Quote... Unquote

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For the record label, see Quote Unquote Records. For the Mr. Bungle song, see Quote Unquote (song). For the act of saying "quote" and "unquote" in conversation, see Scare quotes#In speech.
Quote ... Unquote
Genre Panel game
Running time 30 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Home station BBC Radio 4
Starring Nigel Rees
Creator(s) Nigel Rees
Narrated by (Readers)
Peter Jefferson / Charlotte Green
Air dates since 4 January 1976
No. of episodes 464 so far
Opening theme Duddly Dell, written and performed by Dudley Moore
Website Quote... Unquote

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 had its 50th series in August/September 2014.


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 the queries from the programme's listener about the sources of quotations and the origins of everyday phrases and idioms.


There have been over 500 guests on the programme, some but not all appearing multiple times. They include: Tom Stoppard, Peter Cook, Peter Ustinov, Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Denis Healey, David Attenborough, Kingsley Amis, Kenneth Williams, Douglas Adams, John Mortimer, Neil Kinnock, Katharine Whitehorn, 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 (UK). 
  2. ^ Rees, Nigel (24 February 2013). "Patricia Hughes obituary". The Guardian (UK). 

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