Last Sunday I was in Glasgow to audition for The Chase, which piloted on ITV 1 last year and is back this year for a full series.
Unfortunately the audition clashed with Old Firm day, so although I got a whole table to myself at Waverley, the train filled up at Haymarket with a herd of tattooed fellers who spent the rest of the hour growling “We Arra Peepel” and bragging about how late they were out last night.
I’ve been to a few of these quiz show auditions now and a fairly standard procedure is emerging which involves two parts:
- Personality: You talk about yourself in an attempt to prove you are NOT REALLY REALLY BORING
- Quizzing: You prove you can actually answer a question or two.
This time the talk-about-yourself bit was a straightforward 2-minutes speech from each punter as we moved around the semi-circle of 9 hopefuls.
Talking about how great you are to the panel of 3 production staff, eight potential rivals all in two minutes is rather like a super-condensed job interview. Here’s a tip: don’t go for this if you’re the kind of person likely to go to pieces.
To add to the pressure, first up was Brian from Edinburgh pub quiz legends THE DUDE ABIDES who had co-incidentally shown up on the same day. I already knew Brian is a top quizzer but I did not know that he’s got loads of stories to tell, including a border incident in war-torn Sierra Leone. Brian nailed his 2 minutes, filling it up with rat-a-tat nuggets of real interest, leaving me in no doubt that there would be a big green tick beside his name and wondering how to follow it.
I was next and my contribution was unprepared and therefore felt a bit meandering and woolly. I tried a few funnies but wasn’t really getting the laughs. The panel had asked us to mention evidence of risk-taking in our lives so I told them about the time I was Naked Elvis.
This appeared to get no reaction and at this point I was wondering if I had fucked up. And that was my two minutes.
The rest of the group included an extremely bubbly woman from Fife, a woman from Nigeria who now lives in Glasgow, a big friendly bald bloke, a Glasgow cabbie who once won a car on Real Radio, a copper who had previously won £50k on 1 vs 100, a self-employed woman from Helensburgh, a student-y bloke and a full-time mum (“the hardest job in the world – and the least paid”).
The quizzy part of the audition involved filling in a sheet, exam style. No talking! I felt good with the questions and I knew that some others didn’t – the extremely bubbly woman kept screaming that she didn’t know any of the answers. No talking!
Also, I know that Brian knows more or less everything but when we were chatting afterwards he revealed that he didn’t know which Sesame Street muppet lives in a bin.
There followed a slightly ludicrous game of outburst/scattergories which involved a lot of shouting and a final episode where we mimicked the final part of The Chase by answering questions “as a team”. In reality, this was me and Brian taking turns to shout out the answers. This was filmed as well and I suppose they were looking to see how confident and how quick you could be.
I understand that at most contestant auditions, they will send you away and let you know later. However, on this occasion, the prodcution team told us on the day if we had been successful.
We all filed back to the other room and had about five minutes to guess what was going to happen before the woman came through and told us who had got through. Six of the nine got through and I thoguht this did not include me but my name was the last one. Phew.
This means I am on a shortlist of 240, from which they will need 160 contestants so from here I’ve got a 2/3 chance to get on the show.
Yvonne, the very very bubbly woman was not picked. I thought they would take her because she was so bright and bubbly but it looks like the trivia knocked her out. She thoguht she scored maybe one or two out of twenty on the quiz and the drama in The Chase depends largely on how close the contestants can run The Chaser. It was a shame because she’d be great on-screen. I think she said she’d been on Golden Balls. That seems about right. She should apply for Deal or No Deal.
The full-time mum also didn’t make it and she seemed pretty aggrieved. I don’t know what her trivia was like but perhaps the chatty bit let her down as she was determined in insisting that her life was not as interesting as the others – perhaps not a great tactic. Also, maybe the full-time-mum-hardest-job-in-the-world thing didn’t strike a chord with the all-female panel who are obviously “career types”.
Anyway – the hardest and worst-paid job in the world would be in some kind of chemicals factory in Western China?