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TV Egghead Hails From Barnsley

Friday September 6 2013


CJ De Mooi CJ De Mooi


DICKIE Bird, Michael Parkinson, Darren Gough... unlike his famous Barnsley counterparts, CJ De Mooi doesn't immediately spring to mind as someone who comes from 'tarn'.

So it may come as a surprise to some to learn the 43-year-old professional quizzer was born here and lived in Barnsley until he was four.

However, it wasn't a happy childhood for CJ - who was born Joseph Connagh before changing his name by deed poll.

He says he purposely chose to remember very little about his years here due to living in what he described as 'an abusive household'.

"I was born in Barnsley and lived there until I was four and then moved to Rotherham," he said.

"What I do remember about Barnsley is the road I was born on in the town centre, a little about the surrounding area and I have got some memories of the school I used to go to."

His life took a completely unexpected direction just after his 17th birthday - he left home and chose to sleep on the streets.

He spent about three months sleeping rough in Sheffield and travelled to London in the late 1980s.
He found his way to Holland and endured 18 months sleeping rough on a staircase in Amsterdam before stowing away on a train to Cologne in Germany.

"While I was there begging, a guy came up to me who was a photographer and offered me a modelling job.

"In 2000 I thought to myself I'm a bit bored and I have got good general knowledge so I entered a few TV quiz shows.

"The second one I went on was 15 to 1 and I won so then I applied for The Weakest Link and was voted off despite being the strongest link."

But it served him well as his post-show rant on the Weakest Link got him noticed.

He says it's a stroke of luck that BBC quiz show Eggheads came along.

"The thing is 97 per cent of stuff I know is completely useless outside of a quiz environment."

CJ has moved from quizzing into acting and has just finished producing and appearing in the West End musical, Geek.

"Acting is the only thing I have ever wanted to do and I never thought I would be able to fulfil or pursue that, but with the career Eggheads gave me I have been able to move into it," added CJ.

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Reply Posted by Criag.. on Friday September 6 2013 at 17:12
"no loss to this great place" what a comment! barnlsey's a cess pit mate nothing more. i dont blame him i never say im from barnsley either.

Reply Posted by Mark on Friday September 6 2013 at 17:16
Bearing in mind that you are unable to spell your own name, I am pleased that you do not tell people that you are from Barnsley

Reply Posted by Liam on Friday September 6 2013 at 17:25
made my day this comment hahaha

Reply Posted by Criag on Monday September 9 2013 at 12:07
that is how you spell my name mark, thanks for being sarcastic though.
it cheered me up no end because you my friend are the sort of person that bring's barnsley down.

Reply Posted by barhumbug on Friday September 6 2013 at 21:36
DICKIE Bird, barhumbug . lived next too him for 7 years , never once opened gates and said happy Christmas when the children of staincross sang !

Reply Posted by Milly on Saturday September 7 2013 at 16:05
He said he had pushed the memories away because he lived in an abusive environment. He hasn't criticised Barnsley.

I think he is a lot smarter than most Barnsley people, if the comments you see regularly on this site are anything to go by.

Reply Posted by julie on Sunday September 8 2013 at 12:11
he is right to push memories of an abusive childhood out of his mind - its the people who perpetrated this abus he is condemning not Barnsley( or its folk) in general - not seen him on eggheads tho

Reply Posted by Nicki on Sunday September 8 2013 at 12:39
I can completely understand him wanting to banish memories of an abusive childhood but I don't see why he should deny his heritage. I've seen him on Eggheads and (i admit i may be making judgements here but it is purely observational) he seems to act as though he is superior to everyone around him and i don't agree with that. i am barnsley born and bred and proud to be a yorkshire lass through and through.

Reply Posted by Peter H on Monday September 9 2013 at 08:40
You're right Nicky, he's the one the opposition want to play, purely because he's not the Einstein he thinks he is, in fact I've seen brighter TocH lamps

Reply Posted by Mark on Monday September 9 2013 at 11:58
He left the eggheads team over a year ago. If you see him on eggheads now, it is a repeat. When he did appear he was the 'weakest link' and everybody wanted to play against him.. He came over as an arrogant know it all and yet he was a very poor performer. His replacement is much more knowledgeable.

Hope he does well in his new career.