The great big TV quiz of 2020

Clockwise from bottom left: Strictly Come Dancing, Tiger King, Nigella Lawson, Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby with Boris Johnson, The Queen's Gambit  - AFP/Netflix/Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock/BBC
Clockwise from bottom left: Strictly Come Dancing, Tiger King, Nigella Lawson, Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby with Boris Johnson, The Queen's Gambit - AFP/Netflix/Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock/BBC

Round One: A Dramatic Year

In which hit 2020 dramas were these the chief protagonists?

1. Beth Harmon, an orphan  from Kentucky

2. Douglas Petersen, a middle-aged biochemist

3. Phyllis Schlafly, an American conservative activist

4. Which ITV period drama, based on a 1978 novel, took its name from a very specific sexual term?

Which dramas were set in or around the following establishments?

5. Reardon School in New York

6. Ego Death Bar in Soho

7. Pierpoint & Co investment bank in the City

8. Who wrote two historical dramas this year – one about the origins of association football, the other about the Trenchard family in 19th-century London?

Can you identify these 2020 TV dramas from their casts?

9. Andrew Scott, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Terence Stamp, James McAvoy

10. Charles Dance, Josh O’Connor, Emma Corrin, Emerald Fennell

11. Anne-Marie Duff, Rafe Spall, MyAnna Buring, Mark Addy

12. David Tennant played a killer in two crime dramas beginning with D this year. What were they called?

These three vintage dramas were revived. Can you name them?

13. Marc Warren as a European detective with a famous theme tune

14. Nicholas Ralph as a newly qualified veterinarian

15. Dramatic monologues filmed on the EastEnders set during lockdown

David Tennant - ITV
David Tennant - ITV

Round Two: You've Got to Laugh

16. The daughter of which musician stars in Netflix’s critically panned but commercially successful comedy Emily in Paris?

17. Which mockumentary concluded after three series with its heroine admitting she’d never watched a single episode, shrugging “It’s not really my sort of thing”?

18. Which sitcom featured a trouserless Tory MP living in a stately home called Button House?

19. Which member of the Royal family appeared in a sketch alongside Blackadder’s General Melchett (Stephen Fry) for the BBC’s Big Night In coronavirus fundraiser?

20. Which Canadian sitcom triumphed in all seven major comedy categories at the Primetime Emmys, setting a new record for the most awards for a single series?

A scene from Emily in Paris - Netflix
A scene from Emily in Paris - Netflix

Round Three: Reality Check

21. What did boxer Nicola Adams and Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins have in common this year?

Which primetime TV talent contests were won in 2020 by the following people?

22. Edinburgh University student Peter Sawkins

23. Pianist and singer Jon Courtenay

24. Irish-Iraqi YouTube star Riyadh Khalaf

25. Two former Secretaries of State took part in reality contests this year. One ballroom danced, the other was disguised as a pharaoh. But who were they?

Round Four: Actual Factual

26. Which true crime phenomenon was subtitled “Murder, Mayhem and Madness”?

27. What was the title of BBC Two’s definitive five-part story of the Iraq war, which aired to great acclaim this summer?

28. Who caused a stir with a recipe for banana skin curry?

29. Which documentary this autumn began with the host introducing himself and saying: “I’m 93. This is my witness statement”?

30. In Netflix’s hit real estate series Selling Sunset, self-styled villainess Christine Quinn (above) hired what animal for her engagement party: an elephant, a lion or a zebra?

A scene from BBC Two's Iraq documentary - BBC
A scene from BBC Two's Iraq documentary - BBC

Round Five: Quote Unquote

31. Two game show hosts got to say “You’ve just won a million pounds!” this year – one for real in September, the other in a drama in April. Who were they?

32. Which actor, playing a politician who had just won a court case, said: “I’d have been roadkill. The PM would’ve  had me for dinner with redcurrant jelly”?

33. Who gave the following briefing in September: “If you must bake in a tent, bake in a tent. But please don’t bake in  a tent”?

34. Which BBC drama took its title from an African proverb, later adopted as a song title by Bob Marley and the Wailers?

35. The leading ladies of which drama danced together and said: “Are you leading or am I?” “I have no idea”?

Round Six: Blips & Bloopers

36. What happened to both Sky News foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes and global health expert Clare Wenham on the same day in July?

