Inside This Week | How the bonding grows watching quiz shows

At least four people – three family members and an old friend – insisted on watching Pointless (see our TV Pick of the Week, G20) with me the last time I was in Britain. That’s a hearty recommendation … and a damning indictment of my family that our most preferred way to bond is to watch a quiz show together.
The friend in question rather cockily thought he was going to beat me at a quiz – for the first time ever. Pointless rewards obscure knowledge, and he must have figured that because he makes up for the gaps in his basic knowledge with some quirky trivia, Pointless is his kind of show.
But classic trivia is obscure. It’s the stuff the schools deem isn’t worthy of your time in the classroom. As a lazy but competitive kid, I remember realising it was finally a subject that I could beat my studious peers at. And so it came to pass that several years later, aged 12 in front of the whole school, I needed to buzz in before eleven other children to answer the final question to win the cup.

“Not including jokers (Buzzzzzzzz, 52! … Incorrect – that’s one point deducted), how many cards are there in two packs of cards?”
Sure, it wasn’t like I’d just dropped somebody into an abyss, ran a mountain climbing company and needed to go back to work on Monday morning. But it’s obviously scarred me a little.

Still, I’d rather harbour a regret about doing something than not doing something. Unlike with gambling. Part of me wanted to back Martin Adams at 18s on Tuesday to win the darts (see G20), but it’s only through frequent abstention that you can hope to make money from the bookies. You can’t chase every hunch. And if he doesn’t win (he is 9s as I write), my mild regret will turn into moderate pleasure.

Sure-fire winners are rare, although the Copenhagen Theatre Circle’s annual panto, Old King Cole (G2), and DR’s Disney Concert (G6) look like safe bets to cheer our children up in what can be a pretty dreary month.

Coupled with Martin Scorsese’s best film since Casino coming out (G18), and a chance to thrash my family at a TV quiz to make up for losing the only one that ever mattered, I’m looking forward to it.