A team of five ladies with alopecia won the jackpot prize of £29,000 on last night’s episode of BBC2 quiz ‘Eggheads’ AND have donated every penny to Alopecia UK!
The fabulous five, using the team name ‘A Clearer Head’, clinched the prize in a superbly entertaining episode of the show.
The brains behind the idea for a team of people with alopecia to go on the quiz was Alopecia UK ambassador, Sue Hampton.
Sue liked the idea of a quiz team, made up entirely of individuals with alopecia, going on a mainstream TV quiz show. Sue messaged people via Alopecia UK’s Facebook group with only the following stipulations:
a) anyone appearing as part of the team would need to have heads uncovered (otherwise the visual impact would be lost)
b) in the unlikely event of any winnings, the money would be donated to Alopecia UK
The reason Sue said ‘unlikely event’ is that the eventual team pulled together would have no collective quizzing experience. This wouldn’t be the typical Eggheads challenger team entry of a local pub quiz team. Plus Sue didn’t even insist that those stepping forward were amazing quizzers or had particular specialist interests. There was no requirement to see if they could get all subject areas covered. What mattered to Sue was getting a team of five people with alopecia, to raise awareness. The idea of winning didn’t really enter her mind.
And this is what makes the win even more remarkable! A team of five ladies with alopecia, some of whom had never met each other until meeting in Glasgow the night before early-morning filming back in August last year. As the Eggheads jackpot increases by £1,000 each time a challenging team loses, ‘A Clearer Head’ had no idea what amount they would be playing for and hadn’t really allowed themselves to dream of actually winning. For them, it was about raising awareness first and foremost.
The gasps from the team were audible when presenter Jeremy Vine announced the prize fund stood at a whopping £29,000!
First up was Jeanette Oliver against long-standing Egghead Judith Keppel. Her subject was ‘Film and TV’ and after a couple of incorrect answers from both Jeanette and Judith the round went to ‘sudden death’. Luckily for ‘A Clearer Head’ Jeanette kept her calm and answered her question correctly and luckily Judith was not a ‘Back to the Future fan and so Jeanette was through to the final round!
Next up was team captain Sue Hampton against one of the newer Eggheads, Lisa Thiel. Politics was the subject and one that nobody in ‘A Clearer Head’ wanted. As such, captain Sue drew the short straw. She put in a good effort but it was Lisa who clinched the round. ‘A Clearer Head’ had lost their captain for the final round!!
The third round was Food & Drink. Emma Skipper took on Kevin Ashman, considered by many to be ‘the greatest quizzer in the world’. However, Emma’s fantastic knowledge of food and drink saw her knock Kevin out of the final. Another challenger through!
The next round was Geography, and it was time to decide whether Marie Jenks or Victoria Petkovic-Short would take it on. After a little deliberation, Marie stepped forward. And then to decide on her opponent - CJ or Pat. CJ it was! The team must have known that geography was one of CJ’s weaker subjects and Marie stormed to victory!
Four challengers in the final round! Sue had to leave the studio to watch her teammates take on Lisa and Pat in the final round! ‘A Clearer Head’ were in a strong position going into the final round. Four of them (Jeanette, Emma, Marie and Victoria) against the remaining Eggheads, Lisa and Pat. At this point, the challengers still were not allowing themselves to dream they might win. They just tried to keep their cool!
And keep their cool they did. Answers were considered calmly and rationally by the four and it was all level up to the Eggheads being answered their final question:
“In Celtic mythology, Taranis is the God of what? Rivers, Fertility or Thunder”
Lisa and Pat weren’t sure!! One lady who was absolutely certain was captain Sue Hampton! Who was very much struggling to keep cool on the big screen behind the girls. As Pat delivered the answer of ‘Fertility’, Sue’s reaction had to be edited from the final show as it gave away the fact that they’d got it WRONG before Jeremy was able to deliver the result to the ladies.
As Jeremy told ‘A Clearer Head’ they’d won £29,000 for Alopecia UK, the ladies were overcome with surprise and emotion.
Jeremy asked them what they’d do with the cash and it was only at this point that Victoria explained they wouldn’t be sharing it between themselves but instead would be donating the whole amount of £29,000 to Alopecia UK. Up to this point, the production team had not been aware that the ladies would be donating to charity!
Everyone at Alopecia UK is completely THRILLED with ‘A Clearer Head’s win and there has been lots of media coverage. This is one of our favourite news articles as it features the fun four of the ladies and some of the Alopecia UK team had at the Wellington Pub in Birmingham when they joined to watch the show together!
THANK YOU SO MUCH to Sue, Jeanette, Marie, Emma, Victoria and not forgetting the team’s reserve, Sue Barker-Mewis.
£29,000 represents a significant part of Alopecia UK’s annual income and is the single largest donation Alopecia UK has ever received. We will put the money to good use within our aim to improve the lives of people with alopecia.