For very many years, The News Quiz has regularly filled the Friday 18:30 comedy slot on BBC Radio 4. The show takes a satirical look at the week’s news. It still maintains the quiz format that it started out with, though nowadays the competition element is not really relevant. It’s just a vehicle for a tongue-in-cheek look at the events and the people in the news that week.

The panellists’ observations are always amusing and good for at least a chuckle or two, but the real belly laughs often come from the cuttings that listeners send in, read by a variety of BBC continuity announcers. These usually open and close every show and precede each round.

The shows were topical at the time of transmission – sometimes too topical, with it being a running joke that the shows are recorded on a Thursday and transmitted on a Friday. This can be especially pertinent during elections as the show is being recorded while people are still voting, while the results are known by the time it’s transmitted. Further opportunities for confusion over timing are offered by whether one is listening to the original broadcast, or the repeat. One of my favourite examples of this was a comment by Alan Coren:

… this was six hundred million years ago.
Or, if you’re listening to the Saturday repeat, six hundred million years and a day.

Although the subjects and people discussed are ‘of the moment’ the humour stands the test of time, with shows from the 70s and 80s being as funny now as when they first aired.


A fifty-two year old Italian woman has become a first-time mother of twins at a hospital near Naples. The hospital refused to say how the woman became pregnant.

Chambers offer a selection of teas to accompany an array of cut finger sandwiches

Floods close Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital

Cameron Diaz encourages women to keep their pubic hair in her new book

Volunteers required for a bullet impact research study

A man found in a car with a well-known prostitute said she was a family friend he’d known for five years but he couldn’t remember her name. He declined an offer by the police to call his wife to see if she could remember.