BBC Radio Norfolk’s Treasure Quest
Treasure Quest is the Sunday morning radio show which sees BBC Radio Norfolk's Becky Betts travel around the county with the help of David Clayton and BBC Radio Norfolk listeners.
It started as an Easter experiment on air. Could we pay homage to, and similarly enjoy, the Treasure Hunt TV idea but without the helicopter? Of course!
Treasure Quest is a great way to get around Norfolk and it's not unknown for people to listen to the whole programme and head off to visit the locations later on the Sunday.
Just for the record, only the Questmaster and BBC Radio Norfolk's Assistant Editor, Martyn Weston, know the locations of the clues and treasure before the programme.
Either on the Sunday morning or late on the Friday night, Becky Betts and Ian Forster will be told their starting point so they know where to head to, but after that, they're in the dark.
After spending seven years across the border with BBC Radio Suffolk, she became our CSV (Community Service Volunteers) producer at BBC Radio Norfolk in 1996.
Becky loves running around Norfolk on a Sunday
Game for pretty much anything, Becky Betts was chosen to do the running around and clue-chasing.
Becky says what she thinks and doesn't mind the indignity of looking bedraggled in the rain and hot and bothered in the sun.
She's never claimed to be athletic so like most of us, bemoans too much running and climbing.
Becky firmly believes "magic knickers," as she calls her support underwear, give the illusion of athleticism.
She also believes she has a stunning voice. Becky loves to sing along to the radio while she's off-air driving between clues -you wouldn't want to hear, it really wouldn't make great radio.
She's ecstatic when she finds a clue and genuinely devastated when she fails to ultimately find the treasure as she hates letting everyone down.
When she isn't Treasure Questing, Becky is in charge of the new Big Screen at Chapelfield Plain in Norwich.
She has one abiding fear while doing TQ and that is she might swear either in joy or sheer frustration - she’s even written down a range of words like 'bother' and 'dash it' to try and replace lots of other ones in her mind. So far, so good!
David's pretty much presented everything on BBC Radio Norfolk over the years and anchored the studio end of BBC Radio Norfolk's pilot Treasure Quest over Easter.
The response was huge, so the station’s Assistant Editor, Martyn Weston persuaded David it should take over the Sunday morning programme slot from his Norfolk Years, so DC ended up taking on a similar role to Kenneth Kendall of Channel 4’s Treasure Hunt.
He assures us he's nowhere near as old as Mr. Kendall. He hopes he's cool and calm under the pressure of masses of contradictory solutions to clues from listeners, but in the end, the dilemma is his to sort as he has the maps and whatever information the Questmaster deems relevant.
Every now and then a "killer solution," as he calls it, comes in from a listener's call and confirms a theory of where to send Becky and usually David punches the air on his own in the Forum studio.
He's broadcast to Norfolk for some 28 years now but admits to Treasure Quest taking him (via the radio) to all sorts of Norfolk locations he's never heard of or been to.
He also says this is as much fun as he's ever had on the radio. It's three hours of total concentration simply because he has to have a formal BBC apology ready in case Becky utters a swear word.
He's fearless (but very careful) behind the wheel of the Radio Car and in his fetching combat trousers gets Becky in and out of all sorts of scrapes safely.
Ian drives Becky around the county
Fortunately Ian has a proper job and only pitches up to BBC Radio Norfolk as the official Treasure Quest pilot on Sunday mornings.
He pretty much knows his way round the county which is a great help and he's also happy to take over when Becky's fear of heights, water, enclosed spaces and women much thinner than her gets in the way of finding a clue.
In all seriousness he needs to be a very good driver, which he is.
He also needs to be an amateur mechanic – just ask him about when the ageing Radio Car's radiator turned into Niagara Falls and he’s an unofficial health and safety inspector watching Becky’s back while she’s running and broadcasting live to Norfolk at the same time.
He's devoted to two traffic cones stored in the back of the Radio Car. The first job as he puts up the Radio Car mast is to pop his cones out at the back of the car to keep the hoards at bay.
Some say he sleeps with his head resting on a pile of old encyclopedias and that he has a road map of Norfolk tattooed on his body - all we know is, he's called The Questmaster.
The Questmaster reveals nothing
He is really Paul Hayes and works in what the BBC call Bi-Media helping the Look East reporters turn their TV into radio - but he keeps a low profile - and so he should.
Single-handedly he's responsible for many a lawn not being cut nor DIY being tackled simply because thousands of Norfolk folk are hunched over maps, computers and books trying to unravel his fiendishly cryptic clues every Sunday morning.
Strangely, and this is really quite encouraging to know, the clues he's sure are very difficult get solved quickly and the ones he thinks are a push-over run for ages before anyone can make sense of them, so he’s not that clever is he?.
The Questmaster tells David, Becky and Ian the minimum information they need to know and occasionally will offer a supplementary clue.
His face gives nothing away. He's impassive in the face of studio tension. Is he happy is he sad - no one really knows.
The Radio Car
It's the other 'star' of the show and is the means by which Becky and Ian travel the highways and byways of Norfolk on Treasure Quest. It's BBC Radio Norfolk's mobile studio and has been since 2001.
Its mast rises 38 feet into the air giving it a great broadcasting range but it can still transmit with the mast down while driving along, but is much more limited in range hence sometimes you hear Becky on a mobile phone.
The BBC Radio Norfolk radio car
The Radio Car must have been pretty much everywhere in Norfolk over the last five years, as the 90,000 miles on its clock will testify.
It works seven days a week and 365 days a year unless it's being repaired – which it is – often.
Other duties include being driven by Wally Webb each weekday morning so he can report live into Breakfast with Bumfrey.
The Sport boys use it too every Saturday to report on the county's football matches.
For those of you who need to know the Radio Car is a highly modified Peugeot 806.
P.S. - Neither David or Becky will see your e-mail so be as clever as you can.
last updated: 02/03/2009 at 13:33