As BBC’s popular teatime quiz show Eggheads turns 10-years-old, presenter Dermot Murnaghan discusses the show.
CAN YOU TELL US HOW EGGHEADS CAME ABOUT?
It’s a very simple format really, which we put together all those years ago. It’s based on the British love of quizzing, and we thought what happens if you got the best quizzers in the land and anyone who fancied a go took them on? So we’ve got the television equivalent of the pub quiz, with teams of quizzers from all walks of life.
AFTER 10 YEARS, YOU MUST HAVE PICKED UP A FAIR BIT OF GENERAL KNOWLEDGE. ARE YOU A DAB HAND AT A PUB QUIZ?
We always get asked that! But sometimes I sit at home, watching something we’ve recorded – there’s quite a long lead time, so it will have been recorded several months before – and my children can’t be bothered waiting for the answer and ask me, and I’ll have forgotten. It illustrates the difference between us mere mortals and the Eggheads – they’d never forget!
YOU’VE HAD SOME CELEBRITY SPECIALS OVER THE YEARS. IS THERE ANYONE YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GET ON THE SHOW?
It’s amazing the people you find who love Eggheads. My particular favourite – and it’s my dream to get him on – is Sir Alex Ferguson. I once was at a do at Old Trafford, and he called me over to his table, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, does he know I’m an Arsenal fan? Is he going to berate me for the 2005 cup final or something?’. And his first question was ‘That Daphne – is she a nice lady?’. We talked for half an hour about Eggheads, he’d hardly missed an episode. He hasn’t appeared yet but he’d be on my dream team.
BOTH YOU AND JEREMY VINE ARE SERIOUS JOURNALISTS. IS THE GRAVITAS YOU IMPART IMPORTANT TO THE SHOW?
Yes, a little bit. There’s a tendency on British quizzes to get people from the gravitas side – Paxman and Humphries are all at it – but from our point of view there’s a chance to show you’ve got a hinterland, a different side too. Every now and then you can surprise them with, say, your music knowledge.
SO IT’S A NICE BREAK FROM THE SERIOUS WORLD OF NEWS?
Yeah you’ve put your finger on it, it is nice. It’s all television, and I’m a fan of television – I watch a lot.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE PIPELINE?
The unpredictable world of the news and Eggheads keeps me busy, so I’m pretty much spoken for at the moment!
* Eggheads is on at 6pm, weekdays on BBC Two.