Quote... Unquote



Nigel Rees


Readers: Ronald Fletcher (first 200 shows), Patricia Hughes, Peter Barker, Peter Dickson, Tim Gudgin, William Franklyn, Peter Jefferson, Meryl O'Keeffe, Chris Emmett, Sally Grace, Charlotte Green, Alison Skillbeck


BBC Radio 4, 4 January 1976 to 20 December 2021 (505 episodes in 57 series)


A most genteel panel game about sayings and quotations. Four panellists are quizzed on the origins of famous phrases and share their own favourite quotations (usually on a theme they've been given in advance). Time is also given over to answering queries sent in by listeners. Points and winners did not survive beyond the 1970s series.


Nigel Rees

Theme music

"Dudley Dell" by Dudley Moore. The piece is quite obscure and the 1961 single "Strictly For The Birds", of which it was the b-side, has become quite a collectors' item as a result of the track being used on the show.


In 2007, the show was quietly demoted from the prime 6.30pm slot to lunchtimes, with a late night repeat. Maybe all those jokes about Q...UQ on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue are paying off finally.

In 2019, audience tickets were advertised with this quite incredible advert (and we quote): "Over the years legends including Kenneth Williams, Judi Dench, PD James, Larry Adler, Tom Stoppard, Irene Handl, Spike Milligan, Ian McKellen, Peter Cook, Glenda Jackson, Kingsley Amis, Peter Ustinov… have all graced the Quote... Unquote stage. Most of them are dead now but there are plenty of other interesting people who aren’t!"

Web links

Nigel Rees's website about Quote... Unquote

Wikipedia entry

See also

Cabbages and Kings, a TV adaptation of the format.


Nigel Rees (centre) with long-serving readers Patricia Hughes and William Franklyn


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