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Nigel Rees

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Gender Male
Age 78
Date of birth June 5,1944
Zodiac sign Gemini
Born Merseyside
United Kingdom
Movies/Shows Quote. . . Unquote
Job Writer
Edited worksCassell's Humorous Quotations
Graffiti 4
Education Merchant Taylors' School
New College

A Word in Your Shell-like: 6,000 Curious & Everyday Phrases Explained
Brewer's Famous Quotations
Dictionary of Catchphrases
Sayings of the Century
Cassell's Movie Quotations
Phrases & Sayings
The Graffiti File
Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins
Graffiti Lives, O. K.
"Quote - Unquote"
I Told You I Was Sick: A Grave Book of Curious Epitaphs
A Man about A Dog: Euphemisms and Other Examples of Verbal Squeamishness
Dictionary of Popular Phrases
Cassell Companion to Quotations
Graffiti 3
Graffiti 2
Bloomsbury dictionary of phrase and allusion
Why Do We Say . . . ? Words and Sayings and where They Come from
The Politically Correct Phrasebook: What They Say You Can and Cannot Say in the 1990s
Graffiti 4
The Joy of Clichés: A Complete User's Guide
All Gong and No Dinner: 1,001 Homely Phrases and Curious Domestic Sayings
Foot in Mouth
The Newsmakers
Nigel Rees Presents the "quote--unquote" Book of Love, Death, and the Universe
My Radio Times
Why Do We Quote?
As We Say in Our House: A Book of Family Sayings
More Tea, Vicar? An Embarrassment of Domestic Catchphrases
The Phrase that Launched 1,000 Ships
Graffiti 1
Cassell Dictionary of Cliches
Don't You Know There's A War On? Words and Phrases from the World Wars
Oops, Pardon, Mrs Arden! An Embarrassment of Domestic Catch Phrases
Cassell Dictionary of Anecdotes
Brewer's Quotations: A Phrase and Fable Dictionary
Babes and Sucklings
Dictionary of Phrase & Fable
Cassell Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
A Year of Graffiti: (based on Graffiti Lives OK, Graffiti 2, Graffiti 3 and Graffiti 4).
Bloomsbury Guide to Letter Writing
The Guinness Book of Humorous Anecdotes
Best Behaviour: A Complete Guide to Manners in the 1990s
Dictionary of Slogans
Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink: A Quotebook of Love and Sex
A Who's who of Nicknames
The Nigel Rees Book of Slogans and Catchphrases
The Gift of the Gab: A Guide to Sparkling Chat
A Family Matter
"Quote - Unquote"
A Word In Your Shell-Like
Sayings of the Century
Brewer's Famous Quotations
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Nigel Rees Life story

Nigel Rees is an English writer and broadcaster, known for devising and hosting the Radio 4 panel game Quote... Unquote and as the author of more than fifty books, mostly works of reference on language, and humour in language.

Nigel Rees (born 5 June 1944 near Liverpool) is an English writer and broadcaster, known for devising and hosting the Radio 4 panel game Quote... Unquote (1976–2021) and as the author of more than fifty books, mostly works of reference on language, and humour in language.

Personal life

Rees attended Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, near Liverpool where he was born, and then studied for a degree in English at New College, Oxford, where he was a Trevelyan Scholar and took a leading role in the Oxford University Broadcasting Society.Rees is a past President of the Lichfield Johnson Society and was described in The Spectator as "Britain's most popular lexicographer – the lineal successor to Eric Partridge and, like him, he makes etymology fun."He is married to Sue Bates and lives in London and Oxfordshire.

Television and radio

After leaving university, Rees went straight into television with Granada in Manchester and made his first TV appearances on local programmes in 1967 before moving to London as a freelance. He worked for ITN's News at Ten as a reporter before becoming involved in programmes for BBC Radio as reporter and producer.

In 1971, he turned to presenting. He introduced the BBC World Service current affairs magazine Twenty Four Hours between 1972 and 1979. From 1973 to 1975 he was also a regular presenter of Radio 4's arts magazine Kaleidoscope. From 1976 to 1978, he was the founder presenter of Radio 4's newspaper review Between the Lines and, from 1984 to 1986, Stop Press.

Rees kept up the revue acting he had started at Oxford by appearing for five years in Radio 4's topical comedy show Week Ending..., in the Betty Witherspoon Show with Ted Ray, Kenneth Williams and Miriam Margolyes, and then in all six series of the comedy The Burkiss Way. Comedy appearances have also included Harry Enfield and Chums on BBC TV.In 1976, he became the youngest ever regular presenter of Radio 4's Today programme, at the age of 32. He presented the programme for two years with Brian Redhead before leaving in May 1978 at the time of his marriage to Sue Bates, a marketing executive. Quote... Unquote, his quiz anthology on Radio 4, was by then in its third series. Co-developed with John Lloyd, the series continued until 2021.In 1990, Rees became the first celebrity winner of the Channel 4 quiz show Fifteen to One, finishing with a score of 141 points.

Widely recognised as host and participant in quizzes and panel games, he has been chairman of TV's Cabbages and Kings (quotations), Challenge of the South (general knowledge), Amoebas to Zebras (natural history) and First Things First (panel game) — all on ITV. For 18 years, he was a regular guest in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown.


In 1978, he wrote the first Quote... Unquote book, which led to a series under varying titles and devoted to aspects of the English language and especially the humour that derives from it. One of his five graffiti collections was a No. 1 paperback best-seller in the UK. Since 1992, he has published and edited The Quote... Unquote Newsletter, a quarterly journal (now distributed electronically) and devoted to the origins and use of well-known quotations, phrases and sayings. In 2011, his autobiography, My Radio Times, was published.

Reference books he has written or compiled include the Cassell's Movie Quotations, Cassell's Humorous Quotations, A Word in Your Shell-Like and Brewer's Famous Quotations. In The Yale Book of Quotations, Fred Shapiro describes Rees as a "pioneering quotation scholar".

Selected bibliography

Graffiti Lives OK (1979) ISBN 0-04-827018-0

Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1987) ISBN 0-304-32050-1

The Bloomsbury Dictionary of Popular Phrases (1990) ISBN 0-7475-0344-3

Politically Correct Phrasebook (1993) ISBN 0-7475-1426-7

Cassell's Movie Quotations (2000) ISBN 0-304-35369-8

Cassell's Humorous Quotations (2001) ISBN 0-304-35720-0

I Told You I Was Sick (2005) ISBN 0-304-36803-2

A Word in Your Shell-Like (2005) ISBN 0-00-722087-1

Brewer's Famous Quotations (2006) ISBN 0-304-36799-0

A Man About a Dog – Euphemisms &c (2006) ISBN 0-00-721453-7

All Gong and No Dinner – Homely Phrases and Curious Domestic Sayings (2007) ISBN 978-0-00-724935-0

Don't You Know There's a War On? (2011) ISBN 978-1-906388-99-7

My Radio Times (2011) ISBN 978-1-482399-46-2


External links

Official website

News about Nigel Rees


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