This week, as my interview with Matt ‘Goliath’ Parkinson winds up, we discuss resisting temptation, and the favours that a formidable reputation can do you.
But first, this recollection from his time as a Sale of the Century champion….
MP: There is one other thing I wanted to say. A really significant moment for me when I was playing Sale of the Century, was when one of my rivals at one stage said something about her mortgage.
SH: To you?
MP: To me. It was obviously meant to make me feel bad for her and let her win. And you shouldn’t do that; you should not at any stage feel sorry for your opponent. Because people want to see an honest competition, they want to see it played hard and fair and so you should not at any stage think about pulling up or going easy. Don’t be bothered by compassion – it’s a contest.
SH: I had a similar moment in mine where I was just trouncing this bloke on the end and he got nothing right and he was embarrassed; his male pride was suffering and we came to a Fame Game and he said “Come on mate, you can at least let us get one of these right!” It was just that his pride that was suffering, and I just smiled, but I thought “Not on your LIFE! What are you, nuts? Are you crazy? Of course not!”
MP: Exactly, exactly. And it’s part of what people want to see when they watch a show like that. They want to go “so he didn’t even let them get one bloody question, the whole game!” If that’s going to happen – if you can do that to people – then go ahead and do that, because that’s one of the things people want to see.
SH: That’s entertaining.
MP: One of the things I discovered about Sale – which I thought was really nice, and I didn’t know this – but people would come up to me and say either I owed them a drink, or they would buy me a drink. Because it was quite common with Sale for people to sit in pubs at that time of night and have a little five dollar or ten dollar bet on who was going to win the night.
SH: Oh, really?
MP: Yeah, so I had people come up to me and they would either say “you cost me five bucks because you won it; you beat the guy I was betting on”, or “I am going to buy you a drink, because you won me ten bucks!”
The other thing is to remember that for the audience, some people just want to see a good contest. They don’t care whether they know the answers or not; they just want to see how many you can get right.
SH: Did you buy much stuff in the Gift Shop on your run?
MP: Yep, yep. I didn’t hold back. If I liked it, I bought it. And there were some things that I look back, and I go “I wish I bought those Henry Griffiths custom-made golf clubs; they would have come in handy”, because that’s not something you’re going to get in everyday life without paying through the nose. Having said that, that was easy to do because I would often have a lead that allowed me to do that, and I know that sounds arrogant, but quite often I did. And just go “Oh, that’s only going to cost me five or ten bucks”. You could haggle with Glenn, too, which was another entertainment aspect of the show which they liked. You could go “Oh, I wouldn’t pay 10 for that Glenn, but I’ll give you 7 for it”.
SH: Right. And then they sometimes give you $500 cash!
MP: That’s right.
SH: They hated me for not buying in the Gift Shop.
MP: Never bought anything?
SH: I bought two things. One was a big telly, and one was a holiday to Daydream Island. But it got to the point where the producer came down to me on the floor and said “come on mate, can you buy something, please?” But no, this was my strategy and it’s all in the rules of the game. Ed would make these jokes; “Hey, short arms and deep pockets!”, but every time – I did make a point of this – was when it was my turn to buy in the gift shop, I would always ask “How far ahead am I, Ed?” I knew, but I wanted them to hear it. “Come on Stephen, you’re $40 ahead!” “Oh, no thanks, Ed – I won’t”.
MP: Oh wow.
SH: So these two next to me are just going “Oh!” So that was a little mind game thing.
MP: That’s interesting. That’s a good tip. Wow, grind them down, Hally! No, if I liked it, I would just go “yeah, I’ll have that.”
SH: In your winning run, did you get to the stage in the second bunch of records where when people found out they’d be up against you, they would go “Oh, thanks very much, why did you put me up against him?”
MP: A little bit, yeah. Although they were probably as many people who were like – not that they showed it, but I could tell from their steely glare across the room – that they were like “I am going to take you down; yes, they’ve chosen me, ’cause they want me to stop you.” But it’s that mix of classic general knowledge and Beyoncé. If you’ve got that, that serves a TV quiz show pretty well because it’s not Mastermind.
SH: No, and people have to be able to play along at home. That’s a really big part of it, so they can’t be too esoteric. Well Matt, I wish you all the very best for The Chase: Australia !
MP: Thank you.
SH: And thank you very much for your time today!
I’m really grateful to Matt for agreeing to chat to me for www.howtowingameshows.com, and just a reminder, if you’re in Australia, you can catch him as ‘Goliath’ in The Chase: Australia, on the Seven Network, each weekday at 5 PM !
AND, if you’d like to read Matt’s interview in its entirety, along with loads of the other best interviews from the past 2 and a half years, as well as a whole lot of new original content, it’s all (200+ pages!) there for you in one place, in my eBook How To Win Game Shows, which is STILL at the introductory price of $19.99 AUD.
Okay, that’s it. Shameless self-promotion over now. See you next week!