10 August 2009 | freemantle_uk
News of the World
Panel shows have been a been a stable for British television, mainly because they are cheap to run, popular and can be very funny if the right people are involved. Have I Got News For You has been the gold standard in the UK because it is extremely funny with great captains, and often excellent guests who are sharp about the current events of the day. Many shows have tried and failed to copy their successful formula.
Mock the Week on BBC 2 is the closest show to rival HIGNFY. It has a similar focus to HIGNFY, the news of all things, politics, economics, popular culture, etc... But unlike HIGNFY which is a straight panel show, Mock the Week has elements of Who's Line is it, with comedians testing their stand up skills, very successfully. There are also other fun moments when Hugh Dennis has to play what there are really saying. What also makes Mock the Week work is the fact that it is more willing to make darker, more outrageous jokes compared to HIGNFY. If done right it's a masterclass of comedy, especially from Frankie Boyle.
When Mock the Week started it was weak. Most the comedians didn't have their confidences. Changes were needed, and they were done quickly. Frankie Boyle and Hugh Dennis found their feet, Frankie Boyle was allowed to do what he does best, Dara O'Briain, and Frank Parson (excellent comedian) and Russell Howard were brought in. There are many good guests, the best are the ones who have appeared on HIGNFY, e.g. David Mitchell, Lucy Porter, Ed Byrne.
Mock the Week is not as good as HIGNFY but it is the closest you are going to get to that show. It's worthy entertainment.