Counterpoint is a radio quiz show about music.


BBC Radio 4: 14 July 1986 – Present


Ned Sherrin (1986–2006)
Edward Seckerson (2007)
Paul Gambaccini (2008–2013, 2014–)
Russell Davies (2013–2014)


Three contestants compete in each edition. The game takes place over three rounds (called "movements") as follows.

Movement 1: Moderato QuestionableEdit

In this round, each contestant is asked four (occasionally if there is a lackage of time, three instead) questions, two of which are illustrated by short musical pieces. Two points are awarded for a correct answer, or one point for a partially correct response. If the given answer is incorrect, or partially incorrect, the other two contestants may buzz in for one point. If there is a tie at the end of the first round, a further buzzer question is asked to determine the contestants' order for the next round.

Movement 2: Theme and VariationEdit

This round is a solo round, similar to the 'specialist subject' format of Mastermind, with the difference that the contestants have neither chosen nor been given warning of the subject. Five categories of questions are offered, some of which are very specific e.g. "Beethoven's Piano Sonatas", while others are more general, for instance "sunshine and rain". The contestant with the most points after round one chooses from the five categories, the runner-up chooses from the four remaining, and the contestant in last place chooses from the three that are left. Each round consists of seven (occasionally six) questions, including three musical cues. Again two points are given for a correct answer, but, in this round, questions answered incorrectly are not offered to the other contestants.

Final Movement: Questionable AccellorandoEdit

Thisl round consists of a variable number of questions, usually no more than twenty. Any contestant can answer these questions, provided they buzz in first. A correct answer will add one point to a contestant's score. If an incorrect answer is given, a contestant is deducted one point.

The contestant with the highest score at the end of each regular show wins the right to appear again, later in the series, to compete against other winners from the current series. The series is completed in 13 weeks, the last show being the final, at the end of which the series' winner is decided.

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