Bookies' favourite

Merton 3-1 to replace Deayton

Paul Merton and ITN political editor John Sergeant are favourites to replace Angus Deayton as host of Have I Got News For You.

Online bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds of 3-1 for either man to take over after Deayton was fired following damaging newspaper stories.

Andrew Marr is second favourite at 5-1, followed by Stephen Fry (6-1), Hugh Lawrie (7-1) and Ian Hislop (8-1)

Other names in the bookies' frame include Clive Anderson, Jonathan Ross and Clive James.

Punters can even take a gamble on outsiders John Leslie and Michael Barrymore at 100-1 and 150-1 respectively.

Meanwhile, today's Sun reports that the BBC is keen for Johnny Vaughan to replace Deayton.

Merton will temporarily host the show until a permanent replacement is found. Guests on this week's show include Rich Hall and Ross Noble, who was on the panel when Merton and Ian Hislop roasted Deayton on last week's programme.

Deayton was sacked on Monday night after a meeting with bosses at the BBC and production company Hat Trick.

A BBC statement said: "It was felt by all concerned that continued stories about Angus's private life made him the subject of headlines, rather than commentating on them, and made his position as host of the topical satire programme untenable."

Deayton said in a statement: "I'm very sorry to have been forced to leave a show that I've enjoyed immensely and has been part of my life for the past 12 years.

"I sincerely wish the show well in the future and look forward to watching this Friday's episode - from behind the sofa."

Published: 31 Oct 2002

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