So here we were, the six of us, sitting in the Green Room of BBC Scotland recording studios being briefed on our imminent encounter with the infamous Eggheads.
How had it come to this…?
It all began when Karen, our manager, told us that South Lakes Citizens Advice (SLCA) was facing a funding shortfall this year and asked for ideas on fundraising. SLCA is a great local charity offering free, confidential, impartial and independent advice to the local community of South Lakeland, so we all wanted to help. Working for Citizen’s Advice is challenging, fun and immensely rewarding. We are, quite literally, a lifeline for many people.
I’m not one for sponsored parachute jumps or coffee mornings but I do like a good quiz so the TV Quiz programme “Eggheads” immediately sprang to mind. I mentioned it to my colleague Jayne who jumped at the idea that we should apply and donate any prize money (nothing wrong with thinking positively!) to SLCA. The deadline for the next round of applications was close so I put one in straight away. We then tried to put a team together and discussed a selection process for all the people who were bound to come forward… hmmm! After much arm twisting and cajoling, mostly by Jayne, we just about managed to get 6 people signed up before the audition deadline. Christina, Steve, Gareth and I are all volunteer advisers with SLCA, Jayne is senior admin support and Dan’s wife is a Macmillan adviser. Individual telephone interviews then followed, where we each had to answer 10 questions and chat a bit about ourselves. Fortunately, we all seemed to come through this stage OK as we were then invited to the live auditions.
In the end we were asked to submit a video audition as there wasn’t a live audition happening near us. This was a bit of a steep learning curve on my part but clearly it worked as a week later we heard we were through. There then followed a short but increasingly frantic period of revision (totally fruitless!), discussion of tactics (slightly more worthwhile), a trial pub quiz, and deciding who was to be reserve. Jayne gallantly volunteered for this role.
Eventually the day of filming arrived and we found ourselves on the train to Glasgow with our overnight bags. Luckily we had plenty of time as our train was delayed by an hour at Carlisle. So it was a quick bite to eat at Glasgow Central before we were whisked off by taxi to the studio.
This was a big modern building attractively situated on the banks of the Clyde. We were immediately greeted by Craig on our arrival. Craig had been our main contact on the production team and his lovely voice and warm manner had encouraged us all, so it was good to meet him in the flesh. We were taken to the Green Room where more members of the production team were waiting as well as a big spread of food and drink! The next couple of hours was a whirl of activity as we were briefed on dos and don’ts, signed forms to say we wouldn’t divulge the result, got made up and dolled up. Throughout all this Jayne was taking photos on her mobile and sending them back to our work colleagues in Windermere.
Then at last we were ushered into the studio where we met the legendary quiz champions themselves, the Eggheads team, and the very charming Jeremy Vine who hosts the show. After initial introductions were made, the filming started and we were on!
….and to find out what happened next you’ll have to watch Eggheads, BBC2 at 6pm on Wednesday 15th March.
If you would like to help South Lakes Citizens Advice, please visit their website www.southlakescab.org.uk where you can make a donation or find out more about what we do and our volunteer opportunities.
Alternatively, please telephone 015394 47185, or drop in to your local SLCA office at Windermere, Kendal or Ulverston and if you are planning on doing any events this year, why not consider raising much-needed funds for this vital service through sponsorship.
By Sue Thompson, volunteer with South Lakes Citizens Advice