THE STORY SO FAR (which you could also easily catch up on by watching the actual show, over at the How To Win Game Shows Facebook page)…
It was February, 2006. I was appearing as a contestant on a one-off special called Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster. The show brought together 9 quiz show winners – Grand Champions from Sale of the Century, Temptation and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and was hosted by the glamorous and lovely newsreader Sandra Sully.
Sandra Sully, on the ‘Australia’s Brainiest’ set.
So far, I had just avoided getting eliminated at the end of Round 1 – when three of the nine contestants fell by the wayside, and had just scraped through at the end of Round 2, where another three contestants said goodbye. In Round 3, I faced off against William Laing and Rob “The Coach” Fulton. In this round, five ‘special subject’ questions for each contestant are hidden somewhere in a board of 36 numbers. My chosen ‘special subject’ was The Original Star Wars trilogy, and my questions (denoted by the red squares) were distributed thus:
… And we were only given 10 seconds at the start of the round to memorise their positions. And this is where I came unstuck in this round; trying to remember where on the board my special subject questions were hidden. I’d picked the wrong square on my second try, revealing a general knowledge question, which I then got wrong.
By this time, William was successfully picking squares that had his own questions, and getting them right, as was Rob, and I’m thinking “There’s no way I can win now, but I’ve put in a good showing.”
At this stage, Rob’s on 6 points, William’s on 5 points, and I’m on 4.
On my fourth choice, I do manage to choose one of my own special subject questions… but I get it wrong! The question:
And, as you can see by my face, I don’t know it. I just don’t know it. All I can think of is the opening line of the title crawl in Episode IV, which is, of course “It is a period of civil war”. And I say as much, and I don’t get the points.*
Then William (deliberately?) steals one of Rob’s questions, and gets it wrong. Then Rob chooses one of his own, and gets it wrong, so scores still see Rob on 6, William on 5 and me on 4.
My turn’s next, and I successfully choose one of my own questions. And I know the answer. And that makes me happy.
I already knew that Wedge Antilles was played by Denis Lawson, who is Ewan McGregor’s uncle, just because it’s a great piece of Star Wars trivia. But I had also seen it recently, in one of those online quizzes that I used for training, so that just made me doubly sure of it. I answer correctly; 2 points.
So now I’m tied with Rob on 6. Then William (surely accidentally) chooses a general knowledge question from the board, which is only worth 1 point, rather than one of his own special subject questions, which would have been worth 2. However, he answers correctly, and so now all three of us are tied, on 6 points. Then Rob chooses a general knowledge question worth 1 point. And gets it wrong.
So after the end of the fifth question for each of us, we’re all on 6 points.
Which means that it’s now a tiebreaker situation, forcing us to play rounds of additional questions until a clear winner can be declared.
At this crucial point, I miss choosing one of my own questions, and choose the general knowledge question that’s right next to it. And it pains me. The question: ‘What is the world’s third longest river?’ I don’t have a hope, and I guess the Zambezi, and it’s the Yangtse. I’m still on 6 points, but at least I’ve finally worked out / remembered (by incorrectly choosing all the numbers around it) that my final special subject question is actually hiding behind number 20. But I’m sure and certain that my answer to that river question has completely sunk any chances I might have of winning.
But had Stephen really scuppered any chance he ever may have had of winning this thing? (No.)
Or could he perhaps rally, and edge past his two competitors, to claim the ultimate prize? (Yes.)
To end this unbearable and strangely unconvincing suspense, be sure to check in here next week for the final instalment in this series – How I became “Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster” – Part IV – THE CLIMAX!
And just a quick reminder; the INTRODUCTORY OFFER on ‘How To Win Game Shows: The eBook’ ends THIS COMING SUNDAY! If you buy the book now, you’ll get a special FREE BONUS CHAPTER that won’t be available after then. So get in quick! It’s right here: www.howtowingameshows.com/products
* For those playing along at home, the answer is “It is a dark time for the Rebellion“.