Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mastermind Controversy

I don't know if you watched last Friday's Mastermind, or read the review of the show. If you did either, or both, you'll know that it was one of the most exciting heats we've had for a couple of years, with Mike Clark beating Ged Meheran on a tie break.

Well, as was pointed out in comments left by Angela and Gary after my review, there is a question mark over whether Mike Clark should have been asked his last question, with the buzzer appearing to sound while he was answering his penultimate GK question.

I watched the show last Friday 'live' on the telly. I remembered thinking at the time that it was a close call, but in the excitement of the tie break I rather forgot about it afterwards, and never went back to the iplayer to the check just how close a call it was. Well, I did that earlier, and I have to say that I think that they do have a point. I freely admit that I could be mistaken, but it certainly seems to me that the buzzer goes just before Mike Clark has quite finished his 23rd answer, and that John does not quite start speaking before it goes. John carried on to say that he'd started and so would finish, and Mike correctly answered the question, thus earning himself a tie break, which he went on to win.

I don't read anything sinister into this - it's a marginal call, and mistakes can be made. But you have to say, it's very hard lines on Ged Meheran, who had produced one of the finest GK rounds of the series to put himself on the brink of the semis. Mastermind has an honourable history of being able to put it's metaphorical hand up to admit when a mistake has been made - giving an extra place in the semi finals on one occasion, correcting scores retrospectively, or offering contenders a chance to return in the next series. One can only hope that some such consideration may be offered to Ged Meheran.

6 comments:

Andrew B. said...

As you may (but probably don't) recall, I noted that a similar thing happened when Jesse Honey scored 23 in his specialist subject a while ago; the 23rd question was definitely borderline.

jeffgrimshaw said...

And it also happened in my heat this year (heat 5). Andrew Hunter was allowed to answer the last question on his SS round despite the buzzer going a fraction before Humphrys started asking it. I think it was pointed out on the Weavers Week review of the show.

Not that it made a difference - Andrew was a clear and worthy winner of the heat.

Unknown said...

I haven't watched it again to see the exact timings, but could it be that the cut-off point is deemed to be when the buzzer finishes, rather than when it starts to beep?

Unknown said...

Sorry, that's me, Nancy - don't know why it thinks I'm unknown!

Angela said...

I think 99% of watchers would reckon the start of the bleeper is the end of the allotted period of time. Surely. Has to be. Imagine the repercussions if it was otherwise - the bleeper actually lasts for quite a long time.

The context here was so significant - (1) denying a contestant a place in the next round, (2) a contestant moreover who had amazingly hauled himself back from nowhere in the contest.

Will the Mastermind team do the right thing? I wonder.

drgaryegrant said...

The show has serious 'fairness' problems anyway. Despite what they claim, quite demonstrably contenders get asked different numbers of questions per round compared to those they are competing with.

I got 17/17 in my SS in Round 1 - I thought for about 1.5 seconds about one of the answers but otherwise answered pretty quickly. You thus have to question where Mr Honey managed to get 23 questions from. And if you argue that the two aren't comparable because they weren't on the same show, all I will say is this: watch this space over the next week or two.