Maybe staying up so late the night before filming wasn’t such a great idea, but at the age of 16, when you get the opportunity to lose your virginity to a Bishop’s daughter you’d be foolish to pass it (or her) up. Anyway how was I to know that it would be me and my schoolmate that would have our name’s pulled out of the hat to actually film the following morning.
A glorious array of kooks, geeks, swats, spots and grots had been
there for ages waiting for their chance shine. We had landed the day
before with the expectation that we would be around for at least a few
days; watching filming, learning the hand jive and trying to spot Boon
in the Central TV studios canteen.
Before we knew what had hit us we’d been randomly selected, we were
first up, challenging the dude who’d the previous day flown through two
rounds and who’d then retreated to the hotel for an early night so he’d
be fresh for his third and final attempt at completing a clean sweep of
Gold Runs. I felt like I was watching myself from afar, swimming through
murky canal water with a groggy brain barely responding to the
increasingly bizarre stimuli presenting themselves to me. Bob was asking
me about my boyhood rock climbing hobby and I was responding
monosyllabically, unable to gather my thoughts. Why do people film TV
shows at the ungodly hour of 9 O’clock in the morning? Where have they
got all the old people in the audience from? Why does the desk just look
like a crappy piece of plywood with a buzzer hastily taped to it
alongside a dodgy electrical connection – when on TV, viewed from the
other side, it looks quite professionally constructed.
Things started well, my first answer of Inspector bagged us a blue
“I” on the board. Things went downhill from there. Maybe going on the
show with a soon to be sectioned, paranoid schizophrenic wasn’t the
ideal recipe for success. I got a pound for every minute of my fame (as
did my team mate, which wasn’t bad considering he didn’t contribute
towards any of the two further questions we managed to get right – the
only thing he had done was inform Bob that his role on the 6th Form
Committee involved organising “Disco’s and Do’s and stuff”). By 10am we
were on the train heading back to Manchester with our signed
dictionaries and our hideous rugby shirts – no I didn’t ask for a P, or
an E, I think the best I’d asked for was a Y. I’d even had to hound Bob
to sign my dictionary, once he’d seen how badly we had performed he
treated us like bad smells that he was steadfastly attempting to avoid.
The only high point was realising once the show had aired that the TV
cameras had successfully captured me calling Bob Holness a tw*t, I had
mouthed the insult as he inanely arse kissed our successful competitor.