Matt Thorpe & Family on TV with the Eggheads

Local lad, Matt Thorpe, got in touch with us about his adventure on Eggheads! Have a read of his experience ☺️

Me and my family have always loved a quiz, both among ourselves or against others in a Pub Quiz setting. We had appeared on Eggheads back in 2009 and ran them close – losing in sudden death in the final round. In those days it was shown on BBC, but Channel 5 have the rights now. At the start of the year they emailed me, as previous team captain, to see if we would like another crack at beating the Eggheads (puns intended!).

I roped in my Dad, Simon, step-mum, Elaine and her sister, Susan, to form our team. We had to answer a few questions over the phone to test our knowledge and then individually had to explain our strength and weaknesses and why we wanted to go on.

Our application was successful, and we had a date to be at Elstree Studios one Saturday morning in September. We drove up full of anticipation and testing ourselves with quiz questions on the way. Me and my Dad had been on Eggheads before, whilst I have also appeared on Countdown and Popmaster. Sue had been runner-up in an episode of 15-1, so we all had some TV/Radio quiz experience, except for Elaine, who was making her debut.

We arrived promptly and checked in with security and led to our own personal ‘Green Room’. This was filled with snacks such as porridge, crisps and fruit, plus drinks. We had had to name a reserve, which was my brother Luke, in case of last minute unavailability. We had to sign a form to declare if we wanted to split any winnings 4 or 5 ways. We decided to be kind and include Luke, so chose 5 ways. After we had signed they told we were playing for a cool 20k. There is 1k in the pot every episode, which meant that The Eggheads had defeated the last 19 teams faced. Surely they were due a defeat? There is a rostrum of 8 Eggheads in total, with any 4 appearing on each episode. We were informed that the 4 Eggheads we would be taking on were Lisa, Steve, Olaf and the king of quizzes himself, Kevin! Statistically these are the 4 best Eggheads, so the show assistants warned us that we would have our work cut out!

Our team name (as the 1st time we were on) was Dead Parrots – a homage to the name of David Brent’s quiz team in a classic episode of The Office. I wore a special parrot shirt for the occasion. We were billed as the 3 times winners of the Felixstowe Annual Music quiz. A decent achievement but probably not one that had the Eggheads quaking in their eggcups!

Soon we were sent to make-up - mandatory for Eggheads and contestants alike - not to improve our appearance but to reduce the glare of the TV lights – or so they told us! Then it was into the studio and we all sat at our designated seats behind the contestant’s table with our names in front. Elaine is known as ‘Grim’, as her maiden name was Grimmett, so this was her name on the show! The TV crew showed us which cameras to look at and we rehearsed introductions. Shortly the 4 Eggheads arrived, and sat behind their table. They were friendly and welcoming. We chatted about our last appearance. Finally, in strode the host himself, Jeremy Vine. He was very warm and professional and put us at ease.

Then the cameras started rolling. The first category was ‘TV & Films’. Grim volunteered, and went head to head with Lisa. Jeremy found her name funny and asked permission to call her Grim – as it seemed a bit rude. After a good effort Lisa won and then came ‘Arts and Books’. This was the category we were dreading as a team – we wanted Geography, History or Sport – but never mind. Sue didn’t want to be left on her own at the end so we had to hold my Dad back and I figured that Music would come next – so Sue had to take one for the team. She did this in style and picked Kevin as her challenger! After a couple of stinking questions we were two players down.

Music was announced as the final category – at last! I had been given the big build up, so now I was under pressure to deliver! I chose Steve as my opponent. The first question was about Lewis Capaldi. By chance my Dad had been playing him in the car on the way up, so I knew the answer! With this kind of serendipity were we going to triumph – Slum Dog Millionaire style?!!  My next question was about Opera and the third was on Musical poetry – not the pop questions I was hoping for. Luckily, I got them correct. Steve also got 3/3 so it was on to sudden death, where they ask you a question but with no multiple choice options. I got a Lady Gaga question correct (annoyingly they cut this from the edit!) and Steve got one about Def Leppard correct. I was finally stumped on my fifth question, getting a song about musicals wrong. Steve got a simple question correct to make it a hattrick of Egghead wins. This meant my Dad would have to face them alone in the final.

My parting words to my Dad were to ‘take your time’ on answering, as there is no clock. Unfortunately the nerves got the better of him and he jumped straight in with the wrong answer! He immediately realised his mistake – the agony on his face clear to see. My Dad then gave two excellent answers to questions about how a steak is cooked in France and where Gozo is, so got 2/3 questions correct. 

But unfortunately, the Eggheads got all 3 correct, so no jackpot for us. The Eggheads had not got a question wrong all show! 

Despite this, they applauded our efforts and said we had been unlucky with our questions.

It was back to the Green Room to lick our wounds, a quick commiserations drink in the nearest pub, and then homeward bound. The whole experience was superb and we were made to feel so welcome by all. It was nice to be treated like a ‘star’ for a day. I would recommend the experience to anyone – the nerves soon go. It was a nice feeling to have Felixstowe represented on a national stage. I had a follow up call a few weeks later from a producer saying he had been passed my details by the Eggheads producer and would I like to be involved in a new quiz show. I have been to London to film a pilot of this top secret new show with a very famous host. If the series is commissioned you will be seeing me on the TV again one day. And who knows, maybe the Dead Parrots will apply again for a third crack at those pesky Eggheads!

Link to the episode:-