Vale Cary Young.

I was saddened last week to hear of the passing of the great Cary Young.

When it comes to game show contestants, Cary was a Sale of the Century PHENOMENON… as you can see in this thrilling conclusion to the show’s World Championship Final in 1987. 

I’m just the right age to have grown up watching all of Cary’s Sale of the Century victories – from when he first took the show by storm in 1982, to when he won the show’s international ‘Ashes’ tournament, the ‘Commonwealth Games’ tournament, that World Championship Series in 1987, and many others besides. With his incredible general knowledge, lightning-fast reflexes, and unflappable self-discipline, Cary was a machine! Watching him compete on Sale was one part cheering him on, and one part marveling at his apparently superhuman skills… especially during the ‘Fame Game’ (“Who am I?”) questions. “How on EARTH,” we wondered, “does he get them all so quickly?” Tony – or Glenn – would read out when and where the famous person was born, and when they died, Cary would buzz in like a shot… and get the correct answer! His opposition didn’t stand a chance, as we all watched, awe-struck, from our lounge rooms. How did he achieve this amazing feat, time after time after time?

It was only years later that I found out. Cary was interviewed by Brydon Coverdale (AKA ‘The Shark’ from The Chase Australia), for Brydon’s excellent book The Quiz Masters. It was here that Cary revealed his technique; he’d meticulously research and catalogue birthdates and death dates of famous figures who he suspected would make good subjects for Fame Game questions. He spent countless hours on this, keeping all these snippets in huge, meticulously organized folders, repeatedly revising them.

And it seems this was typical of Cary‘s work ethic. He was no abstracted absent-minded genius, waiting for inspiration to strike him from out of the blue. Cary was a serious, methodical worker. As a former boxer, he brought that hardworking, disciplined training ethos to his quiz show preparations too. And it paid off. Boy, did it pay off! He had a staggeringly broad general knowledge, but his trick of learning birth dates and death dates made him virtually unbeatable.
Cary’s influence spread far and wide in the Australian quiz show community and spanned generations. Martin Flood (Million dollar winner on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) had this to say:
“I was very fortunate to meet Cary in 2006, on the set of ‘Australia’s Brainiest Quiz Master’. Cary and I kept in touch over the years, writing each other long emails sharing our thoughts on all things quiz shows. Though there have been many talented Australian quiz show champions, there was really no one in Cary’s league. Yet he was very generous in his praise for other contestants, which I found so humbling and inspiring. After I had my only quiz show win, I received a lot of criticism. At that stage, I had not met Cary, but he was one of just a few people who had something nice to say about my win. He was also one of only a few people who took the time to send me a congratulatory card. Three years ago, he emailed me and shortly afterwards his wife Lyn contacted me to explain that she had been helping him write his emails. It saddened me so much as I knew it meant I would no longer hear from Cary. I treasure the times we spoke, and all our correspondence, as it gave me a glimpse into the thoughts of a most extraordinary mind and into the thoughts of a dear friend. Cary and Lyn made a great team. They and their family will stay in my heart.”
The only time I ever got to meet the great man was – like Martin – during the shooting of Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster.

That’s me (back row centre), and that’s Cary (front row right).

It was all very perfunctory – there’s no time to waste on a record day like that, and I was mostly concentrating on keeping my nerves in check. I don’t think there was much more than a brief handshake and a quick “Hello Cary, it’s so great to meet you”… but my massive respect for him and his daunting list of achievements was very much on my mind, as you can read in my recollections here.
I loved watching Cary’s run of success after success after success on Sale of the Century; he was a huge inspiration in convincing me to attempt to follow in his footsteps in my own small way. Cary Young was one of the greatest inspirational examples of what can be achieved in quiz shows if you have the discipline to approach it seriously, to do your homework and to train hard.
Although this feels like the end of an era, Cary’s influence will live on. My thoughts go out to Cary’s wife Lyn, his children Peter and Michelle, and his five grandchildren.

