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Eggheads: Dermot Murnaghan

Eggheads: Dermot Murnaghan

As BBC’s popular teatime quiz show Eggheads turns 10 years old, presenter Dermot Murnaghan discusses the show’s best bits, why he couldn’t compete with an Egghead and his memorable 
run-in with a very famous fan...

CAN YOU TELL US HOW EGGHEADS CAME ABOUT?

It’s a very simple format really, which we put together all those years ago. It’s based on the British love of quizzing, and we thought what happens if you got the best quizzers in the land and anyone who fancied a go took them on? So we’ve got the television equivalent of the pub quiz, with teams of quizzers from all walks of life.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MEMORABLE MOMENTS?

The first one that stands out is the mighty amount of money we got up to early on, which was £75,000, and won by a team of students. If you add that up, a thousand pounds a time, the Eggheads went 15 weeks of transmission without losing. It was unprecedented – there was something in the water I think. The team were Beer Today Gone Tomorrow, and they were very slightly delighted!

ARE YOU A DAB HAND AT A PUB QUIZ?

We always get asked that! But sometimes I sit at home, watching something we’ve recorded – there’s quite a long lead time, so it will have been recorded several months before – and my children can’t be bothered waiting for the answer and ask me, and I’ll have forgotten. It illustrates the difference between us mere mortals and the Eggheads – they’d never forget!

YOU’VE HAD SOME CELEBRITY SPECIALS OVER THE YEARS. IS THERE ANYONE YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GET ON THE SHOW?

It’s amazing the people you find who love Eggheads. My particular favourite - and it’s my dream to get him on - is Sir Alex Ferguson. I once was at a do at Old Trafford, and he called me over to his table, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, does he know I’m an Arsenal fan? Is he going to berate me for the 2005 cup final or something?’. And his first question was ‘That Daphne - is she a nice lady?’. We talked for half an hour about Eggheads, he’d hardly missed an episode. He hasn’t appeared yet but he’d be on my dream team.

LASTLY, WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE EGGHEAD?

Favourite Egghead? It depends on the subject. All of them bring wonderful things to the party, so to speak, and every now and again you get these remarkable anecdotes about the things they’ve done and the places they’ve seen. There’s Chris and his engineering knowledge, Kevin – there doesn’t seem to be a city he hasn’t visited and can tell you something about, Daphne told us an amazing story about working in a bank, there’s Barry on a kibbutz in his hippy years – we once embarrassed him by bringing out the old photos, he wouldn’t have looked out of place in David Bowie’s band! CJ, of course, with his acting, and Judith - goodness me, I do love having a bit of fun with Judith...

:: Eggheads is on at 6pm, weekdays on BBC Two

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