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V11.00 09/11/09

Big spender!

Daphne Fowler

Daphne Hudson, Weston-super-Mare, Oxford Street Branch, quiz setter, Brain of Britain; Winner Takes All and Bullseye contestant, describes what it feels like to compete in Sale of the Century.

'I was too excited to be nervous'

After applying in two separate years to go on Anglia Television's Sale of the Century and, knowing about the seven-year waiting list, almost forgetting that I had applied, I received an invitation earlier this year to go to Norwich on April 6 as a contestant.

The liming was perfect - both my husband, Bernard, and I were on holiday that week.

Bernard and I discussed tactics and decided that, as our only daughter was getting married later this year, we would buy drinks if they were offered as instant sales prizes.

If they weren't, I would hang on to my money and hope to get enough to go for the jackpot prize of a car.

At the studios I met my two fellow competitors - men, as usual - and we had a mock rehearsal to get us used to the studio. I was delighted that I had on a light summery dress; my two opponents looked most uncomfortable and hot under the arc lamps in their suits.

Nicholas Parsons arrived, looking slightly harassed after his long drive to the studio, and put us through our paces.

We were then whisked off to a restaurant for a pleasant and relaxing meal before returning for the show.

I didn't feel a bit nervous, I was too excited for that.

The second instant sale prize was 18 bottles of Scotch and I bought them, thinking at the time what a very happy wedding reception we were going to put on.

The third item was a pretty wicker picnic hamper which I couldn't resist, so I bought it, but prize four, a crystal decanter and glasses, I didn't buy.

By this time I was really into my stride, still spending and enjoying myself, but had I spent too much?

Contestant Peter, on my right, was obviously trying to conserve his money, hoping to have the top sum at the end to qualify him for the big prize, while Leslie on my left was not doing too well.

I wouldn't let myself look at my own score in case it threw me.

Suddenly the gong went and I had 148, which made me the winner with the opportunity to go for the Sale of the Century car if I wanted to.

Not being car owners, we had decided in advance that if I had the chance I would not take the money and chicken out, but go for (he jackpot prize. So there I was, all lights down, having a go at the five final questions, four of which must be answered correctly to win the car.

Questions one and two, on history and Leonard Cheshire were OK, I knew the answers.

But question three was on music and when Nicholas Parsons - who, incidentally is absolutely charming - announced 'Peter Fenn is going to play a Strauss waltz', my heart sank.

I am tone deaf. Unless a tune has words to it, I just don't recognise it. The only Strauss waltz I could think of at the time was The Blue Danube, but the tune played was Tales from the Vienna Woods, so I had made my one mistake and had no leeway.

Question number four was fine - it was on literature, one of my best subjects, but the last question was scientific and such a long question that I could remember only the beginning of it.

I sat there in a trance.

'Atom?' I offered.

The place erupted. I had won the car, a dear little Mini Mayfair, plus (8 from my score and instant sales prizes worth over 600.

The excitement was terrific and I floated on air for days, but I have made an important decision.

I am going to retire from the prize-winning type of quiz shows, having achieved my ambition of winning a car for my husband, and concentrate more on quizzes where the contest is the thing.

I am returning to Brain of Britain on Radio 4 in 1984, having been knocked out of the 1983 contest by one point on a disputed answer which was later proved to be correct, and I still have my sights set on Mastermind, perhaps in 1985/6.

I shall still be setting quiz questions for the Bristol Area Quiz which this year had a record number of over 90 teams from the Area entering and which Insurance Services won for the third successive year.

I should also like to use the pages of The National Westminster Magazine to suggest to Sports Secretaries in Other Areas and Regions that if they are interested in contributing or having access to a central library of questions, they might get in touch with me and we can see about setting one up.

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