Guinness World Records™: An Exclusive Interview with Craig Glenday and Stephen Daultrey

Guinness World Records™: An Exclusive Interview with Craig Glenday and Stephen Daultrey

What has been your favourite Guinness World Records™ title of all time?

[Craig Glenday, Editor-In-Chief] It’s so difficult to say, as I have so many favourites! We cover such a wide spectrum of record-breaking that choosing just one title is real challenge. I’d probably say that the most memorable record has been the longest fingernails, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and measuring two of the most recent holders. The first was Lee Redmond, who everyone will recognize instantly because her nails extended out in long, smooth, curving arcs. She also has an incredible shock of white hair. We flew her over the UK to meet the team, and she demonstrated how she gets through life with these beautiful nails. She could type – with long pencils – and even made us all tea to show that she is fully functioning! She couldn’t use the bathroom on the flight – she could just about fit into the cubicle but then couldn’t turn around! – and struggled with long-sleeved sweaters, but otherwise she was able to lead a regular life. She taught self-esteem classes, too, to tell kids that it’s okay – and cool – to be different. Sadly, she lost her nails a few years ago in a car crash.

[Stephen Daultrey, GWR Gamer’s Editor] It’s a bit obvious, but I remember standing next to a waxwork of the tallest man ever as a small child. Robert Wadlow was 22 year old and measured 2.72 m tall. I don’t think I slept for about 5 years afterwards! No wonder I look so old these days. It’s because I never slept as a kid! But I also love anything that freaks my sister out – like the body-modder who has the most flesh tunnels on his face. That’s awesome. And all the spiders…

What has been your favourite Guinness World Records™ title added this year?

[Craig Glenday] It would have to be Purin the beagle from Japan, who can walk on a Swiss ball (farthest distance travelled on a Swiss ball by a dog) and – best of all – catch mini soccer balls with her paws (most balls caught by a dog with the paws in one minute). She’s such a beautiful and talented dog, and I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve heard of her.

[Stephen Daultrey] Someone rode a pig in Minecraft for 667km (farthest distance ridden on a pig in Minecraft). I mean, why would you not? Other than that, The Witcher 3 picked up 206 awards before it had even released (Most awards won by a videogame prior to release). That’s a pretty epic achievement. Oh yeah, and the person with the fully working the largest arcade machine (4.41m tall). It’s bigger than my flat!

What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened whilst attempting a record?

[Craig Glenday] I suffered a really embarrassing stopwatch malfunction while recording an episode of Through The Keyhole. Keith Lemon and Gino D’Acampo were attempting the record for most Christmas crackers pulled in three minutes and I gave the traditional 3-2-1 countdown, pressed GO on my stopwatch and proceeded to use the trusty Guinness World Records™ clicker to count each crack.. About half way into the attempt, I glanced at the stopwatch and noticed it hadn’t started! The fellas were racing through the crackers and I was worried that they wouldn’t have enough to re-start the attempt. My thought was, should I stop now and restart, or let them carry on and hope that the producers were also timing it. As it happened, I started to laugh and had to stop the attempt and confess. Everyone in the studio cracked up – pun intended. Luckily, there were enough crackers for a second attempt. The producers promised me it wouldn’t be shown but of course, when the programme aired, they used the whole sequence!

Craig Glenday - Guinness World Records™ Editor-in-Chief

[Stephen Daultrey] We had the pro footballer Adebayo Akinfenwa in the office last week. He’s rated as the strongest player in the FIFA videogames. By that I mean he is considered by experts to have the highest physical strength of any footballer in the world today. I read that he can bench press close to 400lbs in real life! However, he’s not quite so “strong” at actually playing videogames so when we filmed him trying to break a record for the fastest goal scored in FIFA 16 it didn’t go so well – he ended up collecting a yellow card in 5 seconds! We also got him to try to beat the record for fastest time to assemble Mr. Potato Head, but have you seen the size of his hands? It took him about half an hour just to put the hat on! We have the full video on our website. Check it out. It’s hilarious!

If you could have a go at breaking a record, which one would you try?

[Craig Glenday] Before I was Editor-in-Chief, I actually held a record for the longest Curly Wurly stretch in three minutes. I managed to get a Curly Wurly to 3 ft without it snapping. It’s been beaten a few times since, but not by me: we have a rule that Guinness World Records staff can’t be record-holders, as we need to be totally impartial. But the certificate is still hanging up in my bathroom!

[Stephen Daultrey] Oh wow, now there’s a tough question… Worst videogames player ever, measured after the number of videogames I’ve given up on after about an hour of sheer frustration whilst crawling around in a sea of broken gamepads.

Who has been the most exciting person to meet?

