The first show of this run set quite a standard for tonight’s celebs to live up to. I’ve never met last night’s first celeb, Giles Coren, but I have shared a studio with his sister Victoria on 4 occasions. Giles proved himself to be a man after my own heart as he opted to answer on Asterix the Gaul. The Asterix books are remarkable I think partly because they are brilliant in the original French anyway, but also because the translator is so clever, and the level of word play in both original and translation is surprisingly sophisticated. Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent here. Giles scored a fantastic clear round of 18 correct answers from 18 questions.
I wasn’t previously aware of the work of Dr. Pixie McKenna. Apparently she’s on one of these shows about people with embarrassing bodies. This sort of thing strikes me as the 21st century equivalent of a circus freak show, but since I’ve never actually watched one of her shows I am willing to concede that this may be unfair. Dr. Pixie’s specialist subject was The History of Ellis Island, which as I’m sure you know was the disembarkation point in New York for millions of immigrants to th USA over the years. Huge subject, I’m sure, and you have to say that for the first half of the round she grappled rather well with it. Then fatigue, or nerves, or just a set of questions on aspects of the subject that she hadn’t considered kicked in, and the run rate slowed considerably. Nonetheless she posted a perfectly respectable 10.
Dean Macey I was aware of. Athletics is one of my favourite spectator sports , and in my opinion Dean Macey was amongst the most gifted British athletes of his generation. He was cruelly ill served by injury at a time when he was among the very best athletes in the world. In the show he answered questions on the Back to the Future trilogy. Well, I say on the trilogy, but the majority of the questions were really about the first film. Nothing wrong with that, either. Dean did well to get 14, but was absolutely kicking himself for getting his Johnny B. Goode mixed up with his The Power of Love.
Broadcast journalist Samira Ahmed from Channel 4 news gave a more traditional subject in the shape of The Novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She went at a fair old gallop too. Her round was not quite as good as Giles’ round. For one thing she didn’t get them all right. Still, she managed to get through enough questions to bring her an excellent 17 points, and a definite chance of a win.
On to the general rounds, and Dr. Pixie had obviously come to have a bit of fun and to enjoy the experience, a commendable attitude. To be fair to her the GK round took a long time to get going, and she was stuck in a pass spiral from very early on. She pulled herself together eventually, and actually made a good crack, apologising to her parents for the money they had wasted on her education ! As I think she knew, its only a game after all. She added 7 to her score, which was not enough to give her the overall lead. Dean came next, and he did a bit better, but still didn’t quite manage to make it into double figures. His score of 23 though would have put him comfortably in the middle of the unofficial table last year.
Samira then needed 7 to take the lead, but rather more to set a realistic target for Giles to aim at. Broadcast journalists have a bit of a chequered history in this show. Several have taken part, and I have a feeling that Ed Stourton and Alastair Stewart are the only ones to win a show. Still Samira went about her business calmly, doing what you have to do, picking off the easy ones – well, this is the celeb version – and not worrying or spending to long over the ones she didn’t know. At the end of the round she had scored 14 to take the total to 31. OK, some way from the fireworks in the previous show, but a serious target certainly.
Gile never looked totally at ease with his round, but the scores looked too close to call. He approached the total, and although his pass total was climbing it looked as if he might do it if he could score 13. The buzzer beat him before he quite managed it, as he scored 12 to give him 30, a praiseworthy total in it own right, but not, I’m afraid a winning one. So well done to Samira Ahmed . 2 shows down, and no male winner yet.
|Giles Coren||Asterix the Gaul||Hemihelp||18-0||12-4||30-4|
|Dr. Pixie McKenna||Ellis Island||Addenbrookes Charitable Trust||10-4||7-6||17-10|
|Dean Macey||Back to the Future trilogy||Indee Rose Trust and Battersea Dogs Home||14- 1||9 - 4||23- 5|
|Samira Ahmed||The Novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder||Fawcett Society and Action Aid||17- 3||14 - 2||31 – 5|