My 'The Chase' Experience
Another one of my favourite shows, The Chase appealed to me as a good challenge of my quiz knowledge against one of the best brains in Britain.
I applied and was invited to audition in a hotel next to Lambeth Bridge. There were about 20 people in my audition and one of the top tips I have is always sit near to the people organising the audition, they are more likely to remember you!!! Even though I wasn't wearing an Hawaiian shirt as I had come straight from work, you have to have something which makes you stand out from the crowd.
So after a quick quiz test, the production team did a quick end-game Chase splitting the auditionees in half and seeing who would score the most.
I did fairly well in my team answering a few easy questions. The more naturally ebullient types answered and didn't fare so well.
I do remember music being played in the hotel function room. I asked one of the team if this was Elbow. They said yes, I replied, "That's good as I don't usually know my Harris from my Elbow".
On that note, I was happy that I gave a good impression of myself (not sure the production team felt the same after that joke) and waited for a yes or no.
Thankfully for me, it was a yes and the recording was due to take place during the 2010 World Cup. There must be some football tournament/appearing on TV shows link as this happened with Eggheads too.
ITV arranged for me to stay in a local Travelodge (yes, I know) overnight ready for filming on the first programme of the morning. I went there straight from work to save travelling up and down from the Sussex coast.
The morning of the show was an early start with a 7am pick up by car to ITV Studios. I always like visiting ITV as you never know who is going to be there. I was there in July 2013 helping with a runthrough and was in the same lift as Olivia Lee and was in the canteen at the same time as Matthew Kelly (host of Stars In Their Eyes).
Anyway, we were led to a room round the back of the studios and had a lovely breakfast but we had to place all our valuables into a paper bag. No cheating with phones allowed here. Then we had our clothes options taken and freshly ironed. I was going with one of my lovely Hawaiian shirts again.
We had confirmation of who was going to be on my show. Ironically had a fellow Preston North End fan who lives in Blackpool and works on the trains - small world. Anyway, time for the nerves to kick in as we watched the show before us being recorded in the studio. Turned out to be one of the best shows ever. It was a final chase which I hadn't seen the like of before where a question was answered by the Chaser and no-one was sure if the answer given before the time was up. It was adjudicated that it was before time was up and it was not taken too well by the contestant who gave Bradley a flippant answer when asked, "How do you feel?". Before the show had finished and the credits began rolling he had stormed off the set and of the studio never to be seen again.
After the dramatic exit we went into make-up and then we had separate dressing rooms ready to prepare for the show. It was at this point that I was told that I was going to be first up and that I had to come up with a "Who you'd like to face". I did in my head come up with Shaun as I'd like a coffee if I had the chance (Shaun is a barrister not a barista). I started chatting with Jason (insert twitter link) who was our standby contestant for the day - a keen quizzer himself, he was going to make his own appearance in a later series of The Chase but we remain friends to this day.
So we walked onto the set and sat down on the seats. Bradley Walsh said hello and exchanged pleasantries. And before you know it, we were playing for real. I felt that I had some pressure to get as much money as possible to start things off. I had a lovely introduction by Bradley saying I looked like Frankie Boyle and sound like Joe Pasquale (yes, I know Dave Spikey said the same thing on Bullseye). It was time for my one minute cash builder. If I had a preferred quiz discipline then it would be this, quick questions and little time to think of my answer. The end of the minute and I had £9,000. Now for the difficult bit.
We then had the chat about which Chaser I'd like to play against and completely forgot to say my barista joke, so no doubt the viewers had all switched over to BBC1 by that stage.
Anyway, I heard some loud footsteps and up steps The Beast. Oh gosh, I thought. This is going to be tough. I had seen him on other shows before including a defeat in the final of Only Connect was I thought was one of the best games seen on OC.
So, I had my three cash choices to bring back. Asked my three teammates as to which one I should go for and decided to stay with the £9,000. Sadly for me, I had questions which I genuinely didn't know and was caught. I trudged off disconsolately and sat behind the main stage with Jason and waited to see what would happen with the other contestants.
The Beast had dismissed two more contestants with ease, leaving one last hope. With a small cash builder, I was ever more optimistic that as the contestant with the most money in the cash builder that I'd be selected if no-one got through to the final chase.
It was the last contestant versus The Beast and a higher offer of £40,000 came in. Unbelievably, the contestant went with the higher offer and was playing for the higher amount. First rule of TV quizzes is that it is always easier to answer other people's questions that it is when it's your turn. But I was surprised when I was able to answer all of the questions with ease and the contestant had £40,000 in the bank to play the final chase with.
My involvement was categorically over and really didn't care how the final chase went but as I had expected, it was easy for The Beast to win at a canter without having the mass panic that he had on the last recording.
We all returned to the Green Room, said our goodbyes but not without getting a photo with Steve McManaman (former England and Liverpool footballer) who was working as a summariser for a foreign station. An added bonus was Loose Women were also there so Lesley Garrett was around as was Simon Webbe from Five (I think).
Another quiz show appearance with no winnings but never mind, I shall keep trying.