[Craig Glenday] Without a doubt, the time I spent with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was the most exciting of my life. Not only did he accept my invitation to come meet the team at our London HQ – where he posed for countless selfies and signed albums – but I got to be his guest at the World Music Awards that year. He insisted that I present his record certificate for Thriller (best-selling album) on stage, so with the help of a glamorous assistant – you might have heard of her: Beyoncé Knowles! – I went up on stage, handed over the certificate, and joined in a verse of “We Are The World”. You could say I sang on stage with Michael Jackson in his last ever public performance! It was such an unforgettable experience, hanging out with these megastars, and even staying in touch with Michael afterwards. I can’t explain how weird it is to get a telephone call from Michael Jackson! I also recently had the absolute pleasure of meeting a real hero of mine: Commander Chris Hadfield, who recorded the first music video in space. If ever there was a human being to act as an ambassador for our planet, it’s Chris. A remarkable, inspiring figure that we can all learn from.

[Stephen Daultrey] I joined GWR in March and have so far met Akinfenwa and the YouTubers Syndicate, Ali-A and Dan The Diamond Minecart. So I’d have to say all those guys! To be fair, all of them were super-cool in their own unique ways… Otherwise, besides games, I’m a bit of a guitar freak and I’ve been lucky to interview the likes of Slash, Interpol and Slipknot in the past. That was a struggle to remain professional and reel in my enthusiasm!

What’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever witnessed?

[Craig Glenday] Again, a really tricky question. I’ve had the joy and honour of measuring the world’s tallest, heaviest and shortest people, but also some incredible stunts. Seeing Professor Splash bellyflopping into a kiddie’s paddling pool is pretty extreme! He falls nearly 12 m (about 37 ft) into just 30 cm (12 in) of water for the highest shallow dive, and I wonder when this record will ever reach its limit. It’s terrifying and thrilling to see in the flesh.

[Stephen Daultrey] Ha, some of the scenes in the PS4 game Until Dawn were pretty extreme. You didn’t say they had to be real, right?

What is the most challenging record that you’ve had to verify and why?

[Craig Glenday] That Christmas-cracker pull was fairly challenging! Erm, otherwise, documenting the deepest concert was a real challenge, as it took place in the middle of the North Sea, at 300 m below sea level, in the hollow leg of a gas rig. Katie Melua – she of “Nine Million Bicycle” fame – was asked to perform for the 10th birthday of the Troll A gas rig, itself a record holder as the largest man-made object ever moved. It was located far off the coast of Bergen in Norway, so we all had to undergo helicopter crash training. There was just one rickety lift that took 10 minutes to reach the seabed, and it took about a week to ship and set up all the band equipment, cameras and lighting rigs. It was an amazing experience, and the gig was great – even if I did suspect that Katie hadn’t actually counted the number of bicycles in Beijing!

How do you see Guinness World Records™ growing and changing?

Stephen Daultrey - Guinness World Records™ Gamer's Edition Editor

[Craig Glenday] People are always going to be breaking records, so our future is going to be filled with yet more clicking and measuring and stop-watching (just hopefully with a fully functioning timepiece!). At the same time, we’ll be evolving and growing to reflect the kinds of record-breaking that’s happening. Remember, when we first launched back in 1955, no-one had walked on the Moon, or even made a transatlantic phone call. Today, we’re monitoring twerking and selfies and digital music and Netflix and 3D printing, as well as all the other classic categories we’re best known for. Humans are always growing and evolving and pushing themselves to bigger and better things, and we’ll be there every step of the way, recording the superlatives in order to understand the scope of our existence.

[Stephen Daultrey] Gaming now has a phenomenal online presence with gamers broadcasting themselves playing their favourite titles through streaming services Twitch and YouTube. It’s led to some gamers becoming massive social media stars, which is great for us because it means that not only do we have a ton of great new personalities to celebrate, it’s also pointing to a growing culture for live online record-breaking. And that bodes very well for the future of gaming records! And then you have the competitive gaming scene known as eSports too, which is bringing us the first professional gaming stars – people who actually play videogames for a living. Cool, huh? But ultimately I want to reach out to waaaaaay more gamers, be cool, and bag myself the new Assassin’s Creed top-hat so that I can swagger around games shows looking like a Victorian rock star from the year 1884.

What’s the most fun things about your job?

[Craig Glenday] For me, it’s the variety – no two days are the same. I can pinball from astronauts at breakfast, Oscar winners at lunchtime and high-heeled tightrope walkers for dinner. I get to exercise my brain with constant challenges: I’ve always said I know very little about a lot of things – my knowledge-base is very shallow but very wide – and this is the perfect job for this kind of otherwise trivial knowledge.

[Stephen Daultrey] It’s just brilliant to be able to recognise the levels of creativity that inhabit the gaming world. Whether it’s someone building a giant arcade machine, a gamer finishing Super Mario Bros. in seconds, or a developer filling their procedurally generated galaxy with a billion explorable planets, there is just so much variety, talent and imagination to celebrate. I can’t wait to show you the record holders we’ve been scouting for next year’s book!