Friday, 20 August 2010

Mastermind - Round 1 - Heat 1/24

I won’t lie to you. Watching the recent final of Champion of Champions had really whetted my appetite for this series. I’ve been very interested to see what effect , if any, the extra half minute of GK questions is going to have on the outcome of each show. Well, its early days to make hard and fast rulings on that, but one thing that has come about as a by product of this decision is that the filmed inserts, which replaced the inter round chats last year, have now gone. The result is a leaner, meaner , and even more compelling show.

The honour of kicking off the series fell to Lee Barnett. What a great subject he picked too. Lee was answering tonight on The Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister TV series. Widely acclaimed as one of the finest and cleverest sitcoms ever produced on British TV, the series provided a wonderful showcase for the talents of Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, ably supported by Derek Fowlds. I loved the series, and so I was rather annoyed with myself that I didn’t manage to answer more questions correctly. I did know that Ronnie Haslehurst wrote the theme music, or rather I guessed, which first question was, I think, the only answer to evade Lee Barnett. By the end of the round though he had managed an extremely impressive 16 and 1 pass.

By way of contrast I knew absolutely nothing about Brian Daugherty’s specialist subject. He was answering on the Bernoullis. They were a Swiss family of mathematicians of originally Dutch extraction. When Mr. Daugherty answered each question there seemed to be a slight hesitation, and also doubt in his voice. This was all the more remarkable when you consider that he managed to serve up the first perfect round of this series, a magnificent 16 questions asked, and 16 questions answered correctly. Fantastic performance.

Andrew Teale then had to follow two very fine performances. Andrew is a well known quizzer, and a very fine one too, and so, given a good specialist round , he looked sure to be in the chase in the GK round. He was answering questions on The Lancashire Fusiliers, a regiment with a remarkable history. Andrew started brilliantly, his answers were sharp, clear, and above all else quick. With about 20 seconds left he was well in command. However a couple of nasty questions put the brakes on a little bit, and he levelled out at 13. Still a good score, and with 150 seconds on GK he was still well in contention.

This had been a high quality heat so far, but if James Collenette was daunted by the high scores posted by the other contenders he didn’t show it. James was answering on The History of Argentina since 1800, a subject which , on the surface at least, appeared to be prohibitively wide. He didn’t make quite so impressive a start as the previous contenders, but what he did well was to keep going, and keep picking off the answers steadily. IF you’ve done your homework a cool head can take you a long way in Mastermind, and it took him to a score of 13.

So it fell to Andrew to face the first 2 and a half minute GK round in regular Mastermind. Andrew maintained his composure and concentration, and picked off 14 answers by the end of the round, for a total of 27. In previous series this was often a winning score, but by the look on his face it became clear that Andrew didn’t feel that it would be enough in this series. James Collenette was the first to try to beat the score, and I have to say that he produced the most impressive GK round of the night. Using the same calm, measured approach he had used in the first round he picked off 16 correct answers to leapfrog Andrew and go into the lead.

Lee Barnett followed. He’d answered sharply and accurately in the first round, and I fancied he might do well. Instead he went some way towards answering the question – what will it be like in a two and a half minute round if a contender gets stuck in a pass spiral, or is really struggling ? The answer is that its agonising – you feel so sorry for the contender, you can see how much he or she is suffering, but at the same time you can’t drag your eyes away. Lee, who seemed to be struck dreadfully by nerves , fell into a pass spiral, and took his score up to 21.

Brian Daugherty then needed 13 and less than 2 passes to win outright. This, I reckon , would be equivalent to between 8 and 10 in a 2 minute round – achievable enough, but by no means a foregone conclusion. AT times he seemed to be inching towards the total, but he made it, and added a couple more to be on the safe side. So well done Mr. Daugherty. A good performance, and quite a scalp taken.
As for the show – well its early days yet, but this was a tense and exciting show, which made compelling viewing.

The Details
Lee Barnett Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister 16 – 1 5 – 6 21 – 7
Brian Daugherty The Bernoullis 16 – 0 15 – 2 31 – 2
Andrew Teale The Lancashire Fusiliers 13 – 1 14 – 3 27 – 4
James Collenette History of Argentina since 1800 13 – 1 16 – 1 29 – 2


Will Jones said...

Hi David. Great report. One typo. you've awarded QLL regular James Collenette a Jesse Honey beating 31 points on specialist subject.


Londinius said...

Hi Will

Thanks for that ! D'oh ! He was very good - they were all very good, but not quite THAT good !


Another Anne said...

It looks as if what they've done is go back to the original Magnus format.

He never used to say 'You have two minutes on general knowledge, starting now,' always 'Your general knowledge questions start now.' That was because, once they were halfway through the recording, everything would grind to a halt while they added up how much time they had left, then adjusted the length of the GK rounds so that everyone got the same length. But it was never guaranteed to be two minutes.

Londinius said...

Hi Anne

Yes, I know what you mean. In Magnus' book he does make a point about saying that, particularly in the earlier years, they were not quite as meticulous with the 2 minutes as they might have been. In fact , in the very first final I'm sure that they gave everyone 2 and a half minutes on general too - since they ran out of questions before Nancy Wilkinson's round was over !