I LOVE a quiz as much as anyone, but never have I quizzed so much in my entire life.

I have started to put the kettle on in time for Mastermind. I shout at the telly when contestants say ‘Pass’ without having a stab at a guess. I do a fist pump if I get it right before they do. I feel way more intelligent than celebrities on quiz shows, (although the smugness quickly fades when I consider that their appearance fee will be more than I earn in a month).

From Mastermind to Tipping Point, University Challenge to Catchphrase, Only Connect to Pointless... I’m an avid watcher of TV game shows. It’s only a matter of time before I’m recording the daytime ones to watch in the evenings - and I swore I’d never become that person.

Maybe TV quizzes are a Covid distraction technique, or I’m entering the phase of middle age that involves, well, putting the kettle on in time for Mastermind, but my life is starting to revolve around them.

My friend and I text each other during University Challenge; between us we only understand a handful of questions but we have valid opinions on the contestants and their dress sense.

I tutted at the all-male line-up in this week’s final because frankly they looked scruffy. Not a collar and tie between them. “Would Bamber (Gascoigne) have insisted on a tie?” I texted. “He would,” came my friend’s reply.

I now understand the rules of The Chase, after years of only half-watching it and never really getting the whole money chaser thing. I have a favourite Chaser (The Beast, naturally). And I despise anyone who opts for the lowest offer.

When it comes to contestants on any show, I largely go on first impressions and quickly decide whether I want them to win or lose.

Tipping Point is what my brother calls “mortgage telly” - one of those shows they churn out half-a-dozen of in a day. Since it’s basically a big game of penny pusher, it has very little tension - although that didn’t stop me drawing the curtains on Sunday afternoon so I could watch it without a chink of sunlight seeping through - but presenter Ben Shepherd tries to inject some by coming up with terms like “edge surfer”, “rider” and “broad shove” to describe how the counters fall. “Now that’s a rider,” I heard myself say.

Mastermind is my go-to for general knowledge and once the theme music is out of the way - it gave me the shivers as a child and still does - I enjoy the bonkers spectrum of specialist subjects, from 15th Century chemistry to Disney princesses.

When I was growing up TV game shows like Bruce’s Play Your Cards Right, 3-2-1 and Family Fortunes were flashy prime-time affairs with big money jackpots and dream prizes like stack stereos, nests of tables and sets of leatherette suitcases. Our family favourite was Bullseye, when two mates from a darts team in a landlocked West Midlands pub would end up with either a speedboat (did they keep it on their driveways on alternate weekends?) or, in the words of Jim Bowen, their ‘BFH’.

In these weird times of home confinement, the humble quiz is playing a central role in bringing families, friends and communities together. We had a video-link family game of bingo the other night, playing for pasta instead of cash. Pub quizzes have gone virtual. James Corden and Jimmy Carr are among the famous names hosting lockdown games online. And my colleague, sports reporter Nathan Atkinson (who has competed on both The Chase and Pointless, no less), hosts the excellent T&A Virtual Pub Quiz. Catch it on Thursdays from 6.45pm on Facebook Live or myquiz.org

Happy quizzing!