THE BEAT GOES ON
The ABC’s music quiz Spicks and Specks hit a high note this week with its 200th episode, and team captain Alan Brough got a little bit rock ’ n’ roll with Guy Davis.
Averaging more than a million viewers an episode, the weekly program Spicks and Specks has been quite the success story for the ABC. And now the music quiz show has reached a major milestone, celebrating its 200th episode this week.
To celebrate, the show held a black-tie aff air that brought back a few of its favourite team members, such as radio star Hamish Blake, comedian Meshel Laurie and musicians Ella Hooper and Paul Grabowsky, to test their knowledge of the past two centuries of music.
As always, however, it’s host Adam Hills and team captains Myf Warhurst and Alan Brough who keep Spicks and Specks bubbling along. And on the eve of the show’s 200th episode, Brough revealed the secrets of its success.
Congratulations on your 200th episode, Alan. When you fi rst started doing the show Spicks and Specks, did you ever think it would stick around for so long?
I don’t know how many episodes I thought we’d make. I thought it’d be nice to make some episodes but the little I knew about television led me to believe that while you can do whatever you like, it can be very fi ckle. So we trundled along and more and more people started watching it, and then all of a sudden we’re at the 200-episode mark. In fact, we’ll have more than 200 episodes by the end of the year, which is delightful. Weird but delightful.
Was there a point when you realised people were really getting into the show?
The one that really sticks out for me was near the end of the fi rst year. I was at a gig and a guy said to me, ‘ I really love the show. It’s the only time my teenage daughter and I stop yelling at each other all week’. I know that doesn’t refl ect how many people are watching it, but I thought it was one of the loveliest things I ever heard about anything I’ve been involved in. I think one of the keys to the show’s success is that families do watch it together. I’ve had discussions with three generations of one family about the bits and pieces of the show they really enjoy, so the fact that we’ve been able to reach such a wide audience has held us in very good stead.
The show has attracted some real music industry luminaries over the years. Are there occasions when you get starstruck?
Most recently, it was when Tim Finn was on my team. Being a New Zealander, he’s basically a member of the royal family to me. He’s the Queen Mum! And what was weird was that I’ve seen him all my life, but all of a sudden I went, ‘ Wow, I’m sitting next to Tim Finn!’ And I basically lost my mind for a little while. I used to worry about things like that but I realise now that it’s good for me if I’m starstruck to just get it out. And then we can continue on as normal.
There’s a sense of fun and friendliness to Spicks and Specks that I think serves the show very well. But do you ever feel yourself getting competitive towards Myf and the opposing team?
It’s more competition with myself. I don’t like getting things wrong, mainly because I don’t like to feel stupid! So I don’t think I’m all that competitive, although people have told me that I do come across that way at times. That’s fi ne, though – everyone has their own interpretation of how things happen on the show. I’m never upset if Myf’s team wins but there have been times when we’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and I may have had something to do with it, which makes me a bit unhappy. But I would be a fool to myself and a burden to others if I got too upset about the outcome of a half-hour music quiz on the ABC.
High rotation: team captains Alan Brough ( left) and Myf Warhurst and host Adam Hills are embracing their show’s longevity.