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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Fry boycotts 'pathetic' quiz
From left: Stephen Fry, Ian Hislop, Angus Deayton and Paul Merton on Have I Got News For You
Stephen Fry (left) appeared on the show three times
Comedian Stephen Fry has vowed not to appear on Have I Got News For You again after they sacked former host Angus Deayton.

It was "greasy, miserable, British and pathetic" to fire Deayton over revelations about his private life, according to Fry, who had been tipped to take over as presenter.

The comic and actor appeared on the show as a guest three times between 1992 and 2000.

"I wouldn't do it any more because I'm very, very, very cross with the BBC and Paul Merton and Ian Hislop for allowing Angus to go," he told BBC Radio 1's entertainment reporter Briggy Smale.

Producers are currently looking for a permanent replacement for Deayton, but no-one would ever fill his shoes, Fry said.

"I think whatever private indiscretions Angus may have committed he was the absolutely right presenter for it," he said.

Paul Merton at the Baftas
Paul Merton beat Angus Deayton to a Bafta award on Sunday
"With the best will in the world for the guest presenters, I'm personally boycotting it from now on until they reinstate Angus."

His support for Deayton comes days after Merton said Deayton was "a dull man", that his loss was "not a big deal" and that producers were right to sack him.

Merton, a team captain, beat the former host to the prize for best entertainment performance at the UK's biggest TV awards, the Baftas.

Guest presenters including singer Charlotte Church, politician William Hague and chat show host Michael Parkinson have been lined up to fill the hot seat for one show each in the new series.

Permanent replacement

At the end of 2002, a hint to the type of permanent successor being sought was given by Jimmy Mulville, joint managing director of production company Hat Trick.

"It won't be a complete unknown," he told a newspaper.

"But it may be a journalist whom we all know but who hasn't done TV before, or an actor who is not an A-lister."

Comedian Alexander Armstrong, one half of duo Armstrong and Miller, is reported to be among the favourites.

Shortlist narrows for Deayton successor
17 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Fry honoured for pipe smoking
27 Feb 03  |  England
Parkinson fills in on TV quiz
14 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Church to front TV quiz
07 Apr 03  |  Wales
Hague asked to fill Deayton's shoes
13 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Deayton furore proves ratings hit
03 Nov 02  |  Entertainment

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