February 7th, 2018

The Wire on Mastermind


Warrington Rugby League supporter Cliff Houghton is the chairman of the town’s quiz team and is set to make his second appearance on Mastermind, with the semi-final to be aired this Friday, 9 February, 8pm BBC2.

Last time out he talked all things Everton, this time round it was Warrington Rugby League.

His Rugby League playing days saw him “pretend” to be a scrum half; and his favourite player over the years was Parry Gordon. He’s much more comfortable answering question on the sport and his team.

Before his moment of fame we caught up with Cliff to find out how it all came about, the research and his TV experience.

“I was at a quiz event in Warrington and Mastermind just happened to be there. They handed out question sheets to everyone, so I filled it in, they marked it and came to me for a little interview and photograph. I suggested a couple of specialist subjects, nominated a few books for them to set questions from. They then let me know it was all approved and I was on!

“I’ve been a Warrington supporter since I was very small. I watched Brian Bevan play that’s how long it’s been. I was born in Warrington so I automatically followed them with my dad who brought me to my first match.

“Once Warrington Rugby League was named as my chosen subject I came in to speak to Neil Dowson at the club, just after his book had been published. I bought it and got an awful lot out of that. I spoke to Neil Kelly too and got some books from their archive.

“I then wrote about 200 of my own questions that I thought were likely to come up. Luckily I covered the majority!

“You don’t really know what to expect when you get there. You get taken into the Green Room, and then paraded off to make-up before lining up to take you in at the back of studio. You then see the black chair in front of you, the audience and spotlight; that’s where you think ‘what have I done?’ that’s when it hits you.

“John Humphrys comes in and it’s time for name, occupation, specialist subject.”

Cliff is hoping for a better season in 2018, and a Grand Final win!

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