Saturday, 4 December 2010

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 15/24

I wonder if this is the last one before BBC subject us all to the now traditional Mastermind December break ? I hope not.

I love seeing people I know, or I’ve met having a go on Mastermind, and I love seeing people come back for another crack at the black chair. Still, sometimes its nice to see four people you know nothing about , who have never been on the show before giving it a go. Such a show was last night’s. To the best of my knowledge none of the four contenders had any previous form on the show.

Tony O’Brien kicked off on one of my comedy heroes, Spike Milligan, or to be more precise, his war memoirs. I loved the first questions which needed Tony to answer that the first book kicked off with Spike and his father watching his mother digging a trench for their air raid shelter. Tony knew this one, and another 10 as well. As we always say, anything in double figures is a good score, especially in a two minute round, but Tony didn’t look best pleased with himself as he returned to his seat.

The classic old style Mastermind subject of the week was indeed classical, as Peter Watkins gave us The Life and Times of Mark Antony. Big subject, I thought, and a very interesting one. Respect to you, sir , for giving Antony’s titles in the original latin when John would have been quite happy with the modern English translations. A good round this, and well worth the 13 points that Peter scored.

There are usually only a couple of facts that you need to know about Lillie Langtry for most quizzes – that she was nicknamed The Jersey Lily – that she was the mistress of the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII . Well, Fiona Cowie, third into the chair in last night's show, knew quite a bit more than this. She seemed a little nervous, but nonetheless managed to score 9 correct answers.

Finally Christopher Anton, and the only one of tonight’s subjects which gave me absolutely no chance of answering any of the specialist questions. He was answering questions on The Henley Royal Regatta. In what was the pick of the specialist rounds tonight he answered really well, putting a very good fifteen points in the bank by the end of the round. Now that’s a good performance, and you have to say, even with two and half minutes for general knowledge it pretty much put Fiona and Tony out of the running at the halfway stage.

Fiona at least had a smile on her face, and looked as if she was enjoying her Mastermind experience. Good on you ! She answered her GK questions pretty well, too. Memory failed her on a couple, and then to add insult to injury popped the answer into her head at the end of the round. Still she managed double figures and took her score up to 19. This gave her the lead, and it was a lead that she still enjoyed by the time Tony had finished his round. He got himself a bit stuck in the middle of the round and never managed to establish any momentum. He finished the round with an overall total of 18.

It was down to Peter then to set the target , and see if Christopher Anton could overhaul it. Personally whenever I was in the chair I always preferred setting a total, rather than chasing one, but that’s just me. Peter’s was the pick of the GK rounds tonight. Tactically he did exactly the right thing, answering what he knew, guessing what he didn’t, quickly passing what he couldn’t guess. Text book stuff really, and it brought him a good total of 15. Food for thought for Christopher, certainly, and I don’t know whether it played on his mind a bit, but Christopher did hesitate quite a lot during his round. By the two minute stage he was too far away from the finishing post to make it, and in the end he levelled out at 10 points to take his total to 25. A decent performance, but not one that will take him onto the repechage board. No such worries for Peter Watkins, and he takes a well earned place in the semis.

The Details

Tony O’Brien The War Memoirs of Spike Milligan 11 – 17 - 518 – 6
Peter Watkins The Life and Times of Mark Antony13 - 215 - 328 – 5
Fiona CowieThe Life of Lillie Langtry9-310 - 519 – 8
Christopher AntonHenley Royal Regatta15 - 110 - 525 – 6

Highest Scoring Runners Up

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up

Nick Mills – 34 – 4
Hamish Cameron – 30 – 2
Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 – 2
Duncan Byrne – 27 - 2
Ian Packham - 27 – 7

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