I made a bit of a booboo last Monday, when I lost track of time and missed Brain of Britain on its first airing. Well, I’ve done this before and its not been a disaster since I’ve always had the iplayer to fall back on. Not so now. As I think I may have mentioned before my laptop has recently given up the ghost, and this poor old PC is no good for it since the sound won’t work. So this necessitated clearing my hectic Saturday evening schedule – ie, not falling asleep – so that I could listen to it.
I’m glad that I did. This penultimate first round heat was a seesawing contest between Nicholas Comfort, Elizabeth Manning, Mark Walton and John Watson. John was the only one who failed to score in the first round, but the early leader was Mark Walton, who was much sharper on the buzzer than the others at this early stage, and led by 3 points with 4. 2 points on the next round saw the lead stretched to 4 points. However there was a seismic shift in the balance of power in the next round when Elizabeth managed the only full set of the whole contest. With a bonus in the round as well this took her score to 8, and with Mark failing to score she leapfrogged him to lead by 2 with 8. John Watson had also announced his intent by this stage, taking his own total to 6. One more round remained before the listener’s questions. No fireworks in this one though, as each contender added one more point to their score.
I knew the answer to the first question, as did the contenders – What did Goethe once describe as frozen music ? The answer is architecture. However I didn’t know that a 20th century swiss architect once described Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake” as the greatest piece of 20th century architecture. Live and learn.
On with the second half, and at this stage only Nicholas Comfort is really lagging behind. Elizabeth couldn’t add to her 9, so when John Watson managed 2 he joined her in the lead, with Mark 1 point behind. Just to complicate matters, Nicholas whacked in a set of three at the start of the next round, and only John could score a point after this. So our scores were 7, 8, 9 and 10. Round seven would prove to be decisive. Nicholas couldn’t capitalise on his 6th round surge, and remained on 7. Elizabeth only managed to add one of her own. With 2 of his own points and two bonuses Mark Walton made a spirited late surge, but John Watson took a good set of 4, which when couple with a buzzer bonus brought him to 15.
Nicholas needed to answer all the remaining questions to win. He gave it a go, but managed only 3 to end with 10. Elizabeth added 2 to equal Mark on 12, and this is where he stayed , failing to add any more points. John added another to take his overall score to 16. Well done to all involved. With only one show to go, if they don’t get pushed off the board,how will they decide who out of Elizabeth and Mark goes through to the semis ? Answers to the usual address, please . . .
Current Highest scoring runners-up
John Beynon – 18
Angela Wilson - 15
Ian Cassidy – 13
Elizabeth Manning – 12/ Mark Walton - 12