The name Philip Wharmby rang a bell. I checked LAM, but there are no posts which mention him, but a check on another source reveals that he took part in the 1989 series. An old hand then. Philip was answering on the History of Rome until 1944, which prompted John to remark that he had picked himself a wide subject. I was pleased with my own performance on this – knowledge of Ancient Rome, and a couple of good guesses were enough to bring me 8 more points on this round. Philip did fine, although he didn’t seem to ever get quite comfortable with his round. When he took his time and gave an incorrect answer to the last question, and John corrected him he didn’t look at all happy with himself. Well, as an old Mastermind hand he would have known that 4 points isn’t an insurmountable gap, but it’s a tall enough order.
Comedian Alan Sharp was answering on Everest Mountaineering. I’ll be honest, this is a subject that I would have wikied, time permitting. Yet even without that there was the sitter about the year in which Everest was first conquered, and then good old GK questions about Junko Tabei and Reinhold Messner, and Hilary carrying the flag of the UN to the summit, and a couple of other things I knew. So despite everything I still scored 8 on the round. Alan looked a little more comfortable on the questions that ranged further back in time, but he still managed a good 12.
Last into the chair for the first round was Christine Plume. Christine had chosen the ‘Dance to the Music of Time’ novels by Anthony Powell. This provided a first for me for this series of Mastermind, a pointless round. I’ve never read any. Sometimes when an author’s work comes up, even if you haven’t read any , one or more questions allows you to make an intelligent guess and steal a point. None of these worked for me in this round. So I ended up with 28 for my aggregate specialist score tonight – which I’m not too unhappy about, since it was unwikied, and based on just three rounds where I could answer any of the questions. Christine started well, but slowed a little as the round progressed. Still, her 12 meant that she was in with a shout.
Philip Wharmby started like an express train in his GK round, and for a little while I thought that we were going to see some fireworks. Then he was stopped completely in his tracks by a question, and fell into a loop of inactivity – desperately searching for an answer that he knew that he knew, but unable to bring it past the tip of his tongue. In the end he passed – delaying, delaying and then passing – absolutely the worst thing that you can do in the chair. He battled gamely on after that setback, but the momentum had gone. The 13 he managed was perfectly respectable, but not enough to put front runner Paul into the corridor of uncertainty.
I had managed 18 on Philip’s round, and I didn’t do quite so well with Alan’s round, leveling out at 17. Alan took his time edging past Philip’s total of 24, but he then added another point to be sure. His score of 14 is a good one, and his finishing total of 26 would have been enough to win several of this year’s heats so far. However not this one. Christine Plume looked nervous when she returned to the chair, and she wasn’t answering particularly quickly. However she was answering , for the most part, correctly. I managed 19 on what I felt was a relatively gentle round, but Christine wasn’t far behind that. Her 17 was a very good score to manage under the pressure of the conditions in the studio, and pushed her score to a very impressive 29. This didn’t just place Paul within the corridor of uncertainty, but right towards the very far end of it to boot. Especially considering that he had not answered his specialist questions especially quickly . Christine had some passes, so if he could keep answering , then 14 would do it. But then he still had to get 14 points in the first place. He wasn’t that far away, to be honest, but at the speed he was going he was behind the clock after the first minute, and it always looked like the bleep was going to come before the finishing line. In the end he managed 12, for a total of 27. At this moment that’s comfortably in a repechage slot – but as has been said before in various places, there are still some big hitters to play their heats in this series. Watch this space. As for Christine, congratulations on a very good performance. Well done !
|Paul Whittaker||The Life and Career of George Harrison||15 - 0||12 - 2||27 – 2|
|Philip Wharmby||The History of Rome until 1944||11 - 0||13 - 3||24 – 3|
|Alan Sharp||Everest Mountaineering||12 - 1||14 - 2||26 – 3|
|Christine Plume||Anthony Powell’s “A Dance to the Music of Time”||12 - 3||17 - 2||29 – 5|