So heres my little write up about it all. What can I say - after last time - otherwise known as 'The Eagle Has Landed', I really had given up quizzes for good. It was a moment of utter embarrassment, and not in a good way, and to be honest I didn't want to do it again. I didn't apply to anything.
Then Jacqui rang me and said would I like to be on the team for 'Eggheads'. I said I really didn't feel like it, but they then said they had already booked the audition, and it 'was only in Southampton' and that they would drive me. I sighed and relented. Alright - BUT JUST THIS ONCE.
So we went to the audition and all went well. There were six of us as you have to take a team plus one reserve. However, you don't get to choose who that reserve IS. They put on the show who they want. Five months later we got the phone call that we were going to be on it in two and a half weeks in GLASGOW. Sodding GLASGOW.
At this point, we still didn't know who was on the team, but we WERE informed that both girls HAD to be on the team because they didn't have enough females in the series. It was only the day of the flight that I discovered that I was on the team and that Paul was the fall-guy. Paul still had to travel with us, and we agreed he would get an even share of any prize-money.
Arriving in Glasgow relatively late and having eaten a crappy Chiquitos at the airport, we had enough time for a bit of drinking and discussion about tactics. I had made a jokey dossier ranking the Eggheads from 1 (best) to 7 (worst) and ranked their weakness and strengths. This actually became the basis of a strongish plan - Nick was by far the strongest quizzer and therefore it was decided that he would be saved for the final. Therefore that meant I definitely faced a round myself. I was doing Sport, Music was going to be Sarah, History was Steve and Art and Books was Jacqui (who was really nervous and would have been happier as the reserve). Naturally only one of the subjects came up.
At the studio real early - we came into the main foyer and spied and Chris and Barry in the foyer, and we thought those were two we were facing. Good - they were in the lower half of the dossier. We were put in make-up, and then met Daphne in make-up. She was really nice, jokily chatting with us and accidentally revealing we wouldn't be facing her. 'You've had a lucky escape not getting me!' she joked. Really nice lady.
Anyway, back to the green room, and we were told officially. No Daphne . No Chris. That meant a certain CJ was playing. Oh yes. I checked the 'OFFICIAL DOSSIER CO-EFFIECIENT'. It was a totally average draw. We had the best (Kevin) and the worst (Judith). This gave us a shot I felt.
So down to the studio and the show started very quickly. We met the Eggheads before, and Kevin in particular was immediately really nice - he comes from the Hampshire area so was very interested in Porchester. CJ and Barry seemed jolly enough, and Pat was incredibly quiet and shy. You aren't told the jackpot straight away,. so wen they said it was £16,000 I was genuinelly shocked. Jesus-titty-fucking-christ - thats actually quite a lot of money. I really figured it'd be £2,000 or £3,000ish. Dermot got told off for having his mug in shot - and he glared at the cameraman. Hes a nice guy, but seriously - don't mess with Dermy.
So first catergory was Music and that was a given for Sarah to play. It was a weak one for me, but a strong one for the team, and Barry seemed a good choice. He WAS a good choice, but sadly Sarah didn't have the classical knowledge that she really needed.
Science was next and me and Steve both felt that although it was weak - we both felt we might be able to do it, but ultimately it was higher up Steves list of preferences so he went in. we chose Judith - but in hindsight this was a big mistake. Judith was the easiest egghead and we should have saved her for one we were really confident in and sacrificed Steve to Kevin or Pat. It did nearly work out, but sadly Steve lost in sudden death. Rhodium was SO much harder than the Octane question. Judith had been a bit stand-offish and not particularly friendly before the game and didn't really seem like she wanted to be there.
Next was TV and Film which I really really fancied, but Jacqui was really nervous and it was her number two. It was mine too - but she felt uncomfortable waiting, so I let her play. Then it dawned on me - gooseberry fool - I'd have to play anything that came next - even sodding Politics. I had to play CJ and he was gonna laugh in my face as I got all three wrong, the eagles and the casebooks swirling in my mind. Jacqui went second - and predictably this proved to be an utter mistake as she would have got all the first questions right. Bah.
So knowing it was me versus CJ - I prayed as Dermot read out 'Geography'.
Out of what was left - that was my 2nd preference. It wasn't sodding books. I could give this one a real stab. I slapped the table and chose CJ - not knowing whether he was a geography whizz or not.
As soon as I saw CJ's eyes dart a little bit on the Canada question, I knew this wasn't his catergory. At this point we had been whisked to the question room, where you sit next to each other on a bench. Never mind next to each other, I wanted to eyeball my foe - QUIZ HIM TO DEATH! The thing that then happened was extroidinary. We both hugely strong at World Geography, but extremely weak at UK Geography. The questions kept coming out in either/or pairs, and we got a lot wrong, but we both got two sudden death questions wrong. When I answered a question on which Ocean something something something was in and said Arctic - I thought I had him, but no - he got the next one right, they had run out of questions, and had to go get another pack. I was sweating a lot at this point, and felt this was the best I'd ever quizzed - I could definitely beat him. Then the Venezuala question came, and when I got that I thought that was it. CJ looked shocked at the question being about islands, and he just didn't have a clue. He ummed and erred for 2 minutes before guessing Pitcairns Islands' - and he genuinelly didn't know. When that was right I died a bit inside. He was on the strawberry floating ropes and he got away! Argh!
Anyway - the very next question was the Sri Lanka question which I didn't have a clue about. That flat-topped mountain was a real gift and a bit unfair considering all the questions we been through. CJ came over and as we walked down the corridor back to the studip he shook my hand and said 'Ben, you shoulda won'. Suddenly, I felt real okay - I had at least redeemed myself. Many years ago I actually went to try 'BE an Egghead' an ill-fated tale that resulted in me being absolutely smashed in an audition by an Indian guy who then very nearly became a Egghead himself. That added in with the 'Eagle' made this a real triumphant moment. When I'm given a bit of time to think - I can be a formidable quizzer at times.
When you are in the back room having been eliminated, you can't see the studio, just hear the voices. It was hard to tell if we were doing well or not, but for the Eggheads to mess up that last question was a shocker. Still, we took the Eggheads to sudden death, and you can't ask much more than that - it just wasn't to be on the day.
We had had a great time - and it was by far the most fun I have had on a quiz show, it just felt like a cosy pub quiz - and then some. The Eggheads took photos with us - and Kevin came up to me personally and told me how much he thought I'd played a great game and that my logic was perfect. Barry clapped and agreed, and CJ who was amazingly nice ushered us for team photos with all of them. It was a great day really. We were treated really nicely and the hotel was nice - despite the fact I had to shack up with Dave - which was a bit awkward as that was the first time we had ever met!
On the show I said I was 25. I am now 27! So that gives you some idea how long ago it was filmed. Jacqui and Steve who were a couple have now broken up and in the time since I haven't applied to any gameshow (bar Red or Black -pukes) and instead I've actually helped adjudicate them. So on that note, I really think this is the end of the Quiz-Quest. Through lemon menaces and eagles, casebooks and that huge gallery of one hundred lights - all the way to an epic battle with CJ for my Rocky moment. Its been fun.