Friday, 16 November 2012

Catching up with Khakan

We were so excited when we found out that Khakan Qureshi from Bearwood was going to be on ITV's gameshow The Chase. 

We hurried from work and plonked ourselves in front of the telly and loved every second of it.  Khakan did Bearwood proud.  We were lucky enough to catch up with him to find how much he enjoyed being on the show.

"It’s easy to sit at home and answer questions when watching quiz show “The Chase” on ITV, right?

I thought so too, until I applied for this early evening programme online and was fortunate enough to be called to an audition. This process in itself was difficult. I thought I made a complete mess of it, but the casting producer and Production Team must have seen something in me to call me up a few days later and informed me that I was a successful candidate! From applying online to actually being auditioned could take weeks if not months or you might not hear anything at all!

After the audition, as we all know (like applying for a job) not everyone is successful. But that’s another story…

I met the other three contestants and we all sat in silence for a while. The researcher encouraged us to talk between ourselves to get to know each other as we would need to “work as a team” on the show. We needed to be comfortable with each other, yet competitive at the same time. The objective being that we had to answer the questions as best as we could, return to the contestants’ panel and not be thrown off.

We were ushered into what can only be described as the proverbial “Green Room” and provided with a pep talk by another member of staff. An effort to make us feel at ease and calm. As we were scheduled to film at a certain time, lunch was provided. We were then instructed to bring out our own items of clothing, which was scrutinised by the wardrobe department. They had to look at each garment to see whether or not it was suitable/acceptable for television purposes (no logos, stripes, checks, designer wear, motifs, nothing garish, nor black or white).

After we got dressed in our chosen attire and made up, we didn’t wait long before we were called into the TV studio, a large black studio with lots of people milling around, electric cables everywhere, monitors, the large pixelated screens in red and blue, headsets and microphones. The sound man came along and after a quick test on the microphones to see how your voice will pick up and an introduction to see how you would look/sound on the screen. Then Bradley (Bradley Walsh!!) came over to introduce himself. He appeared to be charming, amusing, and made us feel comfortable in front of the camera…and requested a name check. Did he get my name right? No, not really. I did mention its pronounced “car-Khan” but it was too late! I no longer cared. My name was in lights and I was experiencing one of the most surreal experiences I’d ever had in my life!

Then, it was time for the show to start…and ready for the cameras to roll…,

First up was Helen, who appeared very cool, calm and articulate. I thought she was a natural. She made it through. Phew! Then, Chris. Poor soul was so nervous; he couldn’t keep his hands from fidgeting. Although he was anxious, he passed with flying colours. Next up was Vera. We thought she had the luck of the Irish, but she was chased off the stage. My turn next. My mouth was dry, my heart was beating. I was having palpitations and my stomach was churning. I’d seen Bradley work like a true professional and I wanted to match his qualities. I think we all know what the outcome of that was! He had a twinkle in his eye and came across as sharp and witty. I couldn’t keep a straight face! We engaged in light hearted banter, and he asked questions about our jobs, hobbies etc. but of course we all know that the show is edited so you only catch a glimpse of the contestants’ personality.

Then the quick fire round, a short break – it does get hot under the spotlights - a quick gulp of water, and time to face The Chaser! We had Ann Hegarty (aka Frosty Knickers/The Governess). I must say, she does look like a formidable woman in real life, and she is there to save her title as a brainy individual.

I came off the set and had the opportunity to watch Chris and Helen try to beat the Chaser and win £15,000. It saddens me to think that they lost… However, I am fortunate enough to have kept in touch with Helen via Facebook.

I would like to think I did my best, and sometimes after answering the question and you get it wrong, you do think “I knew the answer to that!” But the pressure is immense, people are watching you, urging you to succeed, and you can get a mental block. It happens and I think it just depends on how the questions fall. It’s a fast paced game, you win some, and you lose some. It’s just unfortunate that I lost mine!

As Bradley said “For you, The Chase is over!”"

P.S.  You can watch how Khakan got on - by clicking here!

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