Monday, 9 December 2013

Brain Of Britain - Heat 1

Apologies to those who expected to hear our own Daniel Fullard in this show. I got the wrong end of the stick from The Quiz Addict, but fear not – a couple of weeks and Dan will be on. So who did we have in this first heat of The Best Thing On The Radio? Today’s contestants all have my apologies since I couldn’t find their names listed anywhere, so they have been rendered as they sounded. I do apologise for the inevitable spelling mistakes. They were, then, Peter Almond, Azeez Feshitan, Richard Godfrey and Angela Hirst. Let’s get on with the show, then.

Peter kicked off with two correct answers but fell at the rather innocuous nickname of James Stuart , son of James II, the Old Pretender, whom he mistakenly identified as Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was actually the only man named after three sheepdogs. Azeez chanced his arm with the Young Pretender, but none of them had the right answer, which was maybe a little surprising. Peter made back a point by taking a bonus on Azeez’ second, with the Hebrew word for the Holocaust, shoah. Richard took one, but fell at the Torre Pendente. Azeez was glad to take the bonus with that, identifying its location as Pisa, being the Leaning Tower. Azeez took another bonus after Angela had managed her first three, knowing the latin name of the skunk. This completed the scores at the end of round one with Richard on one, and the others all on three.

Peter fell at the first in the next round, and Azeez picked up a bonus, knowing the Apgar Test measures babies. For his own second neither he nor any of the others could identify a definition of drizzle – one of my better answers of the show there. Richard didn’t know the two cities at either end of the Trans-Siberian Highway, and it fell to Angela to supply the answers of Vladivostok and St. Petersburg. After this good work she didn’t get the name of the two men who have taken over the Asterix the Gaul books, and this bonus fell to Peter. A fast if not exactly furious round there, which saw Richard remain on 3, Peter and Angela up to 4, and Azeez out in the lead with 5. Music followed for Peter’s first , which he dispatched to the boundary, followed by the next one. However he had forgotten that Margaret Thatcher died in the Ritz Hotel, which gave Angela a timely bonus. Nobody knew Seamus Heaney’s poem “Digging” for Azeez’ first. Richard took a couple now, but fell at the chestnutty what is the form usually taken by a kelpie. Azeez was first in for that one. He was happy to take Angela’s first as well, knowing that Regulus is the brightest star of Leo. All of which meant that despite missing his own set, Azeez still led with 7 to Peter’s 6.

Peter missed his first, and nobody managed quite to dredge up the name of Geoffrey Hughes as the actor linking Coronation Street and The Royle Family. Richard came closest with Eddie Yeats. Azeez, leading going into the round, couldn’t recognize the work of Edward Elgar for his first, allowing Peter to draw level by taking the bonus. Richard got a real stopper with names of white blood cells for his first, and nobody had a bonus. Angela did not better with her first asking about Fermat’s Principle. All of which left Richard on 3, Angela on 5, and Peter and Azeez tied on 7.

The Beat the Brains interval asked firstly – The Battle of Cherbourg in France, fought in 1864 was an action fought in which war? The brains had the right answer, the US Civil War. The second question was a real old chestnut– The warship, USS Phoenix – survived Pearl Harbour, but was sunk in which future war? The Brains knew that it was called the General Belgrano at the time, and it was the Falklands War. So no book token there, and on with the show.

