Battles, barchans and Beyonce - something to shout about
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Opinion: Ever shouted out a quiz answer to the television? David Clayton has...
I've taken to shouting at the television. It could be an age thing, I don't know, but I'm mildly ashamed to confess it to you. It's just that if I know the answer to a question on a quiz show I tend to shout out loud in the hope it'll help the contestant.
It clearly won't because what I'm watching was almost certainly recorded months ago and they can't hear me. But I feel better for my pointless intervention.
I fear I'm close to being pushed into taking part in a TV quiz show in the hope it might shut me up because I'll make a fool of myself or lose spectacularly. The Chase on ITV usually takes the full force of my rants. I've accumulated a stock of knowledge which I think is no better than anyone else my age and I keep my ears and eyes open. Plucky contestants, who've applied to take part, must have done so on the basis they believe their accumulated knowledge is up to The Chasers. But then I'm surprised at what they don't know.
'Where was the Battle of Orgreave fought?' At this point I'm yelling the answer at the telly. Here come the alternatives, 'The English Civil War, The Jacobite Rebellion or the Miners' Strike?' A lady of similar mature years to mine said 'The Jacobite Rebellion!' 'For goodness' sake!' I shouted at the TV. It was a famous, or should that be infamous, clash at the time of the Miners' Strike back in the Eighties. I wasn't there, of course, but its downloaded itself into my memory banks.
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So, I tested my wife when she came back in the room – she has a lot to put up with! She got it wrong, or more to the point simply didn't know. So, I told her the answer. 'I was busy bringing up the children at the time,' was her terse response. Duly chastened, I shrunk back into my armchair and pondered how it is we know stuff.
Leaving aside Coronation Street, of which I'm a huge fan, I don't watch soap operas and gravitate towards documentaries, news programmes and the like. I can only assume that prostate and relaxed I absorb nuggets of this, that and the other thing. Every now and again something of my Great Yarmouth Grammar School education pays dividends. 'What is a barchan?' That cropped up recently and thanks to Mr Cheshire for one memorable geography lesson back in 1966, I shouted triumphantly to no one else in the room 'A crescent-shaped sand dune!' Somewhere in an old school exercise book, in the loft, is my crude illustration of one and an admiring red tick from Mr Cheshire.
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This shouting at the telly thing is exactly what the Chase producers want and well done to them for hooking me in. Being an old 'media-luvvy,' I should be familiar with this tactic. For years I presented Treasure Quest every Sunday morning on BBC Radio Norfolk which would have sane people banging the table and shouting at our collective inability to decipher a location clue when it seemed patently obvious to them where we should be heading.
Then there were the helpful callers who were eager to direct us via a short-cut, 'What you want to do is head to the cross roads and turn left at the phone box – right?' It was the juxtaposition of the words left and right heard over a phone which often threw us. One set of well-meaning directions would invariably draw in an exasperated caller, with another more direct route. My buddy David Whiteley, who took over the Treasure Quest microphone from me, tells me it's still just the same. A lot of Norfolk shouts at radios on Sunday mornings...
I haven't yet filled in an application form for The Chase because I fear the 'Who did Beyonce marry?' type of question. I don't know, nor care - but if you do see me on it, please don't shout!