TWO Brookwood sisters have become famous around the world, thanks to their jackpot-winning performance on the BBC TV quiz show Pointless.
Millions of viewers, and the regulars at the Brookwood Social Club, watched last week as former Winston Churchill School pupils Tasha Smith, 22, and her sister Jo, 21, won £2,250 in the hit series hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman.
The show’s points system is a little like Family Fortunes, but in reverse. All the questions have previously been posed to 100 people in a survey. Their answers are then ranked, with the most popular given the highest score.
The aim of Pointless is to give the correct answers with the lowest score. Four couples compete, with three eliminated in a series of rounds. To win the jackpot, the couple who are left in the final round have to give an answer that scored zero in the survey and is therefore ‘pointless’.
In the final round, Tasha and Jo chose a category that meant they had to name any player who scored a goal in the Euro 2000 football championships.
Tasha, who is studying to be a teacher, said her partner Alex had told her to say ‘Henrik Larsson’ to any football question and the former Sweden, Celtic and Barcelona striker turned out to be ‘pointless’ and earned the sisters the prize money.
Tasha told the News & Mail that Alex and the rest of her family were chatting over dinner before the recording and discussed strategy.
“We talked about the ideal and nightmare questions and said that football would not be ideal and that we should go in with some planned answers.
“Alex, who is a big Celtic fan, said ‘just say Henrik Larsson’ and then gave me some of the teams he played for.”
In the final round, Tasha and Jo had to give three answers and ranked the Larsson as the one least likely to win them the jackpot.
“I was expecting it to be wrong.”
Tasha said the surprised reaction of Armstrong and Osman to their win was genuine.
“They came up to us afterwards and said how unbelievable it was that we had got it.”
Tasha and Jo watched the broadcast at the Brookwood Social Club with mum Kate, a nurse, dad Paul, a shipbroker, sister Leah, 27, and friends. They all knew the result of the quiz, which was recorded in March last year, but managed to keep the secret.
“Everyone was very excited,” Kate said.
Tasha spent her share of the money travelling to Italy, Croatia and Greece while Jo, who is a student nurse, bought trainers and a Macbook computer for her studies.
Jo told the News & Mail: “I’d told a few of my close friends the result and many of them believed me – especially when I said we’d won on a football question. We’re more rugby girls.”
She said that all through the long process of applying to be on the show, auditioning, and competing that neither she nor her sister believed they would progress.
“Being on the show was really good – everyone was so nice. Winning it was an unforgettable experience.”
Tasha said a lot of people thought that her sister would be the weak link in the team but she, and mum Kate, knew differently.
“There was one answer that was ‘Cleopatra’ and Jo got that.”
Through a Scottish newspaper, which was one of many around the world that followed up the story, she has been offered free tickets to a Celtic match and is taking Alex as a thank-you for his very valuable tip.
The sisters grew up in Brookwood, where their parents and Leah have been living for 25 years.
They both went to Brookwood Primary School and then Winston Churchill School.
Kate said she was very proud of her daughters who were knocked out in the ‘head-to-head’ penultimate round in a previous episode of the show before being recalled and winning the jackpot.
She said that since the broadcast, the sisters have been interviewed by newspapers and broadcasters around the world and have featured on the website of the European football governing body UEFA.