10 December 2004

Dan Donovan

Ellie has all the answers

A journalism student at the University of Sheffield is preparing for a dream holiday after winning a television quiz show.

Ellie Lambert, a first year undergraduate, earned herself an around-the world trip with £4,000 worth of holiday vouchers and £1,000 spending money.

She found out she would be on BBC One’s general knowledge quiz show, Wright Around The world, after a surprise visit from host Ian Wright, the former international footballer.

Ellie, 19, was having a facial mask applied at a Manchester beauty salon, and as the technician placed slices of cucumber on her eyes, Wright sneaked into the room to deliver the news.

“I was lying thinking that the face mask had been on for ages and was getting a bit hard! Then all of a sudden there was this blinding light and I was just like ‘what on earth!’. When he took the slices off he was about two inches from my face, so I was genuinely shocked – and a little scared!” says Ellie.

Two weeks later, she travelled to London to record the show. It started well as she beat the other five contestants in a practice run of the game. She then spent time in the famous BBC cafeteria where she spoke to celebrities, including singer Lemar.

Ellie says: “Lemar was such a sweetie. He was really friendly and polite – sometimes you think celebrities may be a bit aloof or rude but he was so chatty. I definitely think he was my lucky charm. I should get him to call me before all my exams.”

She then went for hair and make-up – “the best bit” – before getting ready to record. She recalls not feeling too nervous as the contestants started the show and answered her questions correctly, getting into the final four. She then progressed into the final two, after answering questions about the international music performer, Tina Turner.

Fireworks

In the final, Ellie had no hesitation in answering her question – coincidently based on her new home city of Sheffield.

“The question was ‘Robert who starred in the Full Monty?’. I knew the answer and as soon as I said it fireworks went off behind me,” she says.

She had to contain her excitement, though, as she was told to keep the result secret until the show was broadcast – nine days later.

Ellie did not tell her friends and on the night of the show, many of them gathered in the Tapton JCR to watch. Thinking she had lost, her friends were calm and when they saw Ellie reach the final, they all passed on their commiserations.

Then, with her reply of “Carlyle”, loud cheers from the hall erupted as many rushed to congratulate the victorious student.

“It was really tough not telling anyone but I’m so glad I kept it secret because with it being so close and me nearly not getting through the first round, when I did win they were so shocked – the looks on their faces were classic. They were silent for a moment with shock, then they went insane screaming and laughing,” she recalls.

Ellie will have plenty of time to choose her holiday, as there is no expiry date for the vouchers.

She summarises the whole experience by saying: “It was so exciting to be on TV and to win was truly amazing. You always think people go over the top with screams of joy, but I was so ecstatic. It’s hard to explain how overwhelmed with excitement I was.”

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