Thursday, 31 March 2011

I was the Weakest Link

Just finished is the episode of the BBC One Show The Weakest Link featuring, er, me. And yes, I was the weakest of the weakest links and was voted out first, despite not actually getting a question wrong.

For anyone interested in being on a TV quiz show, I'd say go for it - and hopefully you'll have better luck than I did.

The process started with an audition held in Truro in the summer last year. After passing that, I was placed on a list of possible contestants and finally got the call in December to film in January. The filming all takes place in Glasgow and takes a full day. For most contestants that means flying up and staying overnight the night before.

The filming starts early and finishes late and they do two shows back to back in a typical day. There is endless hanging around whilst waiting for wardrobe and make-up and whilst the other show is filming.

The set-up filming ("Today's contestants have only just met each other...") is pretty endless and you sit in small groups making small talk as the camera pans around the room. I'm sure that if lip-readers watch this they will find out that all we are saying is "Haven't they finished yet".

Once on-set, (a very dark hangar-like building) there is more hanging around whilst they make sure everyone is roughly the same height and the microphones work. You are told precisely how to introduce yourself and how to flip over the voting board. And then you have to practice both until you get them right.

And suddenly Anne appears, dressed in black (none of the contestants are allowed to wear black). Almost immediately she starts asking the questions and your heart is racing. The first round questions are pretty simple and we all got them right. So it goes to voting. Had someone got one wrong, it would have been pretty easy to vote them out. But with a group of people who don't really know each other, there is no real way to make your decision and so I simply voted for one of the people I thought would be strongest. Unfortunately, more people voted for me than any other and I became the first voted off.

The interviews conducted by Anne as to why people had voted for me also took a long time because people were struggling to come up with reasons. People tried "because he is a Liberal Democrat" but were told that this couldn't be shown on TV. In the end they decided that my shirt was a valid excuse and they used that.

I never got an interview with Anne and she doesn't mingle with contestants afterwards. Pity.

Being the weakest link I had to do the 'walk of shame'. Actually you do this twice, once with a close up camera and once full length. It is amazing how self-conscious you become about your walking when you are doing it for TV.

And then the post-match interview, which lasted about 10 minutes. By this time you have seen the next two rounds being filmed and so you know who has been voted off already. One of the standard questions is to ask who you think will win. That's why all the contestants magically seem able to pick one of those who makes the final stages!

Yes it was enjoyable. Yes it as also very humiliating to get voted off first. But I can take some heart from being the only one on the show not to get anything wrong. It doesn't get me any cash though.

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