Straight after work tomorrow, I will be taking my “face for radio” up the A19 for a 5:30pm appointment with representatives of BBC’s Mastermind for what has been described as “an informal chat and a general knowledge test”.
If I’m being completely honest, the experience won’t be entirely “new” because, rather embarrassingly, I did audition for Bullseye back in… actually I can’t remember the exact year, but it would have been around 1985. I think the lad I was partnering was called Tony (this level of recall doesn’t bode well for tomorrow!); he was the dart player and I was therefore supposed to be the brains of the outfit.
We travelled to Darlington to some hotel (whose name perhaps unsurprisingly escapes me!), for a few questions and a couple of throws as a free standing dartboard that had been set up in front of a wall covered in what looked very expensive wallpaper. What could possibly go wrong?!
Well it was all a bit of a farce really. Tony threw well; I got almost all my questions correct, and we were then summarily discarded in favour of a couple who between them gave a string of wrong answers, and absolutely peppered the red flock wallpaper….
Foolishly I thought the idea was to be reasonably proficient at one or maybe even both of the show’s disciplines—let’s check that with Bully… d-i-s-c-i-p-l-i-n-e-s… “Mooooooo”. That’s correct; you’ve won £30—how wrong was I?!
There was no bitterness involved, but I couldn’t watch the show in which Charlie Cairoli and his faithful dart-throwing assistant actually appeared; I just hope that Tony Green was told to take a couple of paces back when a certain old lady with a purple rise approached the oche: “Nice and steady now. In your own time… Jesus! What the f*** was that?!!”
That, my friend, was what happens when your producers want to hang on to the speedboat….
All of which brings us back to tomorrow. I must admit I’m not particularly nervous (well not yet). I applied with no expectation of even receiving a call, let alone getting past the first audition. And let’s face it, I could be asked twenty questions and know some, all, or absolutely none; but if I can remember the ones I do happen to know, and make reasonable guesses at the ones I don’t, then I’ll be happy, whatever the outcome.
For the record, I’ve decided my “specialist subject” would be the astronaut Virgil Grissom, so if I do get dumped tomorrow, please feel free to Google him and send through a couple of questions, so I can try and imagine just what it might have been like to face ritual public humiliation.
I’ll let you know how it goes.