Friday, 20 March 2009

Mastermind - First Round Heat 22/24

Mastermind First round Heat 22/24

The word on the streets is that there is no Mastermind next week. Well, why should the schedulers suddenly start to show any considerations for the fans and the regular viewers now ? Never mind the fact that we're getting close to the semis . I can't help wondering how long its been since the first round heats were actually filmed ? I know for a fact that the final was filmed right at the start of September .

Well, on with the show. Four brand new contenders took to the chair this week, so we had no past form to guide us. The first contender, Gary Grant, provided us with this week's sports specialist round, with the Life and Career of Sir Jackie Stewart. He seemed particularly well versed in all aspects of his subject, and answered most decisively. Questions were either answered at once, or passed on. 14 is a good specialist score, and so Gary Grant was very much in contention at the halfway mark.

Sarah Reynard offered us The Novels of Wendy Holden. I can't say I'm at all well versed in Ms. Holden's oeuvre, but my eldest daughter swears by them. The contender seemed extremely nervous at first. I may be mistaken, but it seemed to me that she was actually shaking before taking to the chair, and she did take a while to get into her round. When she did, though, she started to make good headway as she settled her nerves, and at the end of the round she had scored 10. What do we always say, people ? Anything in double figures is a good score.

Tony Whelpton, a writer himself, plumped for this week's traditional Mastermind subject with Honore de Balzac. Over a quarter of a century ago I studied French as one of my A Levels, and there was a significant literature component in the course - thank God for that or I'd never have passed - however Balzac was not part of that course. Which is all a very long-winded way of saying that I know next to nothing about him. However to my layman's eyes 12 looked pretty good, and gave Mr. Whelpton a chance.

Bringing the first round to a close was David Christie. Mr. Christie answered questions on those whacky teutonic funsters, Kraftwerk. By the way, if you've never seen Bill Bailey and friends doing the Hokey Cokey as performed by Kraftwerk, then you've never lived. This round certainly had more than a touch of the Trans Europe Express about it, and the contender raced away to a first round lead with a finely judged round to score 15.

Somehow I had a feeling that John Humphrys was unlikely to want to reveal his ignorance about Wendy Holden, and indeed he spent the whole of his inter-round chat with Susan Reynard discussing her work as a contracts manager. She finished her round on 16. Tony Whelpton followed. I was interested to see that one of his questions - what name is give to the selection of small dishes or appetisers in Greek or Turkish cuisine - meze - also featured in tonight's "A Question of Genius". Now there's a show that deserves its own review. Watch this space. He took his score up to 21, but with two contenders yet to come his lead looked precarious to say the least. Gary Grant made his way back to the chair with a determined stride, and indeed, when the round started he accelerated like Sir Jackie in his prime, and was picking the answers off at double quick speed. The second half of the round wasn't quite so impressive, but by then he had sped way past the target, and scored an impressive 13 to set the bar at 27. To avoid a pass countback, David Christie needed to also score 13, and this seemed more unlikely as a tricky round progressed. He too finished on 21.

Gary Grant answers very quickly, and that is actually extremely useful in Mastermind. If he gets a flyer in his Specialist round in the semi final then he'll be tough for anyone to catch. Potential finalist ? Absolutely. But then anyone who reaches the semi final is by definition a potential finalist.

The Details

Gary Grant Life and Career of Sir Jackie Stewart 14 - 2 13 - 3 27 - 5
Sarah Reynard The Novels of Wendy Holden 10 - 3 6 - 1 16 - 4
Tony Whelpton Honore de Balzac 12 - 1 9 - 2 21 - 3
David Christie Kraftwerk 15 - 0 6 - 2 21 - 2


That Quiz Guy said...

21st Century provides questions for both Question of... and MM therefore it is safe to assume that some recycling has taken place. After all, with the short turnaround for the former series AND Battle of the Brains, there is no way (due to time constraints), that they will have got round to writing a decent majority of original questions for each show.

Londinius said...

Hi That Quiz Guy. Absolutely, and you wouldn't expect them to. What I said wasn't intended as a criticism, merely an observation of what struck me as an interesting coincidence.