Ann Widdecombe: Have I got News For You stars Paul Merton and Ian Hislop open up on star | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV

Ann Widdecombe: Have I got News For You stars Paul Merton and Ian Hislop open up on star | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV


The 70-year-old has forged a successful TV career since her days as a Conservative Party MP.

However, it appears that the controversial figure may have ruffled a few feathers amongst some BBC favourites, after appearing on Have I Got News For You.

The Celebrity Big Brother star has appeared as a guest host on the news quiz twice before, back in 2006 and 2007, which saw her present the show alongside team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.

Speaking about the television panel show in an interview with Radio Times this week, the Have I Got News For You regulars discussed working with the Strictly Come Dancing star.

Admitting that his worst experience with a politician had been with Ann during her second appearance on the programme, Paul said: “There’s a thing in showbusiness.

“The first time you do something, you’re going to be a bit rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights, but adrenaline gets you through.

“Then the programme is edited and her friends see it and say, “Oh, you were very good on that.”

He continued: “Second time she comes on she’s telling the producer what jokes will and won’t work.”

Expressing his outrage, the comedian went on: “She turned to me at one point and said, “Come on, be amusing; that’s what you’re being paid for.

“Even as I say it, it sends a shiver through my heart!

“It’s like, the arrogance of the woman, you know? Suddenly she thought she was Victoria Wood!”

Ian, who has appeared alongside Paul in every episode of the show for almost 30 years, went on to describe which other guest hosts he’d had the “worst experiences” with.

Reminiscing about Neil Kinnock’s stint on the show, the journalist said: “That was the longest recording ever because I think he had been in Europe for too many years.

“He literally asked the question, listened to the answer, summarised your answers, did a sort of précis of the entire issue, and then repeated it all again. I mean, it was about three hours!”

Shortly after her second time on the programme, Ann vowed that she would never return to the comedy show, after she hit out at guest panellist Jimmy Carr.

Speaking about her encounter with the comedian, the Daily Express columnist wrote: “His idea of wit is a barrage of filth and the sort of humour most men grow out of in their teens.

“The edit got rid of much of it but there’s no amount of money for which I would go through those two recording hours again.

“At one stage I nearly walked out.”

Have I Got News For You continues tonight at 9.30pm on BBC One.

The full interview can be seen in the latest issue of Radio Times, which is out now.



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