A mum from Leeds has become the latest brainbox to land a prestigious spot on the panel of BBC’s general knowledge quiz show Eggheads.
Lisa Thiel, 34, has been announced as the new recruit on the Eggheads team, with her first show to be screened this Friday.
The popular daily BBC Two programme sees a team of challengers from all over the UK take on the formidable Eggheads – a panel of professional quizzers – for the chance to win a cash prize.
Lisa, of Crossgates, was talent-spotted by producers after appearing as a contestant on spin-off series Revenge of the Egghead.
The day after filming the programme, Lisa was in the middle of her weekly food shop when she got the call from the show’s production company 12 Yard to ask if she would be interested in the job.
She said: “I had to scrape my jaw up off the floor. I apologised to the checkout assistant, who said ‘don’t worry, it happens all the time’. I wanted to say ‘not like this it doesn’t mate, trust me!’.
“This was a pipedream – a ‘wouldn’t it be great if...’. I’d noticed that there were not enough women on these teams and not many doing it professionally. So for someone to ring me up and say that it’s happening. It’s incredible.”
She added: “Someone pays me to get up and go quizzing all day with seven of the nicest people you could meet. Who could ask for more?”
Lisa lives with husband Nathan and 16-month-old daughter Clara and has a ‘proper’ job as bid manager for a skills and employability company in Sheffield.
But her interest in facts began at an early age – when she preferred to read the index of books rather than the main story.
Lisa said: “I’ve always been a quiz fan. Some of my earliest memories are watching Blockbusters when I was seven or eight and University Challenge. I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with accruing facts and general knowledge.”
Lisa built up her quizzing pedigree from the age of 10, with appearances on school and college quiz teams.
After reading Modern History and English at Oxford University, Lisa appeared on The Weakest Link at the age of 21 and has also since appeared on ITV’s The Chase.
She now joins fellow Leeds superbrain Barry Simmons, of Roundhay, on the Eggheads panel.
Lisa said: “He’s been really helpful. They are all lovely, lovely people.”
But she said she has still not got her head around the possible fame factor.
“I just can’t even conceive of that happening to me. I’ve seen it happen to some of the other guys. And most of the comments are very nice. I think I’m going to set up a bingo card. Barry said he mostly gets ‘My nan loves you’. So I’m hoping I get that.”
* Eggheads is on BBC Two on weeknights at 6pm. To apply to be a contestant on the show email firstname.lastname@example.org
Test yourself against the questions Lisa faced on ‘Revenge of the Egghead’. How would you have fared?
**See Tuesday’s YEP for answers.
1. What element does the symbol ‘Fe’ represent in the Periodic Table?
2. What specific term is used to mean a female hedgehog?
3. What does the ‘P’ stand for in the name of the children’s author PL Travers?
4. In which UK city is Great Victoria Street railway station?
5. ‘Going Straight’, written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, was the sequel to which other British sitcom?
6. Which rapper’s real name is Tramar Dillard?
7. Chartwell was the principal adult home of which British Prime Minister?
8. Who was the eldest of the three literary Brontë sisters?
9. In horse racing, during which month is the Cheltenham Gold Cup typically run?
10. Native to North and South America, what type of creature is a Phoebe?
11. Which politician has the nickname ‘The Beast of Bolsover’?
12. Milton Keynes is in which English county?
13. Which British band released a 1993 album entitled ‘Walthamstow’?
14. Archbishop Makarios III was the first president of which country?
15. Zinedine Zidane was sent off in the 2006 Football World Cup Final for head-butting which footballer?
16. Bulgaria has a coastline on which sea?
17. ‘Birthday Letters’ is a collection of poetry by which English poet?
18. The word ‘halcyon’ is a poetic term for which bird?