15 seconds of fame

So, in case you ever wondered, I did actually appear on “1 vs 100”.  I spent a total of four days in the studio in January and February, and actually had a total of three turns in the “mob”.  The closest I came to winning a significant amount of money was during the game where Jennifer Collingwood was out the front.  This final part of this game went to air on 23 April.  You may well have seen me on screen a few times in this episode (if you were watching TV in Australia) – I was in podium 85, near the front, a little to the left.

(Speaking about the context of humour – the host, Eddie McGuire, is also the President of the Collingwood Australian Rules Football Club – a connection that he made a point of several times…)

Jennifer got down to 1 vs 7, with a prize pool of $149,000.  (This was the closest any competitor in the Australian version of the game had got to the million dollars so far.)  Up to this point, she was quite aggressive in her approach, and seemed determined to win the million dollar prize.  When ten or less remain in the mob, the contestants are allowed a three-second “sneak peek” of the question.  This one was:

Leaving out the water, what does a standard beer recipe use most of?

At this point, we don’t know what the three alternatives for the answer are.  After some deliberation, Jennifer almost broke down.  She was in tears – her resolve of the earlier part of the game had vanished.  She eventually decided to take the money, despite the mob urging her to go on.

Eddie played out the question, just to see what would have happened.  The three alternatives were:

  • Malt
  • Hops
  • Yeast

Of the seven of us in the mob (including one other member of Mensa), only two of us got it right.  Jennifer got it wrong.  If she had been playing for real, I would have taken home $74,500.  Such is life!

At this point, Eddie briefly spoke to each of the two of us remaining.  I got as far as my name, and my occupation.  After all my careful planning, I only got as far as “Knowledge Management”, and wasn’t asked to explain it.  Then after all that, even this brief interview was cut from the version that finally went to air.

Would you have got it right?  See the answer in the first comment below…


  1. Jennifer –

    Thanks so much for getting in touch! As much as I would have loved a share of the money, I am glad to hear that things have worked out well for you. Yes, you did do well leaving when you did!

  2. hi, im the jennifer collingwood that took home the $149,000, i really cant say that im sorry for ur loss, cus im enjoying my win so much

    the money has changed my life, tho u wudnt know it from looking in, a new old car for me, a few new electrical applicances inside

    mostly the bank has my money, either in debt payment or simply saving

    im forever grateful to the show for the change in my life and ill be forever proud of myself for leaving, because as u say, i didnt know the answer


  3. The correct answer is “Malt”. It is the malted grain that provides the sugar needed for fermentation into alcohol. Hops provide flavour and the “bitter” element, and only a small amount of yeast is required. I have never actually had anything to do with brewing beer, but the first stage of Scotch whisky production is similar, and I learnt a lot on the whisky trail in Scotland some years ago…

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