Freelancers for charities

Ten questions you get asked if you appear on Countdown

Autographs available if you send a stamped, addressed envelope

Unless you’ve been living under a stone (or haven’t seen me recently) you will be aware that I appeared on Countdown a couple of weeks ago.  My appearance has prompted a huge trickle of questions so I thought I’d help future countdown contestants and groupies of countdown contestants by sharing these questions and my answers to them.

  1. Is the music on in the studio?  Blimey!  I’ve genuinely been asked this question several times.  Of course it is.  What would Countdown be without the music?  And yes, it does definitely raise the pulse.
  2. Were you nervous?  Much less than you’d think.  The production team – particularly a very nice bloke called James – makes you feel as comfortable as possible beforehand and it all feels fairly familiar by the time you get on.  Getting points earlyish-on helped too, though Hinter wasn’t a great start in the first round.
  3. Did you really think Hinter was a word?  Yes. Still do.
  4. How did you get on the show? I applied via the website and was then tested over the telephone in a small version of the game.  I sort of failed this test but my interviewer gave me a few second lives.  I’m not saying it’s a low bar but it’s certainly a flexible one.
  5. What are (Nick/Rachel/Susie/Jenny) like?  Every bit as nice as you’d imagine.  Sadly we didn’t get to hang out in a bar till three in the morning swapping life stories as they had three more shows to do after mine.  But they were very approachable. 
  6. How much did you practice?  Very little on the letters (I fancy myself on letters) and on conundrums (I mean really, what’s the point?) but I did practice the numbers fairly intensely for the two days before and it paid dividends. 
  7. How big is the crowd?  80,000 people cram into the studio and a further 10,000 are outside trying to squeeze onto any vantage point from which they might get a glimpse.  Either that or it’s around fifty.
  8. Didn’t you look handsome?  Actually only my Father asked me this.  Not a word on this topic from my Mother or my partner.  But yes, I did.  I was wearing my best green shirt (I had to take five different ones along just in case I won…) and I had make-up.
  9. How long did the recording take?  They are pretty slick.  I reckon the recording took about 50 minutes for a 35 minute show.  They mainly edited me talking about Blume a lot, though they did keep in my ‘banter’ with the ace Jenny Éclair.
  10. Where can I watch this?  Ah, I thought you’d never ask.  You can see it here: