May 25, 1992     Article


On TV they look cool, intelligent and totally in control. As they fire questions at hopeful contestants and hand out the glittering prizes, everyone know that the TV quizmasters are in charge.


But just how brainy are the TV game show hosts. Without the answers written down in front of them how many questions would THEY get right if the spotlight was on them? We decided to turn the tables and test the intelligence of these telly gents by quizzing the quizmasters at their own game.


On screen Krypton Factor host Gordon Burn looks suave, sophisticated and super-intellegent. But when we rang Burn at 7.30 in the morning he sounding anything but bright. “What do you want? You’ve got me out of bed”, he croaked.


As a starter for ten we asked gameshow Gordon what was the capital city of Peru? Struggling to answer our easy starter Burn asked us to repeat the question. We did, but he was obviously stumped. For gormless Gordon simply hung up the phone.


Bob - brainy?

Bob – brainy?

Our next contestant was Bob Monkhouse, host of a hatful of shows. From the Golden Shot to Celebrity Squares, Bob has a Full House of quiz show credits to his name. But the S64.000 question is how brainy is Bob?

At first he seemed reluctant to take part in our quiz. As we explained the rules he constantly interrupted, telling us to speak to his agent. But he soon regained his composure.


“Alright, alright. What’s this question then?” snapped Bob. “What B describes a person who speaks fluently in two languages?” we asked. “That’s easy”, replied Bob. “Bilingual”.


Although Bob’s answer was correct, we couldn’t give him a point. “Sorry Bob, we have to accept the first word you say”, we explained. “And as you said “That’s easy’ first, strictly speaking you got the answer wrong.” “That’s ridiculous”, fumed Bob, before hanging up the phone. They don’t mind dishing out the petty rules and regulations, but it’s a different story when the TV game show hosts are on the receiving end.


Tubby comic Les Dawson has poked fun at hundreds of guests on the popular TV game show Blankety Blank. But how would he feel of the jokes were on him?


Les - holiday home

Les – holiday home

Deadpan Dawson sounded surprised when we rang him at his Corfu holiday retreat and offered him six catagories of question to choose from. “Where did you get this number from?” he snapped. Les was less then co-operative, so we chose a catagory for him, and selected a question on science. We asked Dawson which metal has the chemical symbol ‘Ag’? There was a long silence, before Les repeated his enquiry. “Who gave you this number?”


We explained that the tables were turned, and that today we would be asking the questions, pointing out that he had only 4 seconds left in which to answer. Les’s reply was unprintable.


Next we decided to put Gambit presenter Fred Dinenage in the hot seat and managed to track him down to an office at London Weekend Television. “Your name please”, we asked the 52-year-old presenter. . “It’s Fred here. Who’s that?” he replied.


“Mr. Dinenage, you have two minutes to answer questions on the life and work of Charles Darwin starting from… now. On which island group did Darwin make his study of finches the result of which formed the basis for his theory of natural selection?”


“I’m sorry… who is this?” replied Fred. ‘No, the Galapagos Archipelago. Aboard which ship did Darwin set sail as Scientific Officer in Dezember 1852?” “Look. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what this is all about”, said a flustered Dinenage, wasting valuable time. And by the end of his two minutes he had failed to score a single point.


Noel - tidy beard

Noel – tidy beard

When we rang Telly Addicts top man Noel Edmonds he displayed a remarkable lack of TV knowledge. House Party host Noel was busy recording his shown when we called. “I’m sorry, can I get Noel to call you back”, the receptionist asked us. We decided to leave Noel a simple question about Thunderbirds. and asked if he’d get back to us with the answer. A week later we still hadn’t heard from Mr. Edmonds. He’s obviously not a telly addict after all.


Of all the quizmasters and game show hosts we rang, not one made it into the second round of our quiz. Derek Batey was among the few who managed to score a point, correctly saying that his wife would keep the oven gloves on a hook in the pantry. So there were no takers for our star prize – a brand new Ford Fiesta and a matching luggage set.


Here’s a chance to pit your wits against the TV quizmasters. Listed below are some of the questions we asked the quiz show kings along with the answers they gave. Fill in your own answers in the blank column on the right. (The correct answers are listed below). You have thirty seconds to answer these questions starting from now!

How did you do? Here are the correct answers: 1. Paris  2. John Lennon  3. 1066  4. Isaac Walton  5. General Norman Swortchchough

How did you do? Here are the correct answers: 1. Paris 2. John Lennon 3. 1066 4. Isaac Walton 5. General Norman Swortchchough


That’s how one TV insider described Britain’s TV game show hosts.

And he claimed that the majority of TV quizmasters don’t know the answers to the questions they ask – they look them up in books!

And we were told that TV’s quiz show king, mega-brainy Mastermind Magnus Magnusson is in fact – a dunce.


“He’s just showing off when he asks all his big, clever questions. Little do the audience know, he doesn’t even think the questions up, never mind know the answers”, said our insider.


A spokesman for Mastermind confirmed that independent question setters write questions for the show. When we rang Magnusson’s Iceland home his wife told us he wasn’t in. “Magnus is very upset about this whole business. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone”, claimed the fraudster’s wife.


Crowther - missing files

Crowther – missing files

We then rang Leslie Crowther’s former school to find out whether the bespectacled ‘Sale of the Century’ star had got any ‘O’ levels. But a spokesman told us that files Crowther – missing files on Crowther which contained his exam results had mysteriously gone ‘missing’.

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