The Joy of Quiz | Penguin

17 May 2016

My book The Joy of Quiz has been published. Here’s the blurb:The Joy of Quiz, Alan Connor

• An absolute must-read for anyone who loves quizzes. Alan knows everything, knows everyone, and writes beautifully too. I loved it! (Richard Osman)

• Alan Connor has the mind of an entertainer and the soul of a quizzer. I can’t think of anyone better placed to lead readers through this weird, wonderful, competitive and dastardly trivial pursuit (Victoria Coren Mitchell)

A jaunty journey into the world of the quiz, from the question editor of BBC2’s Only Connect, sometimes in the form of 300 excellent quiz questions

In 1938 Britain started to quiz. Since then, quizzes have become ubiquitous entertainment from pubs to primetime, suffered major criminal investigations, created unlikely folk heroes and been subjected to the rigours of question checkers.

The Joy of Quiz tells the history of quiz and its makers, wonders how we came to make a game out of remembering scraps of information, looks at the tactics of professional quizzers and reveals the shadowy worlds of setters and checkers.

Along the way, it asks questions such as ‘What is a fact, anyway?’ and ‘Whatever happened to prizes like sandwich toasters?’

You can order from your local bookshop, or from Penguin, Waterstones, Amazon, on Kindle, at Google Play etc…

★★★★★ Connor, like all the best quiz masters, is a genial, companiable host… He writes with wit and fluency… Above all, Connor succeeds in communicating the joy of quiz without taking it all too seriously. An absolute delight. — Simon Humphreys, Mail on Sunday

Book of the Day: Connor, whose last book was a charming look into the history and culture of the crossword, has again succeeded in explaining the enduring popularity of a curious pastime. The Joy of Quiz offers an entertaining sideways social history that takes in debates over quizzing and public morals, government oversight, and – I’ve started so I’ll finish – the strange things otherwise ordinary people will undergo to win a round of drinks. — John Gallagher, Guardian

Book of the Month: Alan Connor’s hugely entertaining book… gives us a cheerfully fascinating history of the whole quizzing business — Reader’s Digest Recommended Read

An absolute treasure trove of good stuff — Stuart Maconie, BBC 6Music

Today programme, Radio 4, 25 Oct 2016, with John Humphrys and Anna Ptaszynski [audio] [video]
Radcliffe & Maconie, 6Music, 4 Nov 2016
Mark Forrest BBC Radio show, 7 Nov 2016
Signing at Blackwells Holborn Book Quiz, 6.30pm, 10 Nov 2016
Talk, Richmond Literary Festival, 7pm, 24 Nov 2016 [slides]
Playful Book Quiz, Waterstones Guildford, 7pm, 1 Dec 2016
The Monocle Weekly, Monocle Radio, 4 Dec 2016
Playful Book Quiz, Waterstones Birmingham, 6.30pm, 7 Dec 2016
Playful Book Quiz, Waterstones Brighton, 7.30pm, 14 Dec 2016
Radio 2 Book Club, Radio 2, 6 Mar 2017
Boring Conference, 6 May 2017 [tickets]
Kew Bookshop Playful Quiz Evening, Tap on the Line pub, 8pm, 11 May 2017
Talk, Festival of Learning, 7pm, 7 June 2017 [tickets]

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Here’s a playlist of the music mentioned in the book:

The Joy of Quiz

Alternative Election Night | Channel 4

5 June 2017

Undated handout photo issued by Channel 4 of David Mitchell and veteran BBC interrogator Jeremy Paxman who will be hosting Channel 4's Alternative Election Night

I have been enjoying working on Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night:

Jeremy Paxman, David Mitchell and Richard Osman present an all-night feast of comedy and comment in Channel 4’s very different take on election night

Inside No 9 | BBC2

28 February 2017

I am proud to have performed the minor role of “crossword consultant” for this excellent episode of Inside No 9, The Riddle of the Sphinx:

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I’m further proud to have filled the role of some kind of muse:

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Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back | BBC2

25 August 2016

Nigel Farage Kevin Bishop

Kevin Bishop is Nigel Farage, in a programme imagining his life after resigning. Blurb:

“On the 23rd June, Britain voted to leave the European Union,” added the BBC. “Then, on the 4th July, Nigel Farage, the man who had made it all possible, resigned saying he wanted his life back. But what sort of life has he gone back to, and how does a man forever in the spotlight fill his days now he has nothing to do?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Only Connect | BBC2

11 July 2016

Series 12 of Only Connect, with me in the question-editor chair, begins tonight on BBC Two at 8.30pm.

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“It’s a safe space, where a very specifically talented group of people get to show off in their own understated way for an audience of their peers. And this is what makes it so brilliant.” – Stuart Heritage, Guardian

“…that will surely be the highlight of the week for all lovers of uncompromisingly smart television” – James Walton, Telegraph

“What is the link between these numbers? 285,000, 684,000, 1.1m, 2.9m. The answer is they are soaring viewers figures for Only Connect, the toughest quiz on television, which began as a BBC4 obscurity and has now overtaken BBC1 in the ratings.” – Adam Sherwin, Independent

“Only Connect: the best quiz on TV?” – Radio Times