My EXCLUSIVE interview with Chaser ‘The Shark’ Brydon Coverdale – Part 5

Welcome back to my interview with Brydon “The Shark” Coverdale, one of the stars of The Chase Australia. We’re discussing Brydon’s new book, The Quiz Masters: Inside The World of Trivia, Obsession and Million Dollar Prizes, which is now available, and which I highly recommend.

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SH: One thing that results from your book being so up-to-date is the bit where you talk about quizzing in lockdown. I related to that because, in the depths of Melbourne’s many lockdowns, our niece in New South Wales organized a weekly online family get-together to play the trivia game Buzz. It was a real morale booster. 

BC: Yeah, that was a thing you could do reasonably easily. You could remotely have a trivia game where you ask the questions out of the newspaper or you can do it in a more organized way. And pub trivia was really just nonexistent for a couple of years in actual pubs. But a lot of those operators were, at least, able to still have a show in some form that they could do online. And in fact, in many cases, they could have a wider range of contestants, because you could log on from anywhere. Or, if you had to be home, because you had kids in bed or something, you could still log in and you might not have been able to get to the pub in real life if it was on. And that just kept ticking over for people. At the more high-level quizzing as well, it just brought all of these quizzers together from around the world who were suddenly doing quizzes over Zoom together.

Issa (Schultz, one of Brydon’s colleagues on The Chase Australia) has played in many tournaments, World Cups, and Asian quiz leagues, and in lockdown, he suddenly found himself playing against the Eggheads, from the UK, and-

SH: Doing very well.

BC: Exactly! And the great American quizzes and stuff. And I guess, because I have three small kids and quite a lot on, I didn’t do as much of that sort of stuff as he did. But I did a couple of bits here and there. I did a quiz that Paul Sinha, the UK Chaser, was writing heaps of questions for during lockdowns. And in a weird way, I think all that made a lot of the quizzing sort of people more of a close community than they had been before.

SH: So your show, The Chase Australia, has been going for seven years now. Have there been many unusual or unexpected moments that you’ve encountered during your time on the show?

BC: I mean, there’s always the answers that a contestant comes up with that you kind of think “Hang on – what did they just say?” I think it’s still pretty hard to beat this one – I think it was Season One – where a young guy was asked “The statue known as the Venus de Milo is famous for missing what body parts?” And he said “Penis!”

SH: (LAUGHING) Well, technically…

BC: (LAUGHING) Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Technically, yes… but you wouldn’t say it’s famous for that.

SH: No, that’s a very good point.

BC: And I’ve also had a few contestants come up against me who I’ve played against on other quiz shows! And on a couple of occasions, people from my hometown of Camperdown, who I’m not necessarily friends with, but who I sort of knew by acquaintance. It’s funny to be in that sort of scenario with people like that. AND thinking back to the very first episode that I lost… the amount that I lost ($102,000) is still the record amount ever lost on the show.

SH: Yeah, you mentioned that.

BC: Yeah. There are all these sorts of things that I think about when I think of the show. But it’s always the losses that stick out, isn’t it?

==================================================================Oh yes, I know what Brydon means only too well. I think it’s part of human nature to focus on episodes in our life when we could have done better. Personally, I can think of two that I’ve replayed over and over again in my mind: my first appearance on Sale of the Century all the way back in 1994, and my second appearance on the show in 1999… I did, at least, learn from those mistakes, though…

Join me back here next Tuesday for the final instalment of my interview with Brydon, when we discuss the mindset of someone who just falls short of winning an enormous prize… and the future of The Chase Australia. See you then!

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