Friday, 12 February 2010

Mastermind - First Round Heat 18/24

There was much for the connoisseur to enjoy in tonight’s show. For one thing it was far more of a generations line up tonight than I think its been all series. All of the contenders tonight were making their first ever appearance, but I’m probably not being unfair in saying that while Ian Copping, Valerie Roebuck and Brian Weight all had the aspect of more mature campaigners, student Rob Dunne must surely be the youngest contender in this series so far. Still, as the saying goes, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Time would tell.

Company director Ian Copping kicked off tonight’s show with a deceptively tricky subject. He was answering questions on TV Westerns of the 1950s and the 1960s. The reason he gave was that his family’s first television was bought for the Coronation in 1953, and in the 50s and on into the 60s westerns were very popular – so the genre grabbed him in his formative years. Maybe I’m wrong , but I thought this was a difficult round. Lets be honest, how many of those westerns mentioned have you ever heard of ? Under the circumstances, Ian’s 8 looked like a pretty decent performance in a very tough round.

Valerie Roebuck was answering tonight’s Popular Author round, on the life and work of JRR Tolkien. OK, compared with the previous round this was pretty well trodden ground, but a round on Tolkien is something I for one am always ready to listen to. Valerie told us how she had written to professor Tolkien, and much to her surprise received a reply, which she still has today. All I can say is that I do hope that its insured, Valerie, since its never going to go down in value. OK, that’s the end of this edition of Antiques Roadshow, and back to the review. A fine round of 14 and one pass put Valerie into a good position, and ensured that she would be in contention going into the GK round.

If Rob Dunne was at all fazed by the situation he certainly didn’t show it. Rob’s specialist subject was the Government of Gough Whitlam, 1972 – 75. In his filmed insert he explained that Whitlam was the Prime Minister of Australia, who was controversially dismissed from office by the Governor General of Australia in 1975, but was not without significant achievements during his time. Well, during his round, Rob Dunne showed that he has the makings of a fine quizzer, and is probably a fine student, and a score of 15 and 1 pass was a fine achievement I felt.

Brian Weight gave us tonight’s Legendary Sportsman round on Dixie Dean. Dean of course holds the record for goals in an English Football League season, with a mind boggling 60. Brian explained that he has no doubt that Dean would be a star if he was playing today, but a player like Christiano Ronaldo would never have been such a great star playing on the boggy pitches, and with the heavy balls of the 1930s. I’m sure he was right. He supplied a lot of right answers as well, scoring 14 and no passes to be well placed for a dash into the penalty box and a golden goal in the GK round.

So at the halfway mark only Ian Copping looked out of contention, and it was Ian who returned first to the chair to face the GK round. I felt that he had quite a tough set of questions. I think that judging by some of his answers Ian must do a bit of quizzing in his time, but this round certainly didn’t do him any favours. A score of 9 , for a total of 17 wasn’t a bad achievement on this set at all.

Valerie Roebuck was the first of the three contenders who had a realistic chance of winning to get the opportunity to lay down a marker. I think that Valerie has probably done a bit of quizzing in her time too, as she started her round very confidently. Still, there was one particularly long pause before a pass, and for a second it looked like she might fall into a spiral. However she recovered well enough to push her score on to 10 for a total of 24. That’s a good score, but it would only do if it was a winning one – falling a little short of the leading runners-up board as it did.

Brian Weight had the advantage of fewer passes than Valerie in the first round. So if he could score 10 and 4 passes, or better, he’d take the lead. However I know from experience that chasing a double figures score is not anything like as easy a proposition as you might think it is. Brian had some good answers, but not quite enough of them, and he finished the round with an overall score of 22.

So Rob Dunne had two minutes to try to beat the target. I hope that the other contenders on tonight’s show will forgive me if I say I was rooting for him at this stage. Actually, thinking about it, it may have been this that did for him in the end. At the moment his general knowledge is not sufficient to give him the 9 points he needed, and he finished with 21 points. However, Rob, if by any chance you read this, can I congratulate you on your first round performance, and urge you to continue with the quizzing. With a very few years’ experience of quizzing you could go a very long way in this , and other competitions.

As for Valerie, congratulations on a good victory. As it was she seemed most surprised at her victory, which was very endearing. You join a select band of lady winners so far this series, with Barbara Thompson and Chloe Stone. Experience suggests that there should be at least a couple more joining you before we get to the semis.

The Details

Ian CoppingTV Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s 8-1 9-3 17 – 4
Valerie Roebuck The Life and Work of JRR Tolkien 14 - 1 10 – 4 24 – 5
Rob Dunne The Government of Gough Whitlam 15 – 1 6 – 6 21 – 7
Brian Weight The Life and Career of Dixie Dean 14 – 0 8 – 3 22 - 3

Current Highest Scoring Runners Up

John Cooper29 – 3
Ian Scott Massie26 – 2
Les Morrell26 - 3
Colin Wilson25 - 0
Peter Cowans25 - 2
William de'Ath25 - 4

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