I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a digitally produced, multi-media experience, produced by the smartest and brightest web designers, utilising all the latest internet technology, web site devoted to the radio panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue? Unfortunately, until such a web site is produced you will have to make do with what I provide.
These pages are meant as an on-line resource to the people, games, and humour of this most wonderful of radio shows.
My first memory of listening to this show is hearing the punch-line Cobblers to the Queen during a game of Late Arrivals to the Ball and seeing my family rolling around in laughter. I cannot remember which ball it was but I am sure you recognise the style of humour.
I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue has been a regular Monday night show on BBC Radio 4 as long as I can remember. Apart from a couple of years in the early 90s I have been an avid listener, and many a time I can be found driving home on the motorway on a Monday night laughing myself silly.
I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue is a comedy radio panel game broadcast by the BBC on Radio 4 roughly twice a year.
According to the Oxford Companion to Music, the arrangement was composed by Haydn in 1797 and was the national hymn of Austria (Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser) from then until 1918. After that, the tune was retained but with new, non-Imperial words by Ottokar Kernstock (Sei gesegnet ohne Ende).
Apparently, the author of the original words (Lorenz Leopold Haschka, Count von Saurau, Austria’s Imperial High Chancellor) wanted a national song to equal Britain’s God Save the King. He gave them to Haydn to set, believing him to be the only composer capable of doing the job adequately. The Oxford Companion to Music adds that the enterprise was largely intended as a counterblast to the French Revolution.
Haydn took one of the Croatian folk melodies of his childhood and altered and extended the later part so that it would fit the chancellor’s stanza-lengths. He made a number of versions, still to be seen, before arriving at the version now familiar. This is also used in Britain as the tune of a familiar hymn, under the name Austria.
You can hear the tune in a set of variations in Haydn’s Emperor Quartet, written afterwards. In old age Haydn loved to play it on the piano, and it was indeed the last music he ever played.
Its adaptation in the film introduces a bullet-headed German rally driver J.J. Shickel (played by Gert Fröbe), and was no doubt intended to suggest the German national anthem - Das Deutschlandlied. The music in the film, called the Shickel Shamble, was composed by Ron Goodwin who also conducted it.