My 'Breakaway' Experience
I really enjoyed my Breakaway experience - again another programme where I had watched the first series (mainly on iPlayer on the train to work) and really wanted to play the game.
The audition took place in Sony Offices, London and was a lovely little office and I certainly was feeling like I was not going to appear on the programme as there was someone who was the first person to be chucked off Coach Trip and Ray Ward, current Brain of Britain champion at the time.
I must have done something which the producers liked as I somehow won the audition programme (I broke away and immediately asked Ray to join me - the team voted Ray off first as he was the best player leaving me to win on my own) and subsequently got asked to appear on the main show.
Indeed I was lucky enough to be invited to a pre-recording runthrough with Nick Hancock. Nick is a superb host and as friendly as he appears on TV. I met contestants that were also due to appear on the second series (one of the contestants was Demelza who I remember just purely because of her name and who I believe has subsequently appeared on Tipping Point since the show).
I won the runthrough as well so things were looking great for winning something on the actual show.
The recording day came and it was an early start on the Sussex coast for me (4.30am) to get to BBC Studios. I knew that this was the last time I was probably going to go into the famous old building so I tried to absorb the atmosphere and everything around it.
I met my fellow contestants in the Green Room (Jonathan, Polly, Joe, Daneeka) and the standby contestant. Of course, there was one contestant missing. Just happened to be one of the most prolific TV quizzers in the last ten years or so, Diane Hallagan (just the £250,000 win on WWTBAM). I knew that Diane would the one to watch during the show. I ideally wanted to show off my knowledge so that Diane would take me with her to fill in the gaps in her knowledge (mostly around sport or popular culture - I see her as a Anne Hegarty replacement in The Chase).
[Spoiler alert - don't read below if you want to watch the video before finding out the result]
Sadly, Diane thought she could go it alone with the jackpot increasing after every step but she lost all her lives and it was left to the five of us to bring the money home.
Unfortunately, we couldn't do it (blinking Matisse) and Polly had decided to breakaway with one question remaining and took me with her. I was very grateful and the £250 win was the highest cash amount I've won so far on TV quiz shows.
Thankfully, Jonathan, Joe and Daneeka were very gracious in defeat (to be fair Jonathan did win a lot of money on The Chase winding up The Beast Mark Labbett in the process) and we've all kept in touch via Twitter in the process.
The full episode
Took me a while to find the DVD from the recording in the summer but here it is.