37. What did the Crufts 2020  “Best in Show” winner,  Maisie, the wire-haired dachshund, do during her victory lap?

38. How did Bake Off’s Sura Selvarajah knock fellow contestant Dave Friday’s pineapple upside-down cakes on to the tent floor in this year’s opening episode?

39. Why did This Morning’s presenters panic about what was happening in the background during a live cookery segment on the show by MasterChef judge John Torode?

40. Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood left BBC Breakfast viewers in hysterics this summer by saying there were lots of “doggers” in sunny Greenwich Park. But what did she mean to say?

Maisie the wire-haired daschshund, with her owner Kim McCalmont - Getty
Maisie the wire-haired daschshund, with her owner Kim McCalmont - Getty

Round Seven: This Was the News

41. Who kept everyone waiting for half an hour in the garden on a May Bank Holiday?

42. Who hit headlines when he said on live TV in February: “I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay”?

43. Who is John King and how did his “magic wall” keep us gripped?

44. Which Newsnight presenter was left red-faced after she announced on-air: “The former health secretary Alan Johnson joins us down the line from hell, sorry, Hull”?

45. How did BBC North West Tonight’s weatherman Owain Wyn Evans go viral?

BBC weatherman Owain Wyn Evans
BBC weatherman Owain Wyn Evans

Round Eight: Those We Lost

46. Yes Minister actor Derek Fowlds died at the start of the year. What was the name of the Principal Private Secretary he played in the Whitehall satire?

47. One member apiece of comedy double acts Little & Large and Cannon & Ball sadly died this year. But which members?

48. Eric Morecambe might have joked that his name was “short for desperate” but which much-loved entertainer died in November?

49. Diana Rigg’s last TV appearances were in drama Black Narcissus and as Mrs Pumphrey in All Creatures Great and Small. What was her character’s Pekingese called in the latter?

50. “And now, from Norwich, it’s the quiz of the week”. But what was it and who hosted it?

Mrs Pumphrey (Diana Rigg) with her Pekingese - Channel 5
Mrs Pumphrey (Diana Rigg) with her Pekingese - Channel 5


A Dramatic Year: 1. The Queen’s Gambit 2. Us 3. Mrs America 4. The Singapore Grip 5. The Undoing 6. I May Destroy You 7. Industry 8. Julian Fellowes 9. His Dark Materials 10. The Crown 11. The Salisbury Poisonings 12. Des and Deadwater Fell 13. Van Der Valk 14. All Creatures Great and Small 15. Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads

You've Got to Laugh: 16. Phil Collins’s daughter, Lily 17. This Country 18. Ghosts 19. The Duke of Cambridge 20. Schitt’s Creek

Reality Check: 21. They were part of the first same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing On Ice respectively 22. The Great British Bake Off 23. Britain’s Got Talent 24. Celebrity MasterChef 25. Jacqui Smith (Strictly Come Dancing) and Alan Johnson (The Masked Singer)

Actual Factual: 26. Tiger King 27. Once Upon a Time in Iraq 28. Nigella Lawson on her series Cook, Eat, Repeat 29. Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet 30. A zebra

Quote Unquote: 31. Jeremy Clarkson (on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) and Michael Sheen (playing Chris Tarrant in Quiz) 32. Hugh Laurie as maverick MP Peter Laurence in Roadkill 33. Matt Lucas as Boris Johnson (The Great British Bake Off) 34. Small Axe (“If you are the big tree, we are the small axe”) 35. Eve and Villanelle in Killing Eve

Blips & Bloopers: 36. Their children interrupted their live news interviews 37. She stopped to do a poo 38. She was trying to swat a fly 39. He left a tea towel near the hob and it caught fire 40. Joggers and dog-walkers

This Was the News: 41. Dominic Cummings who was late for his Downing Street press conference 42. Phillip Schofield when he came out as gay on This Morning 43. He was CNN’s voting map analyst during the US election 44. Emily Maitlis 45. By drumming along to the BBC News theme tune

Those We Lost: 46. Bernard Woolley 47. Eddie Large and Bobby Ball 48. Des O’Connor 49. Tricki-Woo 50. Sale of the Century, hosted by Nicholas Parsons who died in January

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