Ian Jones offered the Life and Works of James Brindley. I had my lowest specialist score of the night with 2. Having said that , I scored a point on the question which saw Ian drop a point he could have had. Asked about the engineer who had also designed the Eddystone Lighthouse, Ian answered JAMES Smeaton, and didn’t get his point since the answer is JOHN Smeaton. Had he merely answered Smeaton, as I did, he’d have had his point, I’m sure. Remember, it’s first names for show, and surnames for dough. Still, 12 was a good score and gave him a chance, even if it did put the repechage threshold beyond anything but an excellent GK round.
My favourite SS round of the whole night came from Ewen McPherson. He was answering on the Soviet Space Programme. I’ve said before that as a nipper during the late 60s and early 70s I was a little bit space mad at the time, and a lot of this stuff has still stuck. As a result I was delighted with my 10 points on this round. Granted , some of these weren’t all that difficult. The second Russian in space – the name for the three man vostok – the name of the cosmonaut who was killed when the parachutes on his capsule failed to open – the first man to do a spacewalk – the first manmade object to hit the surface of the moon for example all could be got without real in-depth knowledge of the subject. Not that I blame Ian for this. He knew the difficult stuff as well. However as a small point of technique, when asked for names Ian insisted on giving the full three names , first name, patronymic and surname. This used up valuable time when I’m sure that just the surname would have been accepted. It might well have bought him the time for another question.
Our last contender , Chris Cummins, will have been recognized by many viewers for being a member of the Strategists, Grand Finalists in the 3rd series of Only Connect. “That’s the winner !” I confidently announced to no one in particular. Chris answered questions on the TV career of Victoria Wood. I managed 5 answers on the AS Seen On TV series, but although I remember watching Wood and Walters back in the day, I couldn’t recall any of the details which were asked for. Chris, who wouldn’t even have been born when that series was broadcast , I’m sure, had no such problem. He scored 15, and Gypsy Rose Clark for once looked to have made a pretty safe prediction.
Joyce, having gone first in the first round, had been sitting for a long time waiting to get back in the chair, and she could have been forgiven for brooding over her specialist . Not a bit of it. She kept a ready smile, and didn’t seem too upset at all, even though things weren’t honestly all that much better in the GK. She ended with 9, but kept an admirable calm throughout the whole experience. Now, I said that Ian needed an excellent GK round to make a realistic run at the repechage board at the very least. Well, that’s exactly what he produced. I found the GK round sin this show slightly easier than the previous, but it’s all subjective anyway. Ian kept his composure, kept the correct answers coming, and whacked in 15. A score of 27 and 1 pass certainly gave him the chance of a repechage spot at the least , provided that it wasn’t beaten by both of the remaining contenders.
Which was by no means a given. Ewen started on 12, as had Ian, and so needed to equal his score with no passes to go into the lead. Well, he passed on 4, and although he too had a fine GK round, it wasn’t quite as good as Ian’s. His 13 put him 2 points back on 25. For the record I scored a point more on Ewen’s than on Ian’s – 19 to 18. In order, then, to beat the Clark curse Chris needed to score 13. That was a challenging total, even off a two and half minute round. Chris has been in pressure situations on telly shows before , though, and he knows how to handle it. It wasn’t a better round than Ian’s, but it was pretty much as good – 15 points and 3 passes enabling him to reach the magical 30 point mark. Very well done Chris ! Well done Ian as well. I don’t know whether he’ll stay on the board until the end of the first round, but he certainly earned his place there for now.
|Joyce Wilson||The Human Body||4 - 1||5 - 1||9 – 2|
|Ian Jones||The Life and Works of James Brindley||12 - 0||15 - 1||27 – 1|
|Ewen McPherson||The Soviet Space Programme||12 - 0||13 - 4||25 – 4|
|Chris Cummins||The TV Career of Victoria Wood||15 - 2||15 - 3||30 – 5|