Well, last week I knew one of the contestants, but this week I went one better. Checking the programme information this afternoon I was delighted to see my North London team captain William Barrett, a semi finalist in the Mastermind 2007 SOBM. Then I looked down the list and saw that the very next name was Ray Eaton. I’ve only met Ray once before, at the semis of 2006 Mastermind, and a very nice guy he seemed too. Ray won his semi final, and went on to tie for second place in the final behind the great Geoff Thomas.
The first contestant to go tonight was Rosalind May. She took the first two questions, but didn’t know that the king whose only outdoor statue in London is outside St. Bart’s hospital is Henry VIII. Neither did anyone else know it. William took his first, but couldn’t remember that it was the Stamp Act which got those American colonial chappies so hot under the collar before the War of Independence. Ray took the bonus. Now, when you’re playing Brain of Britain the ideal start is to answer your first five questions. It rarely happens but it did today, and Ray took a well-earned 6 points. Dr. Jeremy Platt completed the round. He took his first 2, but didn’t know which English king was married to Isabella the She-Wolf. Edward II as it happened. No bonus to anyone. Rosalind took a point, and then didn’t know about the film From Here To Eternity. Ray did. In fact during the round Ray pulled off the feat of answering all 3 bonuses which were offered to him. William took the bonus for Ray’s when he failed to recognise a critical description of The Sound of Music. Didn’t matter. The 5 points Ray scored for this round pushed him to a 9-point lead.
In the last round before the listener’s question points were hard to come by for all of the contenders. Rosalind didn’t recognise a song from Showboat. William took a point, but then yielded to Ray who recognised that the Swiss premier changes almost once a year on average. Ray and Jeremy both took one of their own, which meant that at the break for the Listener’s questions, he led by 14 points, to the other contestants’ 3 apiece. The Listener’s questions were both about Smithfield, and the contenders managed neither of them. So, back to the show, and if anyone was going to make a move against Ray then they had to start it now. As it was only Ray managed his first, although Jeremy did answer a bonus about Cro Magnon man. Perhaps a little surprisingly none of the four recognised Sir Hugo Drax as the villain in the book Moonraker. In the film he was just plain old Hugo Drax.
To be honest the three rounds remaining were pretty uneventful. Ray was so comfortably ahead that to have any chance one of the other three would have had to get 5 in a row, and that just didn’t happen. It wasn’t just Ray’s full house in the first round that did the trick for him, though. He was into double figures on the number of bonuses he scored for the whole show – which would have been enough to win the show even if he had scored no points on his own questions at all. William rallied a little in round five with 2 of his own questions, but Jeremy did slightly better, finding a couple of his own and a couple of bonuses.
Very well played Ray. You have to say that the range of his knowledge and the speed of his buzzing was pretty impressive, and you never know, he could well join the ranks of those who have done the double of reaching the finals of both Mastermind and BoB. Hard lines William. Sometimes the questions just don’t run for you.
Rosalind May – 4
William Barrett – 6
Raymond Eaton – 22
Jeremy Platt – 8