A Shropshire curate and her husband are celebrating after winning on the BBC gameshow Pointless.
Revd Olivia and Barry Haines made their way through two episodes broadcast this week and after a tense final round walked away with the prize pot of £6,500.
"Barry introduced me to Pointless when we were students and we'd just met and it quickly became my favourite quiz show. We always play along at home. I saw them advertising for contestants on Facebook so thought 'why not go for it'. Barry was more sceptical but was hopeful after we'd been through two auditions.
"We actually filmed in February 2023 so we've had to keep it to ourselves for a year.
"Immediately after we'd filmed we wanted to tell everybody straight away as it had been such a good experience, then it goes to the back of your mind. But come November we realised our episode was getting nearer and people at church were asking whether they had to watch for more than one episode. And one of my colleages guessed right because the TV listing noted that the end of the week went to repeats!
"The production team were great, absolutely amazing and a great atmosphere with the whole crew - makeup, sound and all. You really felt that people were cheering everybody on – you really wanted everyone to do their best!"
"While they were resetting the set for the final we were chatting and hugging our fellow contestants who we narrowly beat to get to the final. But they were then taken off the set for our final, so they had no idea how we did til the show went out this week!"
"It's strange, I'd taken about 15 outfits and then the wardrobe team choose for you. Only two of them were clergy dress and those were the ones they chose! If we’d had our third show, my third outfit was just jeans and a jumper. I was unsure about whether I should wear my clergy dog-collar or not, but decided that it was an opportunity to show a different side to church. There’s still a stereotype of an older man being a priest, so I wanted to show that God calls us all in different shapes and sizes to serve him in different ways.
"Apart from a couple of strange comments from people online, the reaction has been amazing, some of my parishioners who've phoned or texted have been extremely kind. I was in school yesterday and the children were so excited that someone they know was on telly.
"There was some criticism online afterwards about the way we answered one question, but you're playing a competitive game with only a second or so to respond. It all happens so fast in the studio, there’s not much time to weigh up your options.
"On Monday, after the first show we were receiving messages from people at church, especially from our under-5s group - the mums and children were so excited. Then people saying they're a bit start-struck 'I know a celebrity now', which we’ve found very funny because obviously that isn’t the case.
"I think a lot of older people watch the programme as I had friends texting to say 'My mum's just said you're on TV. I had an email from an old colleague who retired and I'd lost contact; she'd played a huge role in my journey of faith and to ordination. She saw the programme, googled me and now we're back in touch and planning to meet up - that's the best surprise of all.
“We haven’t booked that dream holiday yet. We’ve never really been anywhere outside of the UK or France as a family – our honeymoon was in Northern Ireland – and we’ve never had the chance to go long-haul. There is some disagreement as to whether we go with my choice of Sierra Leone or Barry’s choice of South Africa, so we might go somewhere entirely different instead.
"Just going on the show was what I wanted – my favourite show with my favourite person! I never could have imagined that we would get to the final, so getting there and winning the trophy was everything. It was a whirlwind, it was amazing and I'm very thankful."
Olivia is a curate in the Haughmond and Wrekin benefice, between Shrewsbury and Telford.