EXCLUSIVE interview with star of ‘The Chase: Australia’ – Matt Parkinson! Part IV

As my interview with Matt continues this week, we’re up to the bit where he’s won the coveted role as one of the four Chasers on The Chase: Australia. Due to Matt’s height (6’7″), his character has been christened Goliath, and so when THIS particular contestant faced off against him, it was a network promo maker’s dream come true….

Now read on…

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SH: As a Chaser, I’m thinking you’d need to be at the top of your game, because obviously it’s make-or-break, in terms of the quizzing and general knowledge, your knowledge and also your reflexes and speed and recall. Is there a way to train for that? And do you regularly train for that?

MP: I wasn’t aware that there is a worldwide quiz brethren; an elite coterie. And they train each other. One of the most effective ways that they train is they use various sites where you can compose quizzes and basically send your friend “I’ve sent this quiz for you”. So that’s what a lot of them do, is they set quizzes for each other. That’s very useful, because to confront the whole universe of human knowledge and go “okay, where do I start studying?” And you take one tiny element, like Rugby Union. Now, you can spend a week studying nothing but Rugby Union, and still not cover a question like “where was this player born?”

So the quiz is useful because when you get a question wrong, it points you to where you should be looking. You go “alright, that’s a subject or a style of question that I haven’t thought of so I should think of studying for those sorts of questions”. It’s also just one more thing that you go “if that comes up, I will know it”. 

SH: Who is this coterie?

MP: Oh, they’re people from Eggheads, they’re the people from the British Chase, and there is one of the other Australian Chasers. It’s not a club you have to join, it’s a club you become a member of by participating regularly in their championship challenges and so on. So it’s not like the cryptic crosswords brotherhood, where people blog together and compare their times for doing the Guardian one or the Times one or the…

SH: So this is not open to the public? I know they are quizzing, and it’s a sport, and there is a federation...

MP: That’s what I am talking about. These are the people that do that all the time and they are very serious about it. They have a world championship and there’s a chap on Eggheads who I think they all regard as the world’s Number One. And there have been various controversies of course, because it’s easy to cheat if you’re sitting at your desk at home doing a quiz; you can just have another tab open and be googling the answers and away  you go. Normally what they do is they do it in pairs and sort of police each other. I know there has been a controversy because one of our Chasers was talking about the controversy in which somebody from Kazakhstan or one of those central Asian republics was suddenly rocketed to the top of the quiz charts and everybody was a bit like “hang on – but nobody knows him, nobody quizzes with him”. I think it turned out that he had another tab open and was just googling the answers as he went. 

SH: So in your new role, is this something that you’ve subscribed to, and are taking part in? 

MP: I have. I’m not setting quizzes for other people – because I’ve just been doing that on another show for a very long time so that felt like work to me – but they have been setting quizzes for me. I have started doing every quiz that comes my way now. I do the quizzes in the newspapers and I do the quizzes online and even there are trivial little ones. One thing I have learnt is it’s not just the subject you need to train for, it’s the style of question. And by that I mean – I used Rugby as an example before – all the sports results but then your   question might be “what’s that person’s middle name?” or “who is their cousin?” 

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Some great tips there from Matt. Next week, we talk about that other show that he’d been setting quizzes on, and what he learned from that experience, and Matt also has some great general tips for anyone thinking of going ANY game show, any time, anywhere!

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