The Mainwarings

Well at the beginning of 1985 I was watching Telly Addicts with my family that is my 2 sons and husband and a question came up "What is Floyd's current cooking programme called?" For a laugh I said Floyd on Fire not having a clue, and to my surprise it was the correct. So I decided there and then that I would send off for an application, not telling my two brothers Anthony and Michael and our cousin Wendy until after I sent it off. When I told them they laughed and they thought I was mad. However I explained we had all the knowledge and could do it. Whilst in work I took a call from someone on the Telly Addicts production team and they advised that we had an audition in Cardiff. I couldn't believe it. When I told the rest of them they nearly passed out.

The audition was in May 1985. This was around April time. So every Sunday armed with TV reference books plus our vast knowledge of TV we would meet and fire questions at each other. Then the day arrived and off to Cardiff we went. There were two other families before us and when they went for their audition. We timed them, 20 minutes a piece. When we went up we were there for over an hour and we ended up giving them answers before they even asked the questions because we were not only giving them the answers to the questions but telling them other things about the shows etc. Now was the long wait, well it seemed a long wait. I was on holiday and when I rang home my mum had said someone called from Telly Addicts and could I call them back. I did and yes, we had made it on to the show. I rang the rest of the gang and that was it. We swatted and watched everything we possibly could. We received the letter telling us when our first appearance was. This was exciting.

We trundled to Birmingham armed with reference books and kept focused and asking questions. We watched the first two families and then our turn. My stomach was churning, no turning back now. Lights camera action. We were nervous then all of a sudden you forgot where you were and we were just motoring. Now the spotlight round I was on. We were neck and neck with the Pearce family. Brian got 8 I had 10 we were through to the next round against the Ewings. We went on to win that then on the one against the Thoburns. Michael's father-in-law got killed in a car accident and we took our mum Violet. She was a wreck. It was actually Michael who was supposed to be on the spotlight but if you had a reserve they could not go on so Anthony went on and was brilliant. We were through to the final against another Welsh family from Cardiff, The Thomases. For this one Michael had to do the spotlight and this was a bit scary as Michael is slightly deaf and if he misheard something then obviously he would give a wrong answer. The other family scored nothing on the spotlight round and even before we went on we knew we had won because we were ahead anyway. So 1988 Telly Addicts champions were The Mainwaring family, the youngest ever family to win it. So from Floyd on Fire to champs.

When the show was aired the following day I was in Swansea and a lady came up to me and said "you were fab last night on that programme." I was amazed. Our fame grew. We were in all the local papers. I appeared in Best Magazine and people still remember me from the show.

How things change. I watch very little telly now. I have turned to running marathons and half marathons and for 6 days a week I train for races and now I am training for my first triathlon. If I went on the show now I would know nothing.

Gaynor Hulland