First to go was Frank Gardner. If you’re not familiar with the name, Frank Gardner OBE is a BBC journalist, currently their Security Correspondent. Frank was severely injured when he was shot while on assignment in Saudi Arabia. Last night he elected to manoeuvre himself into the black chair for his round. Answering on Birds of the Middle East, Frank certainly seemed to have packed a very complicated subject. I don’t know much about the subject myself, but judging from the questions that John asked each bird there seems to have about half a dozen alternative names. With 10 points, which John would later describe as modest, Frank left himself with a lot of work to do in the GK round.
A personal favourite of mine came second. I enjoy “Dragon’s Den “ very much, and our second contender was the show’s most high profile success story, the Reggae Reggae Sauce man, Levi Roots. Levi was answering about his own roots last night, when he took Jamaican Culture as his specialist subject, Hello, I thought , this is one of those nasty portmanteau subjects where they can shove in a little bit of everything, and indeed they did. So Levi’s 11 was no mean feat.
3rd into the chair was Pam Rhodes, long time presenter of the BBC’s own Songs of Praise. Which in a way is what she chose as her specialist subject. She answered on Christmas carols, and seemed to get rather an easy ride. I have no knowledge of who wrote which hymn etc. , but I managed to get into double figures just knowing which lines came from which carol. Still, to be fair, Pam seemed to cope with the more difficult questions pretty well too. She can only answer what she is asked, after all. A score of 14 put her into the lead with a little cushion.
Helen Chamberlain presents Sky’s Soccer AM show. Like Victoria Coren she is also a bit of a diva at poker as well, according to wikipedia. Her subject was The World Darts Championship. That’s not quite as straightforward as it sounds, since there’s two of them and have been for quite a long time now. I enjoyed the questions about the 80s and even the early 90s, but was out with the washing a little on the rest of the questions. Not so Helen. She presented the pick of the Specialist rounds last night, equalling Pam on 14, but doing so without incurring any passes.
So at the halfway stage it looked a fair bet that we would have our third consecutive lady winner of the series. However in 2 minutes Frank Gardner smashed that idea to the boundary. Yes, alright, we know that the GK rounds for the celebrities are easier, but even so, getting 20 points in a GK round is a hell of an achievement, and requires huge concentration. Even if you KNOW the answers to all the questions it is so easy for your mind to wander in that chair. I can’t say for certain, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank’s 20 is a record for a GK round on the Celebrity shows.
Follow that. Well, they tried. Levi Roots made the best attempt, and his 12 represented a decent return on the 2 and a half minutes’ investment. However it left him a staggering 7 points behind Frank. Pam Rhodes didn’t impress with her 9, and poor old Helen Chamberlain began passing after the first half minute of her round, and never really recovered from the tailspin this put her into. She added 8 to her score, I the process achieving the rare feat of moving from first at half time, to 4th by the end of the show.
Congratulations to Frank Gardner, a highly impressive performance.
|Frank Gardner||Birds of the Middle East||The Back-Up Trust||10 - 1||20 – 0||30-1|
|Levi Roots||Jamaican Culture||The Sickle Cell Society||11-3||12- 1||23 – 4|
|Pam Rhodes||Christmas Carols||RSPCA Hertfordshire East||14 - 2||9 - 4||23 – 6|
|Helen Chamberlain||World Darts Championship||Wildlife Aid||14 - 0||8 - 6||22 – 6|