Welcome back Brain of Britain ! I’ve missed you. The best voice on the radio, namely that of Russell Davies , welcomed contestants William De’Ath, Sarah Duncan, Jack Newby and Angela Wilson. Well, I’m afraid that I don’t know the last three contestants, but William I do know. A quizzer who has a very high rank nationally, and a semi finalist in Mastermind, William immediately appealed as the favourite to win the heat. However , upsets can always happen.
William began with 2 correct answers, but didn’t know that Terry, who played Toto in the Wizard of Oz, was a Cairn terrier. I didn’t know that either. Angela Wilson did for a bonus. She repeated this feat on Sarah Duncan’s second question, knowing that it was Berlioz who set out to Italy to murder his lover Camille who had run away with a piano manufacturer. Takes all sorts, I suppose. Jack Newby failed on his first question, and this time it was Sarah Duncan who cut in for a bonus on the Aga Khan. Then to Angela Wilson, who failed to answer Winston Churchill’s middle names. She had Spencer, but plumped for Randolph, his middle name. William knew it, though, and this was enough to give him the lead at the end of round one, by 3 points to Sarah and Angela’s 1.
The first point of the next round fell comfortably enough, but Theodore Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham tripped him up. Angela had the right author but wrong book, with the Cat in the Hat, but Sarah supplied the right answer. She didn’t know that the big dinosaur in the Natural History Museum is a diplodocus. William did , though. Jack Newby then proceeded to take 3 in a row, but failed on the Public school near Brighton, which Angela Wilson knew was Roedean. Her questions now, and she took the first full set of five of this match. So she now took the lead, with 9 points, to William’s 5, and Sarah and Jack’s 3.
William was served up a nasty bouncer, and his question went unanswered by anyone. Sarah Duncan was given a music question, with an aria to identify. Thank God I never had one of those to deal with last year. She knew it, though. She didn’t know the first winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, which allowed William in for a bonus. Jack’s first went begging, leaving Angela to complete the round. She knew that Samuel Pepys died in the reign of Queen Anne, but failed on her second. Still she had maintained her lead, with 10 points to William’s 6, Sarah’s 5, and Jack’s 3.
The listener’s questions were : - Name the 8 generally recognised members of the Ivy League. I fancied William could certainly do this, and probably the others too. They did. Then the next question was to name sports whose TV coverage was linked to 3 themes. They managed that too – a fine display from the contestants. So on with the second half of the contest. William was asked which planet has the shortest day, and he knew it was Jupiter. The second question – a medical term I won’t even try to render defeated everyone. Sarah was asked an old quizzer’s chestnut – which is the third highest mountain in the world ? She didn’t know, but William was straight in with a bonus for Kanchenjunga. Jack failed on a nice little Maths problem, and Angela picked up a bonus. However she didn’t know that Shrek marries Princess Fiona. You see, high culture on its own isn’t enough – you have to have some of the popular stuff as well. William does, and he picked up the bonus. At the end of the round the gap had narrowed, as Angela led by 11 to William’s 9, while Sarah remained on 5 and Jack on 3. Two horse race at this stage ? It seemed like it, although a full set of 5 can work wonders at any stage of the game.
William couldn’t answer what the Spanish word for a motorway is. Angela could. Sarah didn’t know what regnal number was the most famous of the Cleopatras. Neither did anyone else, and neither, I’m afraid, did I. It was 7. Jack Newby missed his first , the play from which the line “Don’t clap too hard, it’s a very old building” is taken. Angela knew it. She didn’t know her first though, and neither did the others. So at the end of the round only Angela had added to her score, taking her lead back out to 4 points.
William knew that Lohengrin’s father was Parsifal. He knew that Mame and Emma are anagrams of each other. He knew Boudicca was the widow of Prasutagus. However the 4th question did for him. Sarah failed to answer who later took the name of Ross, and Angela got in before William with T.E. Lawrence. She must have been looking at the finishing line at this point. Jack Newby, given a sound question, couldn’t identify Alan Bennett, but Angela could. It had been a good round for her so far, but she missed the poisonous substance contained in apple pips. Sarah knew though, to take her score to 6. Jack remained on 3, William had moved on to 12, but Angela still maintained a 3 point lead with 15. William was stymied with his first question, which nobody else managed either. Sarah Duncan took a point, but William scored a bonus on her second question. Then he took another on Jack’s question about presidents and Nobel Peace prizes. By my reckoning he was one point behind now, with Angela’s questions to come. Angela failed on her first, and William took the bonus on the Chinese zodiac. So William now tied with Angela.
William began the final round knowing that a boomslang is a snake. One point ahead. The second question did him in though. Sarah knew that Nutcrack night is Halloween.She didn’t know the decade when the term passive smoking was coined. William knew that it was the 70s. 2 points ahead. Jack’s question saw him take a valuable point, but nobody knew who illustrated the first Sherlock Holmes stories. So to Angela. If she couldn’t answer her first two questions, then it was game set and match to William. The first was a nasty thing about vitamins, and she didn’t know it. William, rubbing salt into the wound, did. So in the end William’s all round knowledge and steely determination in the last round brought him the win, against what I have to say was a very fine opponent in Angela , who must have a good chance of coming back in the semis. Very well played both.
As a PS , my favourite Russell Davies moment tonight was his comment that a boomslang’s venom kills very slowly, so you’d have time to phone a friend while you’re dying.
William de’Ath – 18
Sarah Duncan – 8
Jack Newby – 4
Angela Wilson – 15