Thursday, 30 August 2012

Breakaway - Another One That Got Away

We none of us have any God given right to appear on any particular show, and I have been much luckier in the past with getting onto shows than many people I know. So, when an audition doesn’t come off I’ve got no reason to complain. I say this because I heard today that my application to take part in Nick Hancock’s Breakaway had been unsuccessful.

After being invited to join a team for my first ever show, Come and Have A Go If You Think You’re Smart Enough, I was desperate to get onto other shows – any shows. Then after Mastermind my attitude changed a bit. I didn’t apply to any shows for a year after Mastermind, and in fact I didn’t originally apply for the next show that I was on, Are You An Egghead – they actually asked me to apply. I really wanted to play in Brain of Britain and Only Connect, and I’m delighted to say that both of those wishes were granted, and I was invited to play in Mastermind , Champion of Champions, all three of these shows being highly enjoyable experiences. After this my attitude has been that I’m not going to rule myself out of applying to any shows again, but I’m only going to apply to shows that I like, and that I think I’ll have fun on.

At the tail end of 2011 I was sounded out about the possibility of appearing on the Quiz Winners special for the last ever week of The Weakest Link. I’d have loved to have done it, but in the end the producers decided to go with others, which was fair enough. Then a few months ago my son Mike was desperate to apply to ‘Pointless’. I suggested that he might be a lot better off applying with somebody else, since I wouldn’t be surprised if my TV/Radio quiz CV might count against me. Mike insisted that he wanted to apply with me, though, so we went ahead with it. Never heard back. Then a couple of months ago a call went out for contestants for the second series of Breakaway. If you’ll recall I liked the show last year, and the contestant call said that previous experience on TV wouldn’t count against you. I recall as well that they had a quizzer of the calibre of Dave Bill on during last year’s series, so I thought, what the hell, and sent in an application, not expecting anything to come of it.

I was surprised to get invited to an audition in Cardiff, a few weeks ago. Now, my main aim from TV quizzes as I’ve already said is to have a bit of fun, so I made up my mind to enjoy the audition whatever happened, and never mind the consequences. If you’ve never had a TV quiz or game show audition before, well, they tend to follow a pattern. There were 6 of us being auditioned at the same time. We started with a warm up game, then each did a piece to camera. Now, some of the others had been chattier than others before the audition started, so one guy there had already told me that he’d been on 15 to 1 before. As the others went up to do their piece it swiftly became clear that they’d all been on TV before, and the guys running the audition wanted to talk about this as well as other things. So when I had my turn I came straight out with it about Mastermind. Cue looks from other auditionees. Which I am honest enough to admit I did quite enjoy.

The last part of the audition was a run through of the game. We didn’t start from the start, but from about a 3rd of the way through the game. We were specifically asked not to breakaway at the first breakaway point, but it came to the second, and that was it. I went for it. My feeling was that they were probably going to make up their minds about me from my piece to camera and my application form, and so I might as well have a bit of fun. So I did. I went through all the rest of the questions, and carried out a successful breakaway. And that, as it turned out, was the end of the audition. I’ll be honest, I can well see that if I was one of the other auditionees I’d have been pretty peed off at my behaviour, but I just couldn’t resist it.

As we left we were told that if we got on the show we’d be informed by telephone, and if we didn’t we’d be informed by email. Well, after what I’d done in the audition I was checking my inbox, and was therefore really surprised when , on the second day of my holiday in Spain, the kids told me that I’d had a phone call from Breakaway, wanting to check on my availability. I rang the number the kids gave me, and although neither of the names I’d been given was available I left a message to say when I’d be available.

Well, as I say, that was that until I had the email today. Either my dates are no good for them – a possibility, or on reflection they decided that they’d rather go with other people. Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter, and I enjoyed the whole process anyway. Good luck with the show, guys, and I’ll be looking forward to it .

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