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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 12:38 GMT
Quiz host Deayton fired by BBC
Angus Deayton
Deayton has hosted the show since 1990
Angus Deayton has been dropped as presenter of the BBC's quiz show Have I Got News For You after revelations about his private life.

The presenter and his agent met with the corporation's head of entertainment, Jane Lush, who asked him to stand down following newspaper stories about his alleged cocaine use and encounters with prostitutes.

Team captain Paul Merton will stand in as chairman for this week's programme, while producers search for a long-term replacement.


I'm very sorry to have been forced to leave a show that I've enjoyed immensely

Angus Deayton
"The BBC and Hat Trick Productions - the producers of Have I Got News For You - have asked Angus Deayton to stand down as host of with immediate effect," the corporation said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

"It was felt by all concerned that continued stories about Angus's private life made him the subject of headlines, rather than commentating on them, and made his position as host of the topical satire programme untenable."

Caustic comments

Last week, for the second time this year, the 45-year-old squirmed his way through the satirical show as the butt of fellow performers Merton and Ian Hislop's barbs following Sunday newspaper stories about his private life.

Paul Merton
Paul Merton will host this week's programme
Following initial revelations in May, the corporation decided to allow Deayton to continue presenting the programme, in which he makes caustic comments about people in the public eye.

The BBC decided he could continue as the programme's presenter but executives said they would monitor the situation.

Deayton, who has hosted the programme since it began in 1990, has also featured in other BBC programmes, like One Foot In The Grave and Before They Were Famous.


Please can we have Angus as a regular guest?

Rachel Cave, UK
The 45-year-old, who has a live-in partner and young son, has denied taking part in any illegal activities.

It is believed the BBC is keen not to part company entirely with one of its biggest stars and most popular presenters.

The BBC's media correspondent, Torin Douglas said: "There have been all kinds of presenters who have got into scrapes in the past and been subject of exposes. Some were instantly sacked unceremoniously.

"On the other hand there are other presenters who are still working happily working for the BBC.

"It really seems to depend on who you are, what kind of programme you present and what sort of audience it has."

'Very sorry'

Following the initial stories in May, Deayton obtained a High Court order stopping a newspaper publishing more details about his private life.

Ian Hislop
Merton's fellow captain Ian Hislop also rounded on Deayton on screen
But nine days ago Sunday newspapers published more claims by Deayton's former mistress.

Deayton said in a statement: "I'm very sorry to have been forced to leave a show that I've enjoyed immensely and has been part of my life for the past 12 years.

"I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity of working with Paul and Ian, whose talents will ensure that the show will continue entertaining millions each week.

"I sincerely wish the show well in the future and look forward to watching this Friday's episode - from behind the sofa."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Higham
"It could be some days before we know what Angus Deayton's future is going to be"
Publicist Max Clifford
"It's a ridiculous own goal because he in his current predicament added to the humour of the programme"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Sex and drugs
Was the BBC right to sack Angus Deayton?
 VOTE RESULTS
Who would be the best Have I Got News For You presenter?

Dermot Murnaghan
 2.39% 

John Sergeant
 16.31% 

Stephen Fry
 48.83% 

Andrew Marr
 7.71% 

Clive Anderson
 24.77% 

18740 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

29 Oct 02 | Entertainment
29 Oct 02 | Entertainment
17 Jul 02 | Entertainment
24 May 02 | UK
09 Jun 02 | Entertainment
20 May 02 | Entertainment
30 Oct 02 | Talking Point
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