A MULTI-talented Basingstoke resident was the star of an ITV quiz show this week – and he came agonisingly close to landing a big cash prize.
Ron Peploe, a freelance artist from Popley, appeared on The Chase, which is hosted by Bradley Walsh, on Tuesday.
Contestants must answer general knowledge questions and play their tactics right in order to get themselves into the Final Chase, where they could win a cash pot worth thousands of pounds.
Standing in their way is one of the quiz experts known as the Chasers, who ‘chase’ contestants down the board in a test of knowledge to try to catch them and throw them out of the game.
Ron, who runs Basingstoke community buskers and local kickboxing organisation BKO, said: “I applied because I watch the programme and enjoy doing the odd pub quiz and trivial pursuit game. I had never been on a game show before.”
He attended an interview in Southampton with around 20 other applicants, all of whom played a version of the quiz. The five successful candidates were then informed that they had been chosen to go forward for the programme.
Ron was put through as a stand-by and attended a full day of filming in Teddington Studios, and was disappointed when everyone turned up and he wasn’t used.
But two months later, roughly nine months after he applied, Ron received a letter notifying him that he was to be a contestant.
His appearance was filmed approximately a year ago – but it was only this week that he appeared in front of millions of viewers.
Ron, a former student of John Hunt of Everest school and Winchester School of Art, said: “On arrival for the show, you are taken into a contestant room and explained the rules of the show, and then told how to play.
“We had to bring several different clothing options that they held up in front of the camera to see if they clashed with the lights. I wanted to go on wearing my Basingstoke Kickboxing Organisation T-shirt, but they chose another outfit!
“Everywhere we went, we had to be escorted as we were not allowed to run into a Chaser, or know which Chaser we would have. This is so that it is a genuine surprise when the Chaser is revealed.”
Ron said that host Bradley and his chosen Chaser Anne Hegerty were very welcoming and friendly.
He added: “I was surprised that Bradley talked for several minutes to each contestant.”
Ron made it through to the final, the only one of the contestants to get that far. He was up against Chaser Anne Hegerty, who he discovered was an intimidating, and ultimately victorious, opponent.
“Anne was amazing in the final,” he said. “Her knowledge is vast, but it is the speed with which they can recall an answer that puts them way above the contestants. I knew the answers, but they just wouldn't come quick enough.”