This show pitted one of Wales finest ever quizzers, David Edwards, against the well known Alan Gibbs. David , who lost to Alan Morgan in the second round of last year’s series, was the first ever person to do the Mastermind / £1 million on WWTBAM double. Alan is no slouch himself either, having appeared on many shows, including a £125,000 win on WWTBAM. So no mugs in this show, not that there tend to be mugs in any of them.
David took first blood, and chose ‘young Kevin’ as he called the great Mr. Ashman, much to his amusement. He also managed to claim CJ and Judith. Keeping it interesting, though, Alan took the not-to-be-sniffed-at prizes of Barry and Chris. In the end David completed a 4 – 2 win, but this was a genuine contest between two fine quizzers, and very enjoyable as such
Gary Grant v. Chris Young.
Gary isn’t a film buff, and is also too young to remember that Tom and Barbara Good in the Good Life lived in the Avenue. Chris, though, didn’t know the old chestnut that Bing Crosby was originally offered the role of Lieutenant Columbo. He did know that Roddy Macdowell played the Bookworm in the old Batman TV series, and that was enough to win the round and Kevin.
Gary fought back to win a tough Geography round, and take Barry. Then Chris won the sport to choose Daphne. Then he won the Music to take Judith. Finally he won the Arts and Books to win CJ. During this period I am sure Gary would be the first to admit that he had an absolute ‘mare. However in his first round match he also won, beating Julia Hobbs, with only Barry on his side. Could lightning strike twice ?
Well, the fightback began when Chris went first. He gambled on his own hunch that a skipper is a dragonfly. Its not, it’s a butterfly. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to save your Eggheads. Gary got his question right. Then Chris used two Eggheads on his next question, not trusting CJ’s correct answer, so backing it up with Kevin’s. Gary saved himself by picking out that 8 comes between 11 and 16 on a dartboard.Daphne helped Chris to get his third answer correct. However now it was Gary and Barry, versus Chris and Judith, and Chris was one behind. Gary despatched the next ball to the boundary. Chris did the same with his. But Gary was one to the good. Barry helped him to get his 4th correct answer. Chris at this stage kindly informed us that he would have got all of Gary’s questions right without Eggheads.Was this a sign that he saw that things were slipping away from him ? Well, whatever the case, he managed, with Judith’s help, to get his own question right. But it was all down to Gary’s fifth question. He got it right, for a brilliant 5 – 4 win. Amazing ! Well played Chris, and bad luck. Gary, superb ! It ain’t how you start . . .
Charles Mosley v. Shanker Menon
Charles Mosley, who knocked out Nic Paul in the first round took on Shanker Menon who knocked out Beth Maclure in his previous match. Last year Shanker lost in his second match, and so he was determined to go further this year.
He didn’t have it all completely his own way, though. The first five rounds saw the advantage clearly go to Shanker, who won Kevin, Daphne, CJ and Judith, while Charles only managed to grab Chris. However in the final round , in a way that was reminiscent of Gary in the previous show, Charles started to play superbly, holding Chris back in reserve until asked which bird was also named Mother Carey’s chicken. Chris of course put him right with Storm Petrel . At the end of the first five questions the two were tied at 5 apiece. Both answered correctly. Then Charles missed the next question, and Shanker, who lets remember still had an unused Kevin to call on, informed us that the original name for the American defence computer network which later went on to form the basis of the Internet was the Arpanet. I must admit it was impressive the way that Shanker moved up a gear when we got into sudden death. There was not the slightest hesitation about either of his answers.
Charles, you performed brilliantly in the final round, and have nothing to be ashamed of, but the congratulations go to Shanker, who marches through to the quarter finals.
Rob Huxley v. Pat Gibson
You’ll definitely remember Rob Huxley, if you saw his first round show. His opponent Paul Sinha won all five Eggheads, but a series of unlucky and frankly inscrutable questions evened the scores up, and Rob won through to win despite being Eggheadless. Tonight his second round match pitted him against Pat Gibson, who had won his first round match against Cathy Gillespie comfortably enough.
Somewhat surprisingly Rob won the first round. Even more surprisingly he chose CJ out of all the Eggheads. That’s not meant to be unfair to CJ, but my surprise reflected the fact that Kevin was available. CJ is often unfairly underestimated, and he has consistently improved throughout his Eggheadship, but he would admit, I’m sure, that he isn’t Kevin. Rob’s reasoning was that CJ could fill gaps in his own knowledge of modern popular culture. I wouldn’t argue with that, but I dare to suggest that Kevin could fill more gaps in anyone’s knowledge than pretty much every other Egghead.
Pat didn’t give Rob any opportunity to rectify his error, winning the next four rounds. Particularly impressive quizzing from both of these worthy gentlemen was evident in the Geography round , which went to several sudden death questions.
The last round had something of an inevitable feel to it. Last time Rob overcame his opponent and 5 Eggheads, but 4 Eggheads were more than enough to see Pat home by a 4 – 1 win.
Liz Heron v. Mark Kerr
Britain’s Brainiest Estate Agent Mark Kerr took on Liz Heron. Both of them had beaten former Brains of Britain in their first round heats. Mark had seen off the challenge of the redoubtable Barbara Thompson, while Liz had beaten Jim Eccleson. So both of them had form coming into the show.
First of the head to head rounds was Arts and Books. Mark wasted hardly any time on explanations, and won the round, picking Daphne to start. He followed this up with the Sport round and Barry. The fightback began on the Music round, where Liz won on a sudden death question to take Chris over to her side. Again, the next round, politics went to a sudden death fight out, with a different result, and Mark picked CJ , being unable to resist the little jibe that he probably wouldn’t use him. History was the final chance to win an Egghead. Mark took the win, and Judith, to go into the final round with a 4 – 1 advantage.
Mark correctly answered the size of A3 paper without using an Egghead. Liz incorrectly answered that the Comet and the Cromwell were british aircraft in World War II – they were tanks. Chris could have told her that, but she gambled on saving him. Mark again left the Eggheads alone to answer that a solecism is a grammatical error. Liz asked Chris when the first transatlantic telephone cable was laid. He didn’t know, and guessed incorrectly. Mark, with a 2 – 0 lead and all of his Eggheads intact, called on Barry to no avail to identify the Flynn effect. Liz pulled back a point by identifying the Ormulum as a book. 2 – 1, and just a chink of light. Mark kept his head as Judith and Daphne helped him identify Nantgarw as being renowned for pottery in the 19th century. Liz had to answer the next one correctly and she did . Still, one more answer would take Mark through , and he correctly identified William Betty as an actor. Well played both – good game.
I’ve enjoyed all 4 second round matches this week. Gary ‘Lazarus’ Grant’s fantastic fightback in the first particularly caught my eye, as did Shanker’s ice-cool nerve in the sudden death final of his show.