CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Somerset Life today CLICK HERE

Weston's Quiz Show Queen: Daphne Fowler

17:06 19 October 2010

Daphne Fowler at home

Daphne Fowler at home

Diane Scully meets Daphne Fowler, the Eggheads whizz from Weston at her Somerset home

Daphne Fowler has become a familiar face on our TV screens, with her trademark twinkle in the eye, as she delivers the killer blow to another hopeful Egghead challenger! Meeting her, shes every bit as charming as she appears on screen, and I quickly decided against trying to catch her out with a few tricky questions on the grounds it would be highly unlikely she would be stumped by anything I dreamt up in a feeble attempt to outwit her!

Daphnes love affair with TV quiz shows started by watching others win and lose. At home in Somerset she would watch Winner Takes All, hosted by Jimmy Tarbuck, with her three youngest boys and shout out the correct answers. The boys, who knew she was doing better than the contestants, urged her to apply to take part but as she didnt get around to it they wrote in with the persuasive words, our mum ought to be on your show because she knows everything! Her application was successful. Although she didnt win, she was hooked, loving the experience and finding she was completely at ease in front of the cameras.

Born in Warwick and raised in Kent, Daphne was at grammar school when her mother died and a well-meaning headmistress persuaded her father she would make an excellent teacher. She wanted to be a secretary, following in her mothers footsteps, but she found herself at Exeter University studying theology. Two years later she decided to leave and after a brief spell enjoying London she married her husband, Bernard. They moved to the Bourneville Estate in Weston-super-Mare where she did train to be a secretary. Daphne loved the strong community, warmth and friendliness she found there but with five small children, a husband in poor health and little money, she began to wonder if she could boost the finances by winning quiz shows. Her sons certainly thought so!

After her first TV appearance she fancied her chances of winning a car on Bulls Eye so she persuaded her darts enthusiast husband to have a go. Thats when she discovered her gifts were not universal. She has an extraordinary memory and she doesnt suffer from stage fright but Bernard was so terrified he could barely throw the darts. They missed out on the car but Daphne persisted and the following year she won a mini on Sale of the Century, which stayed in the family for 20 years.

More TV appearances and prizes followed including three trips to Australia to compete in Sale of the Century programmes, arranged to coincide with The Ashes series being played there. She won enough money on one of these trips to buy her council house outright. Life was just brilliant, she says but her joy was short-lived as her husbands health deteriorated soon afterwards and he could no longer work. Having no mortgage to worry about and funds to adapt the house for Bernard meant they could survive, and Daphne acknowledges the money changed her life. Sadly, soon after winning Going for Gold and enjoying the trip of a lifetime to the Seoul Olympics with Bernard, he died. She cherishes the memories she has of their 29 years together.

Quizzes continued to occupy Daphne, so much so, that when she married her second husband, Pete, they delayed their honeymoon as she had a quiz show to film the following day! After early retirement her quizzing career escalated, with a succession of wins on the notoriously difficult Fifteen to One before the idea for Eggheads was hatched in 2003 and she was invited to join.

Now in its twelfth series, the team, made up of Britains best quizzers, agree they have one thing in common: Brains like Velcro everything sticks! Daphne has a huge database of facts on her computer, memorises new lists easily and realising she would be targeted for sports questions, she deliberately gens up, so rarely loses. Shes notorious for her ability to guess the correct answer, explaining that Eggheads have what they call an inkle defined as something in the back of your mind which you didnt realise was there infuriating for the opposition but always delivered apologetically!

Eggheads has been described as one of the most successful quiz shows ever and Daphne loves the whole experience the professional hair and make-up, clothes, smart hotels, the filming, and meeting the opposition, which includes teams from Minehead and Weston in the next series. She likes the challengers to win and the worst scenario is one lone contestant facing them in the final round.

Daphne has no thoughts of retiring but why stop when its that much fun! As she says: We all get on famously with each other and I still cant believe just how lucky I am to have been picked to be part of such an entertaining show. Long may Eggheads reign!

Series 11 of Eggheads is currently on BBC2 at 6pm, Monday-Friday. Series 12 features Somerset teams and will be broadcast next year.


Shop with us at Great British Life

More from People

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Rachel Johnstone (middle), Regional Fundraiser from Hope for Tomorrow with Acorn's David Sinclair and Charlotte Mitchelle

CLARE BOURKE looks at care issues across Somerset

Read more
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Jack taking time out to explore Tyntesfield in Wraxall, Somerset

Call the Midwife’s Jack Ashton chats to SARAH FORD about working with acting royalty, his football heroes and skateboarding in Somerset

Read more
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Annie pictured in her garden at home

As she begins in her new role as the county’s Lord-Lieutenant, Annie Maw explains how she hopes to help strengthen links between the various diverse parts of Somerset

Read more
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Michael Eavis: farmer, philanthropist, family man, and festival aficionado

SIMON ANGEAR visited Glastonbury Festival’s remarkable 79-year-old inspiration, Michael Eavis, to learn more about his achievements, his passions, and his love of the West Country

Read more
Monday, August 10, 2015
The Great British Bake Off contestants - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

After star baker Marie was compared to Rod Stewart this week, we couldn’t help but spot that many of the other contestants shared some spooky similarities with celebrities too…

Read more
Friday, August 7, 2015
Emily Grant is Environet UK’s Regional Manager for the South West

Emily Grant, regional manager for Environet UK, tells Somerset Life she’d like to eradicate Japanese knotweed from the UK

Read more
Monday, July 6, 2015
Morgan's pooches sporting the 'Double Nelson' lead.

We caught up with Morgan Cummins, co-owner of dog-lifestyle company Houndworthy, based in Weston-Super-Mare, to discover the inspiration behind the canine-loving Somerset brand

Read more
Thursday, April 16, 2015
The best-selling sterling silver snaffle bracelet from Hiho Silver's Equestrian range.

Their equestrian-inspired pieces are a staple accessory at events around the UK. We caught up with Emma Warren, Director of popular silver jewellery makers Hiho Silver, to find out more about this Somerset brand

Read more
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The Countess

Old friends who discovered they shared a passion for sewing, design and collecting vintage fabric, now work together on their handmade doll collection for grown ups

Read more
Friday, February 20, 2015
Mary Berry is one of many celebrities home-grown in Somerset.

One of the biggest British vloggers, 3 of the best UK comedians, a Formula One World Champion and an award-winning author – the towns and rural retreats of Somerset are a breeding ground for talent

Read more
Friday, February 20, 2015
Bristol medical student Emily Macdonagh and Peter Andre.

Can the uni you go to determine if you achieve celebrity status at some point in your career? Here are 10 famous Bristol graduates who have done just that

Read more
Friday, January 30, 2015
Anthony Head in an episode of Doctor Who


Read more
Monday, January 26, 2015
Kit Chapman

Kit Chapman, author and proprietor of The Castle at Taunton, is our new columnist at Somerset Life. He will be taking up residence in our Last Word spot for a few months and will be imparting his wisdom - and opinions - about Somerset on us.

Read more
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Hammering the basic blade shape with an anvil

It’s a perfect day for an al fresco lunch in the garden. Taking in the clear, sunny view of Glastonbury Tor, the group take a pew on the picnic bench and enjoy another special perk of their swordsmithing course – burgers barbecued in minutes on the heat of a forge.

Read more

subscription ad

subscription ad
Somerset's trusted business finder