Meridian TV
Meridian TV

Marina's Adventures in Cyberland

(Click on the pictures for larger jpegs)


As I am sure most of you know, I regularly post the answers to Take a Break on my site each week. Well, it turned out that the researchers of the television programme 'Cybercafe' had happened to find my site and invited me to appear on their show - as you can see's what happened next


Thursday 30th April 1998

Got up at 6am to go up to Adlingtons, our local newsagent, to buy Take A Break to put the answers on my page for uk.rec.competititions use. I hadn't been able to do them on the Wednesday evening as usual as we had been out 10-pin bowling with some of my colleagues at Birkett Long (

I usually put the answers up on a Wednesday evening even though I know a lot of people can't buy the magazine until Thursday. So I think Bob at Adlingtons deserves a special mention here!

So, then we left home at 9am and dropped Astra off at our local cattery in Brightlingsea.

Map of journeyThen, we started our journey to Southampton. We stopped off at South Mimms (the Motorway Service Area on the M25) for lunch in The Red Hen restaurant and Gam, the friendly waiter who works there, remembered us from when we had been to see Cats and stopped off on the way home from London. So, if any of you visit the Red Hen, don't forget to say Hi to Gam for us!

Then we travelled on down the M3 and arrived in Southampton at about 2pm. Found the town centre and parked. Then walking up to the town centre, found Mange 2 straightaway and walked past Wingham Rowan but didn't stop. Mange 2 cafe
Southampton mapHad a look round the town and went to the Tourist Information Centre for an accommodation brochure. Went and sat in Palmerston Park and made a list of B & B's we thought were suitable. Luckily our first choice, Languard Lodge, had had a cancellation that day so we duly booked in.

Found our way to Freemantle and found Landguard Lodge in Landguard Road.Checked in and had a well-deserved rest after our journey.

Then, we drove to the nearby town of Shirley where we had a meal at Spuddies. Came home and watched television and I was in bed by 9:30pm! However, at 4:00am, I was woken up by a couple having a blazing row! There was me thinking I wouldn't be able to sleep through nerves but ,no ,this couple woke me out of my deep sleep! I learnt language I had never heard before that night! :O) It went quiet for about fifteen minutes and then they started up again! I began to worry about my car and thought of going down there to check it but decided better of that idea - I didn't want to get involved with them did I?!

About 5:30am I got back off to sleep and then got up at 6:30am to get ready and prepare myself for my TV debut!

Friday 1st May 1998

After a lovely breakfast (well, the little amount I could eat of it as now I was getting a little bit nervous), we were all set to go off to Mange 2 for the filming of Cybercafe.


So we were already to drive back into Southampton when the car wouldn't start. I thought this was rather unusual as my car is normally very reliable. Michael then admitted to me he had left the lights on all night! If only I had gone down to check when I had heard the rowing couple! We then rang the RAC who arrived at 10am to recharge the battery. Michael even told the RAC man I was appearing on TV - perhaps he thought it would get him to do the job quicker! :O)

Michael then drove me to Mange 2 and dropped me off and kept driving round and round the block for 30 minutes as instructed by the RAC man. He said that people were giving him weird looks after he had passed them for the fifth time!

As soon as I walked in the door Dave Virgo approached and asked "Marina?" to which I replied "Hi Dave!" - his voice was instantly recognisable! I then desperately needed the toilet as I had been sitting waiting for the RAC in the car and, what with the journey back to Southampton, this had amounted to over an hour. In the Ladies toilets I met Tracey, another lady who would be appearing on Cybercafe. When I asked her why she was on - she told me she had a farting page . She also told me she was nervous and told me I seemed very calm. Actually, to be honest, I did not feel at all nervous but was just looking forward to it all. (After the RAC incident I think I could have coped with anything at that point!).

So I then sat and had a chat with Dave Virgo and was given a glass of wine to make me feel better about the car incident! Then I was introduced to Wingham Rowan . Then, whilst Tracey was being interviewed by Matt & Phil, I chatted to Dave some more and got miked up, ready for my go!

Dave VirgoDave Wingham RowanWingham

Then it was my turn.........

Phil and MattI was led to the settee and introduced to Matt & Phil.

The make-up lady came over and quickly powdered my face. I wanted a mirror to check my fringe was back the way I like it but was just told I looked fine and she ran off! Vanity was going to my head already!

I also asked Dave Virgo if I looked fat and he said

"Oh NO! You've gone all girly on me now!"

Then the cameras rolled and, to be honest, I did not even notice that they were filming. I was asked lots of questions which will probably be edited down as I did tend to waffle on!

(What's new I hear you all cry!). I just hope that I got various names right and the websites correct!

I would say the worst bit was having slogan questions thrown at me and only a few seconds to answer them! I know I said some really stupid things at this point so I hope this will be edited! I find slogans hard at the best of times but with no warning of what questions were going to be asked I found it very tough going!

They gave me 15 seconds to come up with a slogan of:

I love Cybercafe because........

In my head I heard 'it's young, it's fun, it's Number ONE!'

But I think I said

'it's fun, it's no1 - it's the one to watch!'

They also asked about people winning big prizes and I mentioned the man who had won a £40,000 Volvo from the UIP website but gave it away as his wife had just had a baby and they used the money to move house. When I was asked about giving prizes away I had wanted to say about winning some books off the web and then giving them away at All Saints Church Fete as Michael and I run the Darts stall - click here for our church page

I really enjoyed it though and was quite sad when it finished. They had to drag me off that settee! When I came off the set to eat lunch, Tracy said I was a natural! (She never said a natural what though! :O) )

Michael had told me not to look down but they asked me to do The Times crossword for an opening shot - well, of course, I had to look down then didn't I?! I also hope they didn't film below my knees as I suddenly noticed my 'extra-large, flatten-your-stomach' tights from Boots had slipped and I looked more like Nora Batty than the image of compers I was trying to present for the uk.rec.competitions newsgroup!

Mind you, to be honest - it's given me a taste for it and I am now thinking of applying to go on




Any ideas?

(e-mail me at

I managed to plug Jason's site,Loquax , but they might cut this so I hope this will count as advertising for you Jason!

Also, I had hoped to mention about Dee's Competition Gazette

So then we were given lunch which was lovely as I had another glass of wine, a tuna and pasta bake whilst Michael had a chicken panini along with two bottles of Stella. The whole team of Cybercafe were truly wonderful and could not have catered for our needs better. They really made me feel welcome and it was a very cosy atmosphere.

AnnaWhilst having lunch, Anna (the Challenge Lady) came in and we had a lovely chat with her and I think I might have upset Wingham as I said I had really wanted to meet Anna the most out of all the team!

I also got talking to Andy who had been interviewed to do with the Eastenders newsgroup.

Then after having my photo taken with Wingham, Dave, Anna and almost everyone there, and saying goodbye to Tracey and her family it was all over.......

(Watch this space for times of viewing in your area)

NEWSFLASH!!! Marina appeared on Meridian TV on Saturday 18th July 1998 at 12.30pm . Marina's famous!

For those insomniacs out there, the rest of our trip can be found on the holiday page

Links to: Marina's Pot-pourri · Makeover pictures · Friend's Links · Our cat, Astra · Our Wedding Page · All Saints Church · Our honeymoon in Ireland · Michael's Pages · Michael and Marina's Page

This page was last updated on the 19th September 2010