When The Right Honourable Roy Hattersley pulled out at short notice (again) instead of finding a guest celebrity to fill in he was replaced by The Tub of Lard, which lay on the desk throughout the broadcast and was billed as "The Right Honourable Tub of Lard, MP".
Paul Merton was absent for the eleventh series because he felt that the show had gotten into a bit of a rut and hoped things would get shaken up. The tactic succeeded, and the show has since been much more popular as a result. He also appeared in the first episode of that series as Ian Hislop's guest. He returned for the following series.
In April 2003, frequent guest panelist Stephen Fry announced that he was boycotting the show following the sacking of Angus Deayton, a decision described by Fry as "greasy, miserable, British and pathetic".
In a 1994 episode, Deayton read out the following: "The BBC are cracking down on references to Ian and Kevin Maxwell, in case program-makers appear biased in their treatment of these two heartless, scheming bastards." Unfortunately, the Maxwell brothers were about to go on trial, and, 26 July 1996, the BBC and Hat Trick Productions were fined £20,000 in the High Court for Contempt of Court.