Well I’m sure you all know by now that the Eggheads trounced the bingo callers of the year last Friday!! It’s strange because even though it is only a week ago in most peoples minds, to me the whole day began over four months ago in Shepherds Bush!!
The national bingo game had called me and asked if I would be interested in appearing on the BBC2 show ‘Eggheads’ For those of you that don’t know what its about it’s a general knowledge quiz show where you battle head to head with some of the best brains in Britain trying to win an accumulative prize which grows by £1000 a show until the ‘Eggheads’ are defeated. Now I consider myself of ‘average’ intelligence so I said ?why not!? The other members of the team would all be former bingo callers of the year and it seemed to me to be a great idea to take part and promote the game of bingo to a prime-time audience on the BBC!
The day of the shoot of our quiz was in early October and the first thing that struck me when I arrived at the television centre in Shepherds Bush was that this was going to be the first time that so many bingo callers of the year would be in the same place at the same time (a bit like the doctors all meeting up in ‘doctor who’ in the early 80’s….remember?…….no?……….just me then!) up until that point there had been 12 bingo callers of the year and on this day half of them were going to be competing to beat the Eggs!(as I shall be calling them from now on!)
For the record the team consisted of(from most recent winner to oldest) myself, Mandy Gargan, Mike Vyse, Peter Lewis, Steve Linder, and the very first COTY Patrick Bowler. Six of us were required even though there are only 5 players in a team as they needed a reserve in case of illness etc. It was up to the producers to decide which one of us was to be omitted from the final team selection!!!! (Mike Vyse pulled the short straw on that one, but he wouldn’t miss out if we won because he would get a share of the prize money as well!)
After costume approved our clothes (we had to wear neutral, unbranded shirts) we moved on to make up and then finally on to the eggheads set! After our microphones were put on we went to our seats and waited for our competition! They actually do 4 shows a day and we were the last team up for the day. Contrary to popular belief all of the ‘Eggs’ are really nice, even CJ: who appears really arrogant when watching the show, is really nice when you get to chat to him. After our introductions to our competitors the host Dermot came over and wished us all the best of luck. And with that the quiz was under way!!!!
The shoot is done ?as live? so there was no stopping and starting the cameras except for when we were doing the head to head sections (when we had to relocate to just off the main set). The first round was Entertainment and 1999 champ Steve Linder did a sterling job but one question let him down and the ‘Eggs’ drew first blood! Geography was next; which I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot bingo dabber, so 2003 winner Peter Lewis took the stage against Daphne (in my opinion the toughest ‘Egg’ to crack!) His timbre tones however were no match for the elder ‘quiz-queen’ and Peter bowed out in sudden death. Two of us down and Sport was up next………..MY SUBJECT. Now the weakest ‘Egg’ on sport is Judith Keppel (the first ever winner on ‘who wants to be a millionaire’) so she would be my choice on the head to head!!
WELL I would love to say that I trounced the millionairess but alas I got one question wrong (which was the easiest one, which I knew the answer to; but changed my mind when I got given the three options) whereas Judith GUESSED all three of hers correct!!!! Despondent, I was booted out of the final round and the last subject of Arts and Books ended in tears with the only female, 2004’s Mandy Gargan losing out to CJ who never gave her a chance!
So the final General knowledge round was with the whole of the ‘Eggs’ versus the only Caller left: The very first bingo caller of the year Patrick Bowler!!!!!! He did a sterling job of keeping us in it but without anyone to bounce off he was eventually beaten by the five greatest brains in Britain. And with that it was all over. The ‘Eggs’ had beaten the callers and the jackpot would roll over to the next show. I hate to be clichéd but we had had a fantastic day even though we lost and after photos and a final chat with our competitors we went on our way out of BBC studios happy that we had taken part and hopefully spread the world of bingo to a mass audience!
The day ended with myself and Patrick sitting in a pub (both of us Gala callers who were on Gala TV) chewing the fat about the show and all things bingo! After a couple(?!!) of drinks I left Patrick to go to his hotel and I caught the last train back to Bristol.
So four months later and finally I can talk about this experience. I had a fantastic time; but if I had to give any prospective Quizzers any advice it would be the following: Stick with your instincts and NEVER change your mind on a multiple choice question!!! I don’t think my mother is ever going to let it lie!!!!!!