In the first of two blogposts, our account manager Ben Phillips shares his experience of appearing on the BBC 1 show Pointless. Ben will be appearing on Pointless on Tuesday 8th September at 5.15pm.
How many times have you watched a television programme and thought “I’d be good on that!”? 18 months ago, that’s just what my wife and I did. Every afternoon, at 5.15pm, my wife, I and her 86 year old gran would pause from other tasks and sit on the sofa and watch the BBC1 game show Pointless. For those of you who are not members of the daytime television viewing community, the aim of Pointless is simple: “… [to] provide the most obscure possible correct answers.”
We’d joked for a long time that we could do well if we were contestants. After months of half-joking discussions, on a cold, wet and dreary February afternoon in 2014, we decided to apply. After filling in what seemed an inordinate amount of information about ourselves, each other and everything from our favourite topic to our worst habit, we sent off our application to the nice people in TV Land.
And we waited…and waited…and waited.
Over a year had gone by since we’d submitted our application. A bi-monthly question at dinner with my parents-in-law would be “So you haven’t heard back?” We resigned ourselves to playing from the comfort of our sofa. But on a sunny day at the end of April 2015, I had a telephone call from my wife. “You need to check your voicemail – we’ve had a call from Pointless”.
The production assistant calling from Endemol (the company who make Pointless) spoke to me for 10 minutes about an application I could barely remember sending in over a year before. Questions ranged from how I met my wife, to what would be our worst question topics. At the end of the call, we were invited to audition session in Sheffield. We knew that there were topics that we would do well in – politics and history were strengths for us both, whilst pop music and sport would be a disaster for us both.
On arriving in Sheffield, we were greeted by the happy, hyper, bouncy people from TV Land. Individually, we sat a 20 question general knowledge quiz – the only question I couldn’t answer was “Who killed Lucy Beale in Eastenders”! We then got to play three rounds of Pointless! The topics were couldn’t have been worse – pop music, sport and science. My wife made a valiant effort at pop music which was rewarded with low points. My sport question is best left undiscussed (giving me a score of 100). For the third round, we were able to work together, however my usefulness was pretty limited. After some more enthusiastic noises from the people from TV Land, we were asked to wait in reception.
After (what seemed) an interminable wait, the people from TV Land ask to screen test us. With a camera pointed at us, they ask some questions about how my wife and I met, why we like the show, and, on finding out that we were both singers, ask us to sing (don’t worry – we had that one prepared in advance!). After some more positivity from the lovely TV people, we leave. We resigned ourselves that at least we’d tried– if we didn’t make it through the screen test, then it didn’t matter. A week goes by without contact. Then we get the call from TV Land…‘Could you come down to Elstree Studios to film Pointless?’