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Listen to: They didn’t suit you

January 15, 2014 in Culture

They didn’t suit you, the radio documentary detailing my journey to last year’s European Quizzing Championships, aired last Saturday on RTÉ Radio One. If you didn’t hear it at the time, it will be repeated on Sunday next (January 19th) at 7pm on the same channel.

If that’s too analogue for you, fear not – you can listen by going to the show’s page on the RTÉ website: www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/documentary-podcast-they-didnt-suit-you-quiz-table-john-nolan.html

Alternatively, listen right here:

Division: not for me

September 2, 2013 in Quiz Show

Division logoA few weeks back I posted an excited notice of an upcoming quiz show which will air on RTÉ this Winter. Yet, after applying and going through an interview, I contacted the show’s production company early last week to ask for my name to be taken off the list of potential contestants.

Why this change of heart? Put simply, Division is reality television crossed with a quiz show.

The show’s format sees an initial 32 strangers entering a studio and drawing a card, which will be either red or blue, from a hat. The red and blue teams, thus formed, go their separate ways and wait for round one’s quiz category to appear. When it is revealed each group has five minutes to decide who will be their representative in a one-v-one quiz on the topic. No-one knows anything about anyone else so, obviously, the producers are hoping for some on-screen banter, self-promotion or maybe even an argument. The sort of thing that’s no doubt referred to as ‘good tv’ in media circles.

By hook or by crook the nominees are selected and they come to the studio centre to face sudden-death questions. Someone will win, someone will lose. The important thing is that, following this outbreak of quizzing, the entire team represented by the loser will be eliminated. Gone, just like that.

The winning team is disbanded and the red and blue cards are used once more to divide the remaining 16 into two teams of eight. Rinse and repeat until you end up with just two survivors and, ultimately, a winner.

Hopefully, just reading that summary will inform you as to why I withdrew. This isn’t really a quiz show. It’s as if one took the ‘Fastest Finger’ round from the start of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and thought “Let’s expand that round, introduce some conflict, and diminish the actual answering of questions”…
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At last, a new quiz show for Irish TV

August 6, 2013 in Quiz Show

Apologies for the lack of a blog post last week. I was away on holidays (in Kerry) and the blog was at the back of my mind, to tell you the truth. Of course, there’s not much going on at the moment anyway, this being the quizzing off-season (aka the Summer). I did take part in a game of Pointless (the board game) which I ended up losing, as my mate Kevin clearly knows more about Mr. Men characters than I do.

tv-quizWaiting me upon my return was an email from Vision Independent Productions, a Dublin-based tv production company. They tell me that they are just weeks away from filming a first episode in a new quiz show they’re making for RTÉ.

The show will be called Division and will feature 32 contestants in each episode. In their words “over the course of 4 rounds of multiple choice questions, on different topics from a broad selection, the 32 contestants will be whittled down to just 2 people.” These final pair will take part in a fifth and final round, for the episode’s grand prize.

At this stage they are going to film one episode, at the start of September. This first episode will be broadcast on RTÉ, with the decision on whether a full series will be commissioned being made afterwards. By the way, the prize up for grabs in show #1 will be a holiday for two in the USA!

Let’s hope the show does prove a success. The lack of quiz shows on Irish TV is baffling to me. So many of us love taking part in quizzes and even more love watching quiz shows. As of right now, we have to get our fix watching UK-produced shows. My excitement two years ago, on the announcement of an Irish version of Mastermind, turned a bit sour when it became clear that TV3 would only be producing celebrity and junior versions of that famous franchise. Nothing for regular, grown-up, quiz devotees to have a go at.

Anyway, back to Divsion. Part of the reason the production company got in contact is that they are still looking for contestants for this first episode. If you’d like to take part (and, honestly, I do myself) you’ll have to download this application form, fill it in and return it to irishquizshow@gmail.com.

The closing date for applications is August 26th so, if you’re interested, get on it!

Trivia returns for round two

September 13, 2012 in Culture

David Pearse and Janet Moran, the stars of Trivia.

I blogged a lot about Trivia last year.  For a time, the show’s writer Damien Owens and myself were thrown together as a quiz-related double act, appearing in newspapers and on radio together, discussing all things quizzing.

For the uninitiated, Trivia was a comedy-drama (dromedy, yes?) which followed the trials and tribulations of Lawrence, a man whose life involved very little more than table quizzes.  It ran for six episodes and followed Lawrence as he realised there was more to life than, you know, table quizzes.  By the end, he’d even managed to get himself a girlfriend!

