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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 11:42 GMT
Hague asked to fill Deayton's shoes
William Hague
William Hague has a reputation of being a quick wit
Former Conservative leader William Hague has been asked to host an episode of the new series of BBC One news satire show Have I Got News For You.

Hat Trick Productions, the production company which makes the show, told BBC News Online the former leader of the opposition has been approached.

Hat Trick managing director Denise O'Donoghue said the new series was going to use the same formula of one-off presenters as last series.

It followed the departure of host Angus Deayton in October after revelations about his private life.

"There will be a series of guest presenters, and we have asked him. It will be the first time we have had someone who has been a leader of one of the major parties on the show," she said.

Angus Deayton
Deayton had been the host since the show's inception

A spokesman for William Hague said he was "seriously considering their offer".

"I think he will be very good. He'll probably be more interesting than Iain Duncan Smith. Though you never know, he may be available to do the show.

"So might Tony Blair, come to think of it," Ms O'Donoghue said.

The new series, which will be aired in April, will be the first complete series without the show's original host Angus Deayton.

He had to leave the show a few episodes into its last series after allegations of drug-taking.

The rest of the series was hosted by a number of guest presenters, including show regular Paul Merton, Liberal Democrats' leader Charles Kennedy and Boris Johnson.

Ms O'Donoghue said the show had been more successful after Deayton left.

Paul Merton
Team captain Paul Merton ridiculed Deayton

She said the company had not approached anyone else apart from Mr Hague.

She said the series might include one or two "relatively unknown" presenters in an effort to find new talent.

In December, the show's producers denied comediens Clive Anderson and Stephen Fry were on a shortlist of permanent presenters to replace Deayton.

Deayton had been the show's host since the first series in 1990.

Shortlist narrows for Deayton successor
17 Dec 02 |  TV and Radio
Kennedy in Deayton hot seat
13 Dec 02 |  TV and Radio
Deayton furore proves ratings hit
03 Nov 02 |  TV and Radio
Robinson is next Deayton stand-in
01 Nov 02 |  TV and Radio
Show goes on after Deayton exit
01 Nov 02 |  TV and Radio
Quiz host Deayton fired by BBC
30 Oct 02 |  TV and Radio

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