I’m not usually home at this time of day, let alone reaching for the remote control (or the “auto change” as my family calls it), but today I managed to catch five minutes of Pointless, featuring English Heritage Properties!
Pointless is a BBC Quiz Show where the contestants strive to find ‘pointless’ answers, after the public have been asked to identify certain things within a theme.
On this particular round, the teams had to identify English Heritage sites and pick the site they thought they knew the name of and which would score them the lowest points, ie the one that fewest members of the public would have been able to name.
So I sat up straight, subconsciously rubbing my hands together, thinking “we’re in here, Lloyd Jones- this one we can do!” and then being totally deflated when I could only name three out of the five sites! I’m a fraud!
The blow to my reputation was slightly softened when Richard Osman said that it was a tough board (phew) and it was very interesting to see what the five sites scored:
A. Marble Hill House, Richmond upon Thames
This is one of the two I didn’t recognise, and when Richard said it was in ‘Richmond’, I felt I had let my Yorkshire roots down. Then I realised it is in Richmond-upon-Thames and is now on my list of places to visit in London.
This was, in fact, a pointless answer on the gameshow- no-one else identified it. Apparently, is only open by guided tours, which adds to the mystery and the feeling of exclusivity, especially as it was built for King George II’s mistress Henrietta Howard.
B. Dover Castle
Forty four people recognised Dover Castle- and I understand why. It is massive and its location, towering over the sea, is quite unforgettable.
For the sixty six people who didn’t recognise it and those of you who haven’t been before, it really is worth the journey to that part of Britain. The history of the site spans centuries, millennia in fact and it is possible to get a taste of so many different eras of British history in this one place- fantastic.
C. Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Both Alexander Armstrong and I expected this to score in the high 90’s and it scored 94- high, but not as high as I thought it would be.
Stonehenge is one of Britain’s iconic places- a World Heritage Site, thousands of years old and around 1 million visitors each year. New research is still being carried out on the site and digitial archaeology is revealing even more about the history behind the monument. It may not be the biggest stone circle Britain has to offer and in some people’s opinions, it may not be “the best”, but it certainly is a jewel in Britain’s crown.
I don’t know the ins and outs of Pointless’ research, but let’s say that 94% of people in Britain do recognise Stonehenge- would this score the highest out of all of Britain’s historical attractions? What would score higher- the Tower of London perhaps? Or is 94% as good as we’re going to get?
D. Whitby Abbey
Oh, many a fun afternoon spent here, exploring the ruins, watching the sunset, pretending to be Dracula…
Twenty One people were able to identify Whitby Abbey, which I am quite pleased about. It is a fascinating monument with many cultural links and in a stunning location. It is that little bit further away from the motorways than some though (and all the better for it) so although I encourage people to get there at their soonest opportunity, I’m glad it is still a secret for most of us.
Great fish and chips in Whitby, too.
E. Osborne, Isle of Wight
Apparently I have been to the Isle of Wight. But I was either a baby, or still a bun in the oven, so can I be forgiven for not knowing this one?
I have always wanted to visit the Isle of Wight (again), especially as Carisbrook Castle is a must-see. Now, I have another place on my list- Osborne, scoring 16 points on Pointless incidentally and my goodness does it look like a hidden gem. This was Queen Victoria’s holiday home- and what a nest! It was built for Victoria and Albert as a getaway, in an Italian style with towers and terraces, decoration and design, courtyards and coastal views. Stunning.
Whether you caught tonight’s episode of Pointless or not, I wonder how many of the above you were aware of and could identify a picture of when approached by a BBC researcher.
The lesson learned for me is that there are still so many places to discover in Britain, and with the addition of Cadw sites (I am confident I could identify these, at least the north ones!), Historic Scotland, National Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and all of our other fantastic heritage organisations, it should keep me going for a few years yet. And Pointless.