That’s what it was about really.  “It was actually a show about a romance…” a friend’s mother opined as we discussed it following the show’s final episode.  Quizzing was just a device which both defined Lawrence’s (sad) life and allowed him to meet his someone special.

Anyway, Trivia returned to our screens last Thursday night.  This was a bit of a surprise to me as I’d have thought we’d be the first to know here on the blog!  It was, in fact, Mrs Tablequiz.net who mentioned, in an offhand fashion last Thursday, that she saw Trivia was going to be on the TV later that evening.

Since then, Grand Pictures, the production company have been in touch, asking me to give the new series a mention, which I am happy to do.  Worringly for those who are more interested in quizzes than in romance and life development [raises right hand] the first episode of the new series starts off with Lawrence in self-imposed exile from the table quiz scene. Let’s hope Lawrence can develope some form of quiz-life balance in the episodes ahead.  Either that or his money problems get solved by an extended run on a TV quiz game show!

Trivia is on RTÉ One at 10.15pm tonight.  You can also catch up on the first episde of the new series at www.rte.ie/drama/tv/featured/trivia/

Ryan Tubridy now knows about the World Quizzing Championship

May 31, 2012 in Culture, IQO

This morning I was lucky enough to be invited on to Ryan Tubridy’s radio show on 2fm.  Ryan chatted with me about the upcoming Irish heat of the World Quizzing Championship, which will take place in Buccaneer’s Rugby Club, Athlone, on this Saturday, June 2nd.

You can listen to that segment right here:

[soundcloud url=http://soundcloud.com/jhnolan/ryan-tubridy-wqc]

The late Peter Murphy

June 9, 2011 in Back in the day, Culture, Quiz Show

My own copy of a Peter Murphy quiz book

The death occurred on Friday last of Peter Murphy.  He was 88.  Some remember him as the the host of Landmark, RTÉ‘s farming programme, which ran from the 1960s to the 1980s.  Others remember him as the host of Cross Country Quiz, a county-versus-county quiz on Irish TV.  Yet more will have one of his 14 published quiz books on their shelves.  But, for me, he was the man who compiled the Quizword in the Sunday Independent for the past 20 years.

Quizword, a crossword whose clues are trivia questions, is a shared passion for me, my mother and, on the other side of the fence, my father-in-law.  Every Sunday for the past indefinable number of years, I have assisted one with its completion and then done my best to give gentle hints to the other later on in the day.  I can only hope that the ‘Sindo’ will keep it going but the worry persists that, even if they do, it will never be the same.

Peter Murphy only took up creating the Quizword after he had retired from a very active life as both a farming organiser (with Macra na Feirme and the IFA) and TV and radio star.  A noted public speaker in his youth, he became the voice of authority on all things trivia after landing the role as host of Cross Country Quiz, the most popular quiz program on RTÉ, Ireland’s sole TV station at the time.

From that point on, he was always willing to travel the byroads and highways of Ireland, acting as guest quiz master for almost every event that contacted him and asked.

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Trivia talk

January 24, 2011 in Quiz Show

Trivia

Trivia is a six-part comedy-drama series, which starts on RTÉ One on February 3.  In the build-up to the first episode, I had a chat with writer Damien Owens about the show and his own quiz experiences.

Damien Owens is a writer of many talents.  The author of four published books, he even writes Chick Lit under a cunningly ambiguous pseudonym.  Trivia, which explores the relationships between the four members of a table quiz team, is his first TV show.

So what gave him the idea for the show?

“I had the idea for the lead character, Lawrence, first. He’s basically just an exaggerated version of myself. He’s obsessed with learning trivia.  I wanted him to have a crazy goal and I hit upon the idea that he’d want to win the table quiz in his local pub for 52 weeks in a row – a full year.  No-one else even knows he’s doing it but, to him, it’s the most important thing in the world.”

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Google loves Theresa

January 16, 2011 in Back in the day, Quiz Show

Teresa Lowe on The Late Late ShowOn Friday night, Theresa Lowe, the former host of RTÉ quiz show Where in the World?, appeared on The Late Late Show with her husband, pianist and former political candidate, Frank McNamara.  This appearance had a direct effect on this site as over 400 people visited between 9.30pm and midnight, brought here by this post.

Great for tablequiz.net, to be sure, but what lies behind this surge in interest?

Well, thanks to the WordPress system’s thorough statistics, we can actually see what search engine terms lead people to wash up on the site.

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