far above it all, I could have sworn I saw a celestial Cryer sharing a joke with Brooke-Taylor just feet above me.

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