Quote... Unquote

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Quote... Unquote
GenrePanel game
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Home stationBBC Radio 4
SyndicatesBBC Radio 4 Extra
Charlotte Green, Sally Grace
Created byNigel Rees
Recording studioBBC Radio Theatre
Original release4 January 1976 (1976-01-04) – present
No. of series55 as of December 2019
No. of episodes493 as of December 2019
Audio formatStereo
Opening themeDuddly Dell, written and performed by Dudley Moore
WebsiteOfficial website

Quote ... Unquote is a panel game broadcast on BBC Radio 4 based on quotations. Every episode since the beginning of the series on 4 January 1976 has been chaired by its deviser, Nigel Rees. The programme broadcast its 55th series in December 2019/January 2020.


The main part of the programme consists of a non-competitive quiz where the chairman asks each of the four panellists in turn to identify where a certain quotation, phrase or saying comes from. In between these rounds, the panellists are asked to share some of their favourite quotations on a specified theme. Other parts of the programme are devoted to answering queries from the programme's listeners about the sources of quotations and the origins of everyday phrases and idioms.


There have been over 500 guests on the programme, many appearing multiple times. They include: Tom Stoppard, Peter Cook, Peter Ustinov, Ned Sherrin, Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Denis Healey, David Attenborough, Kingsley Amis, Kenneth Williams, Douglas Adams, John Mortimer, Neil Kinnock, Celia Haddon, Katharine Whitehorn, Julian Mitchell, Malcolm Muggeridge and Lord George-Brown.


The programme uses former BBC staff announcers or actors to read the quotations. Ronald Fletcher[1] was the original reader. In recent years the main male reader has been Peter Jefferson, formerly of Radio 4, who took over from William Franklyn when the actor died in 2006, though Charlotte Green has taken over the role from the beginning of Series 50 in August 2014. Former Radio 3 announcer Patricia Hughes was another regular, starting in 1994.[2]

A number of significant comedy producers have supervised the programme early in their careers, including John Lloyd (deviser of QI), TV executive Geoffrey Perkins, Have I Got News for You producer Harry Thompson and Armando Iannucci.

The programme's theme tune, between which snatches of quotations are inserted at the beginning of each show, is "Duddly Dell", written and performed by Dudley Moore — the B-side of the single "Strictly for the Birds" (1961).


  1. ^ Rees, Nigel (9 February 1996). "Ronald Fletcher obituary". The Independent. London: Newspaper Publishing plc. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  2. ^ Rees, Nigel (24 February 2013). "Patricia Hughes obituary". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 1 December 2016.

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