Vale Cary, and thank you for everything.

HNY, from HTWGS!

Hello to you, and Goodbye to 2022!

As the clock ticks down to midnight tonight, and we all pause to take stock of the twelve months just gone, I thought I’d quickly say hello and thank you again for your support of – and interest in – this little hobby of mine that is HowToWinGameShows.com.

Over the past twelve months here, we’ve had three big interviews; with game show producer Steve Marshall, game show winner Troy Egglestone, and with The Chase Australia‘s very own “Shark” – Chaser Brydon Coverdale. There have been updates too, but I’ve been remiss in sharing any patented HowToWinGameShowsBehindTheScenesReminiscences this year, as other endeavors (and work!) have been taking up my time.

Among these was my latest book, 50 Things To Be Seriously Grateful For* *and 50 not-so-serious things to illustrate themwhich, I’m pleased and proud to report is now available on Amazon.com.

I also, earlier this month, finally, FINALLY got around to recording the audiobook version of my novel Symphony Under Siege.

It’s now been distributed to all the following retailers…

and (depending on their various processing times after receiving the audio files) may even be available from them RIGHT NOW!

The other major passion project that’s perhaps been keeping me away from HTWGS a bit is my new one-man show for next year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

It’s called Letters From My Heroes, tickets are now available on the official MICF website… and the first performance will be on March 30th…. just 89 days from now. Gulp!

These things notwithstanding, I do plan to throw myself back into blogging here next year with renewed vigor. Until then, I hope you enjoy the few remaining hours of 2022, and that next year brings all the good things you wish for… and then maybe a cheeky one or two more on top!

Thank you so much for your support – as always – and I look forward to bringing you more interviews, updates, book reviews and patented HowToWinGameShowsBehindTheScenesReminiscences in 2023!

Cheers,

Stephen.

 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with game show winner Troy Eggleston – Part III: the conclusion

From one ‘Hot Seat’ to another…

Hello! Over the last couple of weeks, Troy and I have discussed his experiences as a contestant on Mastermind, Beat The Chasers and Hard Quiz… But in the Australian TV quiz show landscape, there are still a couple of challenges remaining…

==================================================================

SH: Now Troy, I believe next month you’re scheduled to appear on Millionaire Hot Seat – what preparation or training are you doing for that?

TE: Well, I’ve already looked at your previous interviews with Millionaire Hot Seat winner Judd Field and former Hot Seat Executive Producer Steve Gilbert – they are invaluable.

SH: Oh, thank you very much.

TE: You’re welcome. I’ve also studied quite a few of the most recent episodes to see if there are any trends in the questions or the format. Other than that, I’m just doing as many quizzes as I can to get my mind ready for the big day of filming next month!

SH: Well, I wish you all the best! Any plans for other quiz-show-related adventures after that?

TE: After Millionaire Hot Seat, there’s only The Chase left, and then I’ve run out of game shows! I’ve always liked game shows, though, and I wouldn’t mind trying to get involved in them on a more permanent basis, whether it be behind the camera (question-writing, coaching, etc) or indeed in front of the camera. Nonetheless, this is my passion and I want to keep being involved…

SH: Yes, I know exactly what you mean – may your game show adventures continue for many years to come! Troy, thanks so much for speaking to me today, congratulations on your Mastermind win, all the best for Millionaire Hot Seat… and indeed for all your future quizzing endeavours!

TE: Thanks a lot Stephen, it’s been an absolute pleasure. All the best.

==================================================================

And that wraps up my latest EXCLUSIVE game show winner interview, with Troy Eggleston. What a nice chap. Troy was actually brought to my attention by Adam, who’s a regular visitor to HowToWinGameShows.com, and a follower of the HTWGS Facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/Howtowingameshows/)

Thanks, Adam! 

And Adam’s suggestion to interview Troy got me thinking…

Do YOU know anyone you’d like me to interview for this blog?

