I have been a fan of Radio 4's I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue for years now, providing, as it does, a six week diet of sillyness and hilarity on Monday nights at 6.30 p.m. two or three times a year. It has changed in my lifetime (they are currently recording the 49th series) from something genuinely funny because of the originality of the material to something that is genuinely funny because of the reptition of themes. Every episode there will be humiliation of pianist Colin Sell, outrageous remarks at the expense of scorer Samantha and the same games such as Mornington Crescent or One Song to the Tune of Another. The panel always consists of Barry Crier, Graham Garden and Tim Brook-Taylor with a special guest. Humphrey Lyttelton always chairs it.
Last night we were fortunate enough to have tickets to the recording in Cardiff of the show. I won't give away any secrets but it was brilliant to finally see Samantha in the flesh and observe the lazer display board. Being in the studio audience at a radio recording is like being told the secret of a conjuring trick.
Although they will be broadcast on consecutive Mondays, June 18th and 25th, the two episodes were both recorded at the same show with an interval in between. When edited they will be 28 minutes long but we were in the theatre from 7.30 until 10.40 and there was lots of material which will not eventually be broadcast. Humphey, who is in his 80s now, needs to have two or three goes at each of his links and then redo some of them at the end as well. But we laughed lots and enjoyed especially the singing of guest Rob Brydon.
In passing, a few words of praise about the Wales Millennium Centre where the recording took place. It is as magnificent a 2,000 seater venue as I have even been in and it is thoroughly modern and beautifully designed. It uses fantasic materials, especially wood, exciting sea-themed shapes in keeping with its dockside location and as an auditorium has good sight lines and a clear sound. We were able to get from our seats to the car park in under ten minutes and out to the M4 without queuing. We were only an hour from home and in bed by midnight even going back via Chepstow to drop off friends.
The newly developed Cardiff Bay area has great cafe culture (we ate well at Mimosa Kitchen and bar) and the amazing Welsh Assembly Building amongst many other fine examples of modern architecture and preserved old buildings. Terrific.