I will confess to not recognizing Jules Hudson. I guessed he was probably a TV presenter, and was right. He presents a show which I have heard of called Escape to the Country. Jules was answering on what looked to be a pretty good traditional Mastermind subject – Operation Market Garden. If you’re not familiar with the name, Operation Market Garden was the allied airborne landings in Arnhem, a bold plan which, had it worked, might well have shortened the war. Jules certainly knew his stuff, and earned a very impressive 12 points. He was representing The Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Justin Moorhouse is a comedian. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t aware of his work before last night’s show. However this only bodes well for the man. I had never heard of either John Bishop or Micky Flanagan before their respective appearances in past series, and now look at them. They’re all over the place. Justin’s specialist subject was the life and career of Les Dawson. I have a huge soft spot for Les Dawson. Often viewed as the last of the British old fashioned stand ups, I think Les was a hell of a lot more than that. Justin obviously thought so too, and he put on a terrific display, answering 11 correctly on behalf of the Wood Street Mission.
Finishing the first round off then was the actor Ray Fearon. He’s been in many stage and TV productions, but probably reached one of his biggest audiences when he was a contestant in Strictly a few years ago. Ray, who was answering on Shakespeare’s Othello, used the inter-round chat to pay tribute to the universality of Shakespeare, a good point which we need to remind ourselves of each new generation. Ray too managed that hallmark of quality, a double figure score, although his very good 10 was only enough to put him third place at the halfway stage. Ray’s chosen charity is the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.
Returning to the chair you could have forgiven Matthew for being daunted by the size of the task ahead of him. He needed to score 6 to go ahead of Ray, and as we’ve seen once or twice before this is by no means a given. He gritted out the round, blocked what he couldn’t hit on his pads, and sent a few into the boundary. By the end of the round he’d managed a battling eight to take his score to 13. John told him that he wouldn’t win. The question was, would he stay in 4th ? It certainly looked like it. Right, you can call it nerves, or brain freeze, or whatever you like, but sometimes, on occasion, something happens when contenders sit in the chair, and they fail to do themselves anything like justice. I have no doubt that Ray knew a lot of answers which he just couldn’t get out, for whatever reason. But the fact was that he only managed to add 3 to his score, putting him level with Matthew on 13. He can take at least a crumb of comfort from the fact that this is not actually the lowest score in a sleb round that we have ever seen. If you want to know who was – well, google it.
Realistically then a three horse race at half time had become a two horse race. And it was Justin Moorhouse who was coming up quickest on the rails as we entered the final few furlongs. His GK round was the best from a sleb that we’ve seen so far this series. It was quick, it was accurate, and there were no passes. A score of 17 was a fine return, and set the target at 28, a score which equaled Chris Packham’s series best 28. Actually if anything it was slightly better, as Justin never passed on a single question. That’s good quizzing. Jules put on a decent show, but before the minute had gone it was obvious that he was behind Justin and not going to catch him. In the end he managed a pretty decent 11, not a bad score for Sleb MM at all. This gave him 23, and will ensure that he’s well within the top half of scorers for the whole series. But it was Justin’s game, and well done to him ! Fine performance.
|Matthew Hoggard||Friends Series 1 and 2||5 - 2||8 - 2||13 - 4|
|Jules Hudson||Operation Market Garden||12 - 1||11 - 0||23 - 1|
|Justin Moorhouse||Les Dawson||11 - 0||17 - 0||28 – 0|
|Ray Fearon||Othello||10 - 1||3 - 5||13 – 6|