In which my interview with Jeopardy! and Temptation champion Blair Martin continues, and in which we discuss mindgames (or would-be mindgames) of various competitors…
BM: In my run on Temptation, there was one woman from Brisbane who was particularly belligerent. I wouldn’t say passive-aggressive… but there was definite tension there and she was not going to let me beat her.
SH: Was she was doing a bit of trash talking, a bit of trying to psych you out?
BM: Because I only met her as soon as she walked on to the set, she just didn’t come across as being warm. She was in battle mode. But I did know that the young lady who I beat to become the champion, looked me at the end and said “that was really good. You go on and with the lot; I think you will”.
I felt obviously a little sad that I had beaten someone. She was the champ and I beat her but that’s the way the game is played. Someone has to win. You win fairly and you do it the best way possible.
SH: Absolutely. Watching your final episode, Ed Phillips said that during your run, in one game, you won by a tiebreaker. Was there a moment during your run that you thought “this is it, this could be the end of the road”? And was there ever a moment when you just thought “I’ll take this and go”?
BM: That episode with the tiebreaker is interesting, because it taught me what to do. It made me realise that I could lose this if I didn’t do what I had already done. That was the second episode. It was the last episode taped on the day and so I knew if I won that, I’d have to come back in two weeks. It was a very weird experience. In the studio audience were students from the high school of the chap who nearly beat me came from. The production staff said it’s a really weird vibe because normally, when we have school students in, they’re always going for the champion, cheering and carrying on. But as soon as we announced that “so-and-so went to such-and-such a high school, and we have students from that school in the audience today”, the whole vibe changed. Because the students were like “well, we really like the champ, but we’re cheering for the bloke who went to our school 20 or 30 years ago”. It was a weird backwards and forwards.
BM: You can actually see at one point, I blank, and you can see my eyelids flutter. It’s like that line in Star Wars: “I’m sorry sir, he seems to have picked up a slight flutter”.
Stephen Hall: (LAUGHS) I didn’t expect to hear a C-3PO quote today! Very good.
BM: It was a ‘Who am I?’ and the answer was Victor Hugo. When I buzzed in, I was like “it’s Victor Hugo”. But as soon as I started to think about giving the answer, I go “hang on a moment – is it?” and I freeze and stop. And I don’t answer it, and the timer goes.
SH: So if you didn’t answer Victor Hugo, surely your opponent could have just waited till the very end, and get all the clues, and then get the answer right.
BM: I think, Stephen, he does then buzz in and say “Victor Hugo”, and I’m sitting there berating myself, going “you idiot!” He actually picks up money off the board, so not only does he get it right, but he actually gets a bonus onto his score! When we got to the end of the final Fast Money round, there was no cheering – it’s this murmur. Everyone was going “Holy crap – they tied! What happens now?” Ed says “we’re going to do a tiebreaker”, and then explains the rule of a tiebreaker.
SH: Which is another ‘Who Am I’?
BM: Yes it is, and whoever gets it right wins, and if you get it wrong, you lose. I didn’t know the answer at the point when he buzzed in (and got it wrong). I did not know who the person in the ‘Who Am I’ was. But since that day, I will never bloody forget it. (LAUGHS).
SH: That’s right. It’d be burned in your memory now, I would imagine.
BM: I know that Cliff Richard was born in India! (LAUGHS) I will never forget that.
And so, with victory in his second episode secured by the narrowest of squeaks, Blair lived on to play another day. And his story continues here, next Tuesday, on www.HowToWinGameShows.com.
And now, a final note, dear reader. I’ve decided to challenge myself in the signoffs to these posts over the next few weeks. My challenge to myself, in these signoffs, is to find the most ludicrous, tangential, farcical segue to promoting my eBook How To Win Game Shows (which is available right here for just $19.99).
And I’d say that for a first attempt at ludicrous, tangential, farcical segue into self-promotion, that wasn’t a bad start. But please check in again next week, read the post through to the end, and we’ll both see if I can top it. Until then!