Wednesday, 18 February 2009

My Uncle Won A Crackerjack Pencil

TV Top of the Form - Celebrity Contestant finally Unearthed !

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I made an appeal for anyone who appeared as a contestant on TV Top of the Form , or Blockbusters, to get in contact by dropping me an email so that I could pay belated tribute to their appearences on said shows.

Well, I have to tell you now that I have thus far received no replies. The quest, as they say , continues. However I found this little site on the net earlier, and if you are interested on reading a few personal recollections of taking part in the show, and the international version - Transworld Top Team - then you might find it of interest -

However, according to wikipedia, we do have a celebrity contestant ! The informant who suggested to me that both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mother Theresa of Calcutta had appeared on the show in their younger days was, apparently, pulling my leg. However, we have unearthed a genuine celebrity contestant. Yes, none other than Hugh Grant made his first appearence in front of the cameras playing for Latymer Upper School ! Like all the other contestants, Hugh has not yet emailed me, but being that, like me, he is a good old West London boy, I'm sure its only a matter of time, and I await his recollections with interest.

Before we leave Top of the Form, I notice that one of my very favourite contemporary poets, Carol Ann Duffy, actually wrote a poem called
"The Captain of the 1964 Top of the Form team "
If you'd like to read it, then follow this link
As far as I know this is purely imaginary - I don't believe that she ever appeared on the show herself. Certainly not in 1964 - she was too young at the time.

As for Blockbusters, as well as Stephen Merchant it appears that former Big Brother contestant and Brainiac Presenter Jon Tickle also appeared in the show, as one of the two contestant teams, rather than on his own. There is also a persistent rumour that Blue Peter's Konnie Huq - an Ealing girl ! - appeared as a contestant, but up to now I have found no corroborating evidence of this, so until such time as any is forthcoming we probably have to discount this. However, here I really need to make an apology. I have actually played against a successful Blockbusters contestant ! Yes, none other than Mastermind 2007 finalist Anna Torpey ! Like Jon Tickle she was one half of a team of two, and I believe that they won all 3 gold runs that you were entitled to at that time in the show's history.

Conversations with quiz friends have led me to broaden the challenge. So as well as "Top of the Form" and "Blockbusters", I'd also absolutely love to hear from anyone who ever appeared on "Ask The Family". My father , when he was sober, threatened a couple of times to apply for us to go on the show. Mum, me, and either of my brothers would have done alright, but he'd have really struggled unless they had a round of questions on Autumn Gold Cider and Old Holborn. However, I digress. I can't find any record of anyone going on to achieve fame after an early appearence on the show, but that really doesn't matter. If you ever appeared on "Ask The Family", please, please please drop me an email, and share your experience with me.

Actually, come to think of it, lets go even further. If you've ever appeared on any TV show - and you'd be prepared to answer a few question for me about it, then I will personally see to it that your achievement is publicly recognised in this blog.
You can contact me at
So in this bold spirit, let us pay tribute to our first

Hero of the Week

Yes, the first hero of the week is actually my uncle,

Dennis Joyce

who selflessly, and for the entertainment and amusement of others appeared in

Double or Drop - in - Crackerjack

Yes, back in the days of Eamonn Andrews, my uncle won a Crackerjack pencil. Now how many of you out there can make that proud boast ?

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