Early in 2013, the Club was contacted by 12 yard productions to enquire if we would be interested in putting forward a team for the BBC2 quiz show Eggheads. After much discussion, we had a suitable list of volunteers and then looked at our diaries for availability dates. Sadly there were no dates for which we were all available and so we requested that we be kept on file for the next series. In September we were again contacted and this time our diaries were more accommodating and so we sent off the application forms. The next step was the audition. We were asked to provide a 10 minute video of the team answering a series of (pre-determined) questions to allow our personalities to show through. We must have done something right because the next thing we knew was that a date had been set for our filming session in Glasgow.
|The following couple of weeks leading up to the recording were exciting, with lots of discussion on the tactics to be employed. For those who are not familiar with the program, a team of expert quizzers pit their wits against a team of challengers. For one program that would be Us. The team of experts were 5 from a pool of 7, all with formidable pedigrees, Brains of Britain, Mastermind champions, top prize winners from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, World Quiz Champion.|
The first 4 rounds would be questions to be answered by a nominated member of the team on 4 of the 9 categories, Geography, History, Politics, Sport, Science, Music, Food & Drink, Art & Literature and Television and Film. Without prior knowledge of the subjects to be chosen or the order we needed to ensure that all of our bases were covered, hopefully for all eventualities.
The big weekend came and the team, Ian Burn (team captain), Len Choules, Colin Edgar, Elizabeth Hull and Sue Rawlins, together with the team standby, Iris Cornish, all boarded the train to Glasgow. Knowing that it would be a long journey each member of the team put together a 20 question quiz. That quiz can be accessed here , with the answers here.
Despite a bag being left on one of the trains, and successfully retrieved, we all ended up in Glasgow and spent an evening bouncing quiz questions between us over dinner, ready for the big day. |
Programmes like Eggheads are recorded in a large batch, we were program 48 of 50 in a recording session which lasted a mere 12 days, so at times it seemed like a bit of a production line.
On the day of the recording, we needed to be in the studios in Glasgow for 9:15 where we were ushered into the green room. We had been told to bring 3 different outfits each for the show and wardrobe requested that we lay out the clothes and they would chose which of our outfits we would be wearing, after they had pressed and ironed them. I think that most of us had our preferred outfits. After being through makeup, a legal session of signing contracts and some 2 hours after arriving at the building we were ushered into the studio. While we were being fitted with our microphones, the Eggheads milled around, introducing themselves and putting us at our ease. Although some of them have an almost aloof programme persona, we found them all very friendly.
Then the cameras started to roll and we were introduced individually and collectively as West Berks Wordsmiths. Knowing our scrabble background, Ian was asked by Dermot Murnaghan whether he could find a suitably long word from the letters of EGGHEADS. Finding only the 7 letter word SHAGGED, he claimed that the word was inappropriate for a programme which would be transmitted prior to the watershed. That exchange was retained for the broadcast edition and the Club knows of several people who used internet anagram solvers to find the answer.
And so to the quiz itself, which was where our luck ran out when the category for the first round was announced as being MUSIC. Our tactical analysis had shown that this was our weakest subject and we lost the round convincingly. It also meant that we needed to drop to our second choice candidate for the second round, Science.
That second choice was Ian and he was up against Judith Keppel, whose main claim to fame was in being the first person to scoop the big prize on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The questions are posed in a separate studio, with only the 2 participants sat on a large bench with a dedicated camera and monitor for each person. If you watch the program and notice that people look slightly uncomfortable, it is not necessarily down to nerves, there is no back rest on the bench and it is quite uncomfortable. After 3 rounds of multiple choice questions, the scores were level and it went through to sudden death which Ian fortunately won, with a bit of help from a Horseshoe Bat. That meant that we would have at least 2 team members in the final round.
Unfortunately that was to be as good as it got. In round 3, ART and LITERATURE, Sue failed in the sudden death round and in the final round on SPORT, Len was knocked out by a Thomas Hearns boxing question. That meant that going into the final round we had 2 team members against the Eggheads 4. The final round was disappointing with us failing to get an answer correct, although for one of them we talked ourselves out of the correct answer. After a couple of photos of all concerned at the studio we made our way back to Reading, knowing that the difficult part was about to start.
From the end of October 2013 to the broadcast date of September 26th 2014 we had to keep the result and the studio stories to ourselves.
In September we were finally informed of the transmission date and we spent a lot of time letting friends, family and acquaintances know of the broadcast details.
Throughout the process, we were superbly looked after by the production company staff, who made the whole experience one to remember. To that end the Club would wish to put on record their thanks to those members of staff.
If you wish to see a transcript of the show then it is available by clicking here . Note that it will open in a new window.