Best-selling crime writers recreate Bloody Scotland quiz

Contestants of the Never Mind the Buzzcops quiz at Bloody Scotland, Scotland's International Crime Writing Festival in Stirling. Photograph: Paul Reich

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Authors Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre and Mark Billingham have teamed up with two major crime writing festivals – Bloody Scotland and Bute Noir – to hold a version of their popular quiz live online.

Along with fellow authors Susi Holliday, Luca Veste and Mason Cross, they will appear live on YouTube to bring some festival fun to lockdown.

Hosted by quiz master and crime writer Craig Robertson, the teams will play it for laughs as they try to outdo each other in a battle of wits and knowledge, with music rounds, charades and quickfire questions all likely to be on the menu.

Like so much of the country, authors have taken to Zoom in the last month to interact with friends and family, and like so many others they’ve been doing quizzes to escape lockdown boredom. Now they’ve decided to go public and go live so that everyone else can join in the fun.

Val McDermid said: ‘Quizzes are always a highlight of crime writing festivals, and now that there’s no more University Challenge to divide the nation, we’re virtually stepping up to the plate. Readers will be able to hurl abuse at our stupidity or marvel at our knowledge. Something for everyone, really.’

Chris Brookmyre said: ‘Festivals are probably the thing I am missing most about lockdown, as that is not only the chance to speak to readers, but to catch up with my fellow writers. Given the issues with online synchronisation, I’m just hoping there isn’t a buzzer round.’

Quizknobs and Zoomsticks – the title dreamed up by Mark Billingham – will go live on Friday May 1 at 8.15pm. It will be hosted on the Crime Waves YouTube channel. Author Craig Robertson who is on the board of both Bute Noir and Bloody Scotland explained the thinking behind the quiz show and the idea to put it free on YouTube.

‘The quiz has proven very popular on Saturday nights at both Bloody Scotland and Bute Noir. Sadly, so many book festivals have had to be cancelled this year so we decided to get together and do the quiz live and free so that people would have something to be entertained by.

‘For those that haven’t been, it’s not taken seriously at all – think more like Never Mind the Buzzcocks or Mock the Week. The authors are very quick-witted and funny, and occasionally a bit sweary, so we hope we can give people a laugh and take their minds off lockdown for an hour or so.

‘There’s already been a lot of international interest in the event and we know there will be people watching from the US, Canada and the Nordic countries. We’ve been shocked by the interest in it.’