Interview with Anita Rani

Category: Press Pack Article

Tell us about The Answer Trap and what viewers can expect from it.
The Answer Trap is a quiz where you have a board of words that belong in various categories except hidden amongst them are Answer Traps that don’t belong in any category. They’ve been set by brilliant Frank Paul and Bobby Seagull who, if you are a fan of quiz like I am, you will know exactly who they are. They’re quizzing geniuses, amazing super brains, those rare individuals who brains work in a different league to everyone else. Every Answer Trap is connected to the category somehow, they all have an interesting tale and will hopefully be takeaways for people to impress their friends in the pub with - when we can get back inside them.

This is your first time hosting a quiz show, how have you found it?
It was like ‘finally I’m in a space I’m meant to be’. I loved it, absolutely loved it. I’ve been wanting to do a quiz for such a long time and it’s the perfect one because I get to be a conduit between our contestants and Frank and Bobby, and Frank and Bobby are just my kind of boys – clever, nerdy and you just want to sit and chat to them. There’s nothing not to love about hosting this quiz, it was a great experience and the team were incredible.

How big a fan of quizzes are you? Are you a quizzer?
I used to go to pub quiz a long time ago when I had a bit more time on my hands. There are proper quiz leagues out there, I’m definitely not in that league but I’m intrigued by that world. I love watching quiz on TV. Monday is my favourite TV night, it’s Mastermind, Only Connect, University Challenge. I basically have the viewing habits of a pensioner, if I’m home I’ll watch Tipping Point, into The Chase, Pointless, House of Games…

And now you’re hosting a quiz that follows straight after Countdown.
It’s fantastic. So you can watch Countdown, The Answer Trap and then the others. To be following Countdown which is going to be hosted by the formidable Anne Robinson… Look at that, two female quiz show hosts back to back. Love it!

You’re now one of a small number of female quiz hosts, how important is that and how does it feel?
It’s massively important. Not only am I one of the few female quiz show hosts, I think I might be the only non-white one. That’s quite a landmark for me. It does feel important. We’ve got amazing women hosting quizzes, Annie who we’ve already mentioned, Sandi Toksvig, the brilliant Victoria Coren Mitchell, who I’m obsessed with. It’s nice to be in that space, I’m not as clever as the others, but I’ll definitely bring my own vibe to the party.

How hard is The Answer Trap? Are the traps easy to fall into?
It depends what your knowledge is like. The thing about quiz is that if a category comes up that you’re into, like German footballers or Jane Austen novels, it’s about what knowledge you have. And we all have bits and pieces in the back of our minds and there’s enough time for people to work out what could and couldn’t be an Answer Trap. It’s really interesting watching how different people play the game. I find the minds of people who are really into quiz work in a different way, they already know how to work things out. Frank and Bobby have done their best at trying to catch people out, they’re impressed when people don’t fall into their traps and they see someone working it out.

Is it hard to keep quiet and not help the contestants out when you know they’re wrong?
Really hard! I’m on their side, I want them to do well. That is the one thing I’m really having to rein in – don’t give anything away, don’t try and help them. I like to play along as well, often I try and figure out what the traps are. I’m working on my poker face!

Have you ever been on a quiz, in your student days maybe?
No, but I am a right bore at home. When people come round I’m like ‘hey, anyone want to play Trivial Pursuit?’ And everyone’s like ‘No Anita, no one wants to play!’ I’ve been on Celebrity Chase and Celebrity University Challenge for Children in Need. I’ve been asked to be on Mastermind so much and I watch it and I answer all the questions – the celebrity one, when they’re a little bit easier – but it’s quite daunting. Maybe one day.

What is your all-time favourite quiz?
Probably Mastermind. I love people’s specialist subjects. And The Chase, it’s a brilliant format. And Fifteen to One, old school!

What about the contestants, who are playing in pairs on The Answer Trap, how have they got on?
You get such an insight into people’s relationships. The contestants have been brilliant, we’ve had such a range. Some of them are really into quizzing, a lot of them love watching quizzes on TV. We’ve got some highly competitive individuals and it’s interesting when they compete with each other as well, you can see the dynamics of their relationships. And then there’s the odd few where one person is super keen and they’ve dragged along their partner.

We filmed during lockdown and the atmosphere in the studio was great because everyone was so happy to be there. We had some very well dressed contestants and there were a lot of women who’d put on heels for the first time since lockdown, we had to keep having sit downs between takes – me included.

Have you learnt any fascinating facts from the show? Have you gained knowledge?
I would like to tell you I’ve gained a lot of knowledge but sadly I have a brain like a sieve. I always go ‘oh, I must remember that’ and then I forget. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind things have infiltrated.

Finally, sell The Answer Trap in one sentence to encourage people to watch!
The Answer Trap is the best quiz show you haven’t seen yet.