You are the weakest link, goodbye. The harrowing words of Anne Robinson left ringing in the ears of unsuccessful contestants, followed by the dreaded ‘walk of shame’. But not for Aston graduate Simon Horowitz who not only survived the wrath of Anne Robinson, but went on to win the show, winning a grand total of £2,520 in prize money.
He competed in the BBC’s ‘The Weakest Link’ in which each contestant battles it out to win a potential of £10,000 in a general knowledge quiz, where working as a team plays an essential role. Round by round, the weakest person is voted off, finally leaving two contestants in the final round of 'Head-to-Head' – one gets the money, the other leaves with nothing! Aspects asked him how about his experience competing in, and winning one of the BBC’s most popular gameshows.
What made you want to apply for the programme in the first place?
'It wasn’t something I had really thought about before, but I was walking past the Students’ Guild one day and saw they were holding auditions for the show so my friends and I thought we’d just give it a go! '
What was the process of applying for the show like?
'During the auditions we were individually interviewed in front of a camera. The producers threw some harsh comments at us to see how we’d cope with Anne in the real show. The day after that I got a phone call from them and had to answer 20 general knowledge questions. They said they’d let me know shortly if I was successful. I auditioned in November 2008 and it was in March 2009 that they finally got back to me! I had pretty much forgotten about the audition but I received a phone call asking if I would like to be on the show - obviously I said yes!'
How did you find being on national television?
'I was quite nervous going into the studio as the set is really impressive and quite intimidating. Once the lights go on and the music starts, Anne comes in and doesn’t talk to anyone. She positions herself in the middle then the show begins. I was a bit hesitant on my first question but as soon as I relaxed and my nerves had settled, I forgot I was on a TV show and started to enjoy myself.'
What was the hardest question?
'I think the hardest question was, "What is the slang term for a mentally disabled person that derives from a camp used in India in WWII?” How’s a student supposed to know that one!'
What was your favourite part of the experience?
'It would have to be getting ripped by Anne Robinson! I got myself slightly confused thinking Judy Garland was from the Sound of Music and Anne had a great laugh with that one.'
What were the other contestants like?
'Most of them were really nice. The guy who I was in the final with was even from the town next to where I’m from. We all had the same kind of idea in the first few rounds – vote off the ones that appeared quite clever!'
Did you think you were going to win and how did it feel when you did?
'I honestly did not think about winning at all. I was just going for the experience. I was never that great at pub quizzes so didn’t think I’d do that well, let alone win. I wish I had some more of that prize money left though!'
This is what we all would like to know…what’s Anne Robinson really like?
'She’s quite intimidating when you first see her but she’s actually quite short! You can tell the whole persona is an act, she’ll give you a wry smile or a wink so you know she’s just having a laugh and not being serious with you.'
What are your plans for the future?
'I’ve just graduated in Management and Strategy and am moving to Vienna next week to look for a job.'
Aspects wishes Simon lots of luck for the future.
Words by Munira Jasat