Sunday, 4 October 2009

News about BoB - Mastermind Plant Cymru

I found out last night that Robert Robinson won’t be presenting this year’s Brain of Britain. Ok, as a piece of news that’s hardly up there with the Berlin Wall being knocked down, or 9/11. To be honest, as far as the Great British Public are concerned its not even up there with any of the non-stories currently generated by Katie Price and Peter Andre. Still, for those of us who know and love BoB, it’s a bit of a shame.

I’ve checked out the Radio 4 website, but since the new series doesn’t start within the next 7 days its giving no details, even on BoB’s own dedicated page. However the quiz community being what it is the word has already gone out that Russell Davies has been at the helm of the shows that have so far been recorded. Mr. Davies took the presenter’s chair for the 2004 series, as I recall, and actually did a pretty good job of it. Peter Snow took over the chair for 2007, where I personally felt he was a little too ‘chummy’ with the contenders for my liking, and without the reassuring presence of Kevin Ashman’s Jorkins beside him I felt that some of his adjudications were rather inconsistent. Sorry Peter, but if there’s no Robert, then its Russell for me, every time.

The very best presenters put a certain stamp on the shows they front, don’t you think, which can make life very difficult for those who have to step into their shoes. If we take Robert Robinson himself, even such a robust and reliable format as “Ask the Family “ never really prospered when revived twice without him. Can anyone honestly imagine a Fifteen to One without William G. Stewart, or a WWTBAM without Chris Tarrant ? I’m tempted to add a Weakest Link without Anne Robinson, which would certainly be different. Lets leave that to one side for now. I suppose that the trick must be to do it like a Dr. Who regeneration. From the first of these onwards the production teams of the show seemed to grasp the idea that a new doctor offered a chance to go in a new direction, and they never made the mistake of having the new doctor try to replicate his predecessor. Of the top of my head I can only think of one quiz that has pulled this off. University Challenge, where the BBC were smart enough to offer us Jeremy Paxman’s chalk to Bamber Gascoigne’s cheese after Bamber turned them down himself.

However good Robert Robinson has been, he’s never had his Christian name become synonymous with his role, in the way that both Magnus Magnusson and Bamber Gascoigne did. Its funny how the use of a TV question master’s name, either as an accolade for someone with a demonstrably good GK, or a perjorative term for someone patently lacking in such, seems to have passed out of fashion. The last time I can personally recall this happening was in about 2003. John and I won a quiz we’d never been to before, where the question master congratulated us for beating ‘Bamber’ , which apparently was the nickname for the captain of the team who usually won. Its probably something to do with the name itself. In their 1970’s and 80’s heydays there were precious few Bambers or Magnuses ( should that be Magni ?) out there for them to be confused with. Whereas today’s top TV inquizitors must content themselves by being known by their surnames – Paxman, Humphrys, Tarrant, Robinson , Murnaghan etc.

I believe that the first of this year’s Brain of Britain will be broadcast a week on Monday, which will be the 12th October. I wish Russell Davies and everybody else taking part in the show the very best of luck.

Mastermind Plant Cymru

Look, I can only hold my hands up to this one and apologise. You know by now my love of all things Mastermind, so I am very sorry that I have not yet mentioned the start of the new series of Mastermind Plant Cymru , which is the welsh language Junior Mastermind. The series, a competition to find the successor to last year’s champion, Seren Jones, actually began on S4C, the mainly welsh language Channel 4, on Thursday 10th September.

I can’t review the shows, neither having seen them, nor having the command of the welsh language necessary to enjoy them. However I would like to pay tribute to all of those children – and remember that these are all of primary rather than secondary school age – brave enough and gifted enough to take part. So congratulations to

Lowri – CarmarthenHenry VIII and his wives
Geraint – Wrexham2nd Series of Doctor Who with David Tennant
Owen - BreconBooks by Rick Riordan
Rhys - BridgendThe Roman Empire
Sara – CarmarthenAlex Rider books
Daniel – BangorGreek Mythology
Ffion – Colwyn BayRoald Dahl Novels in Welsh
Gruffydd – PontypriddHigh School Musical 1 – 3
Sarah – BridgendHarry Potter films 1 – 5
Rhun – LlanbrynmairLife and works of Gwynfor Evans
Lowri – AbergavennyThe Roman Mysteries Books
Matthew – CaerphillyOes y Dinosoriad
Aran – BangorThe First 12 Tintin Books
Elliot – LlanelliThe Titanic
Isabelle – AbergavennyThe Inheritance Cycle Series
Rhys – BridgendThe Vicar of Dibley

who have so far competed in the series, with special congratulations to the winners whose names are underlined.

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