As I type this I’m watching an old episode of Have I Got News For You on Dave, the 2001 election special to be precise.

Watching it has made me realise something. How much sharper the show seemed to a few years ago when Angus Deayton was host. Although the master of his own downfall the show seemed sharper and more aggressive than it is now with its guest host rotation.

For me the show’s biggest problem now is the quality of the host that particular week. In my opinion a show such as Have I Got News For You,which has in the past ripped politicians to shreds, should not be having politicians hosting it. Some of the weaker shows in recent years have been the ones hosted by the show’s most recent targets in its past; Neil Kinnock, Anne Widdecombe and even the late Robin Cook to mention three.

To be a successful host of this show you need a sharp political and satirical wit otherwise it can weaken the whole episode. So hiring politicians unless they are going to be a perfect target for Merton and Hislop, such as Boris Johnson, is not going to work in my opinion.

During the most recent series towards the end of 2009 I found myself not bothering to tune in sometimes for the first time ever. For me it was all down to whoever was hosting. Some hosts I think are quite good with Alexander Armstrong being my personal favourite and I would not be upset if he was given the role full time.

Will Self was a regular guest during the show’s first decade, however in a column written in 2007 for the London Evening Standard he said: “In the post-Hutton era, the BBC seems to have lost its bottle so far as edgy satire is concerned: the sharpest crack I made all evening – and the one that received the most audience laughter – was cut for transmission.” The rest of his column follows a similar tone.

I feel that he is right and perhaps the BBC have toned down even more after Ross and Brand, which perhaps has suffocated the show even more.

Have I Got News For You has been going now for 39 series over the course of 20 years. Perhaps it is time to retire the show. The classic moments (who can forget the tub of lard?!) seem to be getting fewer and further apart. The show has mellowed with age and is not as feared by politicians as it once was (especially if you hire Charlotte Church or Brian Blessed as host). How can a show be satirical when half the time the presenter is satirising themselves? It blunts the show’s knife.

If Have I Got News For You does finish though, there will be no sharp political show on television (in my opinion) for the first time since the 1980s before Spitting Image came along. Have I Got News For You took over the mantle as the chief weapon in TV political satire but looking around now I can’t see a show which can hold a candle to either those latex puppets or the quiz show in its heyday.

People talk about Mock The Week and 8 out of 10 Cats being good shows, but that’s just comedians making jokes about politicians. What Have I Got News For You was brilliant at was to get politicians on and put give them as good as they got and see how the politicians reacted.

No show seems to do this now, not even Have I Got New For You. Politicians seem to get a much easier ride on there now than they did a few years back, and that’s no fun.