The Comedy Quiz



Pam Ayres


Team captains: Bernard Cribbins and Jim Bowen


BBC Radio 2, 26 July 1996 to 18 December 1997 (12 episodes in 2 series)


A quiz about comedy. Well obviously.

Each week, jovial Cornish poet Pam Ayres refereed a comic battle of wits between two teams of two - one headed up by Mr Bullseye himself, J. Bowen Esq and the other captained by Mr Bernard Cribbins of The Wombles fame. From memory, the show like Just a Minute went to different locations during its run - however that may have been for just its second series.

Anyways, onto the quiz itself. The first round was called Whose Patter? and was quite an original round, truth be told. One team would be asked to listen to a member of the opposing team deliver a brief snippet of comic monologue in a heavily disguised voice, with the aim being not to give the identity away. Once they've heard this, a member of that team then attempts to give an actual impression of the person in question. This was quite funny on the very last show when the person in question turned out to be Pam herself and it was left to Jim to deliver the quote in what he deemed to be a Benny Hill voice... but what she deemed to be "a simpering old yokel"!

Once this is done, Pam would deliver points based on how she thinks each team did on their respective tasks and then the identity is revealed. Curiously, they always play the last bit of the prose in question followed by a little more. Anyhoo, repeat to let the other participants have a go et voila, round one!

Round Two, What A Pair, was a straightforward on the buzzer round. Pam would read out a category and then a list of examples. All the teams had to do was fill in the missing links. For example, on one episode, the category was 'Addresses'. Pam read out a list of addresses and anyone could buzz in to say who lived there (e.g. 1313 Mockingbird Lane - the residence of The Munsters). Points were scored for every correct answer - well, it wouldn't be a quiz otherwise would it?! Natch!

At this point, Pam would ask the guests (not the captains) on each team to share what she would call a 'gutbusting joke of the week' with the audience. Pam was very keen to point out that no scores were involved here for some reason! Richard Wilson once nearly caused a riot at Eton College with his joke (how many Eton schoolboys does it take to change a lavatory roll? No-one's ever found out!). Even though this part was for the guests only, it didn't stop the captains and frequently Pam herself chiming in with a joke of their own. In fact, Pam did this quite often, to audible groans from the audience.

Round three was a musical round. A piece of a comic song was played to each contestant and all they had to do was fill in the next line, scoring points accordingly for each correct answer.

Round four gave the guests a chance to recharge their batteries for it was time for the team captains to play Jest A Minute (cue cheer from audience). In this round, each captain was given 10 points with which to start and a subject on which they had to base their jokes. Pam would deduct points every time a joke got enough laughter. Once the whistle had blown, Pam would tell each captain how many points they had left and this would be added to their team's score.

The penultimate round involved each individual listening to a snippet of a sketch then being asked to name the people involved. Pam would then ask a question relating to the clip for a bonus point. Repeat three times. Then stop.

The final round was back on the buzzers and was a quick-fire general comedic knowledge round. Pam would ask as many questions as she could before time ran out and announce the final scores.

In conclusion, The Comedy Quiz was a jolly, light-hearted affair ably hosted by Pam Ayres. The banter between Bowen and Cribbins was always entertaining and the guests were usually very funny. Although it was somewhat hidden away in a Thursday night, 10pm slot (10pm being the regular Radio 2 comedy/speech slot at the time), this could have gone out at any time during the day because, as far as we can recall, there was nothing unsuitable for children in it.


To correct something on this page or post an addition, please complete this form and press "Send":
If you are asking us a question, please read our contact us page and FAQ first.

Name: E-mail:   
A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in