TV ( and Radio ) Watch
University Challenge Monday 12th January BBC2
The first quarter final this week pitted 2 serious contenders against each other, the University of Manchester and the London School of Economics. Conspiracy theorists may draw attention to the fact that these two were matched against each other rather than Oxbridge, but what you lose on the swings etc. It means that two of the Oxbridge contenders will have to face each other at some time during the round.
By a coincidence the members of both of the teams who impressed me most both sported beards. Coleridge of the LSE seemed at times to be almost threatening to drag his team back into the game with a number of impressive starters. However the most impressive of all the players on show was Manchester's Pertinez, who answered starters across what seemed a formidable range of Arts and Sciences. While this was never a rout, Manchester were always in front, and from about the 20 minute mark you just couldn't see LSE ever getting on level terms. One interesting feature of the match was the number of points thrown away with incorrect starter interruptions. Both teams , it seemed , were so aware of the other team's ability that they had to take risks.Well, another very enjoyable match.
Brain of Britain Radio 4 Monday 12th January
The last of the semi finals. I may be mistaken, but I believe that the previous two semi finals were both won by a player getting the full five questions for 6 points in the very last round. Surely it wasn't going to happen again. Was it ?
Forgive me if I spell anyone's name wrongly now. For the first half of the contest Mr. Taylor, going last in the round, established a lead, and seemed to keep his nose in front as each round went by. In the middle of the contests there was a spirited rally from Mr. Hayward. At the halfway stage I'm sure you could have named your own odds for Mr. Steeples. However he did what any great jockey would do. He kept just behind the leaders, then unleashed a fantastic finishing burst as the post came into view, scoring a full six points to win by a short head. Congratulations to you sir ! The final is next Monday. As the great Robert Robinson said at the end of the show - don't miss it !
Terry Wogan's Perfect Recall
Yes, its been a slack week again, and so we're down among what would have been called "the wines and spirits" in the old Variety theatres. Now that he's given up the Eurovision gig to the boy Norton, our Tel is shoring up his bank balance with another series of this quiz/game hybrid. I'll put my cards on the table here. Its the kind of show that I feel I really shouldn't ever watch, but I have to admit that I really don't mind it. Alright, that's lukewarm praise, I know. But it does have some things going for it.
Terry Wogan is not by any means everyone's cup of darjeeling, but as regular listeners to his radio 2 show know he's a droll old soul. This show doesn't waste too much time on letting us get to know the contestants, and that's always a plus in my book. On the negative side the questions aren't hard, and the game gets a little tedious when you keep having yet another set of questions with the same answers. That aside, though, the show does provide a certain amount of cruel amusement, when a contestant can remember one word from the list, and uses it in answer to every question in the vague hope that they will hit the target sooner or later.
If you've seen the show before, then you know what its all about. Its never going to be much better, but its never going to be much worse.