Recorded at Maidstone studios in June 2007, my episode of ‘Dirty Rotten Cheater’ was broadcast in November of the same year.
I’d hope it may be obvious from my terrible banter in the video that – based on past experience – I never thought I’d get as far as I did!
Also, eagle-eyed viewers may notice the disappearance of fellow-contestant Lynn who should’ve been in ‘Loser Lounge’ at the end. This was due to the fact that – unbelievably – she barged out of the studio shortly after being voted off, thus thwarting her prospects of winning £250! …Suffice to say, the other players were extremely good sports – although dodgy wheeler-dealer Dean still owes me that £100 consolation he promised backstage!
Highlights video (21 mins)…
My remix tribute to fellow contestant Lynn, who barged off the set after losing…
In March 2007, I joined friends to see a live recording of ‘Through the Keyhole’ at Yorkshire Studios, hosted by none other than the legendary Sir David Frost.
Like a crusty, flea-ridden, manky old dog who’d rather die quietly in the back yard than be forced to play fetch again, ‘Through the Keyhole’ is a worn-out, repeatedly resurrected format which regularly bounces between daytime ITV and the BBC. This time, the Beeb have secured rights, but – like Channel 4’s Countdown – it is recorded at ITV Leeds.
As we entered the studio, it was clear that my friends and I had immediately bought the average age of the audience down to approximately 75 years old. Hoards of pensioners had been shipped in from their respective retirement homes courtesy of the Beeb.
The set seemed really small and tacky but looked oddly better when lit up and shown on the monitors. The show involves a co-host wandering around a famous person’s home and the studio panel having to guess who they reckon lives there. As audience members, we had to clap when the z-list panel were getting warm, and scream and holler when the z-list celebrity guest was revealed. Since the z-listers were so z-list, we had to be prompted by one of the crew, as usually we hadn’t a clue who the celebs actually were. Some of the less forgettable guests included Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), designer Karen Mirren and golf champ Colin Montgomerie (who lives on a boat).
Recorded on June 30th 2005 at BBC Television Centre, my episode was broadcast on September 17th.
Having applied only 2 months before, it was disheartening to see the same researchers at my audition that I had for my Holiday Jetset audition (which a friend and I failed to get on the previous year). Thinking I was doomed, and literally having to guess every one of the 30 multiple-choice questions on the general knowledge worksheet, I resigned myself to another disappointment. However, I was called in last for my piece-to-camera and told that they actually remembered me from Jetset, but I was ‘too loud’ for the show, and for the delicate Eamon Holmes apparently. They asked me to audition there and then not only for Dale Winton’s ‘In it to Win it’ but for Channel 4’s ‘Coach Trip’.
Sadly, it appears I didn’t get through with the latter, but found myself being pampered 4-star stylee in London for the National Lottery quiz! Two nights in a top hotel, sirloin steak dinner, full English brekkie and a chance to win up to £100,000.
n June 2005, I joined some friends to see Countdown recorded in Leeds. They record several episodes per day at Yorkshire Studios, it was all quite surreal. The studio was smaller than we imagined and differently laid out. I figured everything would be a lot taller in height and more spaced out. But it was all very compact – dictionary corner isn’t actually a corner, and everyone sits right next to each other. Carol was fantastically quick in whipping out letters; the whole operation, in fact, was incredibly slick.
We asked specifically to sit behind the ‘tomorrow’s contestant’ guy, so we’d get on telly! We were trained to clap by the warm-up chap, who wrongly accused us of being from the Leeds Uni Scrabble Society, and also had us practice groaning during Richard Whiteley’s (rest in peace, god bless you sir) abysmal anecdotes. The celebrity guest was none other than Derek off Coronation Street.
Towards the end of the first game when Richard asked the next contestant if he got the conundrum, filming had to be stopped. There was an air of confusion until Richard told the audience that they “had to stop, as there’s a boy in the second row picking his nose”. The boy was, in fact, my friend Phil – and we were all still visibly cracking up during the re-take.
A year after applying, yours truly became a contestant on The Weakest Link on June 22nd 2004. The show was broadcast on December 8th of the same year.
In history, what Z is the name of an African people who were led in the 19th Century by a chief called Shaka?
What word follows ‘Cross’ and ‘Long’ to give the names of two weapons that fire bolts and arrows respectively?
In British publishing, the journal known by its abbreviation T.E.S. is aimed at members of which professions? Education or accountancy?
In a UK pub, a person ordering half a lager is requesting a half of which measure?
After getting through all the auditions (see below), the BBC paid for my transport to London and put me up in the plush Sheraton Heathrow hotel in sunny Slough. Here, by randomly asking ‘contestant-looking’ strangers, I hunted down Keith (who went on to win) and Susan. The others joined us the following morning for our lift to Pinewood Studios where Jonny Depp was filming his latest movie. Keith, Erika, Susan, Richard, Trevor, Andy, Eileen and Debbie came from all across the country and were all real characters. We were guided through the rules, had a practice round, had our outfits approved (no stripes, logos, dark colours etc…) and each took it in turns to have our makeup and microphones sorted.