Or, indeed, would you like me to interview YOU?

My scope here is pretty broad. As you know, I’m interested in talking to people from every corner of the game show world; people who’ve won on game shows, and people who’ve lost on game shows. People who’ve worked on game shows (behind or in front of the camera), people who’ve studied game shows… even people who’ve conceived game shows!  

So please have a think, and if you know someone – or if you ARE someone – who’d make a good interview subject for HowToWinGameShows.com, do let me know!

You can reach me at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com.  

Thank you in advance, and let’s see who we can find!

See you soon, 

Stephen.

Oh, and remember… Mastermind is now looking for contestants for its next series! You can apply right here: https://go.mycastingnet.com/Apply/Show/Mastermind

My EXCLUSIVE interview with game show winner Troy Eggleston – Part II

Troy on the ‘Mastermind’ set, with his trophy!

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…)

Troy on ‘Hard Quiz’

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/Mastermind

My EXCLUSIVE interview with game show winner Troy Eggleston – Part I

‘Mastermind’ champion Troy Eggleston with the Mastermind trophy, and the show’s host Jennifer Byrne.

Hello! Back in September 2019, high school science teacher Troy Eggleston was the first Grand Champion on Mastermind Australia in 35 years! He brought home the trophy with his special subject, Melbourne Cup winners. But that’s not the only area in which Troy boasts expert knowledge… nor is it the only time he’s appeared on our screens. I recently spoke to Troy about his love of quizzing, and the highs (and lows) of his various TV quiz show appearances.

==================================================================

SH: Troy! Welcome, and thanks so much for speaking to me today for HowToWinGameShows.com!  

TE: Absolute pleasure, Stephen. Thanks for having me.

SH: In September 2019, you won the first (new) season of Mastermind Australia. And although it was your very first quiz show appearance, I understand that quizzing has been a passion of yours for a long time…

TE: Yes, I’ve been watching game shows for as long as I can remember. One of my first memories is watching David Poltorak scoring $200 on Sale of the Century (by the way, please bring that back, TV people!) I also enjoyed it when the really good players came back on, such as Virginia Noel, David Bock and Cary Young. I really looked up to those guys and thought it could be awesome to be like them one day. Unfortunately, Sale went off the air just as I got old enough to apply for it! I’ve always enjoyed general knowledge quizzes and trivia nights. I also enjoyed reading books that would expand my knowledge, particularly in the areas I was interested in.

SH: Your final special subject for Mastermind was Melbourne Cup winners – what inspired you to learn as much as possible about them?

TE: I have a bit of a party trick where I can memorise a list easily. Since I was a bit of a sport nut when I was a kid, I memorised lists to do with sport; Olympic host cities, NRL winners, VFL winners, Melbourne Cup Winners and so on. The Melbourne Cup has always interested me, as it’s arguably the biggest sporting event in Australia, and some of the stories involved are part of folklore, from overseas winners to drunk Governors-General awarding the cup. Unfortunately, I’m only good at telling you past Cup winners, not future ones… more often than not, the TAB keeps my money on Cup Day!

SH: You also had another two special subjects along the way – what were they, and why do they hold such fascination for you?

TE: My topic for my heat was Sir Donald Bradman. I am a big cricket fan and like studying the history of sport. ‘The Don’ is someone who is an icon of both sport and Australiana and a fascinating individual to study. I have been to the Bradman Museum many times; I absolutely love it there. I also like reading books on how others saw him. Not everyone associated with cricket has a favourable view of him and it was very interesting getting their insights.

My topic for the semi-final was World Chess Championships. I like playing chess, and when I was little, I was told to look at the games of past great players. There are plenty of books on the subject, and some of the world championship matches were epic battles. The psychology and preparation are comparable to a heavyweight boxing title fight! The psychological warfare that these players sometimes try to perform on each other is incredible. Once, a player complained about another player eating yoghurt, as he thought that player’s coaches were trying to send him a message with the flavour!

