That’s Blockbusters!!!

Or that time I was on the telly…

I received a message on my facebook page today…

“Strange question, but were you ever on Blockbusters?”

She was obviously feeling confused when she was watching Channel 5 and my face popped up…

So let me explain…

Back in 1997 I was a student teacher in Leeds, and my friend Claire saw an advert for contestants for Blockbusters. I thought she was mad… Blockbusters was a fun gameshow with gonks, hand jiving and sixth form students (16 to 18 year olds). It was fab, and I would have loved to be on it, but I was 27, so there was a slight problem 😂

Apparently this was a new version being filmed by the BBC with a new, serious host, Michael Aspel. And we were bored, so we applied as a team.

The auditions were held in a hotel in Leeds, where we ate free sandwiches and drank warm squash. We nervously eyed up the competition… there were a lot of clever, serious looking people there.

We were led en masse into a large meeting room lined with seats where we each had to stand up, tell everybody something about ourselves, and well… that was it for the auditions.

We were shocked to get a phone call a couple of weeks later telling us we had been chosen to be on the show, and we would be picked up by a taxi the following week to drive us across the Pennines to Manchester for the filming. The glamour! We were thrilled!

We were on three episodes, which aired after the cricket on BBC2 some time over the summer. I won’t spoil it for you… but we had lots of fun.

I recorded the episodes on VHS (remember that?) and forgot all about it.

Until about a decade later, when I was watching “The Office” and this guy popped up who I was sure I knew from somewhere…

I dug out my tapes, and yes, it was our geeky, extremely tall opponent on Blockbusters, Stephen Merchant.

Back when we had filmed it, he had said that he wanted to write comedy and be a DJ. I guess he did it… writing The Office, Extras, and loads more brilliant stuff.

I excitedly uploaded my videos to a new website called Youtube, and have enjoyed seeing the clips pop up all over the place. I’ve seen myself on The One Show, on Graham Norton, and even made it into the pages of Heat magazine 😁😁😁

I even got to speak to Stephen about it on his Radio 6 show. He was very funny, of course, and conceded that he hadn’t been as good as us on the show.

I loved his final riposte to me… “well you seem lovely, and know lots of things… but how many BAFTAs have you got?” 😂😂😂

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