Queen Victoria Ate My Hamster
BBC Radio Scotland, 30 June - 3 August 2007 (6 episodes)
Taking its name from a former British monarch and a headline in The Sun, this was BBC Radio Scotland's entry into the crowded market for historical panel games. Its billing promised a juxtaposition of modern life with historical fact, but neither really came through in the programme.
Three comedy panellists (the likes of Fred MacAulay and Janie Godley were regulars) were given topics by host Dougie Anderson, from which they were to come up with witty and entertaining responses. Or, failing that, rely on any historical cliché that sprang to mind. Points were awarded at the whim of the chairman, mostly for entertaining responses, and an overall winner declared at the end of the show.
There were occasional flashes of comedy brilliance - one panellist on the opening show referred to new UK prime minister Gordon Brown as "a frown in a suit" - but there were many more predictable tropes, such as a comparison between Tony Blair and Mussolini on the grounds that "neither liked socialism". The chairman's running joke that all people sharing a name think the same fell flat.
There was already quite a history of history panel games, and Queen Victoria Ate My Hamster would never amount to more than a footnote. We've Been Here Before had covered very similar ground on Radio 4 a few years earlier, and the round asking for newspaper headlines for historical events had been on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue for decades before. The result was a safe programme, one that had no specific Scottish content, and that could have gone out on Radio 2 in the 1980s.
None as such, but each topic was marked by a sting on a trumpet. With about ten topics in each show, we soon found out the other meaning of "sting".