Parlour Games



London: Various, mainly Freddie Grisewood, David Miller or Lionel Gamlin

Manchester: Wilfred Pickles or Robert Robinson


BBC Radio, 1939-42


A (fairly) regular strand featuring various different panel games. In fact, there seem to have been two simultaneous strands, made in London and Manchester, though all broadcast nationally (there was no regional broadcasting during wartime).

London strand

Produced by Neil Munro, who also usually set the questions and sometimes hosted.

  • Reactions (Regional Programme, 14 May 1939), host Freddie Grisewood.
    • Contestants attempt to identify famous people from the fewest possible clues.
  • Noah's Ark (Regional Programme, 16 July 1939), host Freddie Grisewood.
    • Contestants identify songs, poems and quotations featuring the names of animals.
  • Puzzle Corner (Regional Programme, 30 July 1939), host Lionel Gamlin.
  • Memory Test (National Programme, 13 August 1939), host Freddie Grisewood.
    • Audio version of an observation quiz.
  • Adverbs (Home Service, 7 September 1939)
    • One player asks questions, which are answered in the way suggested by a particular adverb. The player has to guess the adverb.
  • My Aunt Went To Town (Home Service, 10 September 1939)
  • Proverbs (Home Service, 17 September 1939)
    • The individual words of a proverb are hidden in the answers to successive questions. The player has to work out the proverb.
  • A.R.P. General Knowledge Test (Home Service, 24 September 1939)
    • Quiz about the work of the Air Raid Precautions service.
  • Coffee Pots (Home Service, 1 October 1939), host David Miller
  • Ghost Spelling (Home Service, 8 October 1939), host Norman Shelley
    • Adding one letter at a time to a word without completing it.
  • Word Splits (Home Service, 15 October 1939), host David Miller
    • Players make the most and longest words out of the letters of another.
  • Salted Almonds (Home Service, 5 November 1939), host David Miller
  • Entertainment Please (Home Service, 19 November 1939), host David Miller
    • "A group of members of the Territorial Organisations will be tested out at the microphone on their knowledge of limericks, slogans, nursery rhymes, valentines, famous gags, everyday expressions, American slang, and catch phrases."
  • Christmas Shopping (Home Service, 17 December 1939), host David Miller
    • The '"I packed my bag" game in another guise.
  • Word Squares (Home Service, 28 January 1940), host David Miller
  • Emergencies (Home Service, 18 February 1940), host David Miller
  • Free Association (Forces Programme, 23 February 1940), host David Miller
  • How, When and Where (Forces Programme, 5 March 1940), host David Miller
  • I Went Sight Seeing (Forces Programme, 11 March 1940), host David Miller
    • Another "I packed my bag" variant.
  • Musical Proverbs (Forces Programme, 22 March 1940), host David Miller
  • Adverbs (Forces Programme, 27 March 1940), host David Miller
  • Alibi (Home Service, 31 March 1940), host Freddie Grisewood
    • Pairs of "alibists" are questioned separately about what they were doing when a crime was committed, and try to make their stories match.
  • Yes, Mmmm or No (Forces Programme, 1 April 1940), host David Miller
    • The "Yes/No interlude", some years before Michael Miles made it his own.
  • Ask It Basket (Forces Programme, 4 April 1940), host David Miller
  • Word Snooker (Forces Programme, 9 April 1940), host David Miller
    • Take a word, change a letter, do it again and you've got a chain! That's how you play Word Snooker...
  • Mystery Cruise (Forces Programme, 10 April 1940), hosts David Miller and Eddie Pola
    • Contestants try to identify mystery items packed for a cruise.
  • Alliteration (Forces Programme, 17 April 1940), host David Miller
    • Making up sentences that are alliterative.
  • Truth (Home Service, 21 April 1940), host David Miller
  • Reactions (Forces Programme, 22 April 1940), host David Miller
  • Paint Box (Forces Programme, 2 April 1940), host David Miller
    • Naming songs with colours in the title.
  • I Hide and I Find (Forces Programme, 17 May 1940), host David Miller
  • Telegrams (Home Service, 26 May 1940), host David Miller
  • Truth (Forces Programme, 2 June 1940), host David Miller
  • Ships (Forces Programme, 10 June 1940), host Raymond Glendenning
    • Involved alliteration somehow.
  • Limerick Race (Forces Programme, 26 June 1940), host Freddie Grisewood
  • How Many? (Forces programme, 17 July 1940), host Lionel Gamlin
    • Quiz on a numerical theme.
  • Rhyme, Initials, Celebrities' Names (Forces Programme, 25 July 1940), host Lionel Gamlin
    • Identifying celebrities from limerick clues.
  • Melody Match (Forces Programme, 29 July 1940), host not known
  • Analogy Bee (Home Service, 4 August 1940), host Frank Phllips
  • Small Ads (Forces Programme, 16 August 1940), host Freddie Grisewood
  • I've Heard It (Forces Programme, 18 August 1940), host Neil Munro
  • What? (Forces Programme, 25 August 1940), host Frank Phillips
    • General knowledge quiz.
  • The Working Man's Signature Tune (1 September 1940), host Reginald Foort
  • Rime Time (Forces Programme, 26 August 1940), host Lionel Gamlin
  • As Quick as You Can (Forces Programme, 3 November 1940), host Lionel Gamlin
  • More Salted Almonds (Forces Programme, 14 October 1940), host not known
  • If (Home Service, 20 October 1940), host not known
  • Pedantic Proverbs (Home Service, 27 October 1940), host Freddie Grisewood
    • Identifying common proverbs phrased in an unusual manner.
  • Highway Test (Home Service, 19 November 1940), host not known
    • "Questions about road safety devised by the Ministry of Transport and the Automobile Association." Teams from the four home nations.
  • Alphabetical Quiz (Home Service, 24 November 1940), host Ed Ostermann
    • "A general-knowledge test on baseball lines". Two teams of four face sets of four questions, the answers to which all start with the same letter.
  • Inanimate Animals (Forces Programme, 1 December 1940), host Lionel Gamlin
  • Word Snakes (Home Service, 8 December 1940), host not known
  • Hotch-Potch (Home Service, 15 December 1940), host not known
    • "A general-knowledge mix-up".
  • That Name Suggests (Home Service, 5 January 1941), host Lionel Gamlin
  • Backward Ballads (Forces Programme, 28 January 1941), host Lionel Gamlin
  • Rime Time (Forces Programme, 1 March 1941), host Freddie Grisewood
  • Hesitations (Forces Programme, 28 March 1941), host not known
  • Can You Beat It? (Forces Programme, 29 March 1941), host Carroll Levis
  • Free Association (Home Service, 29 March 1941)
  • Inanimate Animals (Home Service, 20 April 1941)
  • Progressive Thought (Home Service, 27 April 1941)
  • Snap! (Home Service, 18 May 1941)
  • Rime Time (Home Service, 17 August 1941)
  • Rhymes With Reason (Forces Programme, 27 September 1941)
  • Inventors In The Dictionary (Forces Programme, 12 October 1941), host Neil Munro
  • Take Your Pick (Home Service, 26 October 1941), host not known
    • A "lucky dip into quiz-land".
  • The Implausible Punster (Home Service, 22 November 1941), host Neil Munro
  • Rime Time (Forces Programme, 20 December 1941), host Neil Munro
  • Hidden Personalities (Home Service, 25 December 1941), host Neil Munro
  • Sing on the Dotted Line (Home Service, 26 December 1941), host Neil Munro
  • I Love My Love With A Song (Home Service, 26 January 1942), host Neil Munro

