Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Thursday, July 10, 2003

WHO WANTS ETC. I'm not the only one unhappy about last Monday's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.

Playing for $64,000, Mr McBrien, wrongly according to the network, said that five justices sat on a full bench of the High Court of Australia. The correct answer, host Eddie McGuire told him, was seven. But news of Mr McBrien's $32,000 loss has reached Australia's highest court and the ears of Chief Justice Murray Gleeson. The Australian understands the Chief Justice, who did not see the program, reckons Who Wants To Be a Millionaire got it wrong.

While it is correct that seven judges sit on the High Court, the term Full Court or Bench is defined under the Judiciary Act (1903) as a hearing comprising "two or more justices".

There was a disputed question not long ago regarding the flag of Rwanda - the losing contestant was invited back to continue where he'd left off. Doesn't look like it's going to happen in this case.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

WHO WANTS TO SHAKE HANDS WITH EDDIE MCGUIRE? Not me, after failing to be the Fastest Finger on Who Wants to be a Millionaire last night.One of those who beat me to it was a Kiwi who took an inordinately long time to answer the $100 question: 'Where does the sun rise in Australia: North, South, East or West?'

Still, a fun time was had by all. Katie had to stay home with Rosie, so my sister Ann-Maree accompanied me. We were flown down to Melbourne on a Monday night two weeks ago, were met at the airport by a stretch limo, and enjoyed 5 star luxury at Crown Towers: the marble bathroom had a small TV above the spa bath.

The next morning we were driven out to Channel Nine studios at Richmond, which were as grotty as I remembered them from appearing on Sale of the Century 16 years ago. At least the Sale set had looked much as it did on TV: when we went onto the Millionaire set for rehearsals, I thought this must just be a mock-up where we practised - but no, it was the real thing. It looks better on television thanks to flashing lights and dry ice. In the words of Oliver Reed in Gladiator: 'Shadows and dust'.

The makeup room was a time warp, lined with pictures of Darryl Somers and Jackie McDonald in all kinds of bizarre costumes and makeup from Hey Hey Its Saturday. Jokes about the awfulness of Channel 9 canteen food, which go back to Graham Kennedy's time, still apply.

It's a cliche, but still true, that 'Being on the show is a lot different from watching it'. Contestants may often seem dumb, but we had been in there since 10.30 am, doing rehearals - where to walk, how to wave at the camera, how to do the lifelines, what to chat with Eddie about if you were picked - and the recording didn't start till 5.00 pm. I, for one, was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day. Under those bright lights, it's easy to get discombobulated.

What you didn't see was that there was actually another 'Fastest Finger First' between the two that were shown. It had to be abandoned due to a computer stuff-up: it displayed names of the previous week's contestants. (Tantalisingly, the camera was on me!) On the next attempt I came third, but the difference between me and the winner (the Kiwi) was only about 0.6 of a second.

By 6.30, it was all over: we flew back to Sydney that night. There was nothing to show for it except Ann-Maree getting a cold from the Crown airconditioning.