Quizzing – whether it’s watching on TV, dusting off the Trivial Pursuit board, or your new Friday night drinks with friends on the Houseparty app – has certainly become a popular way to pass the time in lockdown.
The surge in demand for general knowledge during the coronavirus pandemic has not escaped the attention of Shaun The Dark Destroyer Wallace, one of the best-known quizzers in the UK.
As one of five Chasers on ITV’s hit show The Chase, this man would be your dream pub quiz teammate. And now, his hobby-turned-career has become one of the nation’s favourite pastimes as we find new ways to spend time with family and friends while stuck indoors due to COVID-19.
Quizzing is the new cool, Wallace tells Sky News. I mean, the other day I took part in a quiz in New Zealand. It’s a way in which people can connect… we had 25,000 people round the world listening – twenty-five!
So, you know, it really is a good way for people to actually connect with each other, a way in which, if people are isolated, they can actually join in.
For fans of The Chase, an exciting development in the form of new spin-off series, Beat The Chasers, is on the way. The show, still hosted by Bradley Walsh, sees Wallace team up with the other professional quizzers for the first time – with contestants finding themselves taking on not just one, but up to all five Chasers.
While there’s some healthy competition between the professionals, Wallace says it never becomes anything more serious.
We all want to win, and obviously there is a pecking order in relation to who’s won the most shows and who’s won the least shows, but in the main, we are very, very supportive of each other, he says.
I think that’s the reason why the show’s lasted so long, because if you had egos or if you had people thinking that ‘I’m better than you’, then that would breed resentment. And I can tell you now, in the 10 years I’ve been working on the show, I’ve never seen that, not once.
So in the spirit of sharing, The Dark Destroyer has given us his tips for those looking to beat their opponents.
Because I’m on lockdown now I revise up to three hours a day. I download all the top shows like University Challenge, Mastermind and the likes. When I test myself, I’m only interested in the questions I get wrong.
Most of the questions I get right – why am I interested in that? I know the answer. It’s the questions you get wrong you’re going to remember.
Start with something that interests you
It’s a simplistic format in terms of quizzing. If you’re interested in something, you’re going to remember it.
I’m telling you, if you’re interested in something, it’s going to make it easy for you to remember.
Use skills from your day job
I’m a trained barrister, I’m trained to think on my feet, think under pressure. So I can recall things and I’m taught to research.
That’s why I’m sort of dedicated to the art of quizzing, because it’s a way of actually improving my mind.
Get to know your history
I’m a student of history and you will find most of the quizzers, the top quizzers in the world, are good because their history is good.
Remember, history is the origins of something – you’ve got the history of art, the history of music – and if you’ve got an appreciation of the beginnings of an origin and you’re interested in it, it’s going to make it easier to understand the subject.
That’s why you find quizzers are really good at all-round subjects like science, geography, history, because of their understanding and their passion for history.
Top quizzers are not interested in using aide memoires to actually answer questions. We’re there to actually test ourselves under the pressure, the circumstance in which we find ourselves.
It’s good that we do have search engines like Google and Wikipedia, where you can access information, but once you’re quizzing, you’re quizzing on your own.
Beat The Chasers starts on ITV on 27 April