On with tonight’s show. Katie Bateman, first of tonight’s contenders, who were all Mastermind virgins according to my database, was offering my banker specialist subject. This was the sci fi sitcom Red Dwarf. I don’t mind admitting to have been a fan back in the day, and have watched the first 7 series several times over. So my score of 8 didn’t come as much of a surprise. This pales into insignificance against Katie’s score, though. It wasn’t just that she scored 14, although that was impressive enough, but it was the fact that this was a perfect round, with all questions correctly answered. A very fine performance.
To the best of my knowledge I have never met Didier Bruyere, but I certainly know of him. Didier is a superb quizzer, who has competed extremely well on the Grand Prix circuit. I know that Didier represents France, and I think it’s a fairly safe bet that English is not his first language. Which makes his performance on his specialist round on Marie Curie all the more praiseworthy. 11 points put him 3 points behind Katie. However that was with the GK to come, and I had little doubt that Didier was going to be the strongest performer in this heat when it came to General Knowledge.
”The Novels of Jasper Fforde”, the subject offered by third competitor Tim Jarvis, probably last featured in Mastermind in my semi final in the 2007 SOBM. Back then it was offered by Matthew Williamson, who was runner up in my semi. He posted an excellent score of 15 and no passes back then. Tim didn’t do quite so well, but still managed 10 points. I have to say that being behind Didier at all, and being so far behind Katie made him look a long shot for the win, but nonetheless anything in double figures is not to be sniffed at.
Michael Webb brought the first half to a close, answering questions on Field Marshal Douglas Haig. A controversial figure certainly, and after my two points on Marie Curie, and my single point on Jasper Fforde, I had high hopes that I could at least post a better score on this round. I managed 6. I’ll be honest, judging by Michael’s reactions to some of the questions I would suggest that he was maybe expecting more questions about the military career. He started well, but the round got away from him, and he finished with 8. Certainly not a disaster, but in terms of the game he was practically ruled out of contesting the win.
This was a great shame, considering the fine general knowledge round he was to go on to provide us with. Michael missed a couple along the way, but then most of us do that. The main thing was that he kept his head, kept his momentum, and kept picking off the answers. 15 points was a very good total indeed. If I’m honest I didn’t think his aggregate total of 23 was going to be enough, but it’s a respectable score, and who knows, maybe we’ll see him again in a future series, especially with GK form like that.
each of our contenders managed double figures in GK tonight. It was a fairly symmetrical show , since the contenders returned to the chair in reverse order from which they had gone in their specialist rounds. Tim Jarvis returned , and he never quite looked as confident as Michael, nor quite as accurate in his answers. 12 was a decent return, but it wasn’t enough to put him ahead of Michael.
The round I had been waiting for commenced. On the one hand, Didier is, as I mentioned, a very fine quizzer. On the other hand though is the fact that Didier was competing in a language which I am sure is not his first. Even attempting to do a Mastermind round under such conditions is an achievement which fills me with admiration. Not only that, Didier scored a fine 16 points on a round which I felt was if anything the hardest of the 4 GK rounds tonight. A remarkable performance. Claire’s cushion of 3 points meant that she needed to score 14 points to be certain of winning. That’s not such a massive total in a 2 and a half minute round as to be completely off putting, but it is a mountain to climb if you’re not a regular quizzer. Yet Katie started off extremely well. She seemed composed, calm, and fairly snapped out the answers to the ones she knew. After a minute, though, the fatigue which we often see contenders start to suffer from set in. The first seven points were fairly easily come by, but only another 3 points were to be taken before the end of the round. That’s the way it goes. Actually I applaud Katie’s reaction to her score. It wasn’t despondence that she hadn’t reached the target for the win, but a certain amount of satisfaction that she’d done better than she thought she had. To be honest, that’s what it’s all about – doing as well as, or exceeding your own expectations, win lose or draw. But the win went emphatically to Didier. Very well done sir. In fact, magnifique !
|Katie Bateman||Red Dwarf||14 - 0||10 - 5||24 – 5|
|Didier Bruyere||Marie Curie||11 - 1||16 - 0||27 – 1|
|Tim Jarvis||Novels of Jasper Fforde||10 - 0||12 - 3||22 – 3|
|Michael Webb||The Life and Career of Field Marshal Haig||8 - 1||15 - 4||23 – 5|