Regular quizzing can bring great rewards – as Lancastrian Diane Howe found when she romped to victory on The Chase.
Diane, a Lancaster City Quiz League stalwart, was part of a team that racked up the biggest ever win on a daytime quiz show – a cool £100,000.
Her £25,000 share enabled her to enjoy holidays in Canada and New York, and she plans to visit Russia later this year.
Diane is a seasoned screen quizzer, also having appeared on 15 to 1 three times, as well as Test the Nation, A Question of Genius and the first ever episode of Impossible, which she also won.
And she’s not the only local trivia fan enjoying TV celebrity, with Roger Moorhouse – also of Beyond Radio fame – featuring on Impossible and Think Tank.
Both Roger and Diane have played in the quiz league – which marks its 50th year this year – for decades, with Roger joining a couple of years after the league started in 1969.
Meanwhile Diane has been playing since 1992, which is literally half her lifetime.
Diane is captain of the Three Mariners B team, while Roger plays for the Golden Lion B.
The duo told the Guardian that it’s not easy to get on to the shows, with the most popular, such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire, attracting many thousands of entries.
Daytime shows are not so competitive, but even then you will have to undergo a screen test.
“You’ve got to be quite confident in yourself, and have the ability to talk,” said Roger, who helped himself to stand out to producers by talking about his extensive collection of Hawaiian shirts.
Meanwhile Diane said: “I told them I was a bit of a tomboy – I’m a lifelong supporter of Liverpool FC.”
Diane’s sporting knowledge stood her in good stead on The Chase when she was asked which first class cricket side played at Grace Road.
“I’d watched Lancashire play there, so I knew it was Leicestershire,” she said.
Both agree that contestants on quiz shows are well looked after by producers.
When he appeared on Impossible, Roger was sent train vouchers, collected from the station by taxi, and put up in a hotel where he was provided with food and money behind the bar.
But the filming itself can be gruelling. Roger’s two shows of Impossible took a day and a half to film, while Diane’s taxi arrived at 7am to take her to the studios.
Both hope to make more appearances on the box, with Roger recently applying for The Tipping Point and Diane for a new show to be hosted by Al Murray, although neither has heard whether they have been successful.
Another outstanding ambition for both is to appear on Eggheads.
And what advice do they have for readers wishing to appear on TV quizzes?
Despite Diane’s big win, both agree you shouldn’t do it for the money. “Go for the fun and the experience – and be prepared to meet some serious quizzers!” said Diane.
And Roger added: “Go on with a spirit of enquiry – that’s what it’s all about. It’s a fun couple of days – and they pay for it!”