Published:
8:00 a.m. March 19, 2022



Many people in Suffolk have tested their skills and luck on television competition shows over the years.

County contestants have appeared on everything from quiz shows to talent contests.

Here are five of the most memorable moments from the Suffolk contestants’ competition on the small screen.

1. Alex Wilson of Capel St Mary beating the pursuers


Alex Wilson defeats the pursuers
– Credit: ITV

Aged just 22, Capel St Mary student nurse Alex Wilson managed to become the first contestant to win the ITV show, Beat the Chasers.

Faced with three of the show’s expert quizzers, Paul Sinha, Jenny Ryan and Shaun Wallace, Alex managed to win the £25,000 prize.

Upon winning, Alex shouted, “We’re going to the Maldives!” to his friends and family in the audience.

2. Army officer Erica Roberts from Bury St Edmunds is stuck at £16,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire


Will Erica Roberts from Bury St Edmunds win big on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire tonight?  Picture: @

Erica Roberts won £16,000 before losing to a really tough question
– Credit: @MillionaireUK

Facing Jeremy Clarkson in 2019, Army officer Erica Roberts won her round in the hot seat after posting the fastest time of 2.33 seconds in the fastest first question.

Erica, from Bury St Edmunds, had to put the words ‘love, war, just and all’ into the correct order of the familiar phrase.

However, when she entered the game, she struggled, using it to ask the public for a £2,000 lifeline.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came when the Grand Tour host asked him to name a photographer best known for his hard-hitting images of war zones and working-class life in the UK.

Erica decided to walk away with her £16,000.

See if you can do better than Erica on our quiz.

3. Jon Courtenay wins Britain’s Got Talent


Jon went to Royal Hospital School in Holbrook as a child and grew up in Ipswich and Martlesham H

Jon went to Royal Hospital School in Holbrook as a child and grew up in Ipswich and Martlesham Heath.
– Credit: Britain’s Got Talent

In 2020, Jon Courtenay wowed Country, City and Ant and Dec when he won Britain’s Got Talent, winning a £250,000 prize and a place ahead of the Queen at the Royal Variety Show.

Jon grew up in Ipswich and Martlesham and attended the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook.

Nor was he the only actor from Suffolk on the show that year – Souparnika Nair, 10, a pupil at Sebert Wood Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds, reached the semi-final.

4. Rory from Ipswich loses £60,000 on The Chase


Ipswich man Rory tries to take on The Beast in ITV's The Chase.  Photo: ITV

Ipswich man Rory tries to take on The Beast in ITV’s The Chase
– Credit: Photo: ITV

Despite overflowing confidence and raising £4,000 in his seed round, Rory from Ipswich never had a chance to compete with famed Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett from The Chase.

While Rory managed to get the hunt off to a good start, he stumbled on the third and fourth questions, which were about the anniversary of NATO’s military alliance and The Virginian TV show, allowing the hunter to overtake.

So he went home with nothing.

5. Emily of Cavendish hid the money on Bear Grylls Treasure Island


Emily de Cavendish appeared on a show with Bear Grylls

Emily de Cavendish appeared on a show with Bear Grylls
– Credit: PA

Suffolk dental nurse and mother-of-two Emily was marooned on a desert island in 2019, along with eleven other applicants and £100,000.

But when the opportunity arose to collaborate, she and some of the other contestants instead hid the money they found.

Speaking to Channel 4 after the show, Emily said: “I was unlikely to share the money I found with anyone else on the island, my husband and I had talked about it before I left and he fully supported what I wanted to do.”