The longest-running quiz series on British radio, ‘RBQ’, as it is affectionately known, was launched in 1948 to replace ‘Transatlantic Quiz’ which had then been popular for some years.
Instead of a hook-up with a team across the Atlantic, the idea was for a resident team in London to compete against a rival team somewhere else in the UK. The format proved immensely popular, and down the years it made stars of its erudite regular contributors such as Gilbert Harding, Denis Brogan, Lionel Hale, Hubert Phillips, Irene Thomas, John Julius Norwich and Tony Quinton.
Following the death in 1996 of the incumbent chairman Gordon Clough, the decision was taken to re-format the quiz slightly, so that there was no longer a ‘London’ team competing every week, but six regional teams who played an equal number of games. The late Nick Clarke presided over this format with enormous style and success for the next decade.
‘RBQ’ approaches its sixtieth season with Tom Sutcliffe taking the chair, and welcoming back many of the familiar panellists from the past ten years of the show.