7pm Planet Hollywood: Arrive at the door brandishing our
invitations, only to be told the quiz extravaganza doesn’t start until
7.15. Decide the best plan of action is to retreat to a nearby pub.
7.30pm Planet Hollywood again: We’re ushered into the upstairs bar,
where Carlton’s guests are nervously eyeing up the competition while
downing half-pint glasses of wine.
7.45pm: Competitors take their seats, ensuring rivals can’t get anywhere
near their answer sheets.
7.55pm: Spectators move into the quiz area - most ’supporters’ are more
intent on supporting their alcohol habits than their teams.
8pm Quiz begins: First prize is a trip to New York to see Mission
Impossible 2. Quizmaster Darren Vaughan, a dead ringer for ’that Beppe
off of EastEnders’, begins a decibel battle between his amplifier and
the increasingly noisy supporters.
8.45pm: Questions come thick and fast and are greeted with either groans
or excited whispering. One of the Carlton competition organisers,
Nicola, makes vain attempts to shush chatting supporters, who pause only
to chase trays of mini burgers and chicken dips.
9pm En route to the bar: Meet the TCS Media team, who have abandoned the
quiz. ’We started badly and went downhill from there,’ confides one team
10.45pm: Final answers are rounded up and handed to the judges. The
tension is nearly unbearable.
10.55pm: A deathly hush falls over the crowd as Vaughan prepares to
announce the results. Last year’s winners and hot favourites HMV UK are
second, which means the winners are ... Capital Radio.
11pm: Goody bags for all raise the losers’ crushed spirits - never mind
guys, the weather in New York’s terrible this time of year.