Ah, tonight’s show brought back happy memories. Well, every Mastermind show does that. But I must come clean. One of the great things about taking part in a broadcast quiz show is that you have every chance in making new friends. One of tonight’ contenders is just such a friend. Tonight’s first contender, Neil Phillips, is a previous contender. His first appearance on Mastermind was in show 24 of the 2006 series. Which, as it happened, was also my first appearance. On that day we were both beaten by the excellent Katharine Drury who went on to top score in the semi finals, in which she became the first woman to make the final in the Humphrys era. So if I seem rather partisan in my support of Neil, well, its purely intentional.
Neil , as he did in our show in 2006, began the specialist round. Back then he scored a magnificent, and highly daunting 17 on REM. He is nothing if not versatile, and tonight he offered us “The Novels of Stan Barstow”. This was a daunting enough subject in itself, since Stan Barstow has written 11 novels, of which the most famous is probably his first book – “A Kind of Loving”. A small point here. Neil’s subject was the novels of Stan Barstow, yet at least one of the questions was clearly about a short story. Alright, Neil answered it correctly, but am I the only one who think this was just a little bit naughty ? Maybe Neil didn’t quite manage 17 this time round, but you have to say that 14 looked a damn good score from the Clark sofa on these questions.
Second to go was Stephanie McCann. Stephanie offered us a fine subject in the shape of The History of Portmeirion. I’m afraid that whenever you mention Portmeirion, a beautiful Italianate village in North Wales, you can’t help sooner or later mentioning cult 60’s TV series The Prisoner. To be fair I think that only one question of the set did actually mention the TV series. Stephanie’s round was nothing to be ashamed of, but she was foxed by quite a few of these questions, and ended up with 8.
Our third round, offered to us by Jim Crompton, was British motorcycles of the 1950s. I have a good friend, by the name of Neville, who used to make his perfect replicas of Manx Norton motorcycles in his front room. If he was watching I bet he loved this round. Why do I bother mentioning it ? Well, it was Neville who took me to my first ever pub quiz ! I will admit that apart from the Triumph Bonneville, I couldn’t answer any of these questions. Jim Crompton made a very good showing, also scoring 14.
So Chris Sowton had his work cut out for him if he was to establish a half time lead , with his round on Lord’s cricket ground. Of all the rounds tonight I thought that this one offered the most to the average guy playing along at home. Cricket is most definitely not my specialist subject, but I had a few of these – Old Father Time and Graham Gooch come to mind. Still, Chris Sowton had more than a few. He answered impressively quickly, and for the most part correctly. 16 is a very impressive score, to finish off an absorbing set of specialist rounds.
Stephanie McCann was first to return to the chair. She added 7 to her score to take her total to 15, but I have to say that actually her round looked a bit better than this . She started off with a good spate of correct answers, and was actually answering across a wide range of subjects. The correct answers did dry up a little towards the end of the round. Mind you it didn't help her that John Humphrys asked in one question for an AFRICAN country, and then told her the answer was Guyana - which is in south America.Its really unusual to see such a clear error make its way into the final broadcast show.
Neil came next. Once again, the round had a very positive start. Neil maintained his composure, although you could see that there were just a couple of questions where he knew that the answer was on the tip of his tongue, but they wouldn’t quite come. I thought at the 1 minute mark that he was a dead cert for double figures on the round, and he nearly did it too, falling just short with 9. 23 put him close to a bid for a spot on the runner up board, but just short. Still, nothing was over yet.
Jim Crompton never convinced with his round. With more passes than Neil he had to outscore him in order to take the lead, and it became clearer as the round went on that he wasn’t going to do that. Still, the 7 that he did manage to answer correctly did see him through the 20 point barrier, so nothing to be ashamed of there.
Finally Chris Sowton. He needed 7 and no passes to force a tie break, and 8 to win outright. You’d have fancied him to do it as well, but anything can happen in the black chair. People with greater leads than his have come unstuck in the past. To be fair, though, this never looked likely as he got stuck into his round. He answered as quickly as he did in his specialist round, and passed on none. In fact he looked like an old hand. At one stage the thirty point barrier was not totally beyond his grasp, although in the end he fell a couple of answers short. Still, with form like this you’d be a fool to write off his chances of making the finals.
Well played all, and a special well played to my friend Neil. You were beaten by a man who was on very good form, but with a little bit of luck you’d have made the runners up board. I hope that you still enjoyed the experience.
|Neil Phillips||The Novels of Stan Barstow||14 - 0||9 – 0||23 – 0|
|Stephanie McCann||The History of Portmeirion||8-5||7-4||15 – 9|
|Jim Crompton||British Motorcycles of the 1950s||14 – 2||7 – 2||21 – 4|
|Chris Sowton||The History of Lords Cricket Ground||16 – 0||12 – 0||28 – 0|
Current Highest Scoring Runners Up
|John Cooper||29 – 3|
|Ian Scott Massie||26 – 2|
|Les Morrell||26 - 3|
|Colin Wilson||25 - 0|
|Peter Cowans||25 - 2|
|William de'Ath||25 - 4|