Yes, not even a 4 and a half hour drive would keep me from making this weekend of all weekends the time for the presentation of the annual LAMMY Awards. The results of the Grand Jury are in, the guests are seated, and the nominees are already fixing their grins on their faces. Let’s being.
The Award for the Best New Show of 2013
And the nominees are: -
Face the Clock
The Common Denominator
Beat the Pack
Five Minutes to a Fortune
Take on the Twisters
Show Me The Telly
Yes, a bumper crop this year of new shows. January saw the launch of Rory Bremner’s Face the Clock. This show did not, it is fair to say meet universal approval. The mechanics of the show meant that you could be a genius level quizzer, but could still go out in the first round, and this put many people off, as did the easy level of the questions.
In February we saw Phil Spencer’s “The Common Denominator” where contestants were just asked to find the links between two seemingly unconnected words and/or pictures. A simple idea, but by the end of the show you’d probably had enough of it. Channel Four’s heavy bias towards young, pretty people was very much in evidence in the couple of shows I watched.
In March Jake Humphrey invited us to Beat the Pack. Like many of the nominees, the Faffing About Quotient of this show wass too high for my liking. There were comments in various places that judicious use of the fast playback can reduce this show to about 10 minutes without losing any of the questions. Add into the mix that you don’t get a lot of questions for your money.
I’ve gone on record more than once about the fact that Shouty McFacepull ( Davina McCall) is not my cup of tea as a presenter. However I have to say that I found her April offering, Five Minutes to A Fortune less annoying than much of her oeuvre. It suffered from being too long at an hour, and pitted against Pointless and the Chase you would say that it’s potential audience were mostly watching something else at the time.
Five Minutes to a Fortune used one giant version of an egg timer.Julia Bradbury’s “Take On The Twisters” from August used lots of slightly smaller ones. I like Julia Bradbury, but this show was just far too chatty, too gimmicky – all bread and no sandwich filling if you know what I mean. If you don’t, well, it was a bit of a bore.
John Barrowman’s Pressure Pad in November didn’t interest me a huge amount more, for that matter. It’s the same old story, I’m afraid, too much chat, not enough questions, too many of which were about entertainment etc. etc.
Just time to mention Richard Bacon’s “Show Me The Telly”. The best bits of this show were the little comments passing between the host and celebrities’ captain Chris Tarrant. Other than that, if I tell you that forced to choose between them I’d probably prefer to watch a rerun of TellyAddicts, that should give you an idea of my opinion.
And the winner is -
Yes, this is not totally unprecedented, and I apologise to all the honest, hardworking professionals who used their skill and expertise to make the nominated shows. Yet . . . sorry, but none of them grabbed me that much. There were two acid tests for me. The first was the question – are there any of these shows I would turn over channel to watch, for any other reason than to review them on my blog? The answer is no. The second acid test was this. With the exception of Show Me The Telly I put a still of each of these shows in my last picture quiz, to see how many would be recognised. The only one which was, Pressure Pad – was still running at the time. None of the others were, and none of them was recognised by anyone. I rest my case.
The Award for the Best Performance in a Broadcast Quiz of 2013
And the nominees are: -
Mastermind 2013 – Aidan McQuade
Brain of Britain 2013 – Barry Simmons
University Challenge 2013 – University of Manchester
Only Connect (2 series) - The Scribes - The Francophiles
Ah, a more pleasant duty this one. After several years of Mastermind wins by ‘names’ within the quiz world 2013 saw a win by the relatively unheralded Aidan McQuade. We saw the Scribes and the Francophiles win series’ of Only Connect. This show also saw a change in format, so that the first round leads directly to the semi finals, and resembles the quarter final stage of University Challenge, with each team having to win twice to progress. Brain of Britain 2013 saw a Grand Final which boasted David Stainer, captain of the Only Connect Super Champions, The Crossworders, and Egghead Barry Simmons. A great match saw Barry emerge winner and champion.
It’s easy for me to say this, but you have to believe me that the judging panel spent more time arguing over this award than any other. Barry would have been a most worthy winner, whose name would be a great addition to the LAMMY role of honour. However after the dust had cleaned, and the judging panel’s wounds and bruises had healed, the decision was made.
