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Lyttelton's Britain: A User's Guide to the British Isles as heard on BBC Radio's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue [Kindle Edition]

Iain Pattinson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue team of Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, in the company of their esteemed chairman Humphrey Lyttelton, have been recording their BBC radio show around the UK for longer than any of them can remember ... that's about a week - or twenty minutes in the case of Barry Cryer. At each venue Humph would present a short history of the location, written by Iain Pattinson, to the mutual delight of the audience, the team and their delightful scorer Samantha (who somehow always found time for a rewarding poke around the area's backstreets).

We are privileged to present, in gazetteer form, the very best of Humph's local histories form Radio 4's multi award-winning 'antidote to panel games'. As accurate as Wikipedia and as comprehensive as Reader's Digest, this unique guide tells you everything you never knew you wouldn't ever need to know about the background and inhabitants of Britain's most prominent towns and cities. The intelligent reader will waste no time in adding it to their collection.


It was from Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot set off to find a new route to the Spice Islands by sailing north-west. He instead discovered a strange, hostile world which he named 'Newfoundland', until the natives explained that they actually called it 'Swansea'.


It's well documented in official records that the city's original name was 'Snottingham' or 'home of Snotts', but when the Normans came, they couldn't pronounce the initial letter 'S', so decreed the town be called 'Nottingham'or the 'home of Notts'. It's easy to understand why this change was resisted so fiercely by the people of Scunthorpe.


A settlement is first recorded in Brighton as long as ago as 3000 BC, when Celtic Druids practised their ancient worship of oaks, mistletoe and virgins, and indeed, oaks and mistletoe are still plentiful in Brighton.

Product Description


"An idiosyncratic mix of (often loose) fact and wild fiction. Rightly deemed worthy of publication" (Northern Echo)

Book Description

Humphrey Lyttelton passed away on the 25th of April. The week before he sent a message to be read out at the SIHAC live show in Bournemouth. It read: 'I'm sorry I cannot be with you this evening I'm in hospital.' There was a typically wonderful Humph pause, after which, 'I wish I had thought of this earlier.' As a tribute to this wonderful man we present Humphrey Lyttelton's Britain, a tour of this Septic (or is that Sceptred) Isle in the hands of a national treasure.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1894 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Preface Digital (10 Nov. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RDVGE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,749 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good chuckle for "Clue" addicts 30 Nov. 2009
this book is a compendium of all the "venue histories" delivered by Humph at the start of ISIHAC. Devotees will hear Humph's voice and try to emulate his fabulous delivery.
fun to read, you can dip in and out, read it from cover to cover or pick out places you know.
The one thing that I would change is to add the broadcast date, as the jokes include topical references.
but it's fun, I was given it for my birthday and am going to get it for "Clue" fans for Xmas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Emanon
One of the most amusing parts of later series of Radio 4's comedy series I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE (as presented by the incomparable Humphrey Lyttelton) was his introduction to the location of that weeks edition. Every edition would start with "Humph" reading out a spoof guide (as written by Iain Pattinson) where local historical or geographical facts would be given an absurdist or topical twist, which, in a rather brilliant combination of writing and performance would usually bring the house down.

Many towns across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom were blessed to be venues for the recording of this most enjoyable of radio shows and this book is a very funny collection of those great introductions covering many places. Granted, there are only 2 each from Wales and Scotland, and only one from Northern Ireland, but there's much fun to be had from the gentle and good-natured mockery of the stereotypical received perception of many of the places that do get a mention.

These short pieces cry out to be read out loud and you might find yourself doing so to your loved ones as you find yet another gem that you'll feel you just have to share with them. However, they work just as well on the page, and whilst you can't help but hear the late great Mr Lyttelton's voice in your head as you read them, it is lovely to have these little literary masterpieces in this form and available to be savoured over and over again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, it's one purchase you won't regret 5 May 2011
Comedy at it's finest. Yes, the combination of Mr Pattinson's writing and Mr Lyttelton's delivery was a rare and precious gem that some of us were lucky enough to experience, and will treasure. Yes we all mourn the loss of the wonderful Humphrey Lyttelton, and this book is the best of any tribute you will find.
However, that aside, the genius of craftsmanship involved in constructing Humph's intros will have you laughing until tears adorn your face. And if it doesn't then 'Little Britain' is probably what you were looking for. A different league.
Don't try to read it as an official guide to the British Isles, you will be surprised to find that some things arn't actually true. It's comedy. Try to remember Humph's attitude of polite disdain, and occasional downright rude disdain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Merely" excellent without Humph's delivery 10 Jan. 2010
By alsion
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a big fan of Humphrey Lyttleton on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, and I was thrilled to see a book compiling many of the intros from the shows, which always had me in stitches. For non-Clue fans - Humph always opened a show with a few deadpan but hilarious lines about the place from which it was being broadcast. The book is laid out geographically with a few pages on each place, compiled from various shows. There's also an interesting foreword by Humph's original scriptwriter, John Naismith.