Manchester strand

Produced by Wilfred Pickles, and we assume hosted by him as well, except for the few fronted by Robert Robinson (not to be confused with the well-known host of later years who was too young to be fronting panel games at the time).

  • Husbands v. Wives (Forces Programme, 19 September 1940)
  • Grandma versus Grandpa (Forces Programme, 21 October 1940)
  • Kitchen Parlour Game (Forces Programme, 18 November 1940)
  • Bachelors v. Bachelor Girls (Forces Programme, 16 December 1940)
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? (Forces Programme, 7 January 1941)
    • A quiz about gardening.
  • Press v. Medical Students (Forces Programme, 20 February 1941)
  • Happy Families (Forces Programme, 29 March 1941)
    • Eight children of cricketer Cecil Parkin compete.
  • Happy Families (Forces Programme, 26 April 1941)
    • It appears they tried to make a series of this, but it petered out after two episodes. This one featured the Jones family; the billing does not mention a connection to anyone famous.
  • Fire Away (Home Service, 21 May 1941), host Robert Robinson
    • Played by members of the Auxiliary Fire Service
  • War of the Roses (Forces Programme, 19 June 1941)
    • Competitors are Yorkshire and Lancashire cricketers.
  • Rookies v. Lookies (Home Service, 16 July 1941)
    • Aircraftsmen versus W.A.A.F.s.
  • Identity Discs (Forces Programme, 7 August 1941), host Robert Robinson
  • Ask a Policeman (Home Service, 14 September 1941)
  • What's Your Form? (Home Service, 23 November 1941, host Robert Robinson
    • Grammar-schools boys versus their masters.
  • Identity Discs (Forces Programme, 10 February 1942), host Robert Robinson
    • Home Guards versus Special Constables. Pickles may not have been involved with this one.
  • War of the Roses (Forces Programme, 25 May 1942)
    • Not cricketers this time, just Yorkshire and Lancashire folk in general.


Having cleared up any potential confusion regarding Robert Robinson, we should perhaps also point out that Neil Munro is not the Para Handy author, who died in 1930.


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