The News Quiz



Barry Norman (original host)

Simon Hoggart (1980-84)

Barry Took (1985-95)

Simon Hoggart (1996-2006)

Sandi Toksvig (2006-present)

Clive Anderson (stand-in, 23 February 2007)


Team captains: Alan Coren, Richard Ingrams (until 1995), Francis Wheen (from 1996). Permanent captains no longer used from early 2000s, but regular panellists have included Alan Coren (until 2007), Linda Smith (until 2005), Francis Wheen, Andy Hamilton and Jeremy Hardy.

Various newsreaders, notably Brian Perkins, Corrie Corfield, Peter Donaldson and Charlotte Green


BBC Radio 4, 6 September 1977 to present


Long-running quiz about (oh yes) the news, generally held to be the "original version" of Have I Got News for You, in much the same way that the Wright Flyer was the "original version" of the Airbus A380.

Compared to its more celebrated television counterpart, The News Quiz is quite rigidly structured. There are four questions in each round, generally worded in a mildly cryptic or punning fashion, each directed at an individual panellist, though conferring is allowed. The key similarity to HIGNFY (apart from being about the news) is that the questions are largely there to spark off comedic ramblings and no-one really cares about the scores. Once each round, there is a "musical clue", which tends to be of no help whatsoever, and only rarely of any comedic value either, and to be honest we're not sure why they bother.

Image:News quiz cast.jpgSuited and booted: Alan Coren, Francis Wheen, Simon Hoggart and Andy Hamilton. Defiantly casual: Jeremy Hardy and Linda Smith.

Between the rounds, the newsreader-in-residence reads clippings sent in by listeners. For years and years, these tended to be culled from the Shrdlu books by Denys Parsons, but that particular source seems to have been exhausted. Arguably the real-life clippings used nowadays aren't as funny, though there's still the odd gem.

Key moments

Arguably, Charlotte Green at least partly owes her current cult status among R4 listeners to her habit of corpsing while reading out funny news stories, especially the bawdier items.


John Lloyd

Theme music

"The Typewriter" by Leroy Anderson.

Web links

BBC News Quiz site

Wikipedia entry

See also



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