I’ll give you the statistical breakdown in a minute. First, though, lets spend a few moments looking back at what has been a remarkable series of matches this season so far.
The changes – I know that some people will disagree with me about this, and that’s fine. Debate and a free exchange of views is healthy. Still, for what its worth I think that the changes this series have been for the better. After all, how fair would it have been for John Cooper to have scored that massive 29 in the first round, and still not have made the final because he happened to be in the same heat as Chaz Early ? The old repechage semi final was very much a part of the Magnusson years. While I understand that the high scoring runners up are to be spread between the 6 semis, as happened this year in Brain of Britain, so its slightly different, I do honestly feel that this is a move back towards the show’s roots, and all round a good thing.
As regards the loss of the inter-round chats, to be replaced by the filmed inserts, again I think that this has been to the show’s benefit. You still get a chance for the contenders to put across their personalities, but its not holding the show up any more. The GK rounds are a pleasure to watch again now. As always – just my opinion, feel free to disagree.
OK the highlights : -
Kathryn Johnson’s magnificent 30 in heat 23.This was underlined by the highest score in the GK rounds, with 15. Likewise the superb match between Chaz Early and John Cooper , which saw them tie on a fantastic 29 each, with the outcome decided by passes. No sudden death play offs in the first round this year. Some great subjects chosen – I particularly enjoyed Kathryn’s Victorian and Edwardian Poisoners – although the prize for the most ‘out there’ subject probably goes to “Angels “, offered by Mr. Michael Burton, of whom a little more later. The most impressive specialist round performances were those of Chaz Early, who scored a stupendous 18 on Bill Hicks, and Susan Sworn, whose even more impressive 19 on Richard III was not enough to see her through to the semis.
The Lowlights : -
Poor Kajen Thuraaisingham set a new record total score of 5. The poor fellow froze on the night, and has earned respect for the dignity with which he faced what must have seemed like something of a personal disaster at the time. Before him we had Michael Burton. In case you’ve forgotten, Mr. Burton claimed that his score of 7 was all a prank, a tribute to his 7 children. Whatever. Hopefully it’s the last we’ll ever be seeing of this fantasist on Mastermind. Spare a thought for Susan Sworn as well. She might well have set some kind of record for the difference between Specialist round score, and general knowledge score, where she scored 19 on specialist, but imploded to score 5 on GK. Alas, a similar thing happened in her semi final in 2007.
Right – here are the details
|Kathryn Johnson||15 – 1||15 – 2||30 – 3|
|Chaz Early||18 - 0||11 - 0||29 – 0|
|John Cooper||16 – 1||13 - 2||29 - 3|
|Chris Sowton||16 - 0||12- 0||28 - 0|
|Mike Court||14 - 1||14 - 0||28 - 1|
|Andrew Warmington||14 - 1||14 - 3||28 - 4|
|Will Salt||15 - 2||13 - 2||28 - 4|
|Tony Esau||14 - 1||13 - 1||27 - 2|
|Mark Grant||17 - 0||10 - 2||27 - 2|
|Jesse Honey||14 – 2||13 - 1||27 - 3|
|Ian Orris||16 - 1||11 - 3||27 - 4|
|Ian Scott Massie||14 - 0||12 - 2||26 - 2|
|Les Morrell||16 - 0||10 - 3||26 - 3|
|Barbara Thompson||14 - 2||12 - 1||26 - 3|
|Gavin McEwan||14- 0||12 - 4||26 - 4|
|Chloe Stone||14 - 5||12 - 3||26 - 8|
|Colin Wilson||16 - 0||9 - 0||25 - 0|
|David Buckle||13 - 0||12 - 1||25 - 1|
|Stuart Maclagan||15 - 1||10 - 0||25 - 1|
|Michael McPartland||14 - 0||11- 2||25 - 2|
|Peter Cowans||13 - 0||12 - 2||25 - 2|
|Keith Pottage||14 - 0||11- 2||25 - 2|
|William de’Ath||15 - 1||10 - 3||25 - 4|
|Kevin Quinn||16- 0||9 - 6||25 - 6|
|Brian Southgate||14 - 1||10 - 4||24 -5|
|Valerie Roebuck||14 - 1||10 - 4||24 - 5|
|David Sutherland||14 - 2||10 - 4||24 - 6|
|Tom Hutchings||15 - 1||8 - 4||23 - 5|
|Nathan Jones||14 –1||7 - 4||21 - 5|
|John Iball||14 - 2||7- 4||21 – 6|
On paper, picking the finalists looks pretty easy. You just perm any six out of the top dozen or so. However its not quite as simple as that . While its more likely that the majority of the finalists will come from the top third of the table, you can’t judge everything on first round scores. For one thing, a huge score in specialist can be misleading. The chances of having massive scores in two specialist subjects in a row are rather slim, and so the GK rounds have to be looked at carefully. So while I’m not saying that Chaz Early, for example, won’t make the final, I believe that Mike Court and Andrew Warmington, for example , may well have a better chance, even though they scored 28 to the 29 scored by Chaz Early.
Lets add another factor to the equation. Within our top 10 we have three well known and successful quizzers – Kathryn, Mark grant and Jesse Honey. However there are another two lurking outside of the top 10 as well, Barbara Thompson and William de’Ath. Barbara Thompson has won both Brain of Britain and the Grand Final of 15 – 1. A highly impressive pedigree. William de’Ath is a highly successful competitor in the IQAGB Grand Prix circuit. If either of these formidable players really hits their stride, then they will be a handful for any other contenders in the same semi final.
One more thing. BBC don’t seem to seed their semi finals. They look at which subjects will work well together to make an interesting show for the viewers. So for example you wouldn’t put 5 entertainment subjects all in the same semi. So every year it seems to work out that there is at least one, and sometimes more than one top-heavy semi final. So its quite possible that we may have more than one of the top contenders in the same semi, and then of course only one of them will be able to make the final.
So many thanks to all the contenders who took part in the first round , the successful , and the not quite so successful – even you , Mr. Burton, for all that I do not like what you’ve done, had a certain entertainment value. Best of luck to all the semi finalists – and well done for getting this far.