I like TV quiz shows and have always wanted to participate myself. Well, I got lucky. I sent in my registration for the Guillotine show in the Internet and after a month or two got a phone call. I answered some questions and got an invite to the show. Guillotine (or Giljotiini in Finnish) is a local format, and it’s about eliminating your opponents. Players may take the questions and choose who must answer it. If the challenged player answers correctly, you’re out, if not, he or she is out. The winner gets the prize money from the loser (everyone starts with 250 euros). When two players (out of five) are left, they have a best two out of three final.

Yesterday was the big day. I went there early and saw two recordings before it was my turn. After the first one the game showed it’s ugly side — the winner of the episode can continue to the next, and he did. So, one of the guys had to go home. Fortunately the winner (who won that one too) was happy with his prize money (1250 euros) so I was safe.

My opponents were mostly older than me. I wasn’t nervous; I was going to be careful. That’s what I did. The questions seemed easy and I didn’t challenge anyone. Nobody challenged me. Once the host of the show caught me lying (I’m sure!) when I explained that I know the answer to the question in hand — I had no clue. Fortunately, nobody took the question and we moved along (the host questions each player, so if you don’t know something, you’ll have to lie — usually, when someone says they don’t know the answer, they know and would love it if you challenged them — unless they are bluffing, that is).

Finally my fellow co-competitors were gone. It was me against the only female participant. She had 1000 euros, I had 250. Unfortunately I wasn’t going to get her money anymore… We got in to the final and passed first few questions as too easy. Then came a question: what is called the ringing of ears, that buzz and beep noise? I knew it — I have personal experience (fortunately only temporary) from all the gigs I’ve been to. She said she didn’t know, in a very nervous manner. I had more than a faint feeling she didn’t really know, challenged and caught her. 1-0 for me. Next question. “This is about sports, what does a pugilist do?” She took the question immediately. She obviously didn’t know much about sports and didn’t feel like taking the risk of being asked the question.

I don’t know much about sports, either, but I know fancy words. I tried to stay cool as I lied that I have perhaps a tiny, small idea about it, I might remember, or not, hard to say. She could have backed up, but she didn’t. My answer came without thinking: a pugilist is a boxer. 2-0 and victory for me!

So, I won. That’s quite cool. The money is not much, especially as one third goes for taxes. Still I didn’t continue — the effort of going back next morning and the risk of losing all I got already were too much. I’m happy with my money and my experience. It was definitely interesting to see how the TV show was made. There’s a lot more stuff in the recording, more questions (most of the questions nobody takes are edited out of the aired show). Also the show seems very bare without the sounds and the music, most notably I was missing the sound of the blade when it comes down…

A great experience and one I’ll recommend to anybody! Quiz shows are much better when you’re participating yourself!

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3 thoughts on “Guillotine”

  1. Hooray! Many thanks for sharing your experience with us. An unusual and very cool sort of session report.
    More difficult question: please might I get a video tape with a copy of your appearance? I have British game shows which you might be interested in in return or I’m sure I could find something else British and/or game-ish that you might like. Finland uses the PAL system like Britain rather than the SECAM system like France, doesn’t it?

  2. Why not, I’ll see if I’ll catch it on tape when it comes out. It’s shown twice, so I should be able to do it.
    Yes, we use PAL as every other sensible country in the world…

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