Quiz reveals everything that you didn't want to know about Channel 5

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The Independent Online
Welcome to the age of the Mezzobrow.

Such a person is intelligent, perhaps even academic, but above all knows the answers to some of the most pressing questions of modern-day life.

For example, which band is number one in the charts? (Spice Girls with "2 Become 1"), where would you find Radio Five Live (693 and 909MW) and who presents Ready Steady Cook? (Fern Britton).

If you know the answers to these and other similarly weighty questions, then you may just be the person Channel 5 television is seeking.

The new terrestrial television station, due to start broadcasting at the end of March, has introduced written tests for job applicants which involve knowledge less of Homer the Greek than of Homer the Simpson. (You have to name all five members of his cartoon family).

Channel 5's rationale is that rather than simply testing general knowledge, it wants to find out just how embedded prospective employees are in modern culture. Its spokeswoman, Danielle Nay, said: "It's as much about attitude as aptitude. Channel 5 is about blurring class and generational barriers, and not about being up or downmarket, but about having a modern overview of life." She added: "The kind of people we're looking for are highbrow, lowbrow and in between. We're looking for `mezzobrow'."

The mezzo (definition: half or medium) person is also expected to be able to name the five members of Spice Girls, know which television station features topless darts, identify the two lead characters (and their actors) from The X-Files, and recognise just whom David Ginola, Viviana Durante and Andy Gomarsall are.

Perhaps most importantly, for a would-be TV person and the world of power- lunching, applicants are asked to name at least five Terence Conran restaurants.

Ms Nay, who confesses the questions reflect some of her personal tastes, said the 50-question test had been "phenomenally" useful since it was introduced last June. It had helped identify people with a keen interest in modern culture and shown the more rounded candidates.

On a more basic level, the questions had shown up some appalling lack of knowledge of the television industry - such as the applicants who did not know the name of the chief executive of Channel 5 itself (David Elstein). Many applicants had regarded the examination as a "ritual humiliation" and more than one had refused to take part at all.

There were also some amusing answers. When asked whom Lori Miles was, someone had described her as a porn actress, another stated that she was a supermodel. She is , in fact, editor of TV Quick magazine. And perhaps predictably at least one candidate was confused as to the authorship of Princess in Love. "Wasn't it one of Tolstoy's relatives?" asked one.

Charlie Parsons, managing director of the television production company Planet 24, which uses similar tests for graduate trainees, agreed with Chanel 5's philosophy. "I think if people are going to be working in television on information programmes then they should have a good idea of the popular culture agenda," he said.

The Mezzomind questions

1. What is number one in the charts today?

2. Who is Israel's prime minister?

3. How many Fugees are there?

4. Who edits the Sun?

5. Who wrote

(a) Princess in Love (b) La Traviata (c) A Brief History of Time (d) The Great Gatsby (e) High Fidelity (f) Money

6. Who is

(a) Viviana Durante (b) Gaz Coombes (c) Ray Gardner (d) David Ginola (e) Andy Gomarsall

7. Who is Peter Powell married to?

What is his connection with Caron Keating?

8. On what frequency would you find Radio Five Live?

9. Can you name all five of the Simpsons?

What is ITV scheduling against it?

10. Name the following people's other halves (or exes) and recent offspring.

(a) Paula Yates (b) Madonna (c) Imran Khan (d) Pamela Anderson

11. Who Sponsors League Division One?

12. Who presents Ready Steady Cook?

13. Who or what is an agent provocateur?

14. Name five Conran restaurants

15. Where in London would you find the Prada shop?

Answers: (1) Spice Girls - "2 Become 1" (2) Benjamin Netanyahu (3) three (4) Stuart Higgins (5a) Anna Pasternak (b) Verdi (c) Stephen Hawking (d) F Scott Fitzgerald (e) Nick Hornby (f) Martin Amis (6a) ballerina (b) Lead singer, Supergrass (c) spoof marketing director in a Tango ad (d) Newcastle football player (e) youngest player in England rugby team (7) Anthea Turner. His business partner is married to Caron Keating (8) 693 and 909 MW (9) Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie; Sabrina The Teenage Witch (10a) Michael Hutchence and Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (b) Carlos Leon and Lourdes (c) Jemima Goldsmith and Sulaiman Isa (d) Tommy Lee and Brandon (11) Nationwide (12) Fern Britton (13) an underwear shop and a band (14) Mezzo, Quaglinos, The Blueprint Cafe, Cantina del Ponte, Le Pont de la Tour, Butler's Wharf Chop House or Bibendum (15) Sloane Street

The Independent has come up with a few questions that candidates could ask about Channel 5.

1 Why isn't the channel already on air as promised last year?

2 Do we need another television station?

3 Why haven't I had my video re-tuned yet?

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