Gary, and the shirt, were drawn to go third. This meant that Catherine Goodwin took to the chair first, offering us a very traditional ‘life and work ‘ subject. In this case it was The Life and Work of Mary Wollstonecraft. “Ullo,” I thought, “slim pickings here, Dave.” I was right. My meager store of facts about Mary Wollstonecraft – married to William Godwin – mother of Mary Shelley – A Vindication of the Rights of Women – er , that’s it – didn’t bring me any answers at all. Catherine’s 11, then, looked a pretty good total.
Ebb Saxton, though, didn’t take a traditional subject. He offered us “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads ? “ I remember this sitcom with a lot of affection, and when you look at it, it’s a thoroughbred. Great writers – Clement and La Frenais – and acted to perfection by James Bolam and Rodney Bewes, ably supported by Bridget Forsyth. All of which is just to distract you from the fact that I only had three of them right. Ebb did better with 10, but , I don’t know, if he’d prepared, and watched all 26 episodes and one Christmas special, then he should have done quite a bit better.
Now the main event. Gary, skipper of our Radio Addicts team who were runners up in Series 4 of Only Connect , semi finalist in Are You An Egghead ?, semi-finalist in Nancy’s series of Mastermind 2009, returned to the chair with a fantastic choice of subject – “The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. Now this is a subject I have a passing interest in myself – I answered the straightforward questions – Antipater of Sidon – Chares – Constantinople, but for all that I only managed 6 on the round , which seems about right for something I hadn’t prepared. Gary, though – well, Gary scored 17. Out of 17. A perfect round. John said that it’s rarely done, and he’s right. A fantastic performance, and you sensed that unless Eliot Wilson could throw in a great round of his own, then Gary was already home and dry.
Offering The Life and Career of Enoch Powell, Eliot Wilson managed a good round, certainly. Enoch Powell was certainly one of the most academically gifted as well as one of the most controversial figures in British Politics in the 1960s and 1970s. As I said, 13 was a good score. However it meant that even though he was in second place at the halfway stage, he was still 4 points behind Gary. Gary is a serious quizzer, and a very good quizzer, and I just couldn’t see anyway that Eliot was going to bridge that gap in the GK round.
Ebb and Catherine both struggled with their GK rounds., and neither of them managed to get into double figures. Still, at least they avoided the indignity of having their combined total outscored by Gary’s SS round – both pushed their totals up to 18.
Eliot Wilson started like an express train on his GK round. He took something like 8 points out of the first 10 questions. I don’t think there was a huge amount of difference between his and Gary’s questions, but of the two I preferred Eliot’s. I scored 19 on this round. Eliot himself managed 15. Now, 15 is a great score on a 2 minute GK round , and it’s still a pretty good one on a 2 and a half minute round. As an audience we could at least thank Eliot for setting a target and making it interesting.
Gary too started at full speed. He’s an old hand at this game now, and knows that the thing to do is just to keep answering as quickly as you possibly can. Hard lines on the pensée / pansy question - . As I mentioned earlier, I did think that Gary’s questions were a shade harder than Eliot’s - I scored 17 at home - and in such a case it’s easy to become discouraged and brood on dropped questions, and that way lies disaster. Gary kept on picking off the answers, and had passed the finishing line comfortably before the end of the round. His 14 pushed him through the 30 point barrier to a very fine 31. The only reason why I’m not making any pronouncements about Gary’s chances in the semis is that I don’t want to bring down the curse of the sofa upon him. But very well done. An impressive performance !
|Catherine Goodwin||The Life and Work of Mary Wollstonecraft||11 – 4||7 – 5||18 - 9|
|Ebb Saxton||Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads ?||10 – 2||8 – 4||18 - 6|
|Gary Grant||The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World||17 – 0||14 -3||31 - 3|
|Eliot Wilson||Life and Career of Enoch Powell||13 – 1||15 – 4||28 – 5|