Monday, 27 October 2008

TV Watch

Mastermind - Heat 8/24

Another good heat this week, and totally different from the last . All the contenders scored well in their specialist rounds, which saw 16 from Sophie Hollender on The Mitford Sisters, and Mel Kinsey on Ty Cobb.

I thought that Mel Kinsey's name rang a bell, and a quick check up confirmed that he had indeed taken part in the show before, and with great success, since he made the Final of the 1995 series, which was won by Kevin Ashman.

Bart Smith can count himself unlucky to have been in last place at the halfway mark. 13 is a good score, especially on such a wide subject as The Spanish Civil War. Still, he must have been quite surprised to see himself remain in contention after his 10 on General Knowledge. 23 was a modest score, and 10 on a very fair set of General Knowledge questions looked well beatable. However, first of all Pab Roberts faltered with a round of only 4. At least he kept his sense of humour and was still smiling by the end of it. Then Sophie Hollender did slightly better, but still fell short at 22 overall. As I said, though, Mel Kinsey is a veteran at Mastermind, and he made short work of getting the 8 he needed for a win, and actually managed 12, for a score of 28. He has to be considered as a contender in the semis, and may well make it through to another final.

Out of interest I did a little research, and if he did make it to the final, he wouldn't be the first contender to make it into 2 Grand Finals. The first person to manage this feat was Roger Stein. He lost to Ian Meadows in the 1985 final, and then went on to feature in the 1998 final as well, although admittedly this was on Radio 4 , rather than television. Then my predecessor Geoff Thomas, was the runner up in the 2003 final, and then champion in 2006. That's it.

Its much more common for people to make two appearences in the semi finals. In fact, there are even a couple of competitors who have made it to the semi finals 3 times, without ever managing to get to the final. I pay particular tribute to Isabelle Heward, who made the semis in 96,03 and 05, and Hamish Cameron, who made the semis 3 times in 5 attempts, in 1990, 2003 and 2007. Hamish had the 3rd highest score in the 2007 semi finals, but unfortunately for him Stewart Cross, who had the highest score in the semis last year was in the same semi final.

The Details

Pab RobertsJames Clerk Maxwell14 - 1 pass4 - 4 passes18 - 5 passes
Sophie HollenderThe Mitford Sisters16 - 2 passes6 - 2 passes22 - 4 passes
Bart SmithThe Spanish Civil War13 - 0 passes10 - 2 passes23 - 2 passes
Mel KinseyTy Cobb16 - 1 pass12 - 1 pass28 - 2 passes

Are You An Egghead ?

I watched all of the heats last week, and I continued to enjoy it throughout the whole week. Congratulations to all the winners - of the five I have to say that Dave Rainsford on Monday, and Dr. Ian Bayley on Thursday particularly caught the eye, and the Jenny Ryan v. Mark Labbett match up on Tuesday was very enjoyable too.

I think that the show provides a bit more entertainment value than Eggheads itself does, since most of these matches are real contests between genuinely good quizzers. Having said that, I must just make one observation. The poor girl who played on Friday - I'm sorry but I didn't catch the name, was not a serious quizzer. She was a serial game show contestant, and has won quite a bit of money on television, but this does not necessarily make her a good quizzer. She was from Newport South Wales, but I've never seen her on the South Wales quiz circuit at all. She was really shown up on this type of show, and it did her no favours picking her as a contestant at all. I would say that for this show you have to pick people on ability, not just on how many shows they have appeared on, or how much money they have won. Friday was a massacre, and not the most absorbing thing I have ever watched on television.

One other observation too. The disparity between the difficulty of some of the questions has been as bad at times as it is on the main Eggheads show, although at least it does seem to even itself out between the contenders across the whole show, in a way that it doesn't on the main show.

The Brain of Britain

On last week's show the afore mentioned Geoff Thomas produced a masterly display to destroy the opposition, and it would not surprise me in the least to see Geoff join Roger Pritchard, Kevin Ashman, Chris Hughes, and Pat Gibson by completing the Mastermind - Brain of Britain double.

University Challenge

Last week was the 2nd repechage match. Kings College Cambridge took on Surrey. Kings lost out in the very best match of the first round, which went right to the wire, as they lost out 190 -180 against Edinburgh. For over half the show this was another ding-dong battle, but in the last third Kings powered away to win by 225 to 150. Apparently the series is off the air until mid November for the BBC to be able to show Autumn Watch. A case of Bill Oddie stopped play, I suppose.

No daftest answer of the week this time - apologies.

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