'Have I Got News For You' boss wants Angus Deayton return 20 years after he was fired

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) TV presenter Angus Deayton hosts Dancing for United, a ballroom dancing event in aid of the Manchester United Foundation, at Old Trafford on March 7, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Angus Deayton, former presenter of Have I Got News For You (Manchester United via Getty Images)

A Have I Got News For You boss has admitted he wants to bring back original host Angus Deayton nearly 20 years since he was fired.

Deayton, 65, was the main face of the topical panel show since its launch in 1990 to 2002, when he was accused of taking drugs with a sex worker while his partner Lise Meyer was pregnant with their son.

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While he initially laughed off the claims on the following episode of Have I Got News For You, allowing himself to be mocked by team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, further allegations ultimately led to his removal from the show.

Despite the scandal surrounding Deayton’s behaviour, he remained with Meyer until their split in 2015.

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But speaking on BBC Radio 4, Jimmy Mulville - managing director of Hat Trick Productions, who makes the series - has said that Deayton deserves a second shot.

“I think it'd be very nice for him [to come back to Have I Got News For You],” he said, via The Mirror.

“We're all a little older now. He's definitely served his time, and he was a very good host.”

Deayton’s career took a massive hit as a result of the scandal, which became front page news for several days.

Contestants in the British television panel show 'Have I Got News For You', 5th November 1998. From left to right, Ian Hislop, Jackie Mason, Angus Deayton, a studio technician, Michael Crick and Paul Merton. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Deayton (third from left) hosted the series from 1990 to 2002 - pictured with Ian Hislop, Jackie Mason, a studio technician, Michael Crick and Paul Merton. (Getty Images)

He opted to fly to Italy to hide out from paparazzi, but was persuaded to return to the show to confront the situation head on by the Hat Trick team.

On his return to his hosting duties, he opened the show by declaring: “Good evening and welcome to Have I Got News For You, where this week's loser is presenting it.”

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Deayton was eventually fired from the show in October that year, just two episodes into a new series, after his scandal meant he ‘lost his authority and comedic platform’ as a presenter.

TV presenter Angus Deayton and his partner Lise Meyer arrive at the Royal Albert Hall for the BAFTA award ceremony.
Angus Deayton and his partner Lise Meyer remained together for 24 years before splitting in 2015 (PA)

“We tried to lurch on but I could see it was becoming more and more uncomfortable because the host needs not to be the main story on the show,” Mulville explained.

“Otherwise, you lose your comic platform, your authority. We realised we just couldn't go on like this for the show to survive.”

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The decision did not sit well with some long-standing fans and participants of the show, with Stephen Fry declaring he was boycotting the series because of their “greasy, miserable, British and pathetic” decision to get rid of Deayton.

Ever since the star’s removal, the show has continued with a rotating cast of guest hosts.

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