Note: This blog posting is a tidy up of several previous older postings with details of recent changes to procedures.

The next tickets release date is Tuesday 16th Sept 2014 at 2pm

As a regular attendee of the recordings of HIGNFY, I am quite often asked how to get tickets, so I have on occasions written up the details – but over time, the pages end up inaccurate thanks to changes made by Hattrick TV, so here is the updated version.

The key point to note is that getting tickets is both very easy, and yet also a matter of some luck – and even if you get a ticket, you are then going to face standing in a long queue for at least an hour on the night.

OK – here goes:

There are two series per year, in the spring and winter, with tickets released in March and September.

To apply for tickets, you first have to open a (free) account on the Hattrick website, and it is worth doing that before the ticket booking date as on the day, their website can slow down alarmingly.

If you don’t get tickets for the first few shows of a series, a second batch of tickets is sometimes released a few weeks later for the second half of the series.

Having registered, you will probably get an email closer to the date that the tickets are released, but I also track their website through an automated system and always note the date on my events calendar.

On the day, log in to the website and you will then be able to select up to four tickets for one show. Once you book your tickets, you will be blocked from requesting any other dates. Having made a reservation, you have to wait for an email to confirm your request was accepted – just occasionally it isn’t.

Also note that the website slows down as few million people (only a slight exaggeration) try to book tickets at the same time!

Anyhow – presuming you got the confirmation email, print out a copy and wait until the night in question.

Due to people booking tickets then deciding not to bother turning up on the night – the show always overbooks and if you turn up late, then there is a chance you wont get in, although anecdotal chatter suggests you will be offered tickets for another date.

The doors open roughly around 6:45pm, but keen fans will be in the queue from 5pm to get the best seats.

There are no toilets outside, but if caught short, then go to the top of the queue and the security staff will usually let you inside to use the loo.

As you go in, the staff will take control and they tell you where to sit – the earlier you arrive the better the seats you get. Even if you arrive late and end up with an obscured view, there are loads of TV screens dotted around the place, so in the very worst case, you will still get a 2-hour TV show.

A warm-up act will try to wake the audience up – sometime very good (Jo Caulfield) or less good (seemingly, everyone else).

The guests, host and regulars, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton are brought on – a bit of fiddling with microphones and the like occurs, and then the recording starts.

The show is generally recorded in one continuous take and edited later. At the end of the recording, they do a few reruns of comments where the editors think they need to change how a sentence ends (or starts) as they have already decided what to cut or keep. Weirdly, that last bit is some times the funniest bit of the evening as the presenters relax a bit, and it is a bit surreal to hear the jokes a second time round.

Then that’s it – off you go while the staff start dismantling the set.

Typically, finishes around 10pm.

The key details!

The next release date is  Tuesday 16th Sept 2014 at 2pm

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Have I Got News for You Tickets Page


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  1. Ian D says:

    Wow, that was fun. An hour of the site constantly timing out and no idea if I actually made an application or not! Prior to the confirmation email, is there any way to tell if it worked? I must have clicked the ‘request’ button in excess of 10 times, but every time it either timed out or said ‘unable to save’. There was never any sucess message. Would the ‘unable to save’ message mean that one of the timed out attempts worked and its not letting me reapply? Thanks for the helpful info!

    • IanVisits says:

      The website always seems to crash when tickets are made available.

      Normally you can be sure tickets were reserved if a request is blocked with the message that you have your allocation for the series. Any other message probably means the website failed to record the request and you need to make the request again.

      It is a right pain – and I can’t understand why Hattrick don’t rent some extra server capacity for the hour.

    • Sam G says:

      I requested tickets yesterday ( March 18th 2013). What does the confirmation email look like?


    • IanVisits says:

      It’s just a normal email – text etc.

    • Sam G says:

      Ok thanks 🙂

  2. Jo says:

    I recommend trying again now. After 2 (very long) hours of trying, I have just managed to request tickets!

  3. Ian D says:

    Looks like you were right. I went back an hour later and site was working now. Put in the same request again but that date was full up. Put in another night and it accepted the request. Good that I was able to get them, annoying that I couldn’t get the date we wanted (harder for babysitters, etc).

    I know this is all provided free, and from a certain perspective Hat Trick isn’t losing out as long as they fill the seats (which they clearly are), but it shouldn’t be that hard to put together a more solid solution than this. Either pre-booking that way applause store does it, or else use some sort of cloud platform where they can hugely step up thier bandwidth and processing power for a couple of hours then switch it off again.

    Ho hum. Thanks again for the assistance.

  4. Duncan says:

    What did your confirmation email say? I have one that tells me that I’ll only know whether I have tickets two weeks before the recording. Is that normal, or am I basically on the reserve list?

  5. Daren Mootoo says:

    I have been trying for years – literally- and never been successful. Is there some kind of a knack. Someone told me to just go along on the night and be at the front. Is this possible? If not, how do I get tickets please?

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "How to Get Tickets to Have I Got News for You"
  1. […] More tickets for later in the series will be released on the Hatrick website – details about booking tickets here. […]

  2. […] of the TV show – then tickets to the next series are released in September, and details are here. Tags: have i got news for you, hignfy « « Previous Blog […]

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