As I draw to the end of my epic discussion with the great Steve Marshall, I hope you’ve found it as entertaining, informative and educational as I have. I often like to conclude these interviews by asking my guests for their best tips, gleaned from their years – or sometimes, as in this case, decades – in the industry. And this interview is no exception to that rule.
SH: Steve, what top tips would you give to aspiring game show or quiz show contestants, do you think?
SM: Going back to what we were saying earlier, I guess I’d say do your homework. I mean, a lot of people would come in saying “I came here with nothing and if I go home with nothing, it’s fine”. But it’s a lot better to come here with nothing and go home with a lot! So, if it’s a general knowledge quiz, read through some books, look at some old shows. Do some homework on British royal families, do some stuff on geography and politics and current affairs. It can’t do you any harm. So many times I heard contestants going “You know what, I wouldn’t normally have got that question, but I was reading the encyclopedia the other day….” So that’s probably the main thing.
The other thing is to have your head around the format of the show. Just so you don’t get flustered or don’t know where it’s going. I would struggle going on The Chase; I still don’t quite understand how The Chase works!
SM: But again, that just goes back to doing a bit of pre-show homework. And part of your homework is knowing how many questions. I saw many times, contestants on Sale would sit back, thinking, ‘that’s the end of the round’ and then there’d be another question! And suddenly they’d be scrambling to get their hands back on the buzzer. That’s an easy mistake to rectify there.
SH: That’s right.
SM: And with The Price is Right of course, you needed to know the prices of all these supermarket items, and in theory, you could learn all that. As we used to say at the time, “The Price is Right is the show for people not smart enough to get on Sale of the Century!” Which is a harsh way of looking at it. But it was true!
SH: And you’re not in publicity anymore, you say?
SM: (LAUGHING) I was never any good at it.
SH: (LAUGHING) “The show for people not smart enough to get on Sale of the Century!”
SM: (LAUGHING) Yeah, I’ll never know why they didn’t use that in the promo…
SH: Indeed! Well, thanks very much for your time today, Steve. Are you working on anything else at the moment that you’d like to mention?
SM: I’m developing some new show ideas with a director, and developing a new format for one… which, if we do get it up, you’ll be getting a call.
SH: Okay, thanks!
SM: It’s not a panel comedy show, but it does involve performers and very clever performers who can perform all sorts of roles.
SH: … And you’re wondering if I know any?
SM: (LAUGHING) Yeah. Hally knows everybody, he can find us somebody who’s funny!
SH: In my address book, sure. Thanks very much. Beautiful. Well, thank you so much again, Steve. It’s been great.
SM: Oh, please. Anytime. That was fun, actually, going through the old days.
SH: Excellent! Thanks again!
SM: Thank you, Hally, cheers.
And there you have it. Again, I’d like to thank Steve for being so generous with his time, his reminiscences, and his advice! If you’d like to follow him on Twitter (under his alias Sergio Paradise), he’s there, at https://twitter.com/serge_para.
I’ll see you again soon…