Helvetica Bold

THERE should be red faces at the BBC today after a blunder on last night’s Have I Got News For You.
I almost dropped my tea when the comedy quiz turned its attention to last Sunday’s Michael Ball Show on Radio Two.
And in particular an email question sent in for his guest, Ashes To Ashes star Philip Glenister, about his new ITV1 drama Demons.
Michael said: “Someone has written in. This is from Helvetica Bold. What a great name.”
Phil joked: “I think she’s in Demons, isn’t she? Sounds like it.”
But the clue was in Helvetica’s question:
“Phil, there’s a bunch of us sitting in The Railway Arms, waving at our radios to say hi.”
Mr G then realised the context.

While Michael later laughed: “One of the emails I read out, I thought was by someone called Helvetica Bold, which I think is a great name.”
But he’d since been informed by someone else that it was, in fact, a font name.

Well, yes it is.
But it’s also the user name of a real person on the excellent Ashes To Ashes and Life On Mars fan site The Railway Arms.
And the name they used by way of a signature when emailng in to Michael Ball’s programme.
A fact that appears to have escaped the producers of Have I Got News For You.
They featured Michael Ball’s confusion in the Connections round – which this week concerned “email errors”.
Not realising they were making an error themselves.
Including host Jo Brand’s scripted comment about Helvetica Bold: “It’s the font in which the email was written.”
While panellists Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Reginald D. Hunter and Toby Young continued to banter about font names v real names.
Have I Got News For You is always brilliant entertainment.
But perhaps the production team might like to be a bit bolder when checking their font facts.
*You can watch an extended version of last night’s BBC1 show on BBC2 at 9.05pm tonight (Saturday Nov 8) or catch it via the BBC iPlayer.
Ashes To Ashes Blogs
Life On Mars Blogs
The Railway Arms


Filed under News

2 responses to “Helvetica Bold

  1. Helvetica Bold

    Thanks, Ian – you’re right, I exist, although mostly at the Railway Arms, where there has been much chortling about all this. With the mention on your excellent TRA-frendly blog, this is fame indeed – albeit anonymously.

  2. DorsetGirl

    You’re a star, Ian! Many of us at TRA love your blogs, and you’ve just given us another reason!
    And well done to the now-famous HB *waves*

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