Yes, it’s the last weekend before the Christmas break, and therefore time for my annual review, and a few awards, the recipients of which are, if I may quote the official citation , “ chosen by nothing more objective than my own personal whim “. It has become traditional to begin with
1) The Award For The Best New TV Quiz Show for 2010
I did post on this very same subject a few weeks ago. The basic problem is that in comparison with the previous two years that this award has been presented, there has been a real dearth of new quiz shows this year. Please note, I am not bemoaning the lack of quality in the new shows – I am bemoaning the lack of new quiz shows of any kind. The only two that have impinged on the radar at all have been : -
Million Pound Drop
As you will know if you’ve read my post about this one, its not to my liking. That’s fair enough, since I doubt very much it is meant to appeal to my demographic anyway. I’m afraid that I find Davina McCall irritating, gameplay is slow, there aren’t enough questions per show and many of those that are asked are just guessing questions.
This made its debut back in July, and I actually quite enjoyed it. However, as I did say when I reviewed the show, there are problems with it. Anna Chancellor is a gifted actress, but I am afraid that her voice over was unnecessary and annoying. I felt that the show couldn’t make up its mind whether it was meant to be a proper quiz, or a bit of frivolous fun.
So, without further ado, the decision for the award for 2010 is –
I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is. I have seen nothing new this year which come close to last year’s top shows, winner The Chase, and close runner up Pointless, and nothing even in the same galaxy as 2008 winner Only Connect.
However this does mean that I feel justified in offering a new award, and one suggested by LAM reader Ben Dutton. This one we call
2) The Old Dog – New Tricks Award for the Development and Refinement of an existing Quiz Show
What a bumper crop we can consider for this. After all, this is the year when : -
University Challenge moved away from the straight knockout tournament format in the quarter finals, and as a result we saw a fantastic round of some great matches.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire ditched the fastest finger first, so if you appeared on the show, then there was every good chance that you were in the money. Time limits, and tweaks with lifelines, and new lifelines available at certain points brought the show a welcome injection of public interest and attention.
Pointless made some tweaks, adding a little variation to the gameplay in second and third rounds, and streamlining the format so as to produce an even faster moving and more entertaining show.
Last year’s Best New Show Winner, The Chase added my friend Anne Hegerty to their formidable roster of Chasers. In addition they shortened the ladder in the first round in order to make it easier for contestants to reach the final chase.
Mastermind unveiled a new arrangement of the theme in the 2010 grand Final. In fact the semis also showed the first deviation from the time honoured equal amounts of time for specialist and general rounds, when only 90 seconds were allowed for specialist rounds. In the current series we’ve seen GK rounds of 2 and a half minutes, made possible by the loss of the filmed inserts. No doubt in my mind, the more questions, the better. The show moves along like a runaway express now.
So, without further ado, the winner is : -
Yes, Mastermind. You think, perhaps , I might be biased. Well, possibly so. However look at the facts. This year has seen a brave departure from a tried and tested format, and I think its come off. Its not just that, though. In the summer we aw a fantastic Champion of Champions series, won by the great Pat Gibson, and frankly, if I’d allowed my heart to rule my head and counted CHamp of Champs as a brand new show, then it would have run away with the best new show award.
3) The Award for Quiz Performance of the Year
This award is always a really tough one. I mean, how can you choose between : -
University Challenge – Emmanuel , Cambridge
Yes, for the second year running the Grand Final was won in the studio ( although this season not lost on a rule infringement later ) by a team whose captain has attracted comment in the national media for his stunning performances. However make no mistake, Andy, Josh and LAM reader Jenny all played their part as well as the great Alex G. Their victory is all the more worthy of praise since the team had to come back after defeat in their first match.
Brain of Britain – Ian Bayley
Back in January in the Grand Final of Brain of Britain , Ian’s performance was frankly breathtaking. I should know, for I was sitting right next to him. I don’t know if his score of 32, and his winning margin of 23, were a record for a BoB grand Final, but it really wouldn’t surprise me. He was awesome.
