Friday, 15 March 2013

Brain of Britain - Semi Final 3

Right – moving swiftly on with the catch up, let’s have a quick look at the third semi final of Brain of Britain, transmitted on the 4th March. The contestants were


The smart money said my friend David Stainer was going to win this one, but sometimes the smart money gets it wrong. Neither John nor David knew that the book “Ten Days That Shook The World” concerns the Russian Revolution.That was a bonus for Paul Jordan. He didn’t know that the Crooks tube was a forerunner of a television. David knew this one. He then went on to answer a couple of his own, but didn’t know that in 1912, Lord Mersey chaired the enquiry into the Titanic sinking. Paul took another bonus there. Rufus answered one but didn’t know that Tunguska was the scene of the 1908 impact. So this meant that David led by 2 points with 4.

John got a question about chloroform to start , and nobody knew it. Paul didn’t know about Dusseldorf being the capital of part of Germany. David got a tricky one about motorbike engines. Rufus took his first 2, but gave Paul a bonus on Francis Bacon. Rufus now had 3 to David’s 4. In round 3 John took 2, but didn’t know the architect of the Petronas Tower. David knew this, and also the answer to Paul’s first question, that Letchworth was the first Garden City. David took one, but didn’t know that Walsingham unmasked the Babington Plot. Rufus took that. He didn’t know that the Thymus Gland is in the upper chest cavity. Fair enough. David now had a 3 point lead with 7. Going into round 4, John missed his first about cheese fondue. Paul couldn’t remember Janet Reno , but David had no such trouble. For his own set he fell at the first not knowing that Truro Cathedral was built in 1910. Not surprised. Rufus didn’t know that Dien Bien Phu featured in the French Indo China War. So with David, on 8, leading by 5 we went into the Beat the Brains interval.

The first question was about John of Gaunt’s speech from “Richard II”. The question asked where exactly in London Shakespeare located the speech. They didn’t get that it was on a couch in a room in Ely House. Again – not surprised. The second asked how Ely made history by rising above Birmingham. They didn’t get the answer that it was the first successful launch of an aircraft from a ship. Hmm, ok.

Back to the show. John needed a good set to get back on terms. He took his first but fell at the Khamsin wind. David had it. Paul also took points from his set, but didn’t know that Italic was invented for a 16th century edition of Virgil. Thanks said David, pocketing the point. For his own set he took a fantastic set of 5, with no gimmes whatsoever in them. Rufus didn’t get his own first , that Hamilton park racecourse is devoted to the flat. David now led with 16, and the game was to all intents and purposes over.

John , freed from the need to compete since David was over the event horizon actually took two, but David had a bonus with 4 countries bordering Italy . Nobody knew Paul’s first. David actually fell at his first , but nobody knew about Appollonius of Perga, so it wasn’t a surprise. Rufus didn’t know Polly Styrene. David did. Only one round remained, then. John took one point. Paul didn’t know that Fermi built the first nuclear reactor in the University of Chicago, which gave David his obligatory bonus. For his own set he took the first, but didn’t know that you do the Trudgeon in swimming. I remember Frank Muir writing about doing the trudgeon in his lovely memoir “A Kentish Lad”. Not that it matters. David’s mission had already been accomplished a couple of rounds earlier. Rufus didn’t know that Matthew ‘Nosey’ Parker was the Archibishop of Canterbury, which gave David his last point of the contest. For the record, the final scores were : -

Paul Jordan – 4
Rufus Stilgoe – 5
John Colmans – 8
David Stainer – 21

Congratulations David, a masterful performance. What price an Only Connect / Brain of Britain Double?

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