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V11.00 09/11/09

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DAPHNE'S A TV QUIZ WHIZ

Daphne Fowler

They call her the Quizzing Queen and, despite the tact that mother-of-five Daphne Hudson (above) says she hates it, the title's an apt one.

With cash prizes totaling 30,000 so far, a new car, 18 bottles of whisky, a TV and lots of other goodies to her credit, there are no prizes for guessing why this 48-year-dd bank secretary and grandmother from Weston-super-Mare has been so nobly dubbed.

Daphne's hobby is appearing on game shows and she's such a whiz with the quiz that the finals of BBC TV's Going For Gold are set firmly in her sights.

The prize - a trip for two to the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea - is just the thing that she and her husband Bernard, who's been forced to retire from work because of ill health, need to cap her amazing winning streak.

But even if she bags that prize there's little chance that Daphne will simply sit back and enjoy her winnings. There are enough quiz shows around to keep her going - and winning - for years.

So what's this ordinary working housewife's secret of success.

The answer is, there isn't one, 'I have a ragbag of a retentive mind and sometimes, on camera, I have no idea where I found the answer.' is her modest reply.

Daphne's hunt for quiz shows to appear on is almost as much a challenge as her skill with the questions she so expertly answers. As most shows are 'in the can' well before they're screened, she's got to be several steps ahead to make sure her applications are in well on time.


ON THE BALL

Some companies flash up a brief message on screen asking for would-be contestants to apply, and sometimes you see advertisements,' says Daphne.

But, surprisingly enough, the Quizzing Queen hardly ever watches telly herself.

I rely on friends spotting these clues and calling me,' she says. 'You need as many "scouts" as possible.'

When she tracks down a likely programme, Daphne whizzes off her application, usually a jokey letter with an sae ... 'That helps to get an answer as it makes their office work easier. There's no set formula because some people send straight letters and also get chosen, ' she explains.

But one thing Daphne really makes an effort with is getting across to producers that she's warm and friendly, with a bubbly personality.

'I write as if we are already friends. A letter might read: "Here I am, and if you see me then you won't be able to resist me. So how about it?"'

Judging from her track record, Daphne's approach is a winning one. "I also mention that I belong to three different pub teams in local general knowledge leagues,' Daphne says.

If all goes well, an application form comes through the post or a written or telephone invitation to take part in auditions arrives.

'It varies from show to show but you either fill in a test paper or a researcher quizzes you for knowledge and personality. Since no one is told at the time who is chosen there is no bad feeling at auditions.'

Daphne says she prepares for likely questions by swotting up in her local library. 'I don't have the time to do anything elaborate.' But she does take care of how she looks on screen ... 'Nothing special but I try to took feminine and I do have some TV dresses.'


PRIZES GALORE

Her first-ever quiz was Winner Takes All and although she wasn't a winner herself that time, she was when she appeared later on Bullseye, collecting 300.

Then came Sale Of The Century ... and with It came a 3500 Mini car, 18 bottles of whisky (which came in very handy for a family wedding), a Television sat and a hamper.

As a result of that appearance, Daphne found herself with an invitation to appear on the Australian version of the quiz, which she duly did, collecting 8000 and jewellery worth 6000 for her efforts.

She went back to Melbourne for the world championship and realty struck gold. 'I came home with nearly 23,000 and used it to buy our council house. I lost on Masterteam with two others, and my ambition is to be chosen for Mastermind for which my specialties would be Anna Boleyn and the Poldark novels. There's no prize money but the prestige is enormous.'

Daphne Hudson's advice to anyone keen to copy her success on quiz shows is to treat it as fun and 'have a go. I've loved being involved.

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