Have I Got News For You: Hosts enjoy live audience but viewers unhappy

Paul Merton was ‘thrilled’ to have an audience again – but viewers at home were less so (Picture: BBC)

The Have I Got News For You set was buzzing tonight, as Paul Merton declared how ‘thrilled and pleased and excited’ he was to have a live audience in the studio again for the first time – but viewers at home were less impressed.

At the top of the show, guest host Richard Ayoade caught up with long-standing team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop as the panel show marked its return to Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

Turning to Paul, Richard asked: ‘As someone who responds to people Paul, how do you feel about there being an audience here?’

Paul was quick to share that it was ‘great’ to have an audience in the studio, as one of the first shows to welcome people back to its recording.

He continued: ‘There’s someone in here with a very distinctive laugh, which is great because when people laugh it is inspiring.

‘So I’m thrilled and pleased and excited that we have people in front of us again.’

Paul Merton and Ian Hislop were joined by teammates Richard Osman and Baroness Warsi (Picture: BBC/Hat Trick/Ray Burmiston)

The show also featured presenter and novelist Richard Osman and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi as its guest panellists.

However, viewers tuning in from home did not share Paul’s opinion, with several complaining of the noise the in-studio audience kept making.

‘That ONE person who keeps applauding is really annoying’, griped one user.

Another wrote: ‘Those 3 people clapping at EVERYTHING on #hignfy are getting in [sic] my last nerve.’

‘Can someone tell the #hignfy audience that laughing is enough of a response & they don’t need to clap every one liner’, pleaded another.

But others were in a more positive mood, with one tweeting: ‘Well done Paul Merton and his gratitude for the live audience.’

Another posted: ‘Am watching #HIGNFY and very excited they have a live studio audience!! I keep forgetting things have opened up a bit. So exciting.’

Have I Got News For You, on air since 1990, is currently in its 60th series with series 59 having been filmed virtually from the panellists’ respective homes during lockdown.

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

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