I have a nervous laugh, so when I was asked if I’d like to go on Celebrity Mastermind, I roared hysterically.
It would be petrifying – that much I knew.
Watching the show from your sofa and shouting the occasional answer is one thing.
But sitting in that black chair for real?
Well that’s quite another.
My main concern was coming last and looking like a dim wit.
But here’s what swayed me. Every contestant – no matter their score – would get the same fee for a charity of their choosing.
At this time of year, Help For Kids is thinking about Christmas gifts for children whose parents can’t afford them.
It works alongside other brilliant local charities like Togs For Tots which ensure children have the clothes and essentials they need.
Have you ever wondered what your specialist subject would be?
I had no idea.
Budget champagne for under £20? I’d do well on that I think.
— Martel Maxwell (@MartelMaxwell) September 26, 2021
In the end I went with Freddie Mercury.
My boys, particularly Chester, six, love him. As do I. As does my gran.
There’s something about Freddie and his popularity across the generations says it all.
Yes it’s as terrifying as it looks
On Sunday, I filmed the show at BBC studios in Belfast.
It won’t be aired until the festive season and contestants aren’t allowed to say how they did or the result of the show.
But I can tell you it was both great fun and terrifying.
And I mean absolutely terrifying.
Imagine you’re sitting in a darkened studio.
Suddenly the theme tune familiar to generations of quiz addicts fills the air.
You make your way to that black chair.
You sit down and the spotlight hits you.
You can hardly remember your own name, let alone any answers to the questions you’re about to hear.
And then the enigmatic host Clive Myrie looks you in the eye and …
… I’ll leave it there.
Let’s just say there are a host of celeb Mastermind specials which will air around Christmas and I’ll keep you posted with dates nearer the time.
I may have come first, last or somewhere in between.
I may have recurring nightmares for a while to come.
But it was all worth it for that charity donation.
Destination Belfast, departing Dundee
“YOU wrote about me last time you were in my car,” my taxi driver said the other day.
I’d asked if if I could after he told me how he’d left his Michelin job and started on the taxis.
This time, the conversation turned to my upcoming appointment in Belfast.
He’d recently visited the city for a short break – and flown from Dundee.
I’d tried for flights myself but the times didn’t quite work out so went from Edinburgh.
But he said it was a fantastic service.
After my trip, I’m determined to go back. What a city.
Staying right in the centre at the Grand Central Hotel, I ventured up to the 23rd floor bar and was blown away by the view.
It feels like a happy medium in these uncertain times – you still get to board a flight and go to a new destination – but without any of the admin and uncertainty of foreign destinations.
I’m also determined to fly from Dundee.
It’s easy to forget about the Belfast service – but long may it and the superb London City flights run.
I’m not the only Dundee brainbox
Congratulations to the University of Dundee team who triumphed against the Royal Northern College of Music in their first round on University Challenge.
Now that’s a show with even harder questions than Mastermind.
I’m lucky if I score one for an entire episode so credit to you all.