Radio Memories – The News Quiz.

The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4, 1977-present)

This is another of the longest-running comedy panel games on the radio. The News Quiz very simply features people being asked questions about what has been happening in the world lately. There have been several hosts over the years, and I became a regular listener around the time that Sandi Toksvig was in charge, who laughed rather a lot at everything.

Two teams of two take part, usually consisting of journalists in the early series (and a team captain), but now the mix is more of satirists and comedians. They are given a question, and they have to say what it’s about in the news. Sometimes a musical clue is given. There are points on offer for this, but this is another game show where that isn’t really the main focus.

Between rounds, there are some local newspaper reports that are read out, usually by a news reporter or announcer, that contain mistakes, or are just plain bizarre. They are rather amusing, and this can lead to lots of giggles (and that’s just from the announcer). To finish off, the panellists also offer their own favourites from what have been sent in by listeners.

This format to some extent transferred to TV as Have I Got News For You, which is now a long-runner too, and it is proof that as there is always something happening in the news somewhere, there will always be plenty to talk about. And The News Quiz is another one where lots of highlights are regularly released on cassette and CD.

For about a decade now, on BBC Radio 4 Extra there has been The News Quiz Extra, which is extended to 45 minutes to feature even more of what has been discussed. After almost five decades, they are now up to series 107 (and that is not an exaggeration), and it’ll be there on Friday evenings as the week comes to a stop for a long time to come.

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