How we lost £162,500 – Part 2


Saturday, 9:30pm, and it’s lights camera action; we are live on TV. Suddenly we are the mind numbing escapism for other people sat at home dreaming of travel, and my brother and I are far from numb. The delightful host, Davina McCall (she is lovely in person, truly she is), welcomes two nervy but boisterous brothers to the show. From here on in it was a roller-coaster ride of emotions; the love we showed for each other, the celebrations and fist pumping at the end of each question, the screams and gasps from the audience.

Eight questions were rolled out. The first was a question about an exhibition being held in London; we didn’t know the answer but we had an inkling, so gambled the full amount of £1,000,000. Yup, we were surely crazy, but we were also right.

Somehow, close to tears, genuinely shaking and drained of colour, we made it through the next 6 questions with £325,000 left. No previous contestants had ever got that far with so much money left to play with. It was down to the final 50/50 question, which would either leave us with £162,500 each, or absolutely nothing. If we won, we would become record breaking winners. If we lost, we would become the biggest losers of all time.

The final category was cities. Yes! I had travelled; I would surely know this, this truly was my chance. I was terrified; I could hardly speak, I really did feel emotional enough to cry… and then the question was read out.


Oh. My. God. The one continent my brother and I have never been to is North America. I knew a lot of friends back home who never travelled, never wanted to, and yet they had been to the States, why hadn’t I? Why hadn’t my brother? It’s a place where Hannah has been to umpteen times. She should have said yes to going on the show as she would definitely know the answer. And she did know it, but she was back home babysitting, earning money for travel just in case I messed up the greatest chance ever.

I tried not to panic – we still had a chance. I asked Lindsay “What do you think?” He went with New York. I said I thought it was LA and he said “Let’s go with you bro, you got the last three questions right whilst I didn’t know the answer.”

Neither of us was certain, but we opted for LOS ANGELES, after I made sure to ask Lindsay if he would still love me if I was wrong.

The final answer was revealed in slow motion. Davina gasped and apologised for something that clearly wasn’t her fault as we watched the piles of money disappear.


Skip to the 1:10 mark to see us in action; the good, the bad and the devastated.

I’m not going to say the next couple of weeks were easy, because they weren’t. But apart from the odd dream, and missed heart beats as I drank from my coffee mug Hannah gave me that has a big I LOVE NYC on it, it was not as bad as I expected. Losing hundreds of thousands of pounds hadn’t destroyed me and life went on. You see, true passion to experience other parts of the world, and share that experience with someone you love, and who loves the same thing too, will always inspire you to get there in the end. We hadn’t lost anything. We hadn’t won any money but we certainly didn’t lose our determination to get away; if anything it just reinforced the desire further.

We didn’t get on the road instantly but we will, and it will be on 30 September 2012. It’s not long really, not in the grand scheme of things, and the grand scheme is where we should have our focus. Yes, sometimes we need the TV and the Merlot to get us through, but no matter what numbness we use and disappointments we face, we keep focusing on our dreams. Dreams when awake are not really dreams, they are simply plans which you put in to action.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarahsomewhere November 26, 2011 at 23:08

This is an awesome story! I am so sorry you guys didn’t win, but I am so glad you are sharing your story, and I definitely hope it provided some much needed healing to do so! I, for one, would be too scared of ‘losing’ to even try, so I applaud you for your efforts! And if it’s any consolation, I probably would’ve gone for L.A, and I have been to both! Cheers to a change of luck 🙂


Hannah November 27, 2011 at 22:07

Yeah, I guess someone has to lose! Sadly it was us but I’m really proud that Lee put himself out like that in pursuit of our dream, and at least we are left with an entertaining tale to tell! And yes, it definitely helps to know that other people would have gone with LA too 🙂


Alan Horton November 28, 2011 at 14:54

I live in the UK and actually watched this episode of the programme, it was amazing for the neutral!!!
I was screaming “New York”, it’s New York” at the TV but alas they did not hear me!


Hannah November 28, 2011 at 19:28

You and me both Alan! If only they had heard us – how different things would be right now… That is so funny that you watched it – thanks for stopping by!


Kim November 29, 2011 at 04:37

LA ruins it once again. Just kidding (kind of). Oh, wow, I’m sorry you didn’t win but at least you have a fantastic story to tell.


Hannah November 29, 2011 at 13:17

I know, LA – the land of broken dreams! It didn’t put Lee off anyway – he’s still considering applying for other shows! Thanks for reading x


Jenny February 5, 2013 at 10:30

Ha, ha, I had not read this post before! I’m sure you’re long over this Lee, and if it’s any consolation I muttered “LA, LA, LA” to myself as I read it. Lots of love.


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