Friday, 6 November 2009

Mastermind - First Round Heat 10/24

Just as I was starting to think that the series was starting to look a little short on recidivists, we had two in the same show tonight. Susan Sworn was a semi-finalist in the 2007 SOBM. Mark Grant , one of the victorious Crossworders team in the 2008 series of Only Connect, reached the Grand Final in 2005, where he was runner up to Pat Gibson. Quite a pedigree. Philip Smith and Paul Tucker, who completed tonight’s line up were both newcomers to the show.

In 2007, Susan Sworn scored 16 in the first round on specialist and then 18 in the semi final. That’s hugely impressive, but her round on King Richard III bettered it tonight. A massively impressive 19 and no passes , with no incorrect answers is actually the second highest individual specialist round in the whole of the John Humphrys era, behind William Barrett’s 20 on the Royle Family.

Philip Smith was answering on Morihei Ueshiba. You might not have heard of him – I certainly hadn’t – but in his film Mr. Smith explained that Ueshiba had invented Aikido, and you’ve certainly heard of that. You certainly wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d let Susan’s marvellous performance put him off his stride, but he pushed on into double figures and scored 11.

Paul Tucker followed, offering us The Chartist Movement. Chartism , he explained, really only flourished as a political force between 1837, and about 1860, but we have it to thank for much of what constitutes our modern democracy. Mr. Tucker appeared to be one of the more nervous contenders we have seen this series – and that’s nothing to be ashamed of either. Still he too managed to push on to score 11 points.

Mark Grant is an old hand at big quizzes. Apart from Only Connect and Mastermind, he’s also been a semi – finalist in last year’s Brain of Britain, and experience can count for a lot in this game. Tonight his specialist subject was Edouard Manet, who he informed us was a friend and often a supporter of the Impressionists, but never actually an Impressionist. I do a decent Tommy Cooper myself. Sorry, couldn’t resist it. In almost any other show Mark’s specialist round would have been the outstanding round of the heat, as he scored 17 and 0 passes.

Poor Philip Smith and Paul Tucker must have felt that their General Knowledge rounds were something of a sideshow tonight. Paul had a very nervous start to his round, but managed to pull together a string of answers to take his score to 18. Philip’s round was rather better. He broke the double figure barrier for the second time in the show, and pushed his score up to 21. As Mark sat down in the chair, John Humphrys ‘helpfully’ reminded him what a huge score Susan Sworn had made, and suggested that he pile on the points as much as possible. The ten that he managed was not the highest GK score he’s ever achieved, but at the very least it put him into a prime runner up spot. So, Susan came to the chair requiring 9 to win outright. Last time out, Susan had rather imploded on the GK round, answering everything, but only scoring 5. Tonight I’m sorry to say that History repeated itself somewhat. Her final score was 24 and 3 passes.

So well done to Mark, who goes forward into the semis by right. Last year we saw Richard Heller win his way through to a second final, and who is to say that Mark won’t repeat that feat this year ?

The Details

Susan Sworn Richard III19 – 0 5 - 3 24 - 3
Philip SmithThe Life and Times of Morihei Ueshiba11 - 110 - 221 - 3
Paul TuckerThe Chartist Movement11 – 0 7 - 418 - 4
Mark GrantEdouard Manet17 - 010 - 227 - 2

Current Highest Scoring Runners Up

John Cooper29 – 3
Ian Scott Massie26 – 2
Les Morrell26 - 3
Colin Wilson25 - 0
William de'Ath25 - 4
Frances Gregory24 - 2

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