Making of Have I Got News For YUSU

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The following text appeared in the Autumn 2003 Freshers' Week welcome booklet, describing how the programme came about:

Anyone in YSTV can suggest programme ideas to the Production Director and most things, within reason, can usually be made. The process from idea to broadcast changes from programme to programme, due to different complexities required for different productions. What follows describes the chain of events that led to our satirical news quiz spoof Have I Got News For YUSU being made earlier this year.

The Idea

During production meetings for our Elections 2003 programme, co-producer Cally Nixon announces that she is seeking to pre-record a quiz featuring the outgoing sabbatical officers, to be played out on Election Night during a lull in the results and to facilitate a crew change. Cogs start whirring…we’ve done a Never Mind The Buzzcocks spoof in the past, all the recent controversy surrounding Have I Got News For You means that the time has come to do our very own version of that. Have I Got News For YUSU here we come. (2008 edit - this was a couple of months after Angus Deayton was sacked from HIGNFY)

Discussion

At further meetings the idea is approved, and we set about preparing the programme. The producer does some essential research using the HIGNFY DVD (all hard work, of course) and comes up with a basic template for the show. Now we’ve to write some jokes. Hmmm.

Script

A very basic draft version of the script is circulated amongst other members of YSTV, asking for comments or additions. Brains are racked and the script is eventually full. Also around this time Station Director Kevin secures the participation of four of the six sabbatical officers, and a date for recording is set. Crew sheets are put on the notice board. University Radio York presenter James Gallagher is suggested for the presenter’s job, and he quickly agrees. The clock is ticking…

Graphics

Anyone who has seen HIGNFY will know that there are a number of pre-recorded inserts that have to be pre-prepared. These include the “in the news this week” sequences, the odd-one-out round and the caption competition. In fact, there’s an awful lot more than you might think to prepare, so our intrepid producer spends a couple of days running around trying to make sure everything is ready. Kevin also starts to produce the spinning-headlines graphics, which are more complicated than you might think to produce!

It also becomes clear than the title sequence is not going to be ready in time. Never mind.

The Set

Have I Got News For You has a fairly simple set, involving red boards covered in headlines. Luckily we had three spare red set boards (2008 - left over from Games Disaster), and the producer had a huge stack of old copies of The Guardian in his bedroom, so he and other members of the crew set to finding suitable headlines and pictures to stick to the boards. The desk will be the “coffee bar” that has been produced for interview on Elections 2003.

Recording

We’re ready to go and three out of the four guests have turned up. Luckily for us HIGNFYUSU is pre-recorded, so a search party is sent out for the missing guest, who shall remain nameless. He is found in Goodricke bar, slightly less sober than we’d expected. Still, too later to pull out now…

The programme starts recording and all is going well, until disaster strikes! The SVHS tape being used to record the programme ejects itself. A Mini DV camera is quickly hooked up to continue recording at broadcast quality, and the show resumes.

The aftermath

And then… that’s it. A few days later the title sequence is edited, and then the programme itself is put together. It is broadcast during the election programme a week later, and you may have seen it during our “YSTV Gold” season in Freshers’ Week. If you’re interested in making your own programme then get in touch with the Production Director, and we’ll help you out. If, however, it ends up being as complex as Have I Got News For YUSU, we may think twice…