Steve Kidd on Quiz Shows

Come And Have A Go If You Think You're Smart Enough

The TV programme and the appearance of 'Di's Diamonds' upon it

I reckon that though the BBC don't always go long on prizes, they did on this one. This is a cut n paste of my thoughts just after the time we did the show. We had recieved some flak for being 'professionals' on the Quizzing chat rooms, and this was my effort at a heads up.

What a lot can happen in six weeks, six days, six seconds, and how lucky we are. This is a statement of fact. Many of the issues raised by our win on Saturday have been addressed already within this thread, nevertheless, we have not wished to reply collectively thus far, not least because we are still a tad gob smacked by the suddenness and magnitude of our win (Yes, even if you have won six or seven figure numbers, when you are accustomed to the value of money you do not forget it).

First things first: Brian and his team, were scarily good, he has been incredibly kind and open in his replies and their achievement is, to all intents and purposes, the same as ours, but for this crazy amount of money which people mistakenly see as the arbiter of excellence, rather than the fact of the effort.

Our members will testify (and have done visibly) that being part of a team accentuates any emotions one has towards winning and/or ‘losing’, making Brian’s attitude all the more remarkable. To Brian and anybody else who ‘comes and has a go’ - The more you play, the luckier you get, so stick at it.

Our team was probably formed one year ago today when Chris Jones, Darren Martin, Lee Warburton and Steve Kidd competed at a ‘LightSpeed buzzer quiz” at the Mill House, Gildersome near the M62. Within a fortnight Mark Kerr had set up a quiz on the same lines, in Rainhill (won by Pat Gibson), and on our return to Gildersome, a month later, Barry Simmons came to torture us for the first time. Diane through the quizzing site got stuck in around Christmas time and we have since been as thick as thieves. Barry, Diane, Steve and Lee all play in the same pub quiz team (The Spread Eagle at Darrington, second in the second division of the five towns quiz league this year – some ‘Uber team’!) and we play with Sean Carey under the name LOPOG in the quizzing events.

Mark’s Millionaire win in February was an inspirational event and we kind of thought we might as well put our friendship to good use. Diane, Lee and Steve appeared on Brainteaser three weeks ago (Lee won), and Diane, Barry, Lee, Darren, and Steve all had an Eggheads audition on Thursday (as did Mark, but with another team). Five weeks ago Steve invited a lot of friends to ‘Come and Have a Go’, and discussions with Mark Bytheway, Eric Kilby and Tim Westcott (The Milhous Warriors) at Oxford a fortnight ago and subsequent emails crystallised ambition. Finally, nine days ago we returned to The Mill House, with our families and got the highest score in the country of 31. There was a failure in registering our win code and during the last week it became apparent, much to our chagrin that we had blown a golden opportunity.

On Saturday, with a view to entering the show, Mark, Barry and Steve, along with Steve’s four kids enjoyed the hospitality of Darren Martin and his family in Chorley, Steve having bought a set top box (with no remote), Mark a set top box, and Darren already having Sky.

At about 17:50, 80 minutes before the programme was due to start Steve got a phone call from Di, who asked “I can’t find the church where I am meant to be singing, so shall I come over?” With safety in mind Steve instructed that she should register, but not to risk a fast drive over The Pennines, and we would maintain communication during the show. In the meantime Pat Gibson, who had been living the life of Howard Hughes, left a message on Steve’s phone suggesting that he might like to join in ‘just for the crack’.

Things were looking rosy; Steve’s set top was obviously redundant and we couldn’t get Mark’s to work, Pat had not turned up for the start of the show, but we were playing on Darren’s Sky Box. Pat came in to the house with four questions done but while at six out of six when – Disaster. We got a reset and our chances of a Chorley win were blown.

So by an incredible stroke of luck we still had Diane on the ‘phone in Bramley, (Leeds) communicating via Mark Kerr. At, at least, two points nobody had a clue to an answer and both times Mark relayed that Di had got it right. Mark was as cool as custard, Steve occasionally shouted ‘SHUT UP’ but 35 questions came and went. We had 35, confirmed by Di. It was like The Italian Job, with all the cars in the drive being shunted about while Steve got a head start down the M61, followed by Barry, Pat, Mark and Darren. Sometime around Birch Services Di rang up to confirm – All systems GO.

The “Couch” team was eventually self selecting. It had been understood that any selection decisions would be ultimately down to Steve, therefore he would not play unless forced to, and Pat, when asked if he would play, said something along the lines of “I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request” (means ‘No!)

By 20:40, Mick (Di’s husband) had met us at that focus of our Universe, The Mill House and we convoyed into Bramley where Di’s small, but perfectly formed house was swarming with graduates with clipboards, blokes in motorcycle leathers, a friend liberally doshing out red wine, frightened cats and stuffed bears. Pat Gibson was assigned the role of Mary Poppins, while Steve tried to persuade the director to let Pat sit in the living room. The team hit the sofa like the Simpsons, poor Chris Jones was left at the Mill House, Mick disappeared onto the roof not to be seen for an hour, the news finished and the credits rolled. Up in the bedroom Pat, Steve and his four kids witnessed the culmination of what was an unusual chapter of their lives, as being an active part of what might be claimed to be the most successful quiz team ever in terms of size of entry to the quiz.

The game breaking question was “What was introduced in the UK in the same year that the Channel Tunnel was opened?” Darren or Mark whispered 1994, Barry retorted “Must be the lottery”, Diane chose to play and the rest was history.

Sad to say, the team would probably react the same way again. We know each other, and it was not the money. If you knew us you would understand. There was unbridled joy for each other and we did not think of Brian and his team in a studio 200 miles away at the time. We do now.

If not for this never would have happened so cheers guys. We suggest that the rest of you attend as many quiz events as you can, because they are great fun and you will enhance the enjoyment and kudos (but be prepared, you will meet some handy players!)

Anfield’s Finest, thanks.

On behalf of

Dianne and Mick Halligan, Darren, Suzanne and Richard Martin, Barry and Jan Simmons, Mark, Tracy Rachael and Helena Kerr, Steve, Jake, Julia, Ella and Graham Kidd, Chris Jones, Lee Warburton and Pat Gibson

P.S. The producers have told us that future teams must live in the same postcode area, and that it will be absolutely pointless trying to put together a team of all stars. So you can forget that idea straight away.

That last line was an attempt at humour

I think the account I wrote above was a little generous regarding Chris Jones and his web site and organisation Quizzing (The post was placed on that site), who although he came to the shindig the week before in Normanton (where he lived), he did not come to Chorley for our effort retold above (his "Angina was playing him up"). By six o'clock that evening, after we had been confirmed on the show, his angina must have cleared up and he did say he was able to get in the car and make the journey.

Lee Warburton was given a cut for turning up the week before

Since then I have been banned from Chris Jones's web site and events (I only cut him in for four and a half thousand quid), Lee doesn't communicate with me, Diane won't communicate with me (what has Will done wrong?), I was refused entry by Mark to a quiz he organised to celebrate the Liverpool Quiz League's anniversiary and Pat and Barry have both, become "Eggheads" - just reward for their professionalism. Ah well - those were the days!