Mastermind / Mastermind Champion of Champions – Jesse Honey
Mastermind Champion of Champions - Pat Gibson
Jesse holds the distinction of setting a clutch of records this year. Firstly in the Grand Final this year he set a new Humphrys era record total of 37. Then , for good measure, he broke this in his heat of the Champion of Champions series. And yes, this record should count, since the Champ of Champs heats were played with traditional 2 minute for SS and 2 minute for GK rounds. In this same show he set the all time record for a single round, with an unbelievable 23 on his specialist subject , National Flags of the World.
Jesse went on to score 36 in the Grand Final of the Champions series. This matched the target set by Pat Gibson. Pat, however, had done this with no passes. Even in the heat, where Pat had not quite hit his top form, he still made sure that he didn’t pass, which was enough to win. Have a look at Pat’s 2 specialist subjects for the series – Disney Pixar animated films – and – Great Mathematicians. That will give you an idea of the measure of Pat’s achievement – no subject too wide !
Only Connect – The Gamblers- Jenny Ryan, Alan Gibbs, David Bill
The Gamblers were the worthy winners of the 3rd series of this fantastic show. They had to do it the hard way as well, since the way that it worked out they had to play against the Archers in their semi final. I doubt that I’m the only person who thought that the Gamblers and the Archers were the two best teams to make it through to the semis. Jenny, Dave and Alan were a class act in each of their shows, and all three of them played an essential part in their overall win.
The Winner is : -
Well – it should probably be Ian. However the thing is that I gave last year’s award to Ian for his performance in the first round of the same series – which just happened to be recorded in late 2009, while the final was recorded in early 2010. I cannot split two of the nominees, therefore for the first time I am going to make a joint presentation to : -
Pat Gibson and Jesse Honey
4) The Award for Best Performance in a non broadcast quiz
Last year I gave this award to the team from Radford Road in Coventry for winning the CIU National Finals, and I think I really have to look to the same event for this year’s winners.
Maesglas Social A team
who are previous winners, managed to beat a whole wealth of quizzing talent to take back their title, a feat made all the more impressive considering that this year they were without the talents of Mark Labbett. We beat the same team in the Wales and West qualifier, but when it came to the crunch they were far too good on the day.
6) The Award for Quiz Fan Websites/Blogs
Yes, a new award this year. There are quite a few quiz based, or quiz connected sites which I really like, and you can see links to all of them here. However, if I opened this award to established sites, then the powerhouse Weaver’s Week ( part of UK Gameshows ) would ensure that no other site ever got a look in, and win from now until the end of eternity. So I am pleased to announce that the committee have unanimously decide to make the inaugural award to
Yes, LAM reader and Mastermind contender Paul Philpott began this quiz setting blog back in September, and already there are over 25 good quizzes on the site for you to try your luck with. Well done Paul, and keep up the good work.
5) The Award for the Most Enjoyable Event in Non Broadcast Quizzing
Or to put it another way, a quick tour through the highlights of the year. Even when you exclude the experiences of Brain of Britain, Champ of Champs, and Only Connect this year, there’s still been much to enjoy.
The Wales and West CIU heat – this was the high watermark of our involvement in the competition this year. Still, it was a night when the individual talents of our team gelled to make a consistent whole, and we hardly dropped any points we could have had. To give you an idea we beat eventual national champions Maesglas that evening.
The Birmingham Mega Quiz – we still are not entirely sure how, but Trevor, Richie, Gordon and I managed to retain the trophy and win an event which was still huge, despite clashing with Children in Need events elsewhere.
The Bridgend and District Quiz league. – I know that I go on about this a bit, but I haven’t half missed playing in a league, and now that the first half of the season is over I can truthfully say that I’ve loved it. I love the week in , week out level of the competition – I love the fact that its got me working again on my GK in a way in which I’ve been too lazy to work on it for years.
However, as wonderful as all of these events have been , I have to say that my absolute top, number one , quiz experience of this year has been this. The award goes to
The Get Connected Charity Quiz Evening at Floridita
A truly brilliant event. Playing for a different team in each round, with teams bidding for your services doesn’t half do wonderful things for your ego. I loved it, and I’m so grateful I was invited to take part.
Ladies and Gents, that concludes the votes of the LAM jury. So not a bumper year in terms of the number or quality of new quiz shows, but in almost every other way, a very good year indeed. I hope that it has been equally good for all of you.