Friday, 10 April 2009

Mastermind - Review of Round One - Preview of Semi Finals

Looking Backwards, and Looking Forwards

Firstly a big thank you , and congratulations to all 96 contenders who took part in the first round. You gave us all some terrific entertainment. What the public get to see on the screen really doesn’t tell the whole story of the amount of time, effort and commitment each one of those contenders will have put into their appearance.

So, who caught the eye in the first round ? Well Gillian Taylor’s specialist round was outstanding, and was almost matched in the final heat by Richard Smith’s superb round on British birds. The selection of specialist rounds has been as wide ranging and exotic as ever. I particularly enjoyed rounds on the Trans Siberian Railway, and Rare Breeds of British Farm Animals.

Several excellent GK rounds caught the eye, and I’ve listed all those who managed the top score of 14 later one in this post.

It was interesting to see three former finalists compete. Miriam Collard lost a terrific tussle with the excellent Nancy Dickman by just one pass. However Mel Kinsey and Richard Heller both posted impressive performances to book their spots in the semi finals. A newcomer to Mastermind, but certainly not a newcomer to TV quizzes is Ian Bayley, who looked good value for his 26, and will surely only get stronger as the competition progresses. Probably the biggest shock of the first round was the elimination of former world champion Olav Bjortomt, but then if you have to lose, its better to be beaten by one of the best performers in the first round, John Beynon. One other name to conjur with who didn’t progress to the semi final was John Webley, a former series winner of The Krypton Factor.

So – what can we expect in the semis ? Surprises, if last year is anything to go by. There are several factors which will affect the outcomes. These are : -

As far as I know the production team put together the line up of each semi final by looking at which combinations of specialist subjects will work well together to produce a good and varied show. This can result in some of the highest scoring winners of the first round having to slug it out against each other. Last year two of the semis were noticeably more top heavy than the other 4.

Some contenders have a noticeably weaker second specialist subject, and so perform less well than they did in the first round.

Its just my opinion, but I thought that last year the GK rounds were a little bit harder in the semis than the heats. Few of the 24 contenders scored as well or better on GK than they did in the heats.

I honestly would not like to predict what will happen in any of the semi finals. I’m not just sitting on the fence for the sake of it. The fact is that , given the right specialist subject, and the little bit of luck that we all need from time to time, any 6 of the 24 could do it. Sorry that’s not the most helpful prediction, but in the long run its probably more honest.

The Details

96 contenders took part in the first round.
84 contenders had not taken part in a previous series of Mastermind
6 contenders had taken part in a previous series but not progressed beyond the first round
3 contenders had taken part in a previous series and reached the semis but not the final
3 contenders had taken part in a previous series and reached the grand final.

Highest Specialist Round of First round heats : -

Gillian Taylor on the Romney Marsh novels of Monica Edwards – 18 points no passes

Highest General knowledge Rounds

John Beynon - 14 – 0 passes
* Olav Bjortomt – 14 – 0 passes
Richard Heller – 14 – 0 passes
Nancy Dickman – 14 – 1 pass
* Ray Driscoll – 14 – 1 pass
Frank Minns – 14 – 4 passes
* Christine Adam – 14 – 5 passes
* denotes contender did not win heat

Highest Overall scores

John Beynon – 29 – 0 passes
Richard Smith – 29 – 0 passes
James Corcoran – 29 – 3 passes

Highest Score not to earn a place in the semi finals
Chris Atkins - 27
Miriam Collard - 27- very bad luck.

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