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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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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, 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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Where in the World is Teresa Lowe?

February 13, 2009 in Back in the day, Quiz Show

rte1des90Sunday nights in the author’s childhood home had a metronomic regularity to them. Before 9pm (the dreaded “bedtime”) arrived, the following schedule was obeyed: homework had to be done by 7pm so that the Sunday night bath could be fitted in before 8pm. This was so we could then watch Where in the World? (8pm, hosted by the lovely Ms Lowe) and Glenroe (at 8.30) before vanishing up the stairs so our dad could watch the Nine O’Clock News in peace.

WitW? may be the show that got me into quizzing.  To paraphrase JFK this was not because it was hard, but because it was easy.  In fact, the ease with which I could answer 90% of the questions asked each week led to a love/hate relationship with the show.

Unlike Countdown in the UK, WitW? had a minimum age requirement of 18 for entrants. This seemed horribly unfair at the time. I quite fancied the idea of winning a holiday to Rio de Janeiro! Also I knew someone who had appeared on it. One of my former primary school teachers took part, along with the rest of his table quiz team. I’ve forgotten how they got on now, all I can remember is that they all had to adopt the one surname (to preserve the illusion that they were members of a family). His appearance showed that, if you were good enough (i.e. did the odd quiz), you could get on – it wasn’t a closed shop. Except if you were under 18.

What happened the year I did reach the magical age of qualification? RTÉ cancelled the show.

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