Barry Took

The News Quiz Classic Collection
  • The News Quiz Classic Collection

    • BBC Radio Comedy

    • Barry Norman (Read by)

    • Barry Took (Read by)

    • Simon Hoggart (Read by)

    • Sandi Toksvig (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Andy Hamilton (Read by)

    • Jeremy Hardy (Read by)

    • John Sergeant (Read by)

    • Mark Steel (Read by)

    • Sheridan Morley (Read by)

    Twelve rare archive editions of the humorous radio quiz show that gives a poke in the eye to the people and stories that make the news.

    For over forty years The News Quiz has graced the Radio 4 airwaves with an irreverent sideways look at the headlines. Having first appeared in 1977, it boasts a tantalising archive of episodes to remind us of the news from yesteryear, refracted through the satirical gaze of regular panellists including Alan Coren, Andy Hamilton, Mark Steel, Francis Wheen and Jeremy Hardy. Among the many guest panellists featured here are Boris Johnson, Nigella Lawson, Jo Brand, Eddie Mair, John Sergeant, Linda Smith and Roy Hattersley.

    Sit back and enjoy these twelve vintage episodes, previously unpublished in their entirety. Barry Norman, Sheridan Morley, Barry Took, John Sergeant, Simon Hoggart and Sandi Toksvig take turns in the chair as a parade of Prime Ministers, party leaders, US presidents and other newsworthy mortals passes by.

    The episodes included in this collection are:

    01/04/1977 with Barry Normal as the Chairman and Richard Ingrams, Nigel Dempster, Russell Davies and Alan Coren as the players.
    16/08/1980 with Sheridan Morley as the Chairman and Simon Hoggart, Clement Freud, Bel Mooney and Alan Coren as the players.
    06/05/1995 with Barry Normal as the Chairman and Francis Wheen, Bill Deedes, Alan Coren and Gillian Reynolds as the players.
    20/04/1996 with Barry Normal as the Chairman and Francis Wheen, Roy Hattersley, Alan Coren and Andy Hamilton as the players.
    09/04/1999 with John Sergeant as the Chairman and Boris Johnson, Tony Hawks, Francis Wheen, and Alan Coren as the players.
    01/10/1999 with Simon Hoggart as the Chairman and Andy Hamilton, Francis Wheen, John O’Donnell and Mark Steel as the players.
    29/10/1999 with Simon Hoggart as the Chairman and Nigella Lawson, Jeremy Hardy, Alan Coren and Andy Hamilton as the players.
    19/10/2001 with Simon Hoggart as the Chairman and Jeremy Hardy, Jo Brand, Alan Coren and John Sergeant as the players.
    18/07/2003 with Simon Hoggart as the Chairman and Linda Smith, Francis Wheen, Jeremy Hardy and Eddie Mair as the players.
    29/10/2004 with Simon Hoggart as the Chairman and Richard Ingrams, Francis Wheen, Alan Coren and Sandi Toksvig as the players.
    20/02/2009 with Sandi Toksvig as the Chairman and Jeremy Hardy, Fred MacAulay, Shappi Khorsandi and Mark Steel as the players.
    10/05/2013 with Sandi Toksvig as the Chairman and Francis Wheen, Jeremy Hardy, Bridget Christie and Bob Mills as the players.

A word from the producer about Round the Horne: 'I'm Julian, and this is my friend Sandy' - the line with which two of the characters in Round the Horne regularly introduced themselves. But the questions most people asked me, as producer of the series, were 'Who plays which?' and 'What are they really like, Messrs Kenneth Horne & Co?' These notes offer a good opportunity to answer both questions. Kenneth Horne played himself. He was the perfect anchor man. The central role in this kind of programme needed a rare blend of character: charm, warmth, sense of humour and generosity in letting others get laughs at your expense were a few of the qualities required. Kenneth Horne had all of these plus an avuncular manner which somehow lent responsibility to a series which, in its day, might otherwise have been labelled outrageous. Perhaps it had something to do with his appearance. Certainly his bald head glinted with responsibility, and it also explains why we called him the uncrowned head of our show. Kenneth Williams played Rambling Syd Rumpo, Gruntfuttock, Sandy and Dr Chou en Ginsberg MA (Failed). 'I need to be serviced' was one of Kenneth's lines - and the writers duly obliged him with many other comic roles. His temperamental protests about his lines in the show gave many the impression that he might also be difficult at rehearsal. In truth, he was totally the professional, dedicated to his work and, incidentally, the quickest 'study' I had ever met, giving an instant performance at his very first reading. Hugh Paddick played Charles, Brown-Horrocks, Julian and, in the radio equivalent of drag, Lotus Blossom. Best-remembered perhaps will be his character nick-named Dentures, whose sibilants gave trouble to him and a bath to anyone without an umbrella! During the laughter which always accompanied the Julian and Sandy spot, I always felt a tinge of sympathy for Julian. Hugh made sure of this by his usual attention to the detail of his characterisation, making Julian submissive and vulnerable, particularly about 'his friend Gordon', in contrast to Sandy's determination to make him 'purge himself' about the whole affair. Betty Marsden played trendy columnist Daphne Whitethigh, terribly terribly affected Fiona and every other female role with which Kenneth Williams, versatile as he was, could not cope. Sophisticated, delightfully theatrical and highly talented, Betty extracted every titter, giggle and belting laugh from everything the writers provided for her, 'many, many times' as she would say. Bill Pertwee played all the remaining roles including the whispering gossip columnist Jocelyn Pettibone and two (thinly disguised) send-ups of TV personalities: Seamus Android and Rife Hobertson. Douglas Smith was our regular BBC announcer whose establishment manner developed such a large following among the audience that the writers were forced to provide him with his own funny lines, all delivered with great seriousness - and perfect timing. Barry Took and Marty Feldman were the writers and creators of Round the Horne. Each had a totally different approach to comedy from the other, but combined they made one of radio's greatest writing teams. They even invented two new languages - a homespun one full of 'grommits' and 'trossops' for Rambling Syd and the other a special 'palare' of 'eeks, vadas and lallies' for Julian and Sandy. John Simmonds, producer.