SH: When it comes to studying your special subjects, is there a particular method of studying or revision you like to use? Could you take us through it?

TE: I tried to keep all the information associated with a year, this was easier with Melbourne Cup and Chess as they only had one event per year, Bradman was a little bit harder as there was more than one thing that happened in a particular year (hence me not doing as well in that particular round). I then drew up a table with all the information in it and memorised it. It’s easier for me to memorise a table, but it will be different for everyone, as everyone’s brains work differently.

SH: Mastermind‘s Grand Prize is a magnificent engraved bowl – what did you do with it?

TE: It is currently sitting on my “wall of fame” with my sports memorabilia, next to my signed Don Bradman photo. I pull it out sometimes when friends come over. When I first won it, a lot of people wanted to see it. I get requests from the students to bring it to school and show them, but I haven’t done that so far. There are some people who say “Oh, it’s just a bowl” and laugh a bit… but to me, it means a hell of a lot more than that.

==================================================================

No doubt! A hard-won trophy indeed, and richly deserved. Next week, Troy and I discuss life post-Mastermind, and he takes us through his next two quiz show appearances. See you next Tuesday!

Oh, and by the way… Mastermind is now looking for contestants for its next series! You can apply right here: https://go.mycastingnet.com/Apply/Show/Mastermind

Sure, I know it’s not strictly game show-related, but…

… I’m so excited about this, I just had to mention it here. My brand-new book

50 Things To Be Seriously Grateful For Today

*and 50 not-so-serious things to illustrate them 

is OUT NOW!

Right HERE!

at https://books2read.com/50thingstoday/

I’ve been working on it for ages, and it feels so good to finally get it out into the world. I like to describe it as “a very sincere and very silly non-fiction book that’s chock-full of fiction”. Here’s its blurb:

After a quick look out the window the other day, Stephen Hall thought it might be an idea to remind himself – and you – of some Things worth being grateful for.

50 Things, in fact.

From Memories Of People You’ve Loved, to The Taste Of Your Favourite Food…

From Being Able To Read, to Having Your Rubbish Collected Each Week…

From Visual Art, to Instant Access To All The Knowledge In The World…

From This Morning’s Sunrise, to Dogs (they don’t even have to be yours).

And to illustrate these 50 hand-picked Things, he’s included a bunch of not-so-serious clippings, excerpts, articles and assorted ephemera that have never been seen anywhere before. Ever! This is a book like no other. Inside, you’ll find:

  • The world’s most passive-aggressive flowchart
  • The comic strip Grumps, the Extremely Irritable Scottish Terrier
  • A collection of 10 limericks about buttering toast
  • A page from the visitors’ book on the moon

And much, much more.

Join Stephen for some gentle and timely reminders that the glass is half-full, after all… and that even getting the glass in the first place was a bonus!

If you’d like to know a bit more about the book, I’ve set up a dedicated website for it at 50Things.today.

Thank you for reading this far (I’m grateful for that!), and I’ll see you next time, when I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled game show-related content.

Cheers, Stephen.

Saturday Quiz Fever…

That’s the actor John Leary, that is.

Hello! I’ve got something a little bit different for you this week.

Back in June, Tosh Greenslade (one of my castmates on Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell) and I met the actor John Leary. We had a lovely conversation, and he invited us both onto his podcast; The Saturday Quiz. This is where John takes all the questions from that week’s quiz in The Saturday Paper and puts them to a couple of guests.

We both said “yes please”, and a couple of weeks later we did it. It was good fun, it went for 33 minutes, and if you’re interested to see how we fared, you can find the episode right here. Or by clicking on the image above, or by clicking on the phrase “his podcast; The Saturday Quiz” above. <- Or indeed, just here.

Hmm. I seem to have got a bit carried away with the hyperlinks this week. Oh well.

Anyway, here (again) we are, doing John Leary’s The Saturday Quiz podcast.

