The Right Notes in the Wrong Order



Frank Skinner


Radio 3, 25 December 2010


For a good forty years, it used to be a Third Programme tradition to have a yuletide quiz, an idea which was ressurected (in spirit, at least) for this one-off arts-based panel game. Rounds included a poetry-based version of Never Mind the Buzzcocks' "Next lines", a "what happens next" round involving opera plots, an "identify the arts story of 2010" round using vaguely cryptic sound montages, "odd one out" with four pieces of classical music, and an almost quickfire final buzzer round. A christmas theme ran through most of the rounds, and also through the deliberately incomprehensible scoring system (which resulted in one team winning by a margin of six brussels sprouts, two christmas cakes, nine chocolate coins and a satsuma... or something like that, anyway).

The "What happens next?" round.

It's possible that this was intended as a pilot, though maybe the whole notion of a knockabout quiz is so un-Radio 3 that there's just no room for it in the schedules outside of a one-off special on Christmas Day. As far as this show goes, it's no great loss. Although there's plenty of potential mileage in an arts quiz, for us the mix of highbrow subject matter and lowbrow presentation just didn't gel, and ultimately the show didn't really have any fresh ideas of its own, it just took the usual tried-and-tested old ideas and applied them to Radio 3-friendly subject matter.

All in all, it's nice to see Radio 3 letting its elegantly-coiffured hair down and trying something new, but this format at least is probably best left as a one-off.


The panellists were Steve Punt, Katy Brand, Rainer Hersch and Tim Key.

Web links

BBC programme page

British Comedy Guide entry


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