Welcome back. When we left off last week, Troy and I were discussing his win on Mastermind Australia. The Mastermind format had previously been successful on Australian TV from 1978 – 1984, but Troy’s victory was on the reboot of the show, which began in 2019. Since then, there have been three more series of the show on Australia’s SBS network…
SH: Mastermind has had four seasons now, and therefore it’s had four Grand Champions. Are there any plans for a ‘Champion of Champions’ tournament? If there were, would you be up for it?
TE: I haven’t officially heard anything from SBS about a Champions show, and to my knowledge neither have any of the other champions (we are all Facebook friends as we all live in Sydney). It would be a fantastic idea; I think it would attract a lot of interest. My students have asked me repeatedly if there will be a “GOAT show” (an acronym students use for Greatest of All Time), I would most certainly be up for it… I even have a specialty topic in mind for the show (not telling, though)!
SH: What tips or hints would you have for anyone interested in appearing on Mastermind?
TE: Make sure your topic is not too broad; make it as narrow as you can get away with. My grand final topic for the Grand Final was ‘Melbourne Cup winners 1970-2000’. Memorising the details from 31 races is a lot easier than memorising the details from 160 races! Also, don’t focus on your opponents. You can’t really control what they do. There were several points during my Mastermind run where if one of my opponents did something slightly different, you’d be interviewing someone else on your blog. There is a fair element of luck about who is in your heat and how they go. There are episodes where high scores lose and low scores win. You should only concentrate on what you can control.
SH: Roughly a year after your Mastermind victory, you competed on Beat The Chasers. That’s all general knowledge, of course, no special subjects there… but you didn’t fare quite so well on that occasion, coming away empty-handed. What are your main memories of that experience, and if you had your time over on that particular show, what do you think you’d have done differently?
TE: My biggest memory was how long the filming day was, which was a lot different to Mastermind. I went for the big money; it was always my plan as I wanted to test myself. I wasn’t in the zone that day, and I ran into a white-hot Brydon Coverdale, who did not miss a single question. At first, I was devastated. Losing on a game show was foreign to me at the time, but then I realised anyone would’ve lost in those circumstances, with Brydon doing as well as he did. I did my best. I wouldn’t have done anything differently, and it was a massive learning curve for me. A lot of quiz show champs who went on that show suffered the same fate! I wouldn’t even say I came away empty-handed, I met some people on the show that got me more into competitive quizzing which I love.
SH: Any plans to go on the regular version of The Chase Australia?
TE: I have applied for it, and I had an audition in September last year. At this stage, I haven’t heard back. I did well in the audition (according to what the producer said to me) and I am hoping to hear soon.
SH: Good luck! Now Troy, your next quiz show appearance was in September 2021, when you popped up as a contestant on Hard Quiz, with yet another special subject: ‘The Periodic Table’. Did you choose that subject? (It’d make sense if you did – you being a science teacher…)
TE: It was actually my second-choice topic, behind ‘NRL Grand Finals’. They said to me in the audition I was more likely to get on the show with a science topic, (tip for people auditioning). In hindsight, I’m glad I chose it; it helps promotes STEM in society and gets scientific thought and concepts out there. It is the obvious choice for a science teacher.
SH: In the clip from the show on YouTube, you certainly gave as good as you got – did the “attitude”/comedy element of the show distract you from the quizzing, at all?
TE: No, not really. I went on for a bit of a giggle, not to win. I knew Tom was going to have a go at me. I’ve been a teacher for 17 years now, so I’ve learned to have a thick skin and to have a few comebacks when you need them. I would’ve liked to win that one… but I ran into Rosalie, who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of her topic (How To Train Your Dragon) and did not miss a question. My topic was quite broad, but there wasn’t much I could’ve done anyway; she was too good.
SH: What are the 3 most important things you’d tell someone wanting to go on Hard Quiz–the things you wish someone had told you beforehand?
TE: Have a thick skin. Tom WILL take the mickey out of you. That’s the whole premise of the show.
Do a topic that is as narrow as you can get away with.
Be yourself at the audition, and learn to laugh at yourself!
And that’s where we’ll leave it for this week. Next Tuesday, as our chat concludes, the subject shifts from Hard Quiz to Millionaire Hot Seat. See you then!
Oh, and before I forget… Mastermind is now looking for contestants for its next series! You can apply right here: https://go.mycastingnet.com/Apply/Show/MastermindTweet