I AM NOT by any means a television addict and certainly not a fan of the soaps or much of the other garbage that passes for entertainment. (You can tell that I am rapidly becoming a miserable old git).
But I have to confess a liking for the two early evening quiz programmes – Tipping Point and The Chase.
I am usually busy in the kitchen doing my poor man’s Jamie Oliver bit when they are screened, and I try to combine the two activities.
It means I will often drop my partially chopped onion and rush to the TV to answer some of the questions and amaze the Princess with my super intelligence And sometimes I am told to put down my toad in the hole and come listen to the hilarious quips of Bradley Walsh.
But it strikes me that either the auditioning process is pretty laid back, or that many of the contestants are simply bubbleheads.
Look I know that any question is easy if you happen to know the answer and conversely, difficult if you don’t. But there are instances where you can’t help thinking: “Are they being serious?”
A while ago a young college chap on The Chase was asked: “Which famous British explorer first mapped New Zealand.”
Okay, not everybody would feel confident about the answer, but hey, they might get lucky with an educated guess. But “Robinson Crusoe” was just a tad off the mark I felt.
Then he confirmed his dweeb status with the next question that was: What was the H.G.Wells book about a man who could travel through time?”
‘Great Expectations’ according to him. Hmm.
Another college graduate identified The Rockies as the rocky island south of the Isle of Man, and yet another Student on Tipping Point was unable to identify Lancaster as the family house that opposed York in the War of the Roses.
The worrying part is, the genius concerned had boasted of an A- Level in history.
And it’s not just the younger generation.
A Daily Express survey found that 22% of people over 65 were unaware that the Romans had ever occupied England.
But listen. In the same survey less than half of the younger age group were able to identify Francis Drake as the victorious leader against the Spanish Armada.
The rest thought it might have been Christopher Columbus, Horatio Hornblower or, get this – Gandalf.
The future looks bright.