Keith Newbery: Call me stupid, but I’ve already sent off my form for The Weakest Link

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IN THE past few days you may have stumbled across a vaguely familiar face with a vaguely familiar name appearing on The Chase.

Yes, it was me.

I made history on the tea-time quiz show by failing to answer a single question correctly – the first contestant to have achieved this dubious distinction.

The crack of splintering ribs and the whoops of breathless hysteria have been the predominant sounds in our front room for months now since the recording was made.

My abject failure has been a source of much amusement to both family and friends, one of whom has already sent an official-looking letter inviting me to appear on a new quiz show called ‘Are You More Intelligent Than Your Pet?”

But let us return, if we must, to the genesis of this sorry tale.

I am one of those who cannot watch a quiz-show without bellowing answers at the screen and then deriding contestants for their ignorance.

It is an annoying trait that eventually drew forth an inevitable response from the other end of the settee: “If you think you’re so clever, why don’t you...”

So I did. A successful audition in Southampton eventually led to a recording of the real thing at the ITV studios in London.

Was I nervous? No. Was I up for it? Most certainly. So what went wrong?

Well, in the first part of the show you are bombarded by a dozen or so quick-fire questions – and the first one is simple to ease you into the fray.

I got it wrong. Don’t ask me how, but I did. I then entered what I’m reliably informed is known as the ‘pass spiral.’

This is a handy euphemism for ‘panic-stricken response when interrogated under pressure.’

Bradley Walsh asked me the next question while I was still mentally cursing myself for getting the first one wrong – so I passed again. And so it went on.

When the ordeal was over I decided to have a bit of a laugh with Bradley (who had the decency to look even more crestfallen than I felt) and the Chaser, Anne Hegerty, whose ferocious demeanour disguises the fact she is an absolute sweetheart.

Call me stupid, but I’ve already sent off my form for The Weakest Link.

IT’S difficult to work out why talkSPORT should be bragging quite so loudly (yet unconvincingly) about the recruitment of Richard Keys and Andy Gray to host its morning show.

They have suddenly been transformed from seedy, shoddy little misogynists into two giants of the broadcasting industry, upon whose every word we all will be hanging.

But the station’s crude re-emphasis of its blokeish credentials could rebound rather nastily.

The fact is that Keys and Gray are not only objectionable as people, they are not actually very good at their job – as any self-respecting football fan will gladly confirm.