The Big Quiz (2)



Stephen Mulhern


ITV Studios for ITV1, 16 December 2011 to 21 December 2020

Lifted Entertainment for ITV, 20 December 2021 to present

(see Trivia for details)


The loss of the British Comedy Awards to Channel 4 left a small hole in ITV's schedule. To fill it in 2011, Britain's Former Favourite Button aired a special entertainment about the ITV shows that people do watch, in a 9pm Friday slot that no-one watches. Except your intrepid UKGS researcher.

The concept is simple: get in some cast members from the exceedingly popular Coronation Street continuing drama, get in some cast members from the almost-as-popular Emmerdale series, and ask questions about the shows they work on. It's more than slightly derivative, it's ITV cross-promotion at its most utterly shameless, and we're admiring their chutzpah.

Not content with pilfering the name from a long-running radio feature, most of the rounds were familiar from other, more popular, programmes. The Picture Board and What Happened Next had nipped over from A Question of Sport. Naming your co-star from touch alone, that was on They Think it's All Over. Putting things in order from earliest to latest, we saw that on Accumulate!, and the host delivering a snarky monologue after each question was swiped from Have I Got News for You.

As we know from TV Burp, the most entertaining moments came when The Big Quiz started laughing at its shows, rather than with them. We were tickled by a montage of all the explosions seen on air since the beginning of the year. It turns out to be a rare week when Emmerdale doesn't have at least one thing going kaboom. Another round asked cast members to remember their lines from when they first appeared, with the inevitable cringeworthy results.

The Big Quiz was lightweight and undemanding fluff, and repeated almost endlessly (well, three times on ITV2) over the Christmas season. Such was its nature (cheap, and pulling in a few viewers, but mostly cheap) that further episodes were commissioned during 2012.

After three years mouldering on an ITV shelf, the show went full circle with another Corrie - 'Dale episode for "Christmas 2015" (shown in the new year 2016). It's since become an annual fixture, sometimes billed as The Big Soap Quiz. After a decade, it remains the frothiest and lightest of light entertainment: familiar faces being given silly things to do, and it keeps Stephen Mulhern off the streets.

Episode list

16 December 2011 Coronation Street beat Emmerdale
15 April 2012 The Only Way Is Essex beat Benidorm
26 July 2012 Boys lost to Girls
1 January 2016 Coronation Street lost to Emmerdale
7 January 2017 Coronation Street beat Emmerdale
5 January 2018 Coronation Street beat Emmerdale
21 December 2018 Coronation Street lost to Emmerdale
19 December 2019 Coronation Street lost to Emmerdale
21 December 2020 Coronation Street lost to Emmerdale
20 December 2021 Coronation Street beat Emmerdale
9 December 2022 Coronation Street lost to Emmerdale
28 December 2023 Coronation Street won a tie-break against Emmerdale


  • 16 December 2011
    • Jennie McAlpine, Malcolm Hebden, Patti Clare, Jack P Shepherd (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Natalie Anderson, Danny Miller, Meg Johnson (Emmerdale)
  • 15 April 2012
    • Joey Essex, Lauren Goodger, James Argent, Gemma Collins (The Only Way is Essex)
    • Jake Canuso, Crissy Rock, Janine Duvitski, Shelley Longworth (Benidorm)
  • 26 July 2012
    • Paddy McGuinness, Joe Hart, Kriss Akabusi, Mark Foster (male sportspeople)
    • Charlotte Jackson, Amy Williams, Karen Pickering, Louise Hazel (female sportspeople)
  • 1 January 2016
    • Michael Le Vell, Sue Cleaver, Jack P Shepherd, Brooke Vincent (Coronation Street)
    • Charlotte Bellamy, Mark Charnock, Samantha Giles, Liam Fox (Emmerdale)
  • 7 January 2017
    • Jack P Shepherd, Catherine Tyldesley, Dolly Rose Campbell, Daniel Brocklebank (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Natalie J Robb, Chris Bisson, Matthew Wolfenden (Emmerdale)
  • 5 January 2018
    • Jack P Shepherd, Peter Gunn, Bhavna Limbachia, Julia Goulding (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Michelle Hardwick, Amy Walsh, Dominic Brunt (Emmerdale)
  • 21 December 2018
    • Victoria Ekanoye, Jim Moir, Jack P Shepherd, Sally Ann Matthews (Coronation Street)
    • Sandra Marvin, Mark Charnock, Crissy Rock, Tony Audenshaw (Emmerdale)
  • 19 December 2019
    • Jack P. Shepherd, Alan Halsall, Alexandra Mardell, Sue Nicholls (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Lisa Riley, Isabel Hodgins, Nick Miles (Emmerdale)
  • 21 December 2020
    • Jack P. Shepherd, Simon Gregson, Sair Khan (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Karen Blick, Jay Kontzle (Emmerdale)
  • 20 December 2021
    • Jack P Shepherd, Tanisha Gorey, Jane Danson (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Sally Dexter, Emile John (Emmerdale)
  • 8 December 2022
    • Jack P Shepherd, Sally Dynevor, Ryan Russell (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Nicola Wheeler, Jurrell Carter (Emmerdale)
  • 28 December 2023
    • Jack P Shepherd, Channique Sterling-Brown, Tony Maudsley (Coronation Street)
    • Mark Charnock, Kevin Mathurin, Natalie Ann Jamieson (Emmerdale)


No inventor was credited on this show.

Theme music

The first edition used library music throughout. For the second show, the budget actually ran to a theme tune, composed by Paul Farrer.


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