My 'A Question of Genius' Experience
Thanks to the BBC and the Be On A Show page, I applied to appear on Series 2 of the show.
I was certainly wanting to appear on this programme after watching the first series as it had a mix of specialist knowledge with general knowledge and tactics to progress through the rounds.
I was invited to audition in London at BBC Television Centre, Shepherds Bush. I always enjoyed going there especially as I go celeb spotting as they go through security on their way to work.
We got taken to a room towards the back of the centre past the (in)famous BBC canteen and there were about 15 of us in a room and somehow I ended up doing a dance which closely resembled a poor entry at the Eurovision Song Contest. There was someone was a rubber band gun firing at random targets which I thought was slightly weird and not sure how he had got past security.
Anyway, I had managed to get past the audition and was invited to go to BBC Scotland in Glasgow in January 2010.
A Question Of Genius had a hint of Mastermind about it as you have to provide a specialist subject so if you go to the end of the programme as the winner, the opportunity to win money is based on a question on the subject you chose. My subject was Northern Ireland International Football from 1950 onwards. To prepare I had bought some specialist
I was excited as I had never been to Glasgow before and I travelled by plane from Gatwick up to Glasgow the day before recording (which was a Sunday) I was lucky enough to have a view of Ibrox from the air with the pitch heaters on and then grabbed a taxi to the hotel, the Campanile which is just across the Clyde from the BBC Scotland studio.
The day of recording came and a blanket covering of snow greeted us which had fell overnight. We all met in the reception area of the hotel and then a taxi took us to BBC Scotland studios. I was impressed with the size of it and in the Green Room, we waited for recording time. We found out that this was to be the first episode of Series Two so no pressure. One contestant who had travelled from across the way in Edinburgh (Melanie Beaumont) was late due to travel chaos on the train. I recognised Melanie from appearing on other quiz shows before so thought that she would be my main competition. In fact, Melanie has appeared on Countdown, The Chase, Breakaway, The Weakest Link, Grand Slam and others.
The first round was great for me, I was first reaching the required number of points to get through. The second round I had missed a number of questions and bowed out of the competition after being knocked out on a Ozzy Osbourne question.
That was the last of my worries however as heavy snow had fallen across the UK on the Monday and was on the plane home late on Monday night at Glasgow when I was told that Gatwick was closed so wouldn't be flying home. After an overnight stop in the Holiday Inn Express across the road from the airport, I went back to the airport Tuesday morning to find no flights to Gatwick so I paid for a flight to Southampton with FlyBe. Got as far as Manchester when told that Southampton airport was closed and would be diverted to East Midlands airport. We were then well looked after by FlyBe and they put a coach on to take us down the A34 to Southampton Airport. From there a train to Southampton Airport to home so all in all a 24 hour journey home.
But at the end of the day an experience I enjoyed and it kept the quiz bug going.
Excerpts from the show.