Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Awards for 2008

The Quiz Awards

Yes, its the time of the year when we reflect upon the last 12 months, so that we've got a halfway decent chance of being able to do well in the traditional end of year quiz at the Aberavon Rugby club. so in the spirit of the season of goodwill, I've decided to reflect a little on the year of quizzing, and give out a few awards.

1) The - Best New TV Quiz - Award : -

There's been several new TV quizzes, but relatively few worthy of the award. In 2008 we've seen, to name a few : -
Terry Wogan's Perfect Recall -
which had the novel idea of using the same answers in every round. In practice this became rather boring rather quickly. Not only that, but winning anything approaching a serious amount of money in the final was exceptionally difficult. Not quite as difficult, though, as winning even £2000 on the next show in this category.

Battle of the Brains -

a show which had a couple of things very much in its favour. For one thing it actually solicited the services of some extremely good quiz teams, for which the producers deserve nothing but praise. But, oh dear, they could have done better on the way that they organised the head to heads. At times the balance between questions was as bad as it can often be on Eggheads, and it was exceptionally difficult for any of the teams to win any money. Still, a second series is in production as I write, and it wouldn't be too hard to make this into a decent show.

Sports Mastermind -

extended the Mastermind franchise a little bit further. It was enjoyable enough, although poor old Des Lynam wasn't well during the filming, so I heard, and never seemed to show his legendary smoothness and charm until the Grand Final. Congratulations to winner Chris Bell, though.

Are You An Egghead ? -

was, in my opinion, rather more enjoyable than the long-running Eggheads show itself, but it still suffered from some of the flaws which mar the original show. Some of the questions were desperately unbalanced. Not only that, but the multiple choice format does blur the distinction between the merely good, and the great, and this maybe was shown up a little bit in the final. The rumour is that current world champion, brain of brains, top brain and brain of Britain, Mark Bytheway was auditioned for the show but rejected. If this is true, then it does the producers no credit whatsoever. once again congratulations to Barry Simmons - who looked a worthy Egghead throughout the whole series.

So - which new series took on and beat all comers ? Why - none other than : -

Only Connect

Regular readers are very aware of my high regard for this show, but its not just me. As far as I can see this is a show that has met with pretty much universal approval from regular viewers. Victoria Coren is a fine presenter, who shows just how well you can do a quiz show without having to jettison any trace of personality - Paddy O'Connell please take note. The games are absorbing and challenging. In fact, the only real complaint that anyone could make about the show is that it is stuck in the ghetto of BBC4. So one of my christmas wishes is that this show will make a comeback, and will graduate to BBC2 for another series.

2) The - Biggest Missed Opportunity on TV - Award

No contest on this one. The award goes to Battle of the Brains. The nation is crying out for an intelligent weekday quiz show in the evening slot - we haven't really had one since 15 to 1. Battle of the Brains could have been just that. Too many contestants per team, and head to heads that could be decided by just one question stopped it from being what it might have been. Still, another series is on the way, so you never know. It wouldn't take that much to turn this into a good show.

3) The - What Were They Thinking ? - Award

Another award goes to the BBC, this time for announcing Barry Simmons as the newest Egghead in the listings BEFORE the final of Are You An Egghead had even been broadcast.

And now I'll become even more self-indulgent - if such a thing is possible, and give out a few awards to recipients a little closer to home.

4) The - What Makes You Think You're Something Special ? - Award

The Gold Bog Roll is awarded jointly to the Governing Body of my school, and the Local Education Authority. Despite the issue being raised by the two teacher governors, the governing body decided that my Mastermind win didn't merit even so much as a letter of congratulations - a stunning display of ignorance which was also matched by the Local Education Authority. The school also refused me permission to travel to London during term time to present the trophy in this year's final. Bitter ? Me ? Gentlemen - I thank you all from the heart of my bottom.

5) The - We was stitched up, funniest moment of the year - Award.

For me , winning a poor RedTooth quiz on a Sunday evening in Rhiwbina, in the PantMawr Inn. The runners up were asked to choose between a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine. We, the winners, were asked to choose between taking the money and putting it in the charity box. No pressure there at all !

6) The Biggest Ego Trip of The Year Award

You'll appreciate that this year has given me more than its fair share of this. There have been many many great moments for me this year. eg -
The trophy for the annual Mayday in Melincrythan Charity Quiz has been named the Dave Clark Mastermind 2007 trophy - I kid you not !
I was interviewed in a broom cupboard for the BBC Wales news
Nancy Banks-Smith in The Guardian pay tribute to my 'big face'.
Becoming the first team to score 100% in the Aberavon Rugby Club Thursday night quiz.
But above all of these was this tribute paid to me by a 12 year old girl in school : -
" I saw you on the telly. You won, didn't you. Hmm - you quite clever for a teacher, in' you ? "

In case I don't get a chance to post again before January, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Successful New Year.

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