Saturday, 13 September 2008

TV Watch - 12th September

Mastermind BBC2 Friday 12th September 8pm

The second show of the series pitted a chartered accountant, Andrew Thomson, against two teachers, Colin Capell and Stephen Porter, and a journalist, Sally Jones.

Andrew Thompson, answering on The Life of Billy the Kid, put up a good show in the first round, scoring 14 and no passes. Its not easy getting anything in the mid teens, and this was a good performance.

Colin Capell has appeared on Mastermind before, in 1994 I believe. His subject was The History of the Great Western Railway - which is very reminiscent of the subject that 1983 champion , and future Egghead Chris Hughes took. He scored 12 and 1 pass, which is respectable, but is always likely to be beaten if one of your opposition has a good general knowledge.

Sally Jones I remembered from doing sports reports on breakfast Television - although I must admit I couldn't place her until John Humphrys mentioned that she had been a real tennis champion. She picked a really traditional Mastermind subject - the short stories of Saki, and with 15 points and 2 passes she was really the pick of the first round.

As a coincidence the second teacher, Stephen Porter, has also appeared before. He chanced his arm in the 2004 series. Neither teacher won their heats in their previous series. Answering on "The Films of John Carpenter I thought that his round seemed a little better than it actually was, as he scored 12 and 3 passes.

In the General Knowledge round none of the contenders was hugely impressive. Colin Capell scored a modest 6 for 18, Stephen Porter a battling 10 for 22, and Andrew Thomson an unconvincing 9 for 23. So Sally Jones needed 9 to win. She made fairly heavy weather of it, but eventually crossed the line with a point to spare, scoring 10 for 25.

So, 2 shows down, and both women contenders through. Its actually long overdue that we have another woman champion. Even including radio 4 Mastermind, and Discovery Mastermind, there has been no woman champion since Anne Ashurst in 1997. If I'm honest, I don't see at this stage either last week's champion Janet Dunn , or Sally Jones from this week being a real contender, as neither have shown a great general knowledge. However first round form is not much of a guide to what can happen in the semis and the final - it certainly wasn't last year.So I'm not saying that they can't win the whole thing, but I am saying that so far neither has shown the form to win the whole thing. But until you're beaten anything can happen, so I continue to watch with interest.

I was disappointed to see that the BBC are shifting Mastermind back to Monday night - we'll have to wait over a week for the next show. I'm also a bit fed up that the BBC still haven't got round to crediting my win on the Mastermind website. The last champion they acknowledge is Geoff Thomas in 2006 !

Show 2 Details

Name and SubjectSpecialistGeneralTotal
Andrew Thomson - Life of Billy the Kid 14 (1)9 (4)23 (5)
Colin Capell - The History of the Great Western Railway12 (1) 6(4) 18(6)
Sally Jones - The Short Stories of Saki15 (2)10(1) 25(3)
Stephen Porter - The films of John Carpenter12 (3) 10(3) 22(6)

University Challenge

This week , Sheffield university , last year's runners up, against Murray Edwards college Cambridge. Murray-Edwards used to be New Hall - who once upon a time set a record lowest score on the show. Jeremy Paxman at his most abrasive at the start of the show - he paid tribute to New Hall's chequered history on the show, then berated the captain of Sheffield for apparently not turning up last year. Having said that there was just a hint of a lighter side as well, as he laughed at a question about The British Potato Board, and said that he couldn't take it seriously. I've been trying to figure out exactly what Jeremy Paxman is, and I think I've got it now. He's the strict teacher you had , who everyone was scared of, who always got brilliant results out of his kids. You'd be dead scared of getting anything wrong in his class, and you'd walk over hot coals to get one of his rare words of praise.

There wasn't a lot of this commodity coming Murray-Edwards way, I'm afraid. The show was almost 13 minutes old, and Sheffield had scored 125 when Murray-Edwards got their first point, and there was more than a touch of sarcasm about Paxman's "Yeeeessss ! Let's see you power away with these now." They did put on more of a show after this, but there was no disguising the fact that it was a rout, with Sheffield scoring 260 by the end of the show to Murray-Edwards 65. Paxman couldn't resist a final dig - "I don't know, you just didn't seem very awake today. "

The Weakest Link

Again, this provides us with our daftest answer of the week

Question : The Wright Brothers made their first powered flight near a town called Kitty what ?

Answer : Wake ?

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