Enjoy!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with Chaser ‘The Shark’ Brydon Coverdale – Part 6

It’s been really great chatting to Brydon about his new book The Quiz Masters, but as I wind up our interview this week, I thought I’d ask him about what’s up ahead…

=========================   SH: And what about plans for the future? Is The Chase Australia just going to keep on going and going?

BC: Oh, man, I hope so. We film in Sydney now. The show moved there while Melbourne was in its big lockdowns in 2020. We filmed Beat the Chasers in Sydney and then they decided to have the regular show there as well.

You mentioned earlier the time we have to put in… and we do have to put in the time to study, but the actual time of filming is not all that much. Because there’ll be a few weeks here and there. And my involvement is three days at a time, but then I’ll have big chunks of time when I’m off as well. Which I guess is the case with any TV show, really. So, it’s good that I can still spend most of my time with my kids and my wife. A lot of the other work I do, I work from home. So, it’s the sort of job that really allows me to still have quality time outside of it.

SH: Nice. Now Brydon, I must say I did really love the epilogue of your book. I love how you talk about being lucky and about you feel you’ve won “the lottery of life”, which enables you to do all this stuff.

BC: Oh, absolutely.

SH: I thought it was a really lovely way to round the book off. But didn’t you get any photos of the quiz masters you were interviewing while you were out there talking to them?

BC: Well, I intended to, at the start. I got one of Cary (Young, Sale of the Century Grand Champion) but I ended up doing most of the interviews over the phone, because, you know, that was during COVID time. So, I would have liked to have had some photos in the book. But just the practicalities of the way I ultimately had to do most of the interviews, that just didn’t work out. But I found it so fascinating talking to all these all these people, as I’m sure you do with your blog! It’s getting inside the mind of somebody who’s won a million dollars like Martin Flood or Lisa Paton on Million Dollar Minute, who essentially lost the chance to win a million dollars. In her case, I was fascinated by how philosophical about it she was, because she hadn’t really gone in with any expectations. It was very sort of “c’est la vie”. Whereas if that was me, I would have handled it very differently, because I would’ve put all this pressure on myself to win it. I just found it really interesting to talk to all these people – and Cary Young – and to learn the lengths that some of them went to, to train for these shows. I know you’ve interviewed Martin Flood…

SH: Sure have. He was one of the first people I interviewed for the blog

BC: Yeah, I mean, he literally studied Millionaire – the actual show, not just questions – for five years.

SH: Yes. And his confidence was just off the charts.

BC: Oh, absolutely.

SH: He just had this bulletproof mindset… which I found a bit superhuman, really.

BC: Yeah. Absolutely. So I just felt there were a lot of fascinating stories in this area. 

SH: And characters!

BC: Yeah, a lot of this stuff is just so, so interesting if you delve into it a little bit.

SH: It sure is, and you do a great job of exploring all of that in the book.

BC: Thank you.

SH: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today, Brydon, and I wish you all the very best for the next season of The Chase Australia!

BC: Thanks Stephen, my pleasure. As I said in my email to you, back at the start, longtime reader, first time contact!

==================================================================And I’m so glad that Brydon and I did finally get a chance to chat! Once again, I’d like to thank Brydon for his time, his co-operation and his candour in our interview. I’ll sign off now by reminding you that Brydon’s book The Quiz Masters is available now at all good bookstores (and possibly also at some disreputable ones, I don’t know)…

And, if you’re in Australia, you can catch him at 5:00 weeknights on The Seven Network on The Chase Australia. Or on their 7+ catchup service, right here.

I’ll see you back here next time… 

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.

=======================================

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?

Continue reading

My EXCLUSIVE interview with Chaser ‘The Shark’ Brydon Coverdale – Part 4

Welcome back! When we left off last week, we were discussing the casting process of The Chase Australia, and how Brydon got the gig of the Chaser that would be known as ‘The Shark’. But this week, I wanted to explore what it’s like actually BEING ‘The Shark’…

==============================================================

SH: So The Chase Australia has been going for seven years now, and goodness knows how many episodes… Five episodes a week, isn’t it?