And the winner is : -
University of Manchester
Yes, the fact that 2013 saw the University of Manchester retain the University Challenge title swayed the committee. They beat a quality field, and a quality UCL team to retain the trophy.
The Award for Best performance in a Non Broadcast Quiz
And the Nominees are: -
Maesglas A, Newport
Lemurs, Aberavon Rugby Club
Old Castle A, Bridgend
Back in September my friends from the Maesglas A team performed superbly to win the CIU finals in Derby. The field was as good as ever, and I may be wrong, but I think that once Maesglas took the lead they never relinquished it. I was honoured to play with three of the Maesglas boys – Trevor, Richie and Gordon in the Birmingham Mega Quiz last month, and they are formidable. On the day in Derby they were a different class.
The Lemurs are currently the most successful team in the Thursday night quiz in Aberavon Rugby club. For the last couple of years they have beaten us regularly – not quite like gongs, but it’s getting on that way. We’ve done better against them this year than last year, but even so, I would say that they must win about 70% of all the quizzes in the club. When I started going in 1995 we used to measure ourselves against how close we were to Alan and John’s team, and how many we actually won against them, and now it’s the same with Lemurs. In fact I look upon having won more quizzes in the club this year than we did last year as one of this year’s better quiz achievements.
At the time of writing, the Old Castle in Bridgend are the only team to have defeated my team, Llangewydd Arms, twice since I started playing for them. Last year in our final match of the season they stopped us from achieving a 100% record for the season. They’ll be looking for a hat trick in January, I’m sure.
And the winners are: -
I’m sure that you’ll appreciate where I’m coming from with this when I say that, when you get to a certain level of ability, you want to be top dog in your own back yard. But you have to pay tribute to a team who are good enough to stop you. Lemurs – take a bow, and well played.
The Award for the Most Enjoyable event in Non- Broadcast Quizzing
And the nominees are: -
The Bridgend and District Quiz League
The GetConnected Charity Quiz Evening
The CIU Finals
The Birmingham Mega Quiz
Pill Harriers Monday Night Quiz
The League will always be in my top quiz experiences. However being accused in the local paper of demoralizing other teams with a couple of big wins did kind of take the shine off the experience a little this year.
I loved the GetConnected Chairty evening again this year. Having it during school half term was a huge bonus, as was meeting host Rory McGrath, an absolutely smashing guy in my opinion.
The CIU Finals are always a top quiz event, albeit that I got us lost on the way, and by the time we arrived all the lunch had been eaten and nothing was saved for us. That’s life. Get over it, Dave.
If you read my write up of the Mega Quiz you’ll know that we did retain the trophy. It was a fun evening, even if some of the humour was caused rather unintentionally by sound problems.
As for the Pill Harriers’ Monday Night quiz, well, this is rather self-indulgent. Don’t care. Barry has been a quiz mate for a long time, more than 20 years, but we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years. Teaming up again for the Monday night quizzes was great fun.
And the winner is: -
Pill Harriers Monday Night Quiz
Here’s where it gets self-indulgent. One Monday evening during the summer George couldn’t make it, and Gordon wasn’t there. Barry and I played on our own that evening . . . and we had a blinder. We won, and there are no mugs play in that quiz at all. A joyful experience.
The Host With The Most Award
A tricky one this. I mean, I would gladly award Jeremy Paxman, Victoria Coren, Russell Davies and Alexander Armstrong year in, year out, for consistent quality. This year the judging panel decided against making the award to a presenter who makes an average show good, and instead the award is going to a host who stepped in when the long term presenter stepped down through ill health, and in a few short series has made the role his own.
And the Winner is: -
I loved the late Robert Robinson as a presenter. The fact that I don’t miss him when I listen to BoB now has a great deal to do with the charm of Russell Davies, the possessor of the best speaking voice on the radio. Many congratulations.
Well that’s it for this year’s awards. Apologies for all those disappointed, congratulations to the winners and the other nominees - and keep up the good work in 2014.