Interview: BBC News Quiz's Andy Hamilton on Harrogate Comedy Fest

Comedian and comic writer Andy Hamilton.
Comedian and comic writer Andy Hamilton.

Harrogate Comedy Festival begins with a bang this Saturday, October 1 in the Royal Halll with a show starring Ross Noble and pretty much goes on that way to the closing gala on Sunday, October 16..

In terms of sheer talent and comedic intelligence audiences would be well advised not to miss Andy Hamilton's show.

Looking a little like Britain’s answer to America’s Danny De Vito, this bearded, award-winning comedian and writer’s last tour of Change Management proved so popular he’s bringing it back on the road this autumn - including a stop at Harrogate Theatre.
Andy Hamilton’s latest show looks back at life in comedy which began in the 1980s, taking in not only how he has changed but how society has changed in the decades since the likes of Spitting Image ruled the satirical waves in TV.
His track record is huge. He’s the versatile co-creator/writer of Outnumbered (BBC1), Drop The Dead Donkey (Channel 4) and a regular guest on BBC TV’s Have I Got News For You and BBC Radio 4’s sharp-edged The News Quiz, and numerous other TV and radio shows.
At 62, Andy is as busy and successful as ever. And the man behind some of Drop the Dead Donkey’s most withering lines about politicians says he has lost none of his fire.
He said: “Will Self once said comedians should stop in middle age because they lose their anger.
“But that’s the time when you get more angry rather than less. Your hair starts falling out, you put on weight, your friends start dying. I still get fired about enough things to carry on. The time to stop is when I get so old that I can’t remember I’m a comedian.”
Andy’s nearly four decades of comedy began at BBC Radio 4 and he remains an almost ubiquitous presence on a whole range of hilarious shows, from The News Quiz to his own show Old Harry’s Game to I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.
One of his biggest hits on TV, BBC family comedy Outnumbered starring Hugh Dennis wasn’t even meant to be a hit. It started off in a ‘niche’ slot at 10.30pm. To be honest, we were happy to be there.
“Being in a prime slot sometimes means you are in a ratings bunfight. A lot of that is luck, which show is programmed against your’s.
“But the BBC data showed the show appealed to people across the age range so we ended up on a prime time.
“The only problem was when the younger characters began to grow up. We did try putting chemicals in their food to stunt their growth, though!”
The subject of politics clearly gets Andy fired up as much as ever.
Try asking him about Donald Trump, for example.
Andy said: “I think the fact Trump is surviving politically no matter what he says indicates we are in a period of phenomenal, rapid change.
“There’s a move towards a non-fact based type of politics.
“Facts don’t seem to matter when people are voting.
“And I’ve got a feeling that the things that made Theresa May attractive - being steady and strong - may eventually become her comedic and political achilles heel.”
Andy Hamilton: Change Management is at Harrogate Theatre on Saturday, October 8.