Canberra Man’s No Name Trivia Show Goes Global

What started as a Monday evening activity to kill time during the ACT’s first close has now grown into an online community with members from countries around the world.

Joe McGrail-Bateup, also known as the town crier of Canberra and Queanbeyan, began polling family and friends every week with a short round of 20 questions via his personal Facebook page. Soon he thought he would amplify it by inviting a guest to join in; in comes Scott Radburn of the Aussie group The Four Kinsmen. Scott was having such a good time that he decided to come back every week.

“He had such a good time that we started the Joe and Scott Trivia Show but then we decided to hire someone whenever we could,” Joe said.

Some of the guests the couple hosted include classic TV stars like Larry Wilcox from the show Potato chipsmod squad‘s Michael Cole and Steven Tandy from The Sullivans† However, when the world opened up again, Scott had to return to his previous commitments and could no longer co-host. Joe reached out to one of the show’s previous guests, Simon Fisher-Becker, who is best known for his roles in doctor who and Harry Potter, to see if he would be interested in getting on board, which he was, but not for every show. Now a member of the show’s community, Paul Boultwood of Wollongong NSW, shares co-hosting duties with Simon in alternate weeks.

No Name Trivia Show co-host Simon Fisher-Becker as Dorium Moldivar in the Dr Who franchisee.

With Scott no longer a part of the show, Joe’s show needed a name change. As he pondered his options, JJ Cohen (aka Skinhead from Biff’s gang in the Back to the future movies) suggested the No Name Trivia Show — and Joe loved the idea.

Simon has suggested possible guests since his first appearance on the program and this continued as he became a co-host and brought others along doctor who alum like the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy – although not all dudes are from TV and film. Some of their favorite visitors were ordinary people.

“Guests are not always a household name; they can be someone with an interesting job or life story. Viewers provide feedback on how much they love hearing the life stories of non-celebrity guests,” said Simon.

Simon is known among members for asking tough questions, often researching topics that require specific or obscure facts. During the housing theme week, he asked about the difference between a domicile and a resident and about the origin of the word bungalow.

“It’s amazing how many people get the answers almost right. When I first started asking my questions, I got the feeling that my questions were too difficult.”

The show now runs for 90 minutes every Monday night (often spilling over if they get caught up in a conversation with the guests) and nearly 900 people tune in to the live stream or watch the video later. The show has reached audiences in the UK, Spain, France and America, and the time difference is no barrier to their devoted fans.

“It’s great that we have viewers from all over the world. Canberra is about 9 hours ahead; it’s 11am here or 9am when the clocks change,” said Simon from the UK.

Many of the original 30 members still tune in every week, responding to messages, interacting with the live stream, and volunteering their time to help. Originally, Joe did all the behind-the-scenes work in addition to hosting; now there is a whole team working behind the scenes. Some keep score while the show is being streamed, someone else prepares all the graphics and introductory videos.

The No Name Trivia Show has grown into a more complex game show in its two years; special guest Paul Bevan performs magic tricks in a recurring segment, smaller games are often played through the stream. However, the gist of it is still trivia.

The show even has its own sponsor; Highland Titles, a conservation organization from the United Kingdom, who assign each guest a gentleman or lady over their own 1 square foot of land in the Scottish countryside.

What will the winner get? Nothing. The show is all about having fun.

Since many of the guests are sci-fi fans, it seems only fitting to end our conversation by asking both men what their favorite sci-fi franchise is: Joe is a huge Dr Who fan while Simon enjoys the Star Trek franchisee.

Join the fun at the No Name Trivia Show every Monday night via their Facebook page:

Canberra Weekly would love to hear from you about any story idea in Canberra and the surrounding region. Click here to submit a news tip.