Given my high expectations, I was actually disappointed when I started reading the book. It simply isn't the same without Humph talking, and it's a testament to his delivery that many of the gags are actually quite simple. Just because the shows were genius (7 out of 5 stars) doesn't mean I can penalise the book (merely 5 our of 5 stars) too much. It's certainly something I will dip into again and again, albeit feeling slightly sad about Humph.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book will have you crying with laughter 4 Mar. 2010
This is, by far, the best book spun off from the series "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue". A wonderful rollicking ride around the British Isles with a large helping of lunacy. If you are a 'Clue' fan, this book is definately one for you.

But it is also true that so much of the fun is remembering how Humph would have recounted the stories. Humphrey Lyttelton was a master at storytelling and making people helpless with laughter and somehow, the texts by itself lack the magic of the great man. If you have never heard "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" or listened to Humphrey Lyttelton in full swing, you'll still enjoy the book but will perhaps miss out on its genius. To these people, I would say go and listen to a couple of repeats of "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" on BBC Radio 7 and then come back to buy the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm Sorry I Haven't Stopped Laughing 18 Dec. 2009
If you have listened to the programmes over the years or on BBC7, this will bring it all back. Read it on the train when you visit the towns but be prepared to be thrown off; the descriptions of the towns make you smile, snigger and even guffaw out loud. Well done the author! You can hear Humph in every word, a worthy present for any ISIHAC listener.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly, hilariously, unbelievably funny 20 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Read this again and again and again, and I guarantee you will still laugh as much when you read it for the third time as you did the first. It helps if you listened to Humph doing one or more of his fabulous introductions to the town or city that I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue was coming from, because you hear his voice as you read the words, his fantastic timing delivering the real punchline just as you think you've already heard the punchline! But even if you never heard that most brilliantly funny programme while he was alive, this book is still guaranteed to be the funniest you will read this year, next year, almost any year. No doubt there is some truth about each place in there somewhere; but the way it is presented makes that irrelevant. Buy this, read it, and then buy it for all your friends, because it would be selfish in the extreme to keep such genius to yourself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh
Very funny. It's the sort of humour that starts to get a bit predictable after a while, but still very funny.
Published 2 months ago by s.g.roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Superb Humph - as always
Published 2 months ago by Visa
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
reading this I can revisualise Humph reciting these travelogues..It keeps him in our memories
Published 3 months ago by descartes
5.0 out of 5 stars This will definitely make you laugh out loud
Pattinson is a comic genius. You should read his words, but try to think Humph's voice saying them. Great fun!
Published 4 months ago by Sinclair Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential purchase.
ANYONE who ever listened to I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue should own this. A superb collection of Lyttelton's opening comments on the poor unfortunate town or city the show was... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Steven McCue
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for I.S.I.H.A.C. fans
It's just a great read, funny, witty and downright silly. For me the highlight of the show was Humph's delivery and these town descriptions are a joy.
Published 13 months ago by The Bar Stool Preacher
3.0 out of 5 stars As expected
Really a collection of radio script extracts
Funny, but not nearly so as on radio where delivery counts and where
repitition of the same intros and gags is less... Read more
Published 15 months ago by J. Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Just lovely gentle humour
I was lent this book by a friend and enjoyed it so much that I have now bought my own copy. the sort of book you will delve into time and time again - and enjoy each time. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Nightowl
5.0 out of 5 stars Am still laughing
Absolutely hilarious. If you like 'I'm sorry I haven't a clue' you will love this book. Some of the towns must be blushing!
Published 24 months ago by Mr D. L. Couldwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Very good, quick and efficient customer service, would recommend to anyone, as he is a great artist. Would buy again. Thankyou.
Published on 24 Dec. 2012 by Tommy
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