My Word!My Word! was a radio panel show which premiered on the BBC Home Service on January 1, 1957. It was created by Edward J. Mason and Tony Shryane, and featured comic writers Denis Norden and Frank Muir, more famous (in Britain, at least) for the series Take It From Here. For decades it was also broadcast worldwide via BBC World Service shortwave.
Two teams (Muir and another versus Norden and another) faced a series of questions devised by Mason, primarily word games and literary quizzes covering vocabulary, etymology, snippets of poetry, and the like. When stumped by a question, the contestants could be sure of receiving generous partial credit for a humorous answer of enough ingenuity. In the final round of every episode, Muir and Norden were each given a famous phrase or quotation and asked to account for its origins; each proceeded to weave a shaggy dog story leading up to an outrageous pun upon his phrase. (Many of the stories were later collected in a series of books.)
The host of the show was originally Jack Longland, who was succeeded by John Julius Norwich and then Michael O'Donnell. The two additional contestants were initially film critic E. Arnot Robertson and journalist Nancy Spain; later contestants included film critic and Greek scholar Dilys Powell, journalist Anne Scott-James, and writer and historian Antonia Fraser.
The show, which ended in 1990, is still rerun in the United States and Australia. A companion program, My Music, ran from 1967 to 1993.
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