Peter Almond didn’t know about the RIBA’s sandcastle building competition, but Angela did for a bonus. Azeez took advantage of Peter’s misfortune by taking his first couple, but fell on iatrogenic diseases. Not surprised. Apparently they are diseases caused by medical treatments for other diseases. Fair enough. Richard didn’t recognize the Merry Widow. Neither did I, although I guessed it from the question. Peter knew it and took a bonus. Angela didn’t know that the first Jane to Johnny Weismuller’s Tarzan was Mia Farrow’s mother, Maureen O’Sullivan. Did Azeez say Sullivan rather than O’Sullivan? Well, it was accepted anyway, and that ensured that he led Peter by 10 – 8. On with another round, and Peter bridged the gap, before falling to Dogberry, the Malapropic character from Much Ado, which nobody had. Azeez fell on his first, the Zubov Scale. It means sea coverage by polar ice, but Peter took a bonus with thickness of sea ice, which is certainly in the ballpark. I gotta be honest, the setters certainly were taking no prisoners with their first questions in this show in several cases. Azeez showed some nerves with the next. Richard didn’t know which element has a name meaning acid producer, and Azeez leapt in with hydrogen – water producer. He realized what he’d done at once, but too late for Peter was in with the correct answer of oxygen. How often popular culture questions seems to catch out the brains on this show. For Angela’s first she didn’t know that Prince wrote Manic Monday for the Bangles. Azeez did, which was at least some damage limitation for him. He had 11, but Peter now led with 12.

So on to the final round. Either Peter or Azeez for the win, and their first questions could be crucial. Peter missed out on his first, not knowing that the last two Bourbon kings of France – Louis XVIII and Charles X were brothers. Incidentally they were also brothers of the last king before the Revolution, Louis XVI. Azeez didn’t have it, but Richard popped up for a consolation bonus. Nobody knew that Fair Isle lies immediately West of Viking on the Shipping Forecast. Which meant Azeez needed a bonus if he were to equal Peter, and two to win outright. Both he and Peter must have been hovering over their buzzers to supply the answer to Richard’s first – 1066 and All That. Azeez won the race, and it was all square. Only Angela’s set remained. Her first was about Hawking radiation, which didn't help anyone. So Peter and Azeez were tied on 12. Onto a tiebreaker, and it seemed to me that Azeez had been answering more quickly all show. I was right – Azeez came in first with the information that Jakarta’s former name was Batavia. Hard lines to Peter. I felt that both of our top two in this show displayed good all round knowledge, and I felt that they were unlucky to be recipients of some fairly obscure first questions. Will this continue in the rest of the first round shows? Time will tell.

The Details

Peter Almond – 12
Azeez Feshitan - 13 (aet)
Richard Godfrey – 4
Angela Hirst – 6


George Millman said...

This was my first ever episode of Brain of Britain, and I rather enjoyed it. I like Russell Davies' voice, it's calm and soothing. I know that he hasn't been doing it that long; what was the previous guy like?

You know you could probably contact the BBC and get spellings of the contestants' names.

Londinius said...

Russell Davies, in my opinion, has the best voice in radio.

He's been doing it permanently since the 2009/10 series - the series in which I was joint runner up (brag brag brag) although he had also compered a series a couple of years prior to this.

The previous permanent host was the late great Robert Robinson, previously the host of Ask the Family. he was very different from Russell, but very good indeed. He used to call all the contestants Mr. - or Mrs. - . He had a very particular and portentous way of speaking - ah, would that it were not so etc. - which I liked very much, and generally he was a dry, witty man, who invariably added something to any show in which he took part.

Peter Snow also did it for one series when Robert Robinson was unwell, but I didn't think he did it at all well.

George Millman said...

I learned how to spell the name of the winner - Azeez Feshitan! He was on 15 to 1 in 2003.

Londinius said...

Superb work George! Thank you!

oyinbo pepe said...

I thought the tie-break question was a bit unfair seeing as it was right up Azeez Feshitan's street being a Muslim (from Nigeria).

George Millman said...

I completely disagree. I don't think a question is unfair just because it happens to be about something that a contestant knows a lot about. The whole point of general knowledge is that it's the luck of the draw; sometimes a contestant will get a question on a subject that they know nothing about, sometimes they'll get one on something that they know a lot about. Being a good quizzer is about knowing the basics of as many categories as possible to increase your chances of doing well - but as Kevin Ashman wisely says, 'In the end, it's just the way the questions fall.'