BC: Yeah, although they have shown repeats a little bit later in the week for some time. I’m not sure. We’re certainly well past 1000 episodes. I know I’ve done somewhere in the range of 250 or something.

SH: It seems to me that an incredible work ethic is required of you, and you need to be always sharpening that sword.

BC: Yeah.

SH: I don’t think I’d have the stomach for it. And all four of you’ve always got this pressure on you to be that expert. I take my hat off to you all.

BC: Yeah. And at the start, I identified subject areas where I thought, “Okay, this is clearly a weakness of mine that I’ve never been that interested in”. So, I made myself some spreadsheets of operas, for example, and was trying to learn a bit more about that stuff. And I wrote myself some practice questions. And in time, I began to realize that, for example, on the UK version of The Chase, they’ll go into depth with something like opera and classical music. And in Australian game shows generally – not just The Chase – those subjects tend to be not explored in that much depth. Questions will tend to be about just the really famous stuff, mostly. So if you can get your head around that stuff, then you’ll probably be okay. Over time, I sort of worked out what subject areas I needed to brush up on, and what other ones I could just do in a shallower sort of way.

SH: Right. And that comes back to one of the big tips that I keep hearing time and time again, which is; if you want to do well in quiz shows, think like a question writer. In fact, become a question writer.

BC: Yes.

SH: That’s the best thing you can do.

BC: Yeah, absolutely. Because that’s ultimately where all of the questions come from! Someone looks at something and goes, “That’s an interesting fact, I’ll write a question about that”. The question writer has thought, “Well, that’s curious or quirky – that’d make good TV”. So if you’re looking at a list of things you’re trying to study, and you want to do it in a shortcut way… think like a question writer. Look at the information, and think, “Which of these things are the ones that would jump out and be the most interesting to have a question about?”

SH: Yeah.

BC: And so, sort of focus on those.

SH: I think that’s excellent advice. Now, it seems to me that The Chase – and the Chasers themselves – are in some ways, torchbearers of the idea of general knowledge being useful. You see, I have a theory that individual general knowledge is in danger of becoming a thing of the past. A wide range of general knowledge is no longer necessary. Because, thanks to the ubiquity of the internet, if any of us need to know something, we look it up, we use it and we then forget it. Because we can. The next time we need to know a certain fact, we’ll look it up, use it and forget it again. But I really like the fact that your program celebrates individual general knowledge. And I find it heartening that there still seem to be enough people with good general knowledge showing up and wanting to play. And there are, aren’t there?

BC: Yeah, but you can also look at it from the point of view that in the past, it’s been harder to study general knowledge. Now, if you have that interest in the first place, it’s so much easier. When I was a kid, I’d have had to literally browse the encyclopedias if I was trying to study general knowledge. Or if I was going on Sale of the Century back in the 90s. And these days, you literally have all the world’s knowledge in your phone, if you’re interested in looking for it. But you do have to have that interest and curiosity in the first place. And I guess what I’ve always had is, I’ve just wanted to know the stories behind things and why is something the way it is. A lot of people don’t necessarily have that, and that’s fine. But there are stacks of people out there who do, and they want to be the person who gets the right answer at Pub Trivia or who shouts at the TV and impresses everyone by going “Oh, well, I knew that one”.

SH: Yeah, bragging rights.

BC: Yeah, exactly.

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You’ll see that I mentioned Brydon’s colleagues (the other three Chasers) above. I’ve interviewed all of them for this blog at one stage or another. If you’re interested in reading my interview with Issa “The Supernerd” Schultz, it’s HERE. My interview with Matt “Goliath” Parkinson is HERE, and my interview with Cheryl “Tiger Mum” Toh is HERE. 

And of course, my interview with Brydon “The Shark” Coverdale will continue right here next Tuesday!

See you then!