Have I Got News For You replaces Amol Rajan after election announcement

The BBC’s current affairs comedy show Have I Got News For You had to make a last-minute change this week after Rishi Sunak’s surprise general election announcement. Amol Rajan had originally been due to serve as guest host, but he had to step down before Thursday’s recording.

Stand-up comedian Phil Wang replaced the University Challenge presenter in the host’s chair, making his debut as guest presenter. He explained that “impartiality things” had forced the last-minute change.

Phil Wang was drafted in to replace Amol Rajan on Have I Got News For You. (BBC)

In a cold open clip before Friday night’s episode of Have I Got News For You, Wang addressed the audience at the live recording, explaining just how last-minute his hiring had been.

“I’m Phil. I got this gig last night, first time hosting. I’m very excited,” said Wang. “The originally planned host, well he had to cancel for impartiality things because the election was announced yesterday, which I think makes me the only person I know who’s benefited from Rishi Sunak’s premiership.”

As Rajan is part of the BBC’s news and politics team, including as one of the hosts of the Today program on Radio 4, it’s not surprising that he wasn’t keen to appear on TV making jokes about the government during an election campaign.

Ian Hislop and Ruth Davidson on Have I Got News For You. (BBC)

“We do have to be very careful about balance,” Wang said in the wake of a montage of news clips illustrating the election announcement and first days of campaigning.

Regular panellist Ian Hislop did have some fun with this announcement, though, pointing out the absurdity of the show worrying about balance while having former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson — now a member of the House of Lords — on the panel.

It’s common for the show to feature serving politicians, with Labor MP Jess Phillips appearing as a guest panellist on the previous episode.

Richard Osman and Paul Merton appeared on Have I Got News For You this week. (BBC)

Ian Hislop and Ruth Davidson made up one team on Have I Got News For You on Friday, appearing against Paul Merton and Richard Osman. As well as the election, the contestants discussed Paula Vennells’ appearance at the Post Office inquiry and a world record involving sausages.

Have I Got News For You airs on BBC One every Friday at 9pm.

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