GENERAL STUDIES. Nerves starting to show now. The five of us take on BBC2's Eggheads next week, and we're playing for something money can't buy. Our jobs. Scary Paula has done a deal with Upstairs: we fail, we're sacked. So we're concentrating on quiz revision. That means parking some think tank tasks, such as the Dad's Army campaign to "kick-start a national debate on the importance of fathers". They got a focus group of dads together and they were useless. Asked to imagine things being kick- started, they eventually came up with motorbikes, football matches and fights.
HISTORY. We start with a multiple choice question. In what year was the Education Act passed: 1944, 1996 or 2001? We confer. 1996 seems the obvious answer as it's in the middle. We're pretty sure "education as a concept" didn't really exist before colour television. During the black and white age children were up chimneys or pushing bikes up cobbled hills delivering bread etc. The answer turns out to be 1944. Wasn't there a WAR on then? We confer. There definitely was, so that's one out of two. Not bad.
FILM. In the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, what was the profession of the main character, played by Robin Williams: contract killer, poorly-dressed extraterrestrial or teacher? Hang on, says Sandra, what was his catchphrase? Nanu . nanu .? Idiot. She sounds like a very slow ambulance. The rest of us know he was a teacher, obviously. AND that he was sacked for misconduct after straying from the national curriculum. So that's two out of ONE.
POLITICS. Under proposals announced in a White Paper earlier this year, what will teachers be obliged to renew every five years: licence to teach, overdraft facility or personal injury insurance policy? Oh God, we should know this, we did a `think-through' on the White Paper for Envisioning and Emplacement. Ooh, says Max suddenly. Pupil Guarantee, I remember that was in it. The rest of us suspect he's getting confused with the "envisioning" thing. Wait, says Caz, wasn't there something about Ballsy wanting to build 21st-Century schools or something, because we said they'd have to get a move on, we're nearly through the first decade already? Yeah, she's right. It doesn't help, though. We go for the personal injury answer and get it wrong. Nevertheless, we have remembered something from the White Paper, so it sort of evens out.
LITERATURE. We move to the much harder "no multiple choice" section of our Eggheads Crammer. At Hogwart's, what house is Harry Potter in? We brainstorm: Gingerbread, Buytolet, Poshentosh, er, Stickleback . Owen has a brainwave: Dumbledown! We suddenly hear laughter. Scary Paula has crept in and has been listening. She looks unusually happy and relaxed. Inchworm.