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It's Not The Answer – for Mercury's Gareth

It wasn’t quite as formidable as facing TV’s Anne Robinson – but Rutland & Stamford Mercury reporter Gareth Roberts still endured a nerve-wracking time as he auditioned for a new quiz – It’s Not The Answer.

Here’s his story, as it appeared in the Mercury.

The chance of my 15 minutes of fame, the belief my general knowledge was up to scratch or the prospect of winning a round-the-world trip were all possible answers to why I found myself heading for auditions to ITV’s latest quiz show It’s Not The Answer.

Whatever it was, sitting on the train on the way to the TV studio I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision.

I mean, how many times have you sat there watching a quiz show shouting at your television set because some fool doesn’t know the answer to a question? I didn’t want to be that fool.

I remembered how I had shouted at one man on TV for not knowing the capital of Kenya.

I was red in the face, in utter disbelief, shouting the answer at the box in the corner of my front room, hoping this poor individual would somehow hear me and win his holiday of a lifetime. Thinking about it… what is the capital of Kenya?

Another question, another blank expression. Nerves can do amazing things to an apparent wealth of knowledge. I was preparing my excuses already. What was I doing on this train again?

Quiz shows have been a ratings winner since the invention of television. Since the likes of Double Your Money, with Hughie Green, to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, with Chris Tarrant, viewers have been hooked and catchphrases have become commonplace. Families and friends will always enjoy their knowledge being tested and the range of emotions a good quiz show provides for the ever-competitive viewer.

The competitive viewer is probably what I have become. The apparent idea that ‘I could do that’ is one many of us hold, so arriving at Carlton studios I was quite clear why I was here.

The first thing I discovered was my fellow competitors were regulars to a range of quiz shows. These professional contestants were busy travelling the country to test their knowledge in the hope of winning one or two major prizes along the way. And I hadn’t done anything like this before.

Firstly I had to have my photograph taken by the programme researcher before filling in a short questionnaire. After that were 25 multiple choice, general knowledge questions to answer in three minutes. However, that Lansing was the capital of the American state of Michigan was news to me. Finally every member of the group had to tell the other hopefuls a little bit about themselves.

Among us was Tammy, a winner on Dale Winton’s Supermarket Sweep, a loser on John Leslie’s Wheel of Fortune; a John appearing on Anne Robinson’s Weakest Link and William G Stewart’s 15 to One, and the list of appearances went on.

I had fared well, but the phrase “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”, seemed apt.

So it appears, Gareth Roberts you are the weakest link, goodbye.

© Photo courtesy Rutland